None of Us Likes to be Deceived
Part 1 of the series,
"Christians Beware of Muscle Testing"
None of us likes to be deceived. As much as I hate to say it, I'm ashamed to admit that I unknowingly fell prey to one particular case of deception--muscle testing (otherwise known as Applied Kinesiology). I was introduced to muscle testing during a time when I desperately needed answers and relief from unending health problems. To someone living with constant pain and no hope, the claims of Applied Kinesiology to be effective in diagnosing illness and choosing treatments simply by testing muscles for strength and weakness proved alluring. Little did I realize the far-reaching consequences of becoming involved with practices that I understood so little. Like I once did, so many people today find themselves in desperate physical circumstances when traditional medicine fails to help, and they turn to alternative medicine for answers and relief. Many chiropractors and alternative medicine practitioners offer explanations for how muscle testing works that sound harmless, but their explanations leave out critical pieces of information that would otherwise raise red flags for someone with a Christian view of the world. After several years of extensive involvement in alternative medical practices utilizing muscle testing, both personally and as a practitioner, I began to fervently seek the Lord regarding those practices. In this blog series, I intend to share the knowledge and conclusions I came to regarding this ever-expanding realm of alternative medicine based on Applied Kinesiology.
How I became involved with muscle testing
At the time of my introduction to muscle testing I knew very little about it. For nineteen years my health had spiraled ever downward--from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Epstein Barr to parasites and heavy metal poisoning (most likely the souvenirs of Indian and Polish missions trips), from a multitude of female conditions to significant adrenal and thyroid problems, from Fibromyalgia to severe anemia, and from allergies to herniated discs. The list of symptoms and diagnoses seemed endless. As the years progressed, I would at times be unable to eat or drink anything as my body seemed to be simply shutting down. This would land me in the hospital. For well-over a decade I lived with literally, constant pain. The chronic fatigue, although difficult to manage during the day at least enabled me to sleep at night in spite of the fact that I frequently woke myself up crying from pain that never ceased. Doctors offered little help and no hope. Despite my Christian faith, despair consumed my private thoughts.
After exhausting traditional medicine's meager or undesirable treatments, I stumbled upon the book, Say Goodbye to Illness by Devi Nambudripad on display at the library. This book detailed a branch of alternative medicine and would open a new chapter in my life, which would prove costly in its writing. The author speaks of muscle testing as a means of determining allergies and then proposes a treatment for those allergies that is quick and painless. The treatment, called NAET, purports to eliminate the faulty messages in the brain that rally the body to fight otherwise harmless substances called allergens. The author provided reasonable sounding explanations to a number of my physical conundrums, which traditional medicine had failed to address. Although it sounded too good to be true and a bit "out there," desperation drew me to it like a moth to a flame. After devouring the book, I quickly found a NAET practitioner in my area and scheduled an appointment.
Muscle testing explained
Because it is tedious to explain every variation on muscle testing, I will give a general description of how it is performed based on the variety with which I became involved (and quite "gifted" at). Practitioners who utilize muscle testing to "diagnose" allergies teach that when the body comes in contact with an allergen, the muscles weaken. Performing the muscle test is quite simple. The individual being tested holds a tiny amount of a suspected allergen in one hand, while extending their other arm to their side at a right angle. The practitioner then places one hand on the individual's shoulder and uses the other hand to lightly press down on the extended arm. In theory, if allergic to the substance, the individual's arm muscle weakens, and the arm can easily be pressed down. If not allergic, the arm remains strong. It is also possible to self-test using other techniques, but many can't do it. Oddly enough, many also can't seem to test others (the tested person's arm NEVER weakens). This calls into question the physiological explanation for the arm going down, which if true, should be constant regardless of who tests the muscle strength. After all, either the muscle weakens in the presence of an allergen or it doesn't. Furthermore, the supposed allergens being tested are often not even what is actually being held by the one being tested. Instead, they hold a vial with a liquid in it that has supposedly been electrically charged with the energetic or electrical charge of that substance.
Many practitioners also claim to test the appropriate dosages of nutrients or the effectiveness of a particular substance for an individual. Again, the procedures vary, but, for example, the practitioner might first ask the "body" the question, "Would vitamin C be good for you to take?" and then muscle test. If the arm weakens, the question is then asked, "How many vitamin C tablets should you take?" He would then count out loud while pressing the patient's arm down. At whatever point the arm weakens, that is the number of pills the "body" knows should be consumed. A double-blind study was conducted by the ALTA Foundation for Sports Medicine Research in 1988 and, not surprisingly, concluded this approach was "no more useful than random guessing." A further method of muscle testing that is practiced by especially "gifted" practitioners is done remotely via phone. In other words, there is no physical contact with the individual! I will discuss the tremendous significance of this practice in another post in this series, but for now it is worth mentioning that testing muscles without exerting strain on those muscles or even touching the individual flies in the face of any possible scientific explanation.
The religious origins of muscle testing
Although practitioners prefer not to discuss the origins and basis for Applied Kinesiology, someone who wishes to make an informed decision about muscle testing would be wise to begin their research there. Applied Kinesiology came from Kinesiology, which, simply put, is the study of body movement. "Body movement" sounds rather scientific and medical, like, say--physical therapy. However this study of how the body moves is based on a belief in "an inner power, an innate intelligence, which is said to be connected to the universal intelligence (God) through our nervous systems." Contrary to what proponents of Kinesiology would have you believe, this is not science, but rather pantheism. (The word pantheism itself reveals its meaning. It comes from the Greek roots pan (all) and theos (God), and so, very simply put; it is a belief that everything in the universe is a manifestation of God.) Because of this foundational religious belief, practitioners often talk to the body of the person they are treating as though it is its own separate entity.
The religious underpinnings of Kinesiology were later expanded upon by the founder of Applied Kinesiology, a chiropractor by the name of Dr. George Goodheart. He created this new branch of Kinesiology in 1964 by combining elements of psychic philosophy, Chinese Taoism, and ancient Eastern practices such as meridians and ch’i, with chiropractic theory. Goodheart utilized this cocktail of religious elements to construct a practical application to Kinesiology. Since then, the practice of muscle testing has been expanded upon in numerous branches of chiropractic care and by alternative practitioners for everything from allergy testing and treatment, to general diagnoses and treatment, mental health, nutritional counseling, emotional healing, and even veterinary care. The less religious sounding rhetoric that is used by most practitioners to explain Applied Kinesiology is that the body knows what is wrong and how to fix itself and will reveal that special knowledge through muscle testing. Some vary that explanation by stating that the depths of the unexplained subconscious hold the answers every person needs to be whole and can be discovered through muscle testing.
In addition to his involvement in Applied Kinesiology, George Goodheart openly claimed involvement in the occult. He claimed that at least part of the content of his detailed "charts showing the relationship between certain organs and zones of the body as well as to specific nutrients and herbs came from psychic powers." Although much more could be said about the anti-Christian, spiritual teachings that undergird this practice of muscle testing, from my experience these overtly spiritual views have been repackaged by most who are involved in Applied Kinesiology. By using palatable words like "energy" and "subconscious" proponents of Applied Kinesiology avoid arousing the suspicions of Christians. For example, Dr. Joseph Mercola, a best-selling author, osteopath, proponent of alternative medicine, and professing Christian, admits that he doesn't know how it works but nonetheless manages to offer an impressive, pseudo-scientific sounding explanation.
"I really don't understand how this works, but I can offer some suggestions as to speculated mechanisms. The technique's effectiveness seems to be related to using energy reflex points, somewhat similar to acupressure, at specific body sites to neutralize the energy imbalance in the body. There also seems to be a profound normalization that rebalances the autonomic nervous system."
NAET utilizes muscle testing in order to determine allergies to everything imaginable, including the individual components of everything. It teaches that not only can you be allergic to milk, for example, but to the calcium in milk. The theory goes that if you are allergic to calcium, then your body can't properly absorb that vital mineral, and calcium deficiency symptoms would ensue. Therefore, theoretically, allergies are the source of most every health malady. Once the allergy is determined, however, a simple treatment affecting the spine and key meridian pressure points can be performed in a matter of minutes that will eliminate the allergy. After the treatment, the individual is again muscle tested to determine if the allergy has been "cleared." If it hasn't, the treatment protocol is repeated until the muscle remains strong. If it does remain strong, then the individual is told to completely avoid the treated allergen for 25 hours. Afterwards, the individual is again muscle tested to confirm that the allergy is cleared. After clearing, one is told that they will forever be free of that allergy and no further avoidance is necessary.
The danger here is apparent--as in cases where the allergy may be life-threatening. One documented case of the worst case scenario sadly came to pass and was reported in an Irish newspaper in 2009. Thomas Schatten, a 43-year-old man was treated by a chiropractor according to NAET for his allergy to peanuts. Neither he nor the chiropractor recognized the beginning symptoms of anaphylactic shock that began during the treatment. Ninety minutes after returning home, the man died of anaphylactic shock.  It would appear that muscle testing proved inaccurate in determining that this man's allergy was "cleared."
In my particular case, although the whole thing sounded a bit crazy and the appointment strange, I was desperate. Shockingly, the initial results were dramatic, even miraculous. After a treatment for iodine, my thyroid immediately began functioning normally. I had been on thyroid medication for 2 to 3 years at this point, but had to immediately stop taking it because I suddenly became hyperthyroid with my heart racing terribly. According to conventional medical understanding, once an individual is on thyroid medication, that person can never get off it because the natural function of the thyroid largely ceases as it relies almost solely on the medication. For the first time, even since being on the medication, I had completely healthy thyroid function. I also discovered in the days, months, and years ahead that all of my female related conditions were gone. I suddenly had balanced and healthy hormones, where once a doctor had declared me "a hormone nightmare." (This statement was based on test results by the lab that did my hormone testing. They actually put a special note in the report indicating that they had retested my results because they couldn't believe some of my hormone levels could truly be so low.) You can imagine my shock and joy over what appeared to be such miraculous changes.
Scientific studies on muscle testing
It's important at this point to consider the conclusions that numerous scientific studies have come to about both muscle testing and NAET. I'll first consider muscle testing, as it is the basis or the determining factor for treatment by a number of different alternative medical practices, including NAET. If this foundation on muscle testing is problematic, then all practices built upon it are also problematic. Various studies, through the years, have tried to determine proof of Applied Kinesiology's validity and effectiveness, and yet all conclude that there is nothing more than anecdotal evidence to substantiate it. "There is little or no scientific rationale for these methods. Results are not reproducible when subject to rigorous testing and do not correlate with clinical evidence of allergy." A hallmark criteria for scientific evidence is that something be reproducible and therefore, consistent. In spite of my experience with the treatment for iodine, I would readily concur that the typical results are far from consistent.
A significant point must be made, however. What these scientific studies test for is the effectiveness and accuracy of muscle testing. In other words, can the results of muscle testing be confirmed by other accepted scientific means, and are the results consistent?
The studies ignore one critical fact though--that the individual's muscle does often, unexplainably weaken significantly when muscle tested. Why?
For anyone who has ever experienced a weakening of the arm while being muscle tested, further proof that it works is unnecessary. (Please notice that I am referring, NOT to the accuracy or effectiveness of diagnoses or treatment as a result of that testing but ONLY to the testing experience itself.) As I said before, I became uniquely "gifted" at muscle testing. I could make a muscular man's arm go as weak as a baby's arm with the slightest downward pressure while he held one substance, even though he was easily able to stay strong while holding another. In fact, I can't count the number of times I did this for the first time to an individual where a look of utter shock immediately followed their weakness, along with the statement; "Wait! Do that again!" after which they would visibly strain for all they were worth to keep me from again gently pushing their arm down. My own muscular husband became a "believer" when he, time and time again, experienced the uncontrollable weakness brought about by muscle testing that even his level-headed logic couldn't deny. No one could argue with those results.
Accounting for this muscle weakness is paramount. Either there is a scientific (physical) explanation for it, or it must be the result of spiritual forces.
If the explanation is merely physical and indeed reveals information about the body from the body, then the results should be confirmable by scientific tests and produce treatment protocols that are consistently accurate and beneficial. According to the many scientific studies done on Applied Kinesiology, this is far from the case. Therefore, another explanation for the muscle weakness must exist.
Scientific studies on NAET
Unlike with Applied Kinesiology, the scientific studies on NAET are limited. The NAET organization conducted one in-house study on people who were treated for milk allergies in 2006. This study does appear to follow the typical protocol for a double-blind study, except that no scientific results were published that I could find for any aspect of the study. Instead only a general conclusion is given that NAET effectively reversed the treated patients' allergies. Such a conclusion is certainly called into question without supporting data.
Another study was conducted in 2011, which tested six people who were treated with the NAET protocol for potentially life-threatening peanut allergies. This study was completed without any control groups and with such a small number of participants that it is difficult to garner any meaningful conclusions. Four of the six individuals who participated in the study demonstrated only minor allergic reactions to peanuts immediately after being treated as well as 1-2 weeks later. This apparent improvement from severe reactions to minor is notable. Interestingly, the peanut study did trend in the same direction that I generally experienced while involved with NAET. Myself and others whom I treated by NAET most frequently seemed to benefit for a time, but it rarely lasted. As a result, the constant need for treatments keeps one bound to the practice and can potentially place participants in danger as they continue exposure to allergenic substances.
Ignoring a sense of unease
Not a doubt existed in my mind that muscle testing "worked," but from day one, a nagging uncertainty about how it worked plagued my mind. Like times in my childhood when I had an unexplainable sense of unease before I was even told that a particular activity was wrong, so also was the case with NAET and muscle testing. From the beginning, I knew that it's power was either physical or spiritual, and as a Christian who had benefited from the practice, it was critical to me for it to be physical. I did much praying about the matter because that sense of unease was great. However, due to the significant improvement in my health and God's apparent silence, I initially concluded that NAET and muscle testing must be a gift from God. I proceeded to go to great lengths to convince myself and others that some obscure, unproven physical explanation for it all must suffice. Oh how I wish I had listened to the prompting of the Holy Spirit early on because it would have saved me from many far-reaching and shameful consequences. I pray that others might not make the same mistake.
Look for my next post revealing the true nature of muscle testing, and why I believe that Satan has merely repackaged divination in a more palatable fashion to "deceive...even the elect" (Mat.24:24)
 Journal of the American Dietetic Association. The study used 3 experienced AK practitioners. Kenney JJ, Clemens R, Forsythe KD (June 1988). "Applied kinesiology unreliable for assessing nutrient status". J Am Diet Assoc 88 (6): 698–704. Reprinted in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Applied_kinesiology.
 Pg. 157, 167 “Applied Kinesiology (Muscle testing),” chapter 11 (pgs. 155-167) in Can You Trust Your Doctor? The Complete Guide to New Age Medicine and Its Threat to Your Family, John Ankerberg & John Weldon.
 I don't wish to get bogged down with the abundance of information and sources that show the extent to which these religious teachings permeate muscle testing. If you would like to read more on this topic, I recommend http://www.inplainsite.org/html/applied_kinesiology_2.html as it goes into greater detail from a biblical perspective. If you wish to investigate what Goodheart's followers themselves say about it, I recommend John Diamond’s Your Body Doesn’t Lie.
 O'Halloran G. Man died an hour after being treated for peanut allergy. Independent.ie, April 25, 2009.
 Here are the sources of a few of these studies: Baggoley C (2015). "Review of the Australian Government Rebate on Natural Therapies for Private Health Insurance". /
"Applied Kinesiology". American Cancer Society. November 2008. Retrieved August 2013. /
Kenney JJ, Clemens R, Forsythe KD (June 1988). "Applied kinesiology unreliable for assessing nutrient status". J Am Diet Assoc 88 (6): 698–704.
 Wurlich, B. (2005). "Unproven techniques in allergy diagnosis". Journal of investigational allergology and clinical immunology 15 (2): 86–90
 Milk ALLERGY ELIMINATION THROUGH NAET® (Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Techniques). ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00328731, May 19, 2006.
 "Biomedical Analyses of a Holistic Peanut Allergy Treatment: NAET." Proceedings of The National Conference On Undergraduate Research (NCUR) 2011 Ithaca College, New York . March 31 - April 2, 2011.