Kinesiology means 'the study of movement'. It also describes a form of complementary or alternative therapy that uses muscle monitoring (biofeedback) to look at what may be causing 'imbalances' in the body. Kinesiologists may work with health and wellbeing issues including stress, muscular disorders, nervous disorders, nutritional issues, emotional problems and learning and behavioural difficulties. Kinesiology focuses on ‘unresolved stress reactions’ and uses techniques intended to assist the body’s natural healing process.
Kinesiology means ‘the study of movement’. The term is also used by complementary and alternative medicine practitioners to describe a form of therapy that uses muscle monitoring (biofeedback) to look at what may be causing ‘imbalances’ in the body and attempts to relieve these imbalances.
The kinesiology approach examines ‘unresolved stress reactions’ in a person and provides techniques intended to assist the body’s natural healing process.
How kinesiology developed
Kinesiology stems from chiropractics and applied kinesiology. It is also based on the ancient Chinese acupuncture theory of chi energy. Unlike applied kinesiology, where muscles are tested for strength, the more recently developed forms of kinesiology use muscle monitoring as a form of biofeedback to the subject.
How kinesiology works
The human nervous system is designed to self-regulate and adapt to change. When we cannot adapt efficiently, the muscles will reflect the stress in the central nervous system. This stress creates specific muscle patterns that kinesiologists can assess using muscle monitoring techniques.
The easiest way to understand this process is to think of the signals between the brain and the body as feedback loops. As the brain adapts to the changes in the muscle systems, the muscles send signals to alert the brain that the changes have taken place.
Muscle monitoring may indicate a wide variety of possible causes of imbalances in a person’s overall wellbeing.
Kinesiologists work with a wide range of health issues
Kinesiology therapy aims to stimulate the body’s energy so that untapped potential can be released. Kinesiology uses a multilevel approach to treatment. Practitioners look for the subtle but numerous imbalances that may lie behind physical, mental and emotional problems. Kinesiologists may be able to help treat a wide range of health problems, including:
- Muscular disorders
- Nervous disorders
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Emotional problems
- Learning and behavioural difficulties.
A kinesiology practitioner begins by recording the person’s relevant history (in confidence). The session itself commences with the person remaining fully clothed and lying comfortably face-up on a massage table. Each session can include several tests or challenges performed at various times depending on the nature of the person’s problem.
- Physical challenge – the practitioner tests neuromuscular integrity (biofeedback) by asking the person to position an arm or leg in a certain way, and then to hold that position while the practitioner exerts gentle pressure against the limb.
- Mental challenge – the patient thinks about certain things or focuses on their feelings while the practitioner performs a specific muscle test. The test may indicate an energy imbalance or stress that needs attention.
Techniques used in kinesiology
Some of the techniques available include:
- Emotional release
- Lymphatic massage
- Hypertonic muscle release
- Attention to reflex, trigger and body points
- Remedies, such as flower essences and homoeopathics
- Nutritional advice.
Medical evidence in support of kinesiology is limited
Many nervous system diseases can affect muscle strength. Kinesiology is based on an energy model of health (not a medical one), and little scientific research has tested the underlying philosophy and claims of benefit. People who have undergone professional kinesiology sessions, however, have testified that stress is relieved by kinesiology and they feel their quality of health is improved.
Finding a kinesiology practitioner
- Contact the Australian Kinesiology Association for a registered practitioner in your locality.
- Ask your health practitioner for a referral.
- Ask your friends for recommendations.
Where to get help
- Your doctor
- Australian Kinesiology Association Tel. 1300 780 381 or (03) 9898 7406
Things to remember
- Kinesiology is a form of therapy that uses muscle monitoring (biofeedback) to look at imbalances that may be causing disease in the body.
- Kinesiology aims to detect and correct imbalances that may relate to stress, nutrition or minor injuries.
- Kinesiology is not used to diagnose disorders.
You might also be interested in:
- Alexander technique.
- Asthma and complementary therapies.
- Bowen therapy.
- Chinese herbal medicine.
- Herbal medicine.
Want to know more?
Go to More information for support groups, related links and references.
This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by:
(Logo links to further information)
Australian Kinesiology Association
Last reviewed: October 2012
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