What Is Muscle Testing? | Orthopaedics

Overview of muscle testing

Muscle testing is also known as applied kinesiology (AK) or manual muscle testing (MMT). It is an alternative medicine practice that claims to effectively diagnose structural, muscular, chemical, and mental ailments.

The basic idea behind AK is similar to Sir Isaac Newton’s Law of Motion, which states that “every action in nature has an equal and opposite reaction.”

It takes this concept and applies it to the human body. This means that any internal problems you face are associated with muscle weakness.

By following this thought process, you will be able to do a muscle test to confirm any underlying medical conditions. Muscle testing performed in applied kinesiology is different from standard orthopedic muscle testing.

Here’s an example: You have had a muscle test and your muscle mass is considered “weak.” A person doing a muscle test with the standard approach to Medicine may suggest that you exercise more muscle mass in the gym.

Is muscle testing legal?

According to several studies, including the 2001 study on kinesiology muscle testing, some standard orthopaedic or chiropractic muscle tests may be helpful for specific muscle-related weaknesses, while muscle testing is not effective in diagnosing medical conditions (such as organic disease or disease mental).

A brief history of applied kinesiology

Applied kinesiology began with George Goodheart Jr. in 1964 as a system of muscle testing and therapy.

Several years later, in a study conducted by Ray Hyman, a group of chiropractors wanted to demonstrate that they were able to tell the difference between subjects given good sugar (fructose) and bad sugar (glucose).

A drop of sugar water was placed on a test subject’s tongue. They then measured the strength of each test subject’s arms. The chiropractors anticipated being able to identify which subject had been given the bad sugar based on their muscles being weaker. However, multiple failed attempts later, they ended the test.

More recently, these concepts have been debunked and described as “not conforming to the scientific fact” regarding medical conditions and their causes or treatments.

Who practices applied kinesiology?

In a 1998 survey conducted by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE), 43% of chiropractic offices in the United States used applied kinesiology. Although the majority of the practitioners in the survey are chiropractors, the professions also include nutritionists, naturopathic physicians, and massage and physical therapists.

Currently, the Nambudripad Allergy Elimination Technique (NAET) suggests the use of applied kinesiology in the treatment of allergies and other sensitivities.

However, the results of a 2001 study that used muscle testing such as a wasp venom allergy test did not help much in allergy diagnosis other than a randomized evaluation.


For the most part, the medical community has rejected applied kinesiology as a diagnostic tool. Citing a 2013 study “The field of applied kinesiology is not based on published research, and in experimental studies that conform to accepted scientific standards, applied kinesiology is not a useful or reliable diagnostic tool based on decisions of Health.”