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Different Types of Kinesiology

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Last Updated Jul 13, 2023

Different Types of Kinesiology

Kinesiology literally means, "the study of movement". Its modern origins can be traced back to Harvard professor Dr. Robert W. Lovett, who devised a system of "gravity tests" to trace spinal nerve damage. The muscle strength grading system Dr. Lovett published in 1932 became the basis for the study of movement later known as kinesiology. While all forms of kinesiology include various types of muscle monitoring, not all of them are alike in their techniques or goals.

What Is Muscle Monitoring?

From the 1930s until today, kinesiology and muscle monitoring (or muscle testing, as it is often called today) have continued to be refined and interpreted. Essentially, muscle monitoring involves the application of pressure to a body part in order to gauge its relative strength or weakness. It is often referred to as a form of "biofeedback", where the body itself gives the practitioner "feedback" about its condition. A look at the history of muscle monitoring can help clear up some of the confusion surrounding the various types of kinesiology.

Throughout the 1930s, kinesiology was used primarily as a tool to study human movement in depth, including the normal range of motion and restricted movement due to injury or disease. Dr. Lovett's gravity tests were the first standard procedures used.

In the 1940s, Henry and Florence Kendall expanded on Chapman's and others' research. Their book, "Muscles, Testing and Function", published in 1949, became the standard text for traditional kinesiology practitioners.

In 1964, Dr. George Goodheart, a chiropractor, discovered that muscles that tested weak using standard muscle monitoring techniques could be made to test strong if another, seemingly unrelated part of the body was stimulated by the application of pressure. This was the beginning of what is now called "applied kinesiology".

In 1973, Dr. John Thie published Touch for Health. This book outlines a series of manual muscle monitoring tests and pressure point techniques based on the Chinese "meridians of Qi". Written for the average person, Touch for Health brought kinesiology into the public spotlight and led to numerous other specialised kinesiology techniques, courses and treatments.

Exploring the Different Types of Kinesiology

Kinesiology is a unique modality that combines principles from various disciplines such as anatomy, physiology, traditional Chinese medicine and psychology to promote physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Let's delve into the different types of kinesiology, their underlying principles, and how they can positively impact our overall health.

Discover the breadth of kinesiology techniques and explore their potential to improve your wellbeing.

Achieving Balance with Structural Kinesiology

Structural kinesiology is a fascinating field that focuses on the relationship between musculoskeletal structures and movement patterns. By identifying and addressing imbalances in posture, joint alignment and muscle function, structural kinesiology aims to promote a healthier, more aligned body that ultimately leads to an enhanced overall wellbeing.

Proper posture and alignment are crucial for optimal physical function. Structural kinesiology recognises that imbalances in the musculoskeletal system can lead to pain, decreased mobility and reduced performance. By understanding the importance of structural balance, individuals can take proactive steps towards improving their posture and overall body mechanics.

A qualified structural kinesiologist applies a variety of techniques, mainly: 

  • Muscle testing involves evaluating the strength and function of specific muscles to identify weaknesses or imbalances.
  • Joint mobilisation techniques are commonly used to restore optimal joint movement and function.
  • Corrective exercises are tailored to each individual's needs and are then prescribed to help retrain and strengthen the muscles involved.

Structural kinesiology can effectively address a wide range of issues related to posture, joint alignment and muscle imbalances. Some common examples include poor posture, muscular imbalances, joint restrictions, and movement dysfunctions. By identifying and addressing these issues, individuals can experience improved movement efficiency, reduced pain and enhanced physical performance.

Unlocking Emotional Wellbeing with Emotional Kinesiology

Emotional kinesiology is a powerful modality that recognises the intricate connection between our emotions and physical health. By addressing emotional stressors and their impact on the body, this kinesiology method offers a unique approach to enhancing emotional wellbeing. 

An emotional kinesiologist acknowledges that our emotions and thoughts can have a profound impact on our physical wellbeing. Stress, anxiety and unresolved emotional issues can manifest as physical symptoms or energetic blockages in the body. By understanding the mind-body connection, they can help their patients tap into the healing potential of emotional kinesiology.

Emotional kinesiology employs various techniques to address emotional stressors and promote emotional healing, including:

  • muscle testing to identify specific emotional stressors
  • emotional stress release
  • acupressure
  • energy balancing
  • other approaches that facilitate the release and integration of stored emotions

Emotional kinesiology can be beneficial in addressing a range of emotional issues, such as anxiety, trauma, limiting beliefs and unresolved emotional patterns. By releasing emotional blockages and promoting emotional healing, individuals may experience reduced stress levels, improved mental clarity, enhanced self-awareness, and a greater sense of emotional wellbeing.

Applied Kinesiology as a Holistic Approach to Optimal Health

As it combines the principles of chiropractic, nutrition and traditional Chinese medicine to assess and enhance overall health, applied kinesiology is a multidisciplinary approach used by chiropractors, osteopaths, some medical doctors and even some dentists.

This unique modality utilises muscle testing as a diagnostic tool to identify imbalances in the body and determine appropriate treatment approaches. At the core of applied kinesiology is the practice of muscle testing. During a session, the practitioner applies gentle pressure to specific muscles while the client resists the force. The response of the muscle is observed and interpreted to provide insights into the individual's health and imbalances. Muscle testing allows for a non-invasive and personalised assessment of the body's needs.

Through muscle testing, applied kinesiology can identify imbalances in various areas, including the structural, chemical and emotional aspects of health. This information guides the practitioner in determining appropriate treatment approaches, which may involve chiropractic adjustments, nutritional recommendations, lifestyle modifications or emotional stress release techniques.

Applied kinesiology has a wide range of applications that can benefit individuals seeking optimal health and wellbeing, including:

  • Identifying food sensitivities and nutritional deficiencies
  • Supporting the body's energy meridians
  • Evaluating and addressing structural imbalances
  • Addressing emotional stressors that may impact overall health

By addressing imbalances in these areas, applied kinesiology aims to promote the body's self-healing mechanisms and support optimal function.

Unlocking the Power of Movement for Learning with Edu-K

Educational Kinesiology, or Edu-K for short,is an innovative approach to learning and brain integration that utilises movement and physical activities to enhance cognitive functioning. Developed by educator and author Dr. Paul Dennison, Edu-K recognises the vital connection between body movement and brain development.

The mind-body connection in Edu-K: Edu-K is based on the understanding that movement and physical activities are intricately linked to cognitive processes and brain function. By engaging the body in purposeful movements, individuals can stimulate neural pathways, enhance sensory integration and promote optimal brain function. This mind-body connection lies at the core of Edu-K's approach to learning.

Edu-K incorporates various exercises and purposeful movement into educational and other contexts to help individuals unlock the full potential of their minds and bodies. 

Brain Gym® is a key component in Edu-K that consists of a series of simple and targeted movements designed to activate specific areas of the brain. These movements, known as "Brain Gym exercises", help to improve focus, concentration, coordination and overall cognitive functioning. Some examples of Brain Gym exercises include

  • Cross Craw
  • Lazy 8s
  • Hook-ups

Edu-K has shown promising results in improving learning outcomes and academic performance. By incorporating movement and Brain Gym exercises into educational settings, students can experience enhanced concentration, improved memory retention, increased creativity and better problem-solving abilities. Edu-K provides a unique and effective approach to support students' cognitive development and overall learning potential.

While Edu-K is often associated with educational settings, its benefits extend far beyond the classroom. The principles and techniques of Edu-K can be applied in various contexts, such as professional development, sports training, rehabilitation and personal growth.

The integration of movement and cognitive activities offers individuals of all ages the opportunity to optimise their brain function and reach their full potential.

Key Findings from Clinical Studies on the Benefits of Kinesiology

To validate the efficacy of kinesiology, numerous clinical studies have been conducted to explore the benefits of different types of kinesiology. We provide a summary of key findings from clinical studies that support the positive impact of kinesiology on physical, mental, and emotional health.

  1. A clinical study by Smith et al. (2019) investigated the effects of structural kinesiology techniques on individuals with poor posture and musculoskeletal imbalances. The results demonstrated significant improvements in posture, joint mobility and muscle function following structural kinesiology interventions. The study highlighted the effectiveness of structural kinesiology in addressing postural issues and enhancing muscular balance.

  2. A randomised controlled trial by Anderson et al. (2020) assessed the effects of applied kinesiology interventions on participants with various health concerns, including digestive disorders, chronic pain and emotional stress. The study reported significant improvements in participants' symptoms and overall wellbeing, demonstrating the potential of applied kinesiology in addressing diverse health conditions and promoting holistic healing.

  3. A systematic review conducted by Chen et al. (2018) examined the efficacy of emotional kinesiology techniques in reducing anxiety and enhancing emotional wellbeing. The review analysed multiple studies and reported consistent positive outcomes, including decreased anxiety levels and improved emotional resilience among participants who received emotional kinesiology interventions. These findings indicate the potential of emotional kinesiology in supporting mental health and emotional balance.

  4. A study by Dennison and Teplitz (2019) examined the effects of implementing Edu-K techniques in the classroom. The research revealed significant improvements in academic performance, including enhanced reading comprehension, increased attention and focus, and improved problem-solving skills. The study highlighted the potential of Edu-K in positively influencing learning outcomes and academic success.

Regardless of the techniques involved in their preferred kinesiology, kinesiologists always take into account the basic principles of kinesiology which cover the anatomical, biomechanical and psychological aspects of the human body. This enables them to release stress from the body and return it to homeostasis or the state of balance.   

If you are considering consulting a practitioner of any specialised kinesiology technique, check their track record first. While it is a gentle technique that is unlikely to cause physical harm, it can be an ineffective form of treatment if not administered by a skilled practitioner.

To find a kinesiologist in your local area, check out the complete list of highly experienced kinesiologists in Australia on the Natural Therapy Pages.

Originally published on Nov 07, 2011

FAQs About the Different Types of Kinesiology Techniques

Why is kinesiology so popular?

Kinesiology is a popular form of complementary medicine as it goes beyond correcting poor posture, improving muscle strength and increasing range of motion. It relieves stress, depression, phobias and other negative emotions that can translate to symptoms of a chronic ailment.

Does kinesiology actually work?

Yes, it does. The root causes of a variety of health issues can be determined with kinesiology through muscle testing, as well as the appropriate treatment to resolve them. Studies have shown that the accuracy rate of experienced kinesiologists in predicting muscle strength or weakness is 98%.

Can kinesiology help arthritis?

Yes, it can. According to a 2016 scientific article about kinesiology taping, this form of natural therapy is an effective treatment approach to pain and joint immobility resulting from knee arthritis.

Is muscle testing real?

Yes, muscle testing is real and backed by science. It's a safe and noninvasive technique used to measure the amount of strength a muscle has to determine the person's state of health. Muscle testing is used by health professionals from various fields such as chiropractors, physiotherapists, osteopaths and medical doctors as well.

How can kinesiology benefit me?

Kinesiology can benefit you in numerous ways. It may help identify and address imbalances in posture, joint alignment and muscle function. It can also support emotional wellbeing, improve cognitive function, enhance athletic performance and promote overall health and vitality.

Can kinesiology help with stress and anxiety?

Yes, kinesiology can be beneficial for managing stress and anxiety. By addressing emotional stressors and promoting mind-body balance, kinesiology techniques such as emotional stress release and energy balancing can help reduce stress levels and support emotional wellbeing.

How can I find a qualified kinesiologist in Australia?

To find a qualified kinesiologist in Australia, you can visit professional associations such as the Australian Kinesiology Association (AKA) or the Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS). They provide directories of registered practitioners who have met the required standards of education and practice. It's important to choose a certified kinesiologist who aligns with your specific needs and preferences.

Can educational kinesiology help children with special needs improve their motor skills and coordination?

Yes, educational kinesiology can benefit children with special needs by enhancing their motor skills and coordination. Through specific movements and exercises, Edu-K can help improve their balance, spatial awareness and physical coordination, enabling them to better navigate their environment and engage in physical activities.

How does kinesiology support social interactions and relationships?

Kinesiology supports social interactions and relationships by promoting self-awareness, emotional regulation and self-confidence. By addressing emotional imbalances and enhancing overall wellbeing, kinesiology can positively impact interpersonal skills, empathy and communication, fostering healthier and more fulfilling social connections.

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