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DKITYTI: Applied kinesiology and allergy testing

Canapes in UK

I wrote this post a few months ago in Ubud but never got round to publishing it. It, and its conclusion next week, will be the last of the “Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it” series, at least for the time being.

My trip to the applied kinesiologist inspired a rage inside that surprised me. I felt furious, and I couldn’t say for sure why. Was it because he gave me a diagnosis I didn’t want to hear? Or was it because I was mad at him for giving me a prescription based on something so seemingly ludicrous?

If I knew for sure that applied kinesiology (AK) was a quack job then the latter would be easy to go with, but I don’t know that so I’m left with a lingering “what if?”. What if there is something to what he said?

What is applied kinesiology?

Applied kinesiology (different to simple kinesiology, which studies human movement) is based on the idea that every organ dysfunction is related to a weakness in its corresponding muscle. AK practitioners use this basis to diagnose and treat illness. As with nearly everything I’ve tried so far, some people swear by it, and others think it absurd. According to some studies, its accuracy is no better than guesswork and different practitioners often report different diagnoses.

I chose a kinesiologist who had a background as a chiropractor, which meant a certain level of medical knowledge in the western tradition. He came with high praise and although my research had done little to inspire hope, I was curious enough to try.

Latte art with dog face

Milk is out, even if it comes painted with a dog’s face

When I arrived, he asked for my medical history and what I wanted to work on. My main health issues are that I tend to pick up colds easy, my stomach is really sensitive and I get tired more easily than seems reasonable. He immediately said it was likely I had had food allergies and that he could test me for them that day. Great, I thought. I’ve always wondered if I’m intolerant/allergic to something, so to know for sure would be golden information. The problem lay in knowing “for sure”.

When the therapist got round to testing my systems, he was surprised by my muscle responses. He had expected a weak digestive system, but the only things that tested weak were my adrenals. I saw this as good news, but he said that because of my symptoms, it was possible that my adrenals were simply in overdrive, overriding the responses from my other systems. His theory was that this could be due to some severe food allergies that had been stressing my system for years. He predicted that if I eliminated the foods that were causing the allergies, the adrenals would relax and other symptoms like stomach cramps may kick in for a time before dissipating completely.

Anger rising

It was around about then that my anger and annoyance started to rise.  What he was telling me sounded pretty serious, speaking of extreme stress on my physiology. It made me sound much sicker than I thought I was. He also said he’d never seen a case like mine before, so I knew all of this was conjecture. I could see the story forming in his head and, while based on experience, it also seemed like a dangerous tale to tell. If I was a hypochondriac, or simply more gullible, it would be the perfect hook to attach to. Plus all of this had been garnered from simply pushing against my limbs in various ways while I tried to resist.

Pizza definitely out.

Pizza’s definitely out

Even without hypochondria, the story still affected me. Despite finding the methods hard to fathom, I couldn’t completely rule out the chance he may be right. I’ve had suspected IBS for years. My doctors at home put it down to stress and possible food intolerances. I’ve ruled out more serious conditions and been tested negative for coeliac disease, but I’ve never definitively worked out what causes my symptoms.

When it came to the allergy testing, the method seemed even more flimsy. I held up my arm while the therapist silently read down a list of foods while testing the resistance of my arm to each one. I’d read about allergy testing by AK and had expected to hold each allergen as I was tested, but he deemed that unnecessary. It was over in less than five minutes. Had I been resisting enough? Was my arm getting more tired as the process went on? My mind was alive with possible errors, and those doubts got louder when I heard the results. I even made him test me again.

And the results…

According to the therapist, I am intolerant to gluten, dairy and jack fruit. To make it worse, gluten, in his book but seemingly not the rest of the world’s, also includes brown and white rice. Items such as coffee, eggs and almonds, which I have reacted to in the past showed up negative. I was free to eat them as much as I liked.  I had annoyingly mentioned my allergy to jackfruit before the testing so was unable to use it as a test (he tested me positive for it).

...and sandwiches

…and sandwiches

The idea that I was intolerant to gluten was surprising as I knew I wasn’t coeliac. He said that one didn’t equal the other, and when I thought about my suspected intolerance to eggs, I realized it may have been the toast or butter I was reacting to. His ideas weren’t easily written off. The only way to know for sure is to experiment.

As I’m already two-weeks into a six-week Ayurvedic diet, this isn’t a huge hardship. It just means adding rice and oats to my current list of restrictions. I’m happy to do it as once done, I can slowly re-introduce the foods and hopefully know once and for all my reactions.

Really?

However, even if I do turn out to be intolerant to gluten and dairy, I’m reluctant to believe that the muscle testing revealed it. They are two of the most common food allergies so it could have been a lucky guess / his own pre-conceptions influencing his reading. I know for sure he wasn’t 100 per cent accurate as he missed almonds, which I react to in the same way as jack fruit

But I am allowed to eat millet

But I am allowed to eat millet

The basic premise of applied kinesiology is something I struggle to remain open-minded about. I don’t know enough about physiology to cast aspersions on the basic theory, but even if the relationship between muscles and organs is valid, I am unsure that testing their strength yields reliable results. Moreover, I am skeptical of the accuracy of therapists’ diagnoses and their ability to separate their own expectations/influence from their reading. There may be something in it, but I’ve, as yet, no reason to believe it, and plenty to question it.

Next week, I’m going to see a naturopath who also uses AK to diagnose allergies. I’ll let you know how it goes.

How about you? Have you tried applied kinesiology? What did you think? Good/bad results? I’d love to know.

This is part of the Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it series. While in Ubud, I tried more than 20 different therapies – mental. physical and spiritual – from acupuncture to holographic kinetics and sound healing. Next week, I’ll publish an up-to-date summary of the series, where I’m at now, and what I plan to do with the rest of the stories.

 

The naturopath

As I’m not going to be writing up all my experiences on the blog straight away, I’ll let you know that when the naturopath used AK to test my allergies, I showed up allergic to even more things, including red wine (not white wine), white sugar, coffee and eggs, as well as dairy and gluten. She, however, said rice was okay. I tested fine for jack fruit but allergic to almonds. As you can see, the results were not consistent.

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Comments

  1. says

    Wow, those symptoms sounds just like me! I’ve always grown up having allergy testing in the US, but I’ve never heard of this applied kinesiology before.

    I’m interested in seeing how it works out for you. Since moving to Hong Kong, I’ve felt those symptoms even stronger and have been getting really sick of always being sick!

    Maybe I should give this a try.

    • Victoria says

      I’m afraid I wouldn’t recommend applied kinesiology. I don’t appear to be allergic/intolerant to wheat nor dairy. My experiment didn’t show the method to be accurate. To be honest, in my own experience, I think my symptoms are mostly related to my state of mind, and in particular stress. More on that in next week’s post.

  2. says

    Just the fact that studies show that “its accuracy is no better than guesswork and different practitioners often report different diagnoses” makes it impossible for me to take this seriously. And how does he expect to be taken as a professional when he make obvious mistakes like including rice as containing gluten, which it most certainly does not? I understand you anger, I think; I probably would’ve reacted similarly.
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    • Victoria says

      The thing that makes me most angry is how things like this play upon people’s vulnerabilities. It’s one of the things I noticed most during my time in Ubud.

      Another thing that really interests me is how the practitioners appear to sincerely believe in their methods. It would be easier to understand if they were willful charlatans, but I don’t think they are. I actually think this faith works in a similar way to the placebo effect hence why the methods occasionally work for some people. All very mind-boggling!

  3. Sophia Rose Ramsden says

    I totally empathize! There are just SO many alternative methods out there and far too many variables to ever be able to feel sure. Unless you are fortunate enough to meet an incredible practitioner. I have read a lot about kinesiology and I personally believe it absolutely can work and in unbelievable ways…but it’s pretty much all down to the practitioner. And when you talk about their own expectations and beliefs influencing results I completely agree. It’s a bloody minefield out there. In the end you just have to go with your guts (ho ho!) and try out the things that actually make sense…not picking up on your nut allergy really worries me! It does get exhausting with so much conflicting information out there and everybody believing they are right…

  4. says

    This post is so shocking, I was actually stunned speechless. I don’t know how you didn’t just wallop that guy (preferably in the dangly bits) and storm out of his emporium of quackery! Definitely something in need of a few hard knocks…

    Honestly, I’m still sputtering over how he tested you for allergies simply by saying the names of foods and seeing how your arm responded. I’m surprised he didn’t claim he could cure you with leeches or some other arcane ritual!

  5. Mary says

    Go see an endocrinologist and get properly tested. Chiropractors are quacks and should be avoided at all cos It is amazing that that they are lowed to practice at all. It is very easy to guess that someone might have an issue with wheat, eggs, dairy, etc cetera. Only one out of every 100 people have celiac disease, if you ask a chiropractor 99 out of 100.

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