Applied kinesiolgy (AK) is a system of diagnosis developed for humans by Dr. George Goodheart. A recent survey showed that 37.2% of human chiropractors make use of this technique. The system uses an advanced system of muscle testing techniques to help determine the primary cause of a problem and the best method of trying to fix that problem.

For those of you who have experienced muscle testing techniques, this is nothing new, to those of you who haven’t, you may think it is “voodoo”.

AK can be used by trained individuals to find problems within the body that cannot be found through conventional means. It uses muscle testing as a diagnostic tool to access the neurological, orthopedic, endocrine and nutritional status of the patient. It can also be used to check acupuncture points and other systems of the body.

In adult humans this is easy because you can tell the individual when to push so muscle strength can be assessed. In people they found that children could be tested by using their parents as surrogates — when the parent was touching the child the parents muscle could be tested.

Dr. Carl DeStefano (among others), started using the same technique to evaluate animals. By using a surrogate who touches the animal, the animal can be evaluated.

The basic idea is to use your muscles to test for problem areas on your horse. In most cases your deltoid (shoulder) muscles are used to simply give a yes-no answer to the examiner. The examiner will have you push up against his hand with your arm while you are touching your horse. This is done while the examiner tests for a problem. Your arm is just saying- yes there is a problem or no there is no problem. It is MUCH more complicated than this, but this is the basic idea.

Unfortunately, people will see this technique used then think they are an expert at diagnosing every problem on their horse and their friend’s horse. There are many other factors involved, PLUS this technique should never be used alone. The International College of Applied Kinesiology states: “Applied Kinesiology procedures are not intended to be used as a single method of diagnosis. Applied Kinesiology examination should enhance standard diagnosis and not replace it.”

Dr. Randy Huenefeld is licensed to practice in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. His main practice area is the Kansas City area. He has provided Equine Chiropractic care since 2007.