Can medical conditions be uncovered with ‘muscle testing’?
Also referred to as ‘applied kinesiology, muscle testing is a practice that health practitioners may use during an examination or evaluation.  The practice was first used in the early 20th century to assess muscular weakness in patients with polio. Years later, muscle testing was used to detect other neuromusculoskeletal conditions.
Brief Background on Muscle Testing
In 1964, a chiropractor by the name of Dr. Goodheart used applied kinesiology techniques to detect weakened muscles and chiropractic therapy to strengthen them. Though he was a chiropractor by trade, Dr. Goodheart looked at other fields of health and medicine to optimize his patients’ health, including acupuncture, biomedicine, dentistry, nutrition, and osteopathy, among others.
Using muscle testing as a way to diagnose a myriad of health issues, Dr. Goodheart was able to come up with a unified strategy to examine and treat many patients. Today, Dr. Goodheart’s technique is referred to as ‘applied kinesiology or muscle testing and is increasingly being used by chiropractors across the US.
Foundations of Muscle Testing
The theory behind muscle testing is that any internal issues that one experiences would come with some form of muscle weakness. As such, healthcare practitioners may be able to use a muscle test to diagnose a specific underlying condition.
Ultimately, the foundation of muscle testing is that when there is an internal issue with a person, it may be detected through some form of muscle weakness. More specifically, when a certain level of abnormal nervous system activity occurs, the muscle attributed to this stress may weaken. A muscle test can determine whether or not a particular muscle is weak after force to the muscle is applied.
With a specific intent behind muscle testing, health care professionals employing this technique on a patient may be able to uncover a range of health issues, including physical, chemical, and mental ailments, theoretically speaking.
Is Muscle Testing Useful?
Having said that, is muscle testing a legitimate diagnostic tool? Can it be relied upon to make an accurate diagnosis or detect specific medical conditions?
While some studies suggest that muscle testing may accurately predict certain ailments, others indicate that there is no real basis for the practice. 
Granted, muscle testing has not been linked to any harm during the diagnostic process, so it’s relatively safe. Further, most diagnostic tools are not entirely accurate or void of any biases. Muscle testing is also simple to employ.
Perhaps the biggest risk to muscle testing is that a serious medical condition may be missed if someone chooses muscle testing over any other diagnostic process, which could delay treatment and place a person at risk.
At best, muscle testing may be a complementary tool used in conjunction with other medical evaluations and diagnostic processes to uncover potential medical ailments.
Image source: Big Stock Photos
1. Gin, R.H. & Green, B.N., “George Goodheart, Jr., D.C., and a history of applied kinesiology“, J Manipulative Physiol Ther., June 1997; Vol.20(5):331-7.
2. Lüdtke, R., et al, “Test-retest-reliability and validity of the Kinesiology muscle test“, Complement Ther Med., September 2001; Vol.9(3):141-5.