Physicians have a whole box of tools of our disposal. Sometimes we use our stethoscopes to listen to a heartbeat, a blood test to search for disease or a physical examination to see symptoms like a skin rash. We rarely use just one tool to diagnose and treat a patient with a complex condition. It wouldn’t make any sense.
When it comes to making an accurate diagnosis, we do everything possible to pinpoint the problem. One powerful tool we use to accomplish this is applied kinesiology, or AK. This diagnostic method often falls in the realm of alternative medicine, although it is practiced by a variety of doctors working across many disciplines. I would like to explain the principles of AK so you and your doctor can decide if it’s right for you.
Understanding Applied Kinesiology
The word “kinesiology” means the study of movement, but AK is a method in which manual muscle-strength testing is used to provide diagnostic clues. A doctor analyses a patient’s posture, gait and range of motion, as well as muscles strength as a means of functional neurologic evaluation. All these observations provide valuable information about the patient’s individual needs.
What exactly can a doctor learn from AK? Since the brain and the nervous system are involved in even the simplest muscle function, a lot of information can be revealed. For example, your doctor may suspect peripheral nerve entrapment, neurologic disorganization, nutritional imbalance, toxic chemical influences, or lymphatic and vascular impairment.
To use AK effectively, the practitioner must coordinate the muscle testing with other diagnostic tools. Symptoms like rapid weight loss or gain may indicate a thyroid condition which is usually evident in through testing blood and hormone levels. In the same manner, AK should be used to suggest or rule out various diagnoses in conjunction with other tests and methods of observation. Used properly, AK is part of a powerful diagnostic tool kit.
Applied Kinesiology and You
When used by experienced practitioners, AK provides insight into physiologic dysfunction. Some chiropractors use AK to assess and treat problems like postural imbalance, gait irregularities and impaired range of motion. AK does not necessarily measure your fitness level, but it does identify areas of weakness, tension and abnormal response. To perform AK, the doctor may apply a force and ask you to resist. For example, you would raise your arm to shoulder height and resist as the doctor tried to push it down.
Physicians who practice AK often look at health as a triad comprised of structural, chemical and mental wellness. Their goal is to treat all three aspects in balance. Most diseases have not only a structural component (joint stiffness in the case of arthritis, for example), but a chemical and mental one. When it comes to your personal health, AK can help pinpoint which side of the triad is most affected by the disease.
To find a practitioner of AK, contact the International College of Applied Kinesiology (ICAK). The practice stretches over a variety of disciplines including chiropractic, dentistry, osteopathy, psychology, acupuncture and naturopathy.
When it comes to developing a diagnosis and treatment plan, it makes sense to gain as much information as possible. In many cases, AK is a way to connect the dots among disparate symptoms. When evaluated in conjunction with medical history, test results and physical exams, AK can help set you on the path to better health.
Photo Credit: Healingdream