Muscle testing is perhaps a lesser-known term for what is professionally referred to as Applied Kinesiology. It’s a noninvasive form of what is considered a healing art or alternative wellness practice, and is said to evaluate structural, chemical, and mental aspects of one’s overall well-being.
While this practice may exist in the realm of what some consider woo-woo, there are numerous cases made that muscle testing can be very effective for certain prognoses. According to the International College of Applied Kinesiology, the use of manual muscle testing is simply “to evaluate body function through the dynamics of the musculoskeletal system.” Various treatments can fall under this broad practice, however. They “may involve specific joint manipulation or mobilization, various myofascial therapies, cranial techniques, meridian and acupuncture skills, clinical nutrition, dietary management, counseling skills, evaluating environmental irritants, and various reflex procedures.”
Now that we got that out of the way, we’ll get back to plain English and say that a part of this practice actually has a bit to do with intuition and listening to the human body. Dr. Simoné Laubscher is a clinical nutritionist, naturopath, and life coach with degrees in science and nutrition and a PhD in toxicology. She has been a working practitioner of the muscle testing method for 15 years and considers it “a great tool on top of my university qualifications in science and naturopathic nutrition.”
Laubscher explains that the key principle of muscle testing is that when a stressor or abnormal nervous system input is sent to a muscle, it can weaken or strengthen it based on the information that your body is processing. Essentially, your body is talking to you. Now, since this is totally painless, noninvasive, and completely safe, it is not at all ill-advised to give this a gander at home using simpler techniques to tune in with your own body.
“As a naturopath, I teach my clients [to] muscle test themselves using the sway method, to see if a food or supplement, etc., is good for them or not,” Laubscher explains. This entails a very simple process, but first you have to set yourself up. “You simply stand straight, look forward, eyes down, and say a true statement like your name and wait until you feel a shift forward as a yes. Then say an untrue statement that your name is some other random name and you will feel your weight shift backwards as a no.”
You can repeat this process with other simple questions to gain your footing and see if you are swaying and responding correctly. Once you’ve established this discourse with your body and sense a definite yes and no, you are ready to begin self-testing. “You can then hold a food or supplement and ask, ‘Is this good for me?’ Your nervous system will then respond [accordingly] if this item strengthens or weakens you.”
While this at-home testing is less involved than visiting a professional, it’s a great place to start and to create an intuitive dialogue with your body and really tune in to your needs. One thing Dr. Laubscher made sure to emphasize, however, is that “you need to stay impartial to the result and trust whatever answer [you receive].” So as much as you want to lean into that big hunk of ice cream cake at 11 p.m., try to trust the flow.