The ‘muscle test’ is the central tool of a kinesiologist. Muscle testing allows us to understand what is going on in your body at the moment, where the imbalances lie and what might positively change that imbalance.

But what exactly is muscle testing? Here I’m answering a few of the common questions I get asked by my clients and people curious about kinesiology.

How does muscle testing work?

During a kinesiology session we test different muscles to find out whether there is an imbalance in a particular area of the body. To do a muscle test, I’ll ask you to hold an arm or leg in a certain position (depending on what we are testing) and then I’ll apply gentle pressure to see if you can hold it in that position.

What does the muscle test result mean?

Every muscle in your body is linked to one of the energy meridians in your body. Meridians are channels of energy flowing throughout your body in a particular direction – you might recognise this term from acupuncture and acupressure – it’s the same system we use in kinesiology.

When your energy is flowing well in a meridian you will be able to hold the muscle linked to that meridian in that position easily. If there is an interruption in the flow of energy, the muscle will wobble or go completely weak.

If there is a weak response that indicates there is an imbalance in the meridian linked to that muscle. From there we can figure out which organ is involved, what (if any) emotions might be involved and what may be affecting this in your life (e.g. eating more sugar than usual, not drinking enough water or maybe not getting enough quality sleep).

We can also use muscle testing to find out what your response is to a certain emotional trigger, goal or situation. When you focus on this issue, and we perform a test, the muscle response will change if that issue interrupts the flow of energy in the meridian – suggesting you are being negatively affected by this stress.

But isn’t a muscle test just testing physical strength?

The art of muscle testing well lies in finding the correct position of the muscle, so you are isolating one specific muscle and testing that. This will disengage all other muscles around that area. A kinesiologist will also help you to understand what pressure to respond with to ensure we are only engaging that single muscle, and no others around it.

Once the right pressure is found physical muscle strength doesn’t come into the test at all. In fact, interestingly, I have found that people who are very toned and athletic are much easier to test – the muscle gives a very clear response. Conversely, people who have very low energy and have had longer-term chronic illness tend to be more challenging to test – in particular people with chronic fatigue syndrome.  When the body is very tired and already feels weak, it can require more tuning in to interpret a weak or strong response in  a muscle.

Does it hurt?

I often get asked if the process of muscle testing hurts. In general, the answer is no – if you are injury and pain-free already then the muscle test will not hurt at all.

If you have an injury around the area, with your permission I’ll take extra care to do a very gentle test or we’ll find an alternative and avoid the injury.