How is muscle testing supposed to determine my sensitivities to food? If it really worked, wouldn't it be implemented by more practitioners?
While I do not practice Applied Kinesiology (muscle testing), I have tried it when selecting certain homeopathics for people and dogs, and I have referred my clients to seek their expertise from time to time. To my surprise, it works; that is, when the practitioner understands how to read the responses.
Like in all things, if the 'interpreter' is mistaken, the message is wrong. In fact, I have a client who calls me her “body translator" because from the location of one itch, I can realize her kidneys need support or by the pattern on her tongue, I can see which organs need detoxing. The body provides some rather clear messages for us to read, but most people consider them subtle, normal or perhaps don't even notice.
To understand why kinesiology works as a fast and inexpensive method to allergy relief, it is best to know the difference between sensitivities and allergies, and how they affect the body.
With sensitivities, a food or other pathogen has caused a weakening effect on the body and it usually does not involve our immune system. Most of us eat foods we are sensitive to, but we do not:
- realize the symptoms enough to stop causing them OR
- we do not realize the cause among all that we eat (or are exposed to) OR
- we are willing to suffer them (like eye stuff in the morning) because we see them as “normal”.
With allergies, however, an immediate reaction occurs after exposure and the reaction more often than not involves the immune system. This reaction is also sometimes tolerable so we continue on for years with an allergy. Of course, some reactions are debilitating so we find out the cause and stop consuming them. Mucous in the nose or throat after drinking milk is a common 'allergy', but so is skin related reactions, headaches, difficulty breathing, shock, etc. The immediacy of the reaction is helpful with an allergy so you can stop putting fuel on the fire.
- “According to the American College of Allergy and Immunology, allergies include: upset stomach, gastroenteritis, runny nose, dark circles under the eyes, shock, edema or swelling, anxiety, ulcers, joint pain, asthma, addictions, and rashes. In children they can cause seizures, red ear lobes, red cheeks, excessive talking or aggressive behavior, bedwetting and attention deficit.
- Other symptoms are bronchitis, celiac disease, diarrhea, chronic fatigue, colic, colitis, diabetes, depression, failure to thrive, hay fever, headaches, hyperactivity, bowel disease, insomnia, iron deficiency anemia due to blood loss, learning disorders, malabsorption, myalgia, nephritis, acne and sore throat.
- Still more conditions possibly related to food allergies are bulimia, anorexia, alcoholism, candidiasis, constipation, Crohn’s disease, conjunctivitis, delusions, dyslexia, epilepsy, fever, hypothyroidism, hoarseness, low stomach acid, irritable bowel syndrome, memory loss, multiple sclerosis, obesity, middle ear infections, premenstrual syndrome, psoriasis, ringing in the ears and dizziness.”
While there are many pathways to allergies and sensitivities, most often, sensitivities begin from:
- Improper digestion and utilization of the food we eat. Most often, this is caused by not chewing our food enough. Your food requires ample time in the saliva in order for the proper enzymes to affect the food. Many of us eat on the go, while driving, or quickly before moving onto something else. Furthermore, consuming iced foods or burning hot foods will also change the way your body uses the substance.
- Enzyme deficiencies which lead to organ toxicities, pH imbalances, intestinal inflammation and even infections. One of the best examples of this is consuming too many cooked foods and not enough raw ones. With too high of heat, the enzymes from the food are rendered ineffective for utilization of that meal.
- Leaky Gut syndrome is another cause, which is when the gut becomes too permeable. Your gut lining should be like a cheese cloth folded over 10 times. If you held a 10-fold cheesecloth under water, it will eventually release droplets of water, but if you unfold that cloth, water will come straight through and the cloth blocks nothing. Undigested food particles (and other proteins) will act like that flooding water and go straight through the barrier of your gut lining and enter into your blood stream, resulting in an allergic reaction. Leaky gut can happen in varying degrees of severity from infections like yeast or viruses, celiac disease, alcohol, ibuprofen, steroids, nutritional deficiencies, antibiotics, too high of sugar in the diet, stress … and the list goes on.
- Other causes of sensitivities include naturally occurring properties found within food, such as alkaloids or minerals; and the processing or refining of food such as raw milk vs pasteurized milk with hormones and antibiotics added or pesticide residues and preservatives.
That's where kinesiology comes in. Just because a person tests 'weak' to something, doesn't automatically make it an allergy. It can suggest, instead, that the person doesn't react in an energetic way to said substance. Also, just because you have an allergy, it doesn’t always mean you can’t ever enjoy it again. In order to understand the importance of this, let’s consider the following:
- Food should be nutrients that provide the body energy so it can perform. When you consume something that makes you tired, your body isn't looking at it like a vital source of nutrients and therefore it is not adding to your vitality or longevity. Overtime, with frequent consumption, it will bring the body down in whatever way it originally expressed (ie. tiredness, lethargy, brain fog, etc).
So let’s consider the various types of foods we consume: Biogenic foods, Bioactive foods (sometimes considered biogenic), Biostatic foods, and Biocidic foods.
- Biogenic foods = ENERGY since they are full of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, etc. We should eat predominately biogenic foods. These foods strengthen muscles when tested.
- Bioactive foods = SUSTAINING foods which add to and do not take from the body when consumed. These foods also strengthen.
- Biostatic foods neither benefit nor harm the body but they can take up space in our digestive system. The body uses up what small amount of energy those foods may have in order to process them out of our system. Fiber is a good example. They neither strengthen nor weaken.
- Biocidic foods will take all of the body's energy and can lead to disease and other imbalances. These foods weaken the muscles and lower the immune response, which creates a hospitable environment where disease can flourish.
The unfortunate challenge, perhaps, is that we are each unique in our biochemic nature. What may be biogenic (energy) for some is actually biocidic (depleting) for another. Our expression of the sensitivity can be different too. Somebody may show sensitivity to wheat, for example, as a headache, while for another, symptoms are in their gut with diarrhea, or perhaps arthritis. Muscle testing can be used to interpret this unique biochemistry when it comes to sensitivities or allergies. In order to understand your biochemistry, we first need to understand our experience to everything around us.
There are five avenues to our existence, including: mental, physical, environmental, chemical and energetic. Each of these five areas are affected by everything we do. For example, when we are exposed to foods that we are sensitive to, we have a reaction as follows:
- Mentally, we become depressed and have fluctuating moods.
- Physically, we have sluggish bowels, skin problems and our large muscles, especially in the legs and core, become achy and less efficient.
- Chemically, our digestion is impaired and our immune system may produce antibodies against antigens (like with gluten).
- Energetically, we have less current flowing through the meridians; so essentially, there are less effective electrical signals telling your body what to do next.
- Environmentally, we start getting more sensitive to other pathogens we were once fine with.
To understand how muscle strength or weakness is tested, it is important to understand which muscles (or body parts) are related to which organs. Since muscles share similar nerve pathways through the body and up into the vertebral structure, they are also strengthened (or weakened) by the same organ meridians.
- For example, the knees are related to the kidneys. So if somebody has knee problems, they have some deficiency in their kidneys. With strong kidneys, there would be no weakness in the knees.
- Another example would be itching between the shoulder blades, which is suggestive that the gallbladder needs support. If the gallbladder is struggling, it may be due to how much fat the person eats (too much or too little) or a food sensitivity that will turn into something like eczema later on down the line.
- A great example we can all test for ourselves is bowel discomfort – often from constipation but sometimes a similar ache comes from diarrhea. If you reach down to your right calve and massage it while sitting on the toilet, your bowels will be released easily and the cramping discomfort will cease.
In kinesiology, the pectoralis muscle is related to the stomach meridian and the deltoid muscle, the lung meridian, for example. With the arm stretched out in front and the thumb pointed down, a position which requires your pecs, somebody trained in kinesiology would test the stomach’s reaction to a substance by interpreting the strength or weakness in the muscle when the practitioner puts resistance upon the muscle. Or with the arm out to the side, they are testing the lung, since in order to hold up the arm in this position, the deltoid is most prominent.
Certain muscles are better suited for a food sensitivity while others are more specific to an environmental sensitivity. Similarly, some foods will be digested by one organ while others require many organs. Since coffee affects the liver and kidneys predominately, it would not work to test the lung for a sensitivity. Or with sugar, which greatly affects the stomach and pancreas and not as much the kidneys. Since they all pass through the stomach, the most common muscle tested is the pectoralis.
It is optimal to adjust the body’s overly-reactive responses to a sensitivity before it weakens the overall strength of the body, which leads to lowered resistance, autoimmunity and ‘dis’ease. Since food affects the body by strengthening or weakening, testing the resistance (or energy) in the associated muscle group while holding the culprit, a sensitivity can be determined, even if sub-clinical in other diagnostics. Through the Science of nutritional and energy balancing, you can overcome sensitivities to food so they do not compound into future complications and vulnerabilities.
So yes, muscle testing is real and can be a great tool to determine sensitivities; however, it is not without mis-interpretation since the interpreter is human. That said, I usually only refer my clients to somebody trained in muscle testing after interpreting that their symptoms are caused by something they continue to reintroduce, such as food. More often than not, the client has a long suspicion of the sensitivities that are later validated through muscle testing. One of the best ways to determine for yourself is to go through the treatments from a Kinesiologist and reintroduce what you were formerly sensitive to and notice no reaction. I had a client who had such a severe skin reaction, that despite my homeopathic and dietary recommendations, only a dent was made towards relief. After seeing a practitioner of kinesiology, it was determined she had an allergy to leather. They worked together to counteract this sensitivity and her rash went away. I'd say, it works. Give it a try.
Stephanie Austin, HHP
Certified Holistic Health Practitioner and Nutrition Coach
A wonderful website to research autoimmunity and allergy related to gluten: http://www.thedr.com/
Educational facilities who provide degrees in kinesiology: Cal Poly http://kinesiology.calpoly.edu/home.html, Manhattan College http://manhattan.edu/academics/education/kinesiology/what-kinesiology, University of Tennessee http://www.utk.edu/academics/programs/2010/ehhs/kinesiology.html, and there are countless more.
Kinesiology: with special reference to electromyographic kinesiology http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/285846