What is Muscle Response Testing?

What is Muscle Response Testing

Many people are familiar with physical therapy and may even seek it out to help when recovering from surgery, with chronic pain, or to heal an injury. However when physical therapists suggest muscle response testing, many patients are unsure about what that is. If this sounds like you, don’t worry. Truth is, unless you work within the physical therapy industry, you probably haven’t heard of it. Therefore, we have compiled the ultimate guide to muscle response testing. 

For starters, muscle response testing is also commonly referred to as applied kinesiology (AK) or manual muscle testing (MMT). It was first developed as an alternative medicine technique by George Goodheart Jr. in 1964. This technique tests muscle strength in order to diagnose structural, muscular, chemical, and mental ailments through weak muscles. Not only that, but muscle response testing can also be used to identify allergies and other types of sensitivities. It is based around the notion that internal issues are accompanied by external muscle weakness. 

In AK terms, however, weak or strong has nothing to do with a person’s overall strength or ability to exert force. Instead, AK defines a strong muscle as one that functions properly and a weak muscle as one whose normal functioning is inhibited. During muscle response testing, the following may be evaluated: 

  • Position 
  • The amount of force applied  
  • Isolation
  • Timing
  • Accommodations to body position changes

How is Muscle Response Testing Performed?

When having a muscle response test, your practitioner will apply force to a specific muscle or group of muscles and ask you to resist this force. As you are resisting, your practitioner will evaluate tension in the muscle, as well as the smoothness of the response. One common test, the delta test, is performed by having the practitioner pull the arm downward and having the patient resist. Muscle responses can also be tested by being exposed to certain substances. This variation is known as nutrient testing and it is used to test for allergies

muscle response testing

What Does Muscle Response Testing Have to do with Physical Therapy?

Muscle response testing can be used as both a diagnostic and treatment method. For starters, performing a muscle response test allows your practitioner to identify specific muscles or groups of muscles that are not functioning properly. Oftentimes, certain muscles are tested based upon your symptoms. 

The results of your muscle response test are taken into account along with other diagnostic information such as clinical history, physical exam findings, and possible laboratory tests. Collectively these things allow your practitioner to make an accurate diagnosis in order to implement the correct treatment. 

There are a variety of different ways your practitioner may implement a treatment plan using applied kinesiology. One common way is through the NET technique. This specialized technique is used to remove hindrances within the body in order to allow the body to heal itself. 

As you can see, muscle response testing is simply another technique used by your practicioner in order to provide an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan. It has various applications and can be used to locate imbalances in the body that can contribute to your symptoms. 

stephen clouthier dr headshot

Dr. Clouthier has obtained numerous certifications in various healing techniques such as Nutrition Response Testing, Acupuncture, NueroEmotional Technique, CranioSacral Therapy, and NeuroModulation Technique. He has also taken over 1000 hours in post-graduate training in nutritional and herbal therapies and functional medicine and is currently pursuing an advanced certification from the Institute for Functional Medicine. Dr.Clouthier has found that many conditions treated with a pharmaceutical and medically invasive approach, can alternatively be corrected equally or more effectively through natural means without side effects or permanent damage.  He has built a reputation for combining the best of Chiropractic, Applied Kinesiology, Functional Medicine, NueroEmotional technique and Acupuncture to help individuals, families, and athletes achieve optimum health, performance, and pain-free life.

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