Another Look At Muscle-Testing For Health

Thrive-JeffBell_Close_Cropped_Headshot_10-29-2013Wouldn’t it be great if there were a reliable way to know which vitamins and supplements are safe and effective for each of us?  There is so much variation among human beings that although the “rules” of nutrition may be good starting point guidelines, they are often useless for determining the specifics for any given person.

So many people, including holistic health practitioners, find it a major challenge to determine exactly which vitamins and supplements are right for us.  And if you include foods in the question, then it becomes an even bigger challenge.  We all have different metabolisms, great variation in our digestive systems, vast differences in our immune systems, and so on.   So taking the general “rules” of nutrition and biology and trying to apply them to everyone does not make sense.

One option is to do a great deal of complex and expensive lab testing.  But even if one can afford this, determining what to test and how to interpret the test results is not easy.

So what might be a reasonable alternative?

The science of Muscle-Testing can provide an answer.

Before going any further, let’s take a brief look at what Muscle-Testing is:  In classic Muscle-Testing, (also sometimes known as “A/K “or “Applied Kinesiology”), a strong indicator muscle is chosen in the client by the practitioner.  The client is asked to hold the muscle strong and resist a physical challenge to the muscle while a question is asked, or while they are exposed to a given substance for which they are being tested.

For example, I might ask a client to hold their left or right arm out straight in front of them and to resist my efforts to push their arm down.  I might then hold a bottle of vitamin C against a part of their body, while I push down on their arm.  If the specific vitamin C is not right for the client, the strong indicator muscle will “go weak” and it will be easy for me to push their arm down.  This is an over-simplification and there is a great deal more to know about muscle-testing, but this will serve for our discussion.

Based on the above, muscle-testing may sound great.

But many people are not sure if Muscle-Testing works, is based on any real science and if it can be reliable.

In a nutshell, the science behind muscle-testing can be summarized as follows:  By current estimates, approximately 95% of our brain is devoted to subconscious activities.  And the majority of these are intended to keep us alive and to keep us safe.  This includes things like making sure our heart continues to beat, letting us know when we are hungry and need to eat.

It also includes many things surrounding our safety that we commonly call “intuitive information”.  For example, one night we may walk past the opening to a poorly lit alley, and notice that the hairs stand up on the back of the neck.  This is almost certainly because our subconscious mind has detected something that it feels could be dangerous and wants to alert us to possible danger.  We may not know consciously what the potential threat may be, but nonetheless if we are paying attention, the warning is received.  In a minute you will see how this ties in to muscle-testing.

If you are one of those who is not sure, I am going to ask you to suspend your disbelief just long enough to consider the following:

Many years ago I worked as an EMT or Emergency Medical Technician.  One of the emergency supplies we carried nitroglycerin tablets for treating heart patients.  When we would respond to a call where a patient was experiencing chest pains, or other signs that the heart was not getting sufficient blood supply, we would immediately slip a nitroglycerin tablet under the patient’s tongue.

Most of the time, within 3 seconds or less, the patient would begin to experience relief.

How does this work?  If you understand the biology involved, then you know that it can take 3 minutes or longer for a dissolvable substance placed under the tongue to get absorbed through the mucous membrane and to get into the blood stream and then to be transported to the heart.  And yet, these patients typically experienced significant relief in just a few seconds.

Here is the explanation:  The subconscious mind knows what has been placed under the tongue.  It knows that the substance is a vaso-dialator, and that it has the potential to expand the blood vessels supplying the heart and that it will soon relieve the crisis.  So the subconscious mind “tells” the heart, “Help is on the way.  Relax, and soon you will have the additional blood supply and oxygen that you need…”  The heart responds by relaxing, and along with that relaxation the overall anxiety decreases and the blood vessels begin to dilate even before the nitroglycerin actually gets to them.

If the above may sound fanciful, be assxured that it is not.  Rigorous scientific studies, involving measuring of brain waves, the body checmicals of stress and anxiety and more have been conducted to confirm this explanation.  It is quite well accepted even in the conventional health profession at this point.

What this tells us about the potential for muscle-testing is that:

1.  The subconscious mind knows much more about what is going on around it than we usually think it does.  For example, if it knows that an unlabeled tablet slipped under the tongue is nitroglycerin and that it is an effective vasodilator, then it may not be such a stretch that the subconscious mind knows that a bottle held against the body contains vitamin C.  And since the only priority of the subconscious mind is to keep us safe, it may not be a big stretch to accept that it generally knows if a substance is good for us or not.

2.  If the knowledge that the subconscious mind obtains can cause the heart muscle to tense up or relax, then it makes sense that it can cause the arm of a client or patient being tested to get strong or get weak depending on whether or not a challenging substance is safe and effective or not.

Muscle-testors or Applied Kinesiologists have relied on these 2 abilities of the subconsious mind to “ask” it what is good or bad for a person.  Practitioners who have been well trained and who have adhered to goiod principles and used good technique have been relying on muscle-testing for decades.

Muscle-testing has been a core element of my practice for more than 3 decades, which is when I first started being trained in its use.  Properly used, muscle-testing can be stunningly accurate.  And it can often answer very specific questions with very precise answers.  For example, I can line up 10 different formulas of vitamin C and use muscle-testing to find the best one for a specific person, as well as even determining the optimum daily amount for that person.

It is not the intention of this article to instill blind trust in muscle-testing.  There remain many questions about its accuracy.  In most cases that I have encountered, if there are inaccuracies, it is because the person doing the testing is not well-trained, or they have simply gotten sloppy in their technique.

It is very important for the practitioner to know how to neutralize their own prejudices and opinions about anything they are testing with a client.  For example, I am extremely allergic to cheese.  but cheese may be a beneficial food for some people.  So I need to set aside my own aversion to cheese if I am testing a client to see if cheese is safe and beneficial for them.  There are very specific techniques a practitioner must use for setting aside their own prejudices, their own biological reactions to things being tested, as well as their own opinions.

And the questions asked must be carefully crafted in such a  way that there is no ambiguity.  The subconscious is very literal, and almost binary in its functions.  For example, if I am trying to determine the optimum amount of water Pat needs to drink each day, I could make a statement such as:  “Pat needs to drink 2 quarts of water a day.”  But that really is not a very well-crafted question to use with muscle-testing.  Unless by chance I happen to hit on the exact amount of water that Pat needs, since the subconscious is so literal that question should not return a positive response, or a “yes”.  A much better question would be:  “Pat needs to drink 2 quarts or more water each day.”  If I get a “yes” response to that question, then I would ask again, but increase the amount slightly.  So I might ask, “Pat needs to drink 2 1/4 quarts of water or more each day.”  If I get another “yes”, I ask again, but with another increase in the daily amount.  I repeat until I get a “no” response.  When I get a “no” response in this series of questions, I know that my previous “yes” response question was the one that indicated the optimum daily amount of water for Pat.

Another consideration is that there are some areas where muscle-testing tends to yield useful and reliable results and others where it does not.  For example, I would never test to see if I should buy a lottery ticket.   I also would not use muscle-testing to try and determine what a person’s testosterone level is.  The sort of numerical precision implied in questions like that tend not to lend themselves to muscle-testing.  However, I could test to ask if the testosterone level is out of balance and if correcting this is a health priority.  If I got a “yes” response, I could then order the appropriate lab test.

As you can see, there is a lot to this.  So if you are going to rely on muscle-testing for your health, make sure your practioner is well-trained and practices good technique.    You might want to ask for some references since there is no functional standards body for muscle-testers or Applied Kinesiology practioners.  And although there are various schools and institutions that offer training and certifications, I am not convinced that they can reliably ensure that their graduates do accurate testing.

If you are interested in an experiment to test the accuracy of muscle-testing, follow this link:

As always, please post your comments, questions and feedback below.

To your health!

Jeff Bell

This entry was posted in Timely Health Information. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Will
    Posted April 24, 2012 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Hey Jeff,

    Interesting article. One question I have regarding the explanation below: Couldn’t
    another explanation be the placebo effect? Just the fact that the person has received what they perceive as a treatment or antidote for their problem could lead to the same effect, couldn’t it?


    The subconscious mind knows what has been placed under the tongue. It knows that the substance is a vaso-dialator, and that it has the potential to expand the blood vessels supplying the heart and that it will soon relieve the crisis. So the subconscious mind “tells” the heart, “Help is on the way. Relax, and soon you will have the additional blood supply and oxygen that you need…” The heart responds by relaxing, and along with that relaxation the overall anxiety decreases and the blood vessels begin to dilate even before the nitroglycerin actually gets to them.

    • Jeff Bell
      Posted April 24, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      You bring up an excellent point, Will. In general, when we see specific results in a person or in their body, it is often difficult to know with certainty what causesx those results. We are dealing with some very complex systems – lots of variables involved.

      That said, about the same time I first started learning about muscle-testing, or “Applied Kinesiology”, I was also a Bay Rescue Marine Pilot and undergoing my Emergency Medical Technician traininng and requirements. On several occassions I or a team member administered sub-linguil nitroglycerine to a patient who was so far gone that they were barely conscious. It is highly unlikey that they knew on any conscious level what was going on. They were not unconscious, but nearly so. And the results were very rapid improvements in those cases. I guess it could have been a classic placebo affect, but if so, it would have had to have occurred at the unconscious level.

      And if you read about that experiment I did with my Dad, using 10 sealed paper bags, where there was no way to know from the outside of the bag what the substance within was, then you know that could not have been a placebo affect. IN that experiment, neither my Dad nor I knew what was in the bags. We tested all 10 and wrote the results on the outside of the bags. When we were done testing all of the bags, we opened them and checked the muscle-testing results against the substances. We had 100% correlation – beneficial substanceds tested strong, a few neutral ones were neither strong nor weak, and harmful substances all tested weak.

      All that said, the most recent research does indicate that the placebo affect is often a much bigger factor in many results than was previously thought. In general, if I am trying to hel someone improve their health, I am not sure it matters a whole lot if the result is mostly placebo, or mostly biochemical. What really matters most, at least to me is that they get well.

  2. Jeff Bell
    Posted April 7, 2015 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    Hi Marlene, It is certainly OK with me for you to use ideas from my site. However, I should let you know that I am in the middle of a major upgrade to me site. So there will be changes coming soon. Best of luck with yours.

    To your great health,

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


  • Cataegories