DKITYTI: Applied kinesiology and allergy testing

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Canapes in UK

I wrote this post a few months ago in Ubud but never got round to publishing it. It, and its conclusion next week, will be the last of the “Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it” series, at least for the time being.

My trip to the applied kinesiologist inspired a rage inside that surprised me. I felt furious, and I couldn’t say for sure why. Was it because he gave me a diagnosis I didn’t want to hear? Or was it because I was mad at him for giving me a prescription based on something so seemingly ludicrous?

If I knew for sure that applied kinesiology (AK) was a quack job then the latter would be easy to go with, but I don’t know that so I’m left with a lingering “what if?”. What if there is something to what he said?

Applied kinesiology and allergy testing

What is applied kinesiology?

Applied kinesiology (different to simple kinesiology, which studies human movement) is based on the idea that every organ dysfunction is related to a weakness in its corresponding muscle. AK practitioners use this basis to diagnose and treat illness. As with nearly everything I’ve tried so far, some people swear by it, and others think it absurd. According to some studies, its accuracy is no better than guesswork and different practitioners often report different diagnoses.

I chose a kinesiologist who had a background as a chiropractor, which meant a certain level of medical knowledge in the western tradition. He came with high praise and although my research had done little to inspire hope, I was curious enough to try.

Latte art with dog face
Milk is out, even if it comes painted with a dog’s face

When I arrived, he asked for my medical history and what I wanted to work on. My main health issues are that I tend to pick up colds easy, my stomach is really sensitive and I get tired more easily than seems reasonable. He immediately said it was likely I had had food allergies and that he could test me for them that day. Great, I thought. I’ve always wondered if I’m intolerant/allergic to something, so to know for sure would be golden information. The problem lay in knowing “for sure”.

When the therapist got round to testing my systems, he was surprised by my muscle responses. He had expected a weak digestive system, but the only things that tested weak were my adrenals. I saw this as good news, but he said that because of my symptoms, it was possible that my adrenals were simply in overdrive, overriding the responses from my other systems. His theory was that this could be due to some severe food allergies that had been stressing my system for years. He predicted that if I eliminated the foods that were causing the allergies, the adrenals would relax and other symptoms like stomach cramps may kick in for a time before dissipating completely.

Anger rising

It was around about then that my anger and annoyance started to rise.  What he was telling me sounded pretty serious, speaking of extreme stress on my physiology. It made me sound much sicker than I thought I was. He also said he’d never seen a case like mine before, so I knew all of this was conjecture. I could see the story forming in his head and, while based on experience, it also seemed like a dangerous tale to tell. If I was a hypochondriac, or simply more gullible, it would be the perfect hook to attach to. Plus all of this had been garnered from simply pushing against my limbs in various ways while I tried to resist.

Pizza definitely out.
Pizza’s definitely out

Even without hypochondria, the story still affected me. Despite finding the methods hard to fathom, I couldn’t completely rule out the chance he may be right. I’ve had suspected IBS for years. My doctors at home put it down to stress and possible food intolerances. I’ve ruled out more serious conditions and been tested negative for coeliac disease, but I’ve never definitively worked out what causes my symptoms.

When it came to the allergy testing, the method seemed even more flimsy. I held up my arm while the therapist silently read down a list of foods while testing the resistance of my arm to each one. I’d read about allergy testing by AK and had expected to hold each allergen as I was tested, but he deemed that unnecessary. It was over in less than five minutes. Had I been resisting enough? Was my arm getting more tired as the process went on? My mind was alive with possible errors, and those doubts got louder when I heard the results. I even made him test me again.

And the results…

According to the therapist, I am intolerant to gluten, dairy and jack fruit. To make it worse, gluten, in his book but seemingly not the rest of the world’s, also includes brown and white rice. Items such as coffee, eggs and almonds, which I have reacted to in the past showed up negative. I was free to eat them as much as I liked.  I had annoyingly mentioned my allergy to jackfruit before the testing so was unable to use it as a test (he tested me positive for it).

...and sandwiches
…and sandwiches

The idea that I was intolerant to gluten was surprising as I knew I wasn’t coeliac. He said that one didn’t equal the other, and when I thought about my suspected intolerance to eggs, I realized it may have been the toast or butter I was reacting to. His ideas weren’t easily written off. The only way to know for sure is to experiment.

As I’m already two-weeks into a six-week Ayurvedic diet, this isn’t a huge hardship. It just means adding rice and oats to my current list of restrictions. I’m happy to do it as once done, I can slowly re-introduce the foods and hopefully know once and for all my reactions.

Really?

However, even if I do turn out to be intolerant to gluten and dairy, I’m reluctant to believe that the muscle testing revealed it. They are two of the most common food allergies so it could have been a lucky guess / his own pre-conceptions influencing his reading. I know for sure he wasn’t 100 per cent accurate as he missed almonds, which I react to in the same way as jack fruit

But I am allowed to eat millet
But I am allowed to eat millet

The basic premise of applied kinesiology is something I struggle to remain open-minded about. I don’t know enough about physiology to cast aspersions on the basic theory, but even if the relationship between muscles and organs is valid, I am unsure that testing their strength yields reliable results. Moreover, I am skeptical of the accuracy of therapists’ diagnoses and their ability to separate their own expectations/influence from their reading. There may be something in it, but I’ve, as yet, no reason to believe it, and plenty to question it.

Next week, I’m going to see a naturopath who also uses AK to diagnose allergies. I’ll let you know how it goes.

How about you? Have you tried applied kinesiology? What did you think? Good/bad results? I’d love to know.

This is part of the Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it series. While in Ubud, I tried more than 20 different therapies – mental. physical and spiritual – from acupuncture to holographic kinetics and sound healing. Next week, I’ll publish an up-to-date summary of the series, where I’m at now, and what I plan to do with the rest of the stories.

 

The naturopath

As I’m not going to be writing up all my experiences on the blog straight away, I’ll let you know that when the naturopath used AK to test my allergies, I showed up allergic to even more things, including red wine (not white wine), white sugar, coffee and eggs, as well as dairy and gluten. She, however, said rice was okay. I tested fine for jack fruit but allergic to almonds. As you can see, the results were not consistent.

28 thoughts on “DKITYTI: Applied kinesiology and allergy testing”

  1. Just the fact that studies show that “its accuracy is no better than guesswork and different practitioners often report different diagnoses” makes it impossible for me to take this seriously. And how does he expect to be taken as a professional when he make obvious mistakes like including rice as containing gluten, which it most certainly does not? I understand you anger, I think; I probably would’ve reacted similarly.

    • The thing that makes me most angry is how things like this play upon people’s vulnerabilities. It’s one of the things I noticed most during my time in Ubud.

      Another thing that really interests me is how the practitioners appear to sincerely believe in their methods. It would be easier to understand if they were willful charlatans, but I don’t think they are. I actually think this faith works in a similar way to the placebo effect hence why the methods occasionally work for some people. All very mind-boggling!

    • Rice does actually contain gluten, it’s just in micro amounts that standards don’t consider as negatively impact to human beings

  2. Wow, those symptoms sounds just like me! I’ve always grown up having allergy testing in the US, but I’ve never heard of this applied kinesiology before.

    I’m interested in seeing how it works out for you. Since moving to Hong Kong, I’ve felt those symptoms even stronger and have been getting really sick of always being sick!

    Maybe I should give this a try.

    • I’m afraid I wouldn’t recommend applied kinesiology. I don’t appear to be allergic/intolerant to wheat nor dairy. My experiment didn’t show the method to be accurate. To be honest, in my own experience, I think my symptoms are mostly related to my state of mind, and in particular stress. More on that in next week’s post.

    • I took my son for an AK evaluation yesterday. It supposedly turned up a dairy sensitivity after he put a blue-colored transparency over his eyes and then did the muscle-testing. My son LOVES dairy so this would be a major change to make on the basis of one test that I think can be affected by predispositions, subconscious thoughts, muscle fatigue etc. While I don’t think it’s a scam or fraud, I do think there’s some validity to it, but I’m not sure it should be used as the sole diagnostic test, but rather as a tool that provides information for further evaluation. I don’t discount the diagnosis, as it would make sense for my son to have a sensitivity to dairy based on symptoms he has had his whole life. From what I’ve read, this kind of sensitivity is best diagnosed by diet elimination an re-introduction, and assessing the presence or absence of symptoms, so I will likely do that and see what happens.

  3. I totally empathize! There are just SO many alternative methods out there and far too many variables to ever be able to feel sure. Unless you are fortunate enough to meet an incredible practitioner. I have read a lot about kinesiology and I personally believe it absolutely can work and in unbelievable ways…but it’s pretty much all down to the practitioner. And when you talk about their own expectations and beliefs influencing results I completely agree. It’s a bloody minefield out there. In the end you just have to go with your guts (ho ho!) and try out the things that actually make sense…not picking up on your nut allergy really worries me! It does get exhausting with so much conflicting information out there and everybody believing they are right…

  4. This post is so shocking, I was actually stunned speechless. I don’t know how you didn’t just wallop that guy (preferably in the dangly bits) and storm out of his emporium of quackery! Definitely something in need of a few hard knocks…

    Honestly, I’m still sputtering over how he tested you for allergies simply by saying the names of foods and seeing how your arm responded. I’m surprised he didn’t claim he could cure you with leeches or some other arcane ritual!

  5. Go see an endocrinologist and get properly tested. Chiropractors are quacks and should be avoided at all cos It is amazing that that they are lowed to practice at all. It is very easy to guess that someone might have an issue with wheat, eggs, dairy, etc cetera. Only one out of every 100 people have celiac disease, if you ask a chiropractor 99 out of 100.

    • Just a few points to clarify :
      (a) if you don’t believe the results of an Applied Kinesiologist, then it is actuallya Gasto-enterologist that needs to be seen; not an endocrinologist (the latter of whom is a specialist in Hormonal problems, whereas the former specializes in gut problems). As Coeliac is considered an Auto-immune condition, then it may well
      also require the services of a Rheumatologist, who would do blood tests looking for markers for Coeliac
      including (i) Total immunoglobulin A (IgA), and (ii) IgA Tissue transglutaminase antibody (shortened to tTG)
      These are markers for antibodies that the body makes in response to eating gluten.

      As for Coeliac only being relevant to Coeliac; I am afraid that is also not true, as there is a condition called ‘Non Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity’ which affects at least 6 times more people than Coeliacs.

  6. It’s crazy how our body interacts with one another and how it affects our emotion. I guess it’s really true that we must listen to our body so; we’d know what we are really feeling. Allergy Easy

  7. I have been using AK for 4 months and have found that it has benefited me greatly, but I agree with Sophia that it all depends upon the practitioner you work with. And I do wonder how much the body fluctuates from day to day. When I was researching AK I was warned by another trusted professional that I would only be getting feedback at that particular time of that particular day and that I may end up with a lot of supplements that I only needed for a short time. Now I will admit that I come from some bad experiences with traditional medicine and recognize that our bodies are much more unique than we will ever truly know. So…I went into AK with the attitude that this was a last ditch effort before going to my normal MD. (I had seen results with a couple close friends concerning depression and Leukemia.) My practitioner tested me with each food vial by the way and I could very obviously tell the difference in my arm strength. No mind suggestion problems…because I would have loved tomatoes until I died and been happy. However, I have been battling swollen ankles to what I thought was due to bad circulation from a disease I have. I was told to ditch tomatoes because they were causing the majority of the problem. (I was eating them at least 2x a day on average.) And let me tell you that she was right on with that info. I haven’t had a problem since unless I eat tomatoes. The other major change was my back pain. I ruptured a disc in my low back and refused the band-aid method and was maintaining spacing through chiropractic. (I had a baby with no back pain due to bi-monthly visits!) But 4 years later I am not able to maintain my back as much due to lack of funds. I have been putting up with measuring my movements and turning my feet instead of my body and not bending or twisting much. Still had tight muscles and a slight backache 50% of the time. My practitioner told me her personal story and said that she was pretty sure that my back issue was due to my pancreas being so out of balance. I have been a Type 1 diabetic for 35+ years. She gave me 3 supplements for my pancreas. Within 4 days I was able to actually run short stints and race or chase my daughter! This summer I have been gardening, pulling weeds and mowing my lawn and loving it. So I heavily believe that it depends on the practitioner and say the same thing my friends told me, “Don’t knock it until you have tried it!” But be picky about who you go to. Another friend of mine wrote about her family’s journey through Autism in the book “Becoming Real: Our Family’s Journey Through Autism” by Carolyn Johnson, which recently was published and getting well deserved great reviews. Through this process she became a BodyTalk practitioner and is now helping others the way she was helped. Check out wellrootedwellness.com and healthyoutwest.com. AK addressed a thyroid problem my MD didn’t detect and a pituitary issue as well. I now am able to sleep well through a night instead of only getting 2-3 hours. And man do I have more energy! Blessings….

    • thank you – I too thought that this and chiropractic treatments were not going to work (described as bogus by my medical family) and have been given my life back! After two years of no results from specialists and traditional medicines (including steroids!) – I have no pain and full range of movement and have also eliminated some things from my diet that were causing issues

    • Great to hear that actual Applied Kinesiology worked for you both. Ultimately like all therapies, the results are as good as the expertise of the practitioner; so clearly you have both had good practitioners!

      As for the earlier contributer talking about the Kinesiologist going through a list of foods, rather than testing actual foods, then this tells me that that Kinesiologist was not an ‘Applied Kinesiologist’, but one of the other 80+ varieties that currently exist.

  8. I am in kind of a toss up with this… I went to the chiro for my pregnancy hoping to help get baby positioned for labour and ended up with the allergy testing. I had never mentioned my pork sensitivity (even tested positive on the SPT) yet when he did the testing it popped up as well as apples and a few other fresh fruits (I have OAS and react to almost all fresh fruits).

    Fast forward 3 years and my 7 week old exclusively breastfed daughter is throwing up, mucous bm’s, screaming 8+ hours a day, gassy and has a rash. After our doctor ruled out pyloric stenosis we took her to the chiropractor and he came back with dairy/soy/wheat/corn/egg yolk and a few other sensitivities. I cut them out and within days the screaming went from 8+ hours a day to 2 ish, after 8 weeks no more mucous and no rash, normal spit up and a happier baby. There have been a few instances where I messed up – one of which I substituted couscous for quinoa in a meal- that night she got one hour of sleep and was throwing up all night. The same happened when I had a coffee syrup that had milk ingredients in it or when I tried goats milk. For my daughter I do believe she does have those sensitivities but my mind has a hard time wrapping around how the testing actually identified them. Maybe just guesswork based on her symptoms? I don’t know

  9. And Yet this Scientific Research gives a Thumbs up in its Results Comparing RAST etc. to Applied Kinesiology.
    AbstractSend to:
    Int J Neurosci. 1998 Dec;96(3-4):237-44.
    Correlation of applied kinesiology muscle testing findings with serum immunoglobulin levels for food allergies.
    Schmitt WH Jr1, Leisman G.
    Author information
    Abstract
    The pilot study attempted to determine whether subjective muscle testing employed by Applied Kinesiology practitioners, prospectively determine those individuals with specific hyperallergenic responses. Seventeen subjects were found positive on Applied Kinesiology (A.K.) muscle testing screening procedures indicating food hypersensitivity (allergy) reactions. Each subject showed muscle weakening (inhibition) reactions to oral provocative testing of one or two foods for a total of 21 positive food reactions. Tests for a hypersensitivity reaction of the serum were performed using both a radio-allergosorbent test (RAST) and immune complex test for IgE and IgG against all 21 of the foods that tested positive with A.K. muscle screening procedures. These serum tests confirmed 19 of the 21 food allergies (90.5%) suspected based on the applied kinesiology screening procedures. This pilot study offers a basis to examine further a means by which to predict the clinical utility of a given substance for a given patient, based on the patterns of neuromuscular response elicited from the patient, representing a conceptual expansion of the standard neurological examination process.
    PMID: 10069623 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

  10. Hi I tried this testing and treatments a couple of years ago and I am just furious about it. I’m not sure what this doctor did to me, but I’m far worse. I can barely eat anything without having a reaction. It’s a strange reaction, not typical allergy symptoms that I’m accustomed to getting. His treatments were very expensive… not sure where to go from here.

  11. I might have a biased point of view – my mother in law practices kinesiology and also does allergy testing (added link in the website field). I was to start with ‘open minded’ about holistic approach, over the years I have seen her work and the results (including work done on me) have convinced me that at least this should be tried. People with allergies for years have been cleared up; and doctors were not able to fix them. As you said – don’t knock it till you’ve tried it 🙂

  12. I am an Applied Kinesiologist and afterreading your post, I would suggesting visiting anotehr AK for a second opinion. A decision on what your issues and response would be appear to be have been made before testing/balancing you. We also never TREAT anything.

    When a food sensitivity is shown, it is for that period of time and possible a further few months. It is suggested that testing is done regularly because as our body responses change to things so do our sensitivities, stress reactions etc. Hope that makes sense. Nothing is ever forever. Even when visiting with a medical practitioner, it is advised to revisit/retest every few months because being on a medication may help for a certain amount of time but is not always needed long term (as our bodies change).

    Applied Kinesiologists can also reduce and at times, eliminate the immune mismatch response (we can’t say certain medical terms as we are not doctors). I’m unsure why he didn’t work with you on this.

  13. I have been tested quite a lot, The plus of what was found was my intolerance to wheat (not Durham wheat) and it showed up I had leaky gut so I was tested on products to heal the lining and it has nkw improved greatly and I’ve since managed to loose weight, my gp didn’t tell me any of this
    I’ve stayed gluten free mostly as it’s hard on the system anyway and of course it eliminates wheat
    So his side of things great for me, I was told to take out the nightshade family also

    I have also had bioresenance tests which gave me more knowledge of what my body is at this time struggling with, yeast still up there, bananas, potatoes not sweet potatoe, and other things, it’s an expensive test on German equipment and measures energy pathways , quite interesting stuff
    What came from this tests is that it is the ensymes that I’m not tolerating. My son was tested and he has various fruit allergies and others, although he said he couldn’t eat some fruits and nuts it showed up clearly that it is the ensyme- He is fine when they are cooked and this is because the ensymes dies at temperature. I’m the same with tomato
    Interesting and quite in depth

  14. Hi, because I have seen various dieticians and have been diagnosed with IBS and asked to eat foods low in fibre and also looked at the Low Fodmap diet (which is specific to IBS) I decided to seek out a more individual approach so looked at Food intolerance testing. Like yourself the testing was done using Kinesiology. I was asked to fill in forms saying what foods I ate daily and regularly. I was asked about my health. I told the practitioner I had been diagnosed with scalp Psoriasis and Ibs. She also asked about menopause symptoms and when I had finished my period. She tested me by putting vials on my stomach and pulling my arm to identify if my muscles were weak/strong to different vials. She told me afterwards I was allergic to wheat, barley, oats (slight), cheese,cream, garlic (slight) MSG, lager, legumes,tomato, various E numbers, nickel (which I actually told her about). In my opinion a lot of these foods are known allergens! I also opted for a combined health plan as it was cheaper than paying for these separate. The health plan is recommending almost organic everything, organic decaf tea and coffee. She was also very passionate about using coconut oil, butter, ghee and goose fat to cook with rather than other oils. The problem I have with that is I’ve heard recently coconut oil turn to lard when you consume it. I also felt when she was carrying out the process of pulling at my arm whilst muscle testing she may have pulled harder when it was easier to lift my arm as she told me not too resist too much when I was to pull my arm away. I wasn’t at all convinced by her methods but am going to eliminate foods she felt that I had an intolerance to for the times stated. To be honest I could have look at the obvious foods for allergens and eliminated them myself without paying £100 for food intolerance and combined nutrition advice. The only reason I was fine with paying this out is because I’ve got a Health plan through my work and was able to claim the money back. She also knew her stuff regarding food and nutrition and had the recommended qualifications that my Health plans asks for. I felt with her knowledge on health and nutrition along with the questions I answered gave her the clues to which foods I COULD be intolerant to but wouldn’t recommend Kinesiology at all.

  15. Well just like in ANY practice- you definitely want to see someone based on high recommendation. My 2 year old was at our local emergency room twice only to be told her horrible stomach pains were most likely normal growing pains . Y? Because there rests didn’t reveal anything they could prescribe a pill for . Period . They were no help and as any parent can imagine – this was just not acceptable answers for ya as she was literally in terrible pain . It was sad and frustrating! Her pediatrician recommended a GI dr who wanted to scope down her throat !?!? I couldn’t be more thankful that a friend told me about her chiro that does applies kiniesology. Immediately she said her small intestines was in duress and she tested for wheat which showed that was the culprit. —- now how did 2 er drs along with her normal pediatrician NEVER even mention it could be food in some way ?!?! Y? Because I’ve come to learn and fully believe IF they can’t give you a pill a.k.a. a drug for your problem they are not into testing/helping and truly seem ignorant about the EPIDEMIC of good issues people everywhere are suffering from. In any case 3days after elimination of wheat (which is hard, I’m not gonna lie, it’s a job) but her terrible belly pain was GONE!! And within weeks aided with probiotics and 2 homeopathic drops her belly was 109% healed and I cannot stop her from eating ! Her mood and behavior and sleep has improved immensely and as I said before I truly am so thank ful to have had actual help for my baby ! —— the bottom line- I just had to write here in hopes of helping someone else . When your dr or anyone looks at you side eyed because you are experiencing something they cannot help you with – I beg you – seek out a chiropractor, homeopathic, nutritionist… any of these types of medical help will listen to you and actually help you !!! Toxins, vaccines, prescribed drugs, our food – honestly is harmful to us st this point and so many people suffer looking in the wrong advice places . God bless , I truly hope this helps !!!

  16. Hey there, i speak to you from experience as a chiropractor and certified applied kinesiologist.

    That method you spoke about ie reading off a chart while muscle testing isn’t applied kinesiology, and what could have potentially happened in this case, was the testing procedure elicited a limbic response, and switched off your neurology accordingly, rather than producing an accurate diagnosis. I have done the certification series twice, and assure you, this is not a recognised technique within AK.

    What often happens in chiropractic, and any profession for that matter, is that we borrow different skillsets from various other professions, such as a builder observing a plasterer and learning a few tricks for example, then a non-informed member of the public will often conclude plastering is a part of building as it was performed by a builder after all.

    There are approximately 200-300 different techniques within chiropractic, most chiropractors will use various parts of about 5-10 different techniques as taught in college. It’s less common you’ll find a practitioner that will only exclusively use one technique.
    As in your experience, your AK chiro was borrowing techniques from other professions.

    If your report is accurate and complete, there would be a fair few practitioners of this art form that would be quite disappointed to read your blog and have this practitioner represent the body of knowledge that is AK.

  17. I know this is super old.. but it was extremely accurate for me.. After eternal tests and waiting for results.. i was healthy… but my 30 yr old body would cramp and look pregnant every day… from tiny to huge.. tummy will twist up. I ate healthy and exercised. But was in tears w pain…
    Then IBS like… after all the cramping i end up in restroom

    Pale weak and exhausted i searched for an answer and nobody to help..

    I turned to a homeopathic chiro as last result.. and he in 15 mns told me what was happening. My allergies to dairy had inflammed my intestines to the point that my body couldn’t absorb nutrients. My sensitivities to gluten corn and white potatoes would trigger a sinus headache from inflammation.
    1 week after removing these triggers.. i felt much better… the longer without it the quicker i would learn what other foods contained the triggers…
    My hives eased up.. and I was able to stop taking clariting day in day out..
    I ended up w emergency surgery a yr later since my intestines inflammation started to cause volvulus (knotted) and the overstretched tissue had to get removed after 3rd incident. Still western medicine found no allergic reactions…
    But if something has a trace of milk my throat chokes up. I am extremely lucky to have gotten answers.. it would have been worse as Megacolon can be fatal (surgery diagnosis)
    Still drs could not explain why it happened to me…
    So why dump the idea…?

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