What is Applied Kinesiology?
Applied Kinesiology (AK) is a technique used to evaluate the physical, mental and chemical aspects of a person’s health. Those three pillars make up the AK’s “triad of health”.
Because AK is a very broad assessment tool, the therapeutic approach an AK physician employs is in accordance with their respective speciality. As a consequence, it may encompass joint or bone adjustments and/or manipulations, myofascial therapies, organ mobilization and stimulation, meridian therapies, cranial technique, clinical nutrition, lifestyle and even psychosocial interventions and advice.
Still, the tool that all AK practitioners share is the Manual Muscle Testing (MMT), which constitutes a form of biofeedback with a sensory and a motor component, an input and an output. Put in simpler words, the MMT is a tool that allows the AK practitioners to read and interpret the body’s language. So, an AK session could be described as a conversation between your body and your practitioner. Any challenge, or input, would then be a question asked to the body, and any physical reaction, or output, would mean a yes or a no. In short, MMT is an assessment tool that provides the practitioner with real-time information of what is going on in the body of the patient via the nervous and musculoskeletal systems.
From a philosophical perspective, AK is strongly connected to chiropractic as it was founded, deepened and theorized by a chiropractor, Dr. George Goodheart Jr., as from 1964. He discovered that some therapies influenced his patients’ neuromuscular responsiveness, from impacting their strength and function to provoking dramatic changes in their symptoms. He then went on to develop the technique and integrated many elements from chiropractic, acupuncture, osteopathy, nutrition, biochemistry and other approaches into it. Beyond the diversity of its tools, AK remains a holistic approach, focused on “the triad of health” that also sits at the heart of the chiropractic paradigm. According to this vision, Chiropractic considers any health disturbance, whether functional or pathological; to originate from physical, chemical or even emotional stressors. In the course of the AK assessment and through MMT, the practitioner is able to detect the stressors affecting the patient, and to address them specifically. So what differentiated Dr. Goodheart from other practitioners? It is still the same drive that characterizes AK practice in general, to understand the “why”, investigating to find the cause of problems, which will then determine the best therapeutic step to take.
Whereas chiropractic patients receive their care, AK patients need to take a more active part in it to witness progress and improvements. As explained in the short description of the AK system, philosophy and protocole, AK practitioners are interpreters or mediators between patients and their body. If the need expressed by the body is translated into advice by your AK practitioner, you have to be ready to implement the adequate lifestyle changes to ensure your own healing. AK raises awareness about the appropriate health behaviors required by each individual, but can not cancel perpetual bad habits out. This is the reason why AK care is first and foremost a commitment to yourself.
AK visits are like photographs taken in the same place, with the same pose, over time. While the first visit serves as a comparison point, all the next visits aim at moving away from it, as your practitioner identifies the diverse anomalies that might interfere with your health. Since the AK assessment reflects the instantaneous state of the body and mind, any deviation from a healthy diet or a repairing sleep or even a mild frustration might appear as the next priority for your practitioner to take care of.
Because they proceed from the same philosophical paradigm, chiropractic and AK both ensure a health-centered and holistic care. However, chiropractic and AK do not necessarily involve the same degree of self-commitment. Whereas chiropractic care is a rather structural care delivered to patients that present with mild physical discomfort, AK care is a deeper approach that mostly reveals the cause of long-standing symptoms, even pathology. In short, the care you choose depends upon the perception of your own health status, but also the time, energy and efforts you are willing to invest in it.