Does Muscle-Testing Work?


From years and years of experience I can say that muscle-testing can be very accurate, and can be a way to access amazingly precise information.  It can also provide extremely misleading results.

First, for those who may not be familiar with the technique, just what is muscle-testing?  Muscle-testing, which is a technique used in the field of “Applied Kinesiology”, is a method for accessing information contained within the body or the subconscious.  (In some circles this is known as the “body-mind”.)

The basic technique is simple:  A “strong indicator” muscle is selected.  A question is asked, and the muscle stays strong or goes weak, indicating a “Yes” or a “No”.  To those new to this technique, this may sound pretty far out and not very scientific, but bear with me a moment.

Let’s take an example:  Suppose I want to know if a client is deficient in calcium.  I might ask my client to hold one of their arms straight out in front of their body, so that their palm is down and their arm is at shoulder height.

I could then make a statement, assuming my client’s name is Joe, such as: “Joe would benefit from taking a calcium supplement.”  If this is true, then Joe’s arm will stay strong when I try to push down on his wrist.  The resistance will be significant.  In fact, I will usually be able to feel the muscle that is holding his arm up go into a sort of “lock mode”.

In contrast, if Joe does not need more calcium, his arm will go weak, and it will be easy for me to push it down by applying downward pressure to his wrist.

I am sure that to those of you who are not familiar with muscle-testing this must sound utterly fantastic.  I am almost reluctant to post this out of concern that some of you may conclude from it that I do not base my work on solid science.

Yet, I have relied on muscle-testing to gain valuable health information for my clients for many years now.  Over and over again, I have questioned the results and gone on to compare them with those from the more standard and conventional medical tests.  The degree of corroboration has been extremely high.

Applied Kinesiology has been around for decades, as has muscle-testing, as one of its primary techniques.  Further, Applied Kinesiology is based on Chinese Energy Medicine, which has been around for at least 5,000 years.

Although the technique can be highly accurate and can yield vital information, it must be properly done.  Due to the popularity of muscle-testing and the seeming ease of its use, there are a great many people using it improperly.  As a result a lot of muscle-testing yields wildly inaccurate results.

Not only is this potentially harmful to those relying on the inaccurate results, but it also tends to discredit an otherwise valuable technique for helping people.

I can attest to the fact that it takes quite a bit of study and practice to become proficient at it and to be able to obtain consistently accurate results.

I also will be the first to admit that although I have used it for years and have become quite skilled in its use, I cannot say with certainty exactly how it works.  That is a source of some discomfort for me, but keep in mind that we use electricity all over the world, and yet the most advanced physicists on the planet cannot tell us exactly how it works.

I hope that those of you new to muscle-testing are skeptical.  Please read on:

Some years ago my father was visiting and we began to talk about Applied Kinesiology in general and muscle-testing in specific.  My father was quite skeptical.  I should tell you that my Dad went through medical school and has a very strong scientific background.  He tends not to accept or believe in most things that cannot be proven by scientific method.

He asked me how muscle-testing worked.  I admitted that I did not know.  I had some ideas and possible theories, but no conclusive information to answer his question.  I told him that it was based on the body’s unconscious wisdom and on the principles of Chinese Energy Medicine, but I could not be more specific than that.

We agreed that it was possible that muscle-testing was legitimate even if we did not know how it works.  But to really trust it we should first test its accuracy.

We decided to try an experiment to do just that.  Here’s what we did:

We took 10 small paper bags that were as close to identical in appearance as possible.  We put a small sample of a known substance in each.  Three of the substances were clearly harmful to health, two were neutral, and five were beneficial.

For the harmful substances we used ant poison, copper sulfate and artificial sweetener.

The two neutral substances were some not-very-good-quality vitamin C and some equally poor vitamin B.

The beneficial samples were L-Carnatine, Calcium, DIM, MSM and some good quality protein powder.

Keep in mind that these beneficial samples were things that were known by other methods to be healthy and good for my Dad.  Any of them might well have tested weak for someone else, for whom they may not have been beneficial.

We sealed the bags, being careful not to mark them in any way that could identify them.  We were even careful to make sure the samples weighed nearly the same amount so that picking up the bags would not provide any clues.  We then mixed the bags up on the table by moving them all around until we were sure that neither of us knew which bags contained which samples.

I then asked my Dad to hold his arm out and to resist my efforts to push it down.  I held each bag against his stomach, one-at-a-time, and pushed down on his arm.  I marked the bags with a plus sign if his arm stayed strong.  I marked them with an equal sign if the arm was not clearly strong or weak.  And I marked the bags with a minus sign if his arm went weak.

After we had tested all ten bags, we opened each to see what the results were.  Amazing!  Each of the three bags with the harmful substance was marked with a minus sign – they had all tested weak.  The two bags containing substances that were neutral had equal signs on them.  The five beneficial bags all had plus signs on them.

I was convinced before this experiment that muscle-testing could be very accurate.  My Dad was amazed but convinced, as well, after our experiment.

Since our experiment I have encountered a number of people claiming to be able to use muscle-testing to get answers.  Some have been health professionals and some have not.  Sadly, a significant number of these testers from both arenas have clearly not been well trained, and have not been able to get consistently accurate and impartial results.

Although I cannot say with certainty exactly how muscle-testing works, I am certain that its accuracy depends on very precise techniques that must first be thoroughly mastered and then meticulously applied.  Sloppy methods and techniques beget sloppy results.

I do want to stress that whenever possible, especially if you are dealing with an important question, e.g. “Is this lump cancerous?”, it is important to get corroboration of any answers gleaned by muscle-testing.

In addition to learning to accurately feel when the “strong indicator muscle” is really locked and when it goes weak, there is a real science to crafting questions that will lead to definitive results.  The questions need to be literal, generally simple, and have a clear “yes” or “no” or “true” or “false” answer.

If you are interested in learning more about Applied Kinesiology and muscle-testing, you might want to consider taking a “Touch For Health” class.  These are taught all over the world.  The instructors are mostly very good, and the quality of the classes is high.  If you apply yourself you can expect to come away from the class with a set of valuable tools that you can use to significantly improve your health.

To your health!

Jeff Bell

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  1. Mark
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 4:03 am | Permalink

    I’m fascinated with muscle testing, and have tried it myself on a few occasions with the same positive results. However, I’m wondering if any of this can be misleading because the person muscle testing themself is really making decisions based on what they “want”, or would like to see as a result. For instance, could someone go subconsciously weak when they “want” a negative response, or perhaps become more subconsciouly diligent and strong when they want to see a positive answer?

    If this doesn’t usually happen it would certainly feel stronger about this as a science…I will continue to explore its use though.

    Thank you.

    • Jeff Bell
      Posted February 3, 2012 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      Hi Mark, Thanks for raising a really important issue in muscle-testing. Whether one is testing oneself or testing someone else, (sometimes that is said as: “testing on someone else’s behalf”, which is a subtlely more accurate and useful way to express it), there is always the possibility that the person doing the testing may be unconsciously affecting the results. In fact, I think you can take it as a given that to some extent that is always going on. IN the case of testing oneself that effect is the main thing controlling the outcome, and that is what you want. For example, if I want to know if a given calcium suplement is safe, effective and beneficial for me, I really want my unconscious mind to control the test. My uncoscious mind is very closely tied to my body – much more so than my conscious mind in most respects. So the “wisdom of the body” comes through the unconscious mind with far less distortion than it can through the conscious mind.

      Keep in mind that the job of the unconscious is to keep us alive and safe. It does not care at all if we are happy, if we are creative, living our life’s purpose or about most things like that. It only cares that we are alive and safe. The unconscious also seems to think and communicate is very straight-forward and literal ways. With these principles in mind it is clear why it is crucial to formulate the testing questions very carefully. In fact, it usually works best to make positive statements, such as: “This calcium suplement is safe, beneficial and effective for Jeff at this time.” Then the muscle used for the testing either stays strong or goes weak. Of course, before asking a question or testing for a specific substance like that, one would already have used muscle testing to determine the time period for the test results. For example, “Today’s test results are for this month or longer.” If that tests positively, the would would test: “Today’s test results are for the next two months or longer.” If that tests positively, then try 3 months, until one gests a negative response.

      Even before setting the time persiod, one would test to be sure that the subject’s neurology is not “switched”. The classic way to do this is to have the test subject say “Yes” loudly and clearly, then test. That should test strong. Then the subject says “No” loudly and clearly. That should test weak. I always corroborate by having them make a deliberately false statement. A simple one is if the subject’s name is Marsha, I have them say, “My name is Gloria.” or something like that. That statement should test weak. Then they make a statement using their real name, and that should test strong.

      Next, I make sure we have permission to test. A simple statement such as “We have permission to test Jeff for foods and supplements today.” should test strong. If it does not, then I try to find out why not and if there is anything we can do to “fix” whatever is making it not OK. Sometimes I don’t find a way to proceed. Perhaps either there is something going on with the subject that is interferring with the testing, or sometimes it could be me. In such cases I re-schedule the session rather than risk having inaccurate results.

      One factor is to make sure the tester and the test subject are both well hydrated and have eaten healthy food recently enough so that the blood sugar levels are not too low or too high.

      Also one needs to know what to test and what not. Typically, foods and supplements are practical to test. What school to send my child to may not be a question that can be accurately tested.

      That just scratches the surface. This is a deep subject that requires a lot of study, practice and in most cases training to attain proficiency and reliability. If you are interested in pursuig this very valuable skill, for either your own use or to help others, I strongly recommend that you get good training from a practitioner or organization that specializes in training in this field, which is called: “Applied Kinesiology”. I highly recommend a company that does just that. It is called: Jet Kineisiology. Here is their web site:

  2. Craig Embleton
    Posted June 18, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Hi Jeff
    I first learnt about muscle testing when I saw a psych k video on youtube. I know many people swear by it, but whenever I have tried the simple arm technique with my wife and she has tried it with me with both go strong all the time.
    Do you think we are doing this wrong.
    Best wishes

    • Jeff Bell
      Posted June 18, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      Hi Craig,

      Thanks for sharing your experience. What you report is not uncommon. The problem is that muscle-testiong seems so simple that people often get very little training and then try to use it and rely on it. Muscle-testing, properly done, under the right conditions, can be very useful and highly accurate. But it does take some good training and it does take paying attention to the conditions under which it is being used. Also, I have found that there are types of questions to which you can get reliable answers and other types of questions to which you cannot. For example, I can test 2 different types of vitamin C to see if my body wants either one and if so, which it prefers. I can even use muscle-testing to determine to optimum daily amount. But testing to see if now is a good time for me to buy a new car is not apt to produce a useful answer.

      Bottom line: I would find someone in your area who is a good teacher in this subject and get some training. A good way to tell if someone is a good teacher or trainer or not is to ask their students what their experience is.

      Another option is to take advantage of distant training. Here is the best course and best approach I know of: If you do this, please let James Stevens, (the head instructor), know that I referred you.

      And please let me know how you do with any of the above.

      To your great health!

      Jeff Bell

  3. Craig Embleton
    Posted June 19, 2012 at 1:51 am | Permalink

    Hi Jeff
    Thank you very much for your helpful advise.
    I’ll contact a teacher in my area.
    Best wishes

    • Jeff Bell
      Posted June 19, 2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      Sounds good. Let me know how you do with this. It is a very valuable skill to have.

      I just thought of another resource along these lines. There is a whole system of health called, “Touch For Health”, that relies very heavily on muscle-testing. It is terrific. And they do trainings that are reasonable in cost and that are taught by well-qualified, certified trainers. They do these all over the World. You might look into this. This is a particularly great way to improve health if you have a partner to work with.

  4. Jeff Bell
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    Hi Chadwick, Thanks for your kind words about my site and my work. to be honest I have fallen a bit behind in posting new articles and information lately. I have been more busy than usual with some new research, and with more client care work than usual.

    But please be on the lookout for new information to be posted very soon. I am in the middle of setting up an entire section, dedicated to helping people who are dealing with cancer. So if you know people who could use my help, please let them know to come here to this site. And anyone dealing with cancer can check back here in a week or so and they will be rewarded with a ton of valuable information that could really help them.

    To your great health!

    Jeff Bell

  5. NSNY
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    I’m just finishing-up 4 months of working with a nutritionist/chiro who uses muscle testing. I had parasites for years and had been looking for help – it wasn’t until I was done treating the parasites that I found my current practitioner. I knew my system still was not 100% right – but I didn’t know if it was adrenal fatigue, candida or what.

    The practitioner came highly recommended by a peer that hadn’t felt well for years and went to see this practitioner to figure out why. Bit by bit they stripped away and resolved issues like metal poisoning and parasites and eventually she got back to being herself.

    Well, now that I’ve been working with her for several months I feel like I found real help that will be a resource for the rest of my life. Indeed I had Candida and some other issues, and between supplements and diet, I too am getting back to myself after years of illness and no doctor who believed or could figure out what was going on. It may take having the right practitioner – I went into it without having any idea what I was getting into and simply thought – sure why not – let’s try this. And it’s made all the difference! And I also can now tell on my own what my body needs to eat at any given time, or when a medicine isn’t right, or when I no longer need to be taking something.

    It’s amazing and rather harmless to try!

    • Jeff Bell
      Posted August 14, 2016 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

      Hi NSNY,

      First, sorry to take so long to reply. We had a technical problem which prevented me from getting the usual notices for pending questions and comments. I apologize for that.

      I am so glad to hear that you have gotten and are continuing to get the results that you want. That is terrific!

      I want to just highlight one part of your comment: I agree that muscle testing is amazing. I am not sure I would say it is “harmless to try”. In the hands of a good practitioner, it is safe and can be very effective. However, unfortunately, I have run into lots of people, both those using it for themselves and practitioners, using muscle testing who do not know how to get accurate test results. Further, most of them do not even know that their results are not reliable. There is an art to it.

      If the results are wrong, you could end up taking supplements or eating foods that are not right for you. So, you can learn how to do your own testing, (I recommend Jet Kinesiology’s training for that), or find a really good practitioner. I would check references before just blindly trusting someone to advise me about what to put into my body.

      To your great health!

      Jeff Bell

  6. Jeff Bell
    Posted August 14, 2016 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    Hi M Yazam,

    First, sorry to take so long to reply. We had a technical problem which prevented me from getting the usual notices for pending questions and comments. I apologize for that.

    Thank you so much for sharing from your sacred spiritual practice. I had no idea that anything close to muscle-testing goes back that far. Amazing!

    To your great health!


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