Applied Kinesiology (AK) provides an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to health care. George J. Goodheart, D.C., originated AK in 1964.1-2
Dr. Goodheart found a technique that could immediately make a muscle that tested weak strong. The technique did not correct all muscles that tested weak but from this initial experience, testing muscles in a precise manner became routine in his examination protocol. The investigation of other causes of muscle weakness and their correction developed into what is currently the practice of AK.
The actual testing of the muscle had been previously and firmly established by Kendall and Kendall,3
who held that a muscle from a contracted position against increasing applied pressure could either maintain its position (rated as "facilitated" or "strong") or break away and thus be rated as "inhibited" or "weak". The testing of muscle strength itself had been widely practiced in manual medicine for decades by such authorities as Daniels, Worthingham, and the use of the MMT for functional conditions continues today with the work of Janda, Chaitow, Sahrmann, Bergmann, Lewit, Liebenson, and Hammer.4-9
Each of these researchers uses the MMT to diagnose muscular imbalance. In a sense, the early work of Goodheart and Kendall has influenced generations of practitioners spanning many disciplines and has become consensus methodologies across a broad spectrum of professionals.
Even the American Medical Association
has accepted that the standard method of MMT used in AK is a reliable tool and advocates its use for the evaluation of disability impairments.10 Figure 1. Hypertonic muscle secondary to inhibited muscle and inhibited muscle responsive to chiropractic manipulative therapy (AK model)
Goodheart’s work drew a large following of doctors and recognition. He was the first chiropractor officially appointed to the US Winter Olympic Sports Medicine team.11
In 1976 the International College of Applied Kinesiology was founded to promote the research and teaching of AK.12
The ICAK began in the United States with a majority of chiropractors as members. There are now chapters in Australia, Austria, Benelux, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Korea, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the USA. The organization is multi-disciplinary; membership includes medical doctors, osteopaths, dentists, psychologists, and other health care providers who are licensed to diagnose patients. Medical practitioners using AK vary by country. There are nearly 1,000 medical doctors in Germany, for instance, who use AK as part of their diagnostic system.13
The first book to describe the value of AK to other professions -- "AK and the Stomatognathic System" -- was authored by Gelb, a dentist, and Goodheart in 1977.14
Goodheart set the peer review trend for AK by publishing a discussion of dentistry and AK in 1976.15
Scopp published the first research paper discussing the AK approach to a functional organic disorder with allergy testing in 1979.16
There are now over 100 papers published in peer-reviewed journals on the methods and outcomes of AK.12, 17-30
Few chiropractic therapeutic methods have been investigated or written about as extensively as AK. There have been 35 separate books published about AK methods since 1964.12