The history of kinesiology
RW Lovett: The first kinesiologist
In the 1960’s. Dr George Goodheart, a Detroit-based chiropractor, took an interest in the work of Kendall and Kendall who had published a significant work on muscle testing. He was a very keen observer and one of those rare people who are able to make fantastic discoveries by looking at research from a different perspective and re-synthesising the information in a different way. Many people had seen what George Goodheart saw but none saw what George saw !
The pioneer of kinesiology
After a busy day in his clinic, Goodheart set aside time to work on this client and as predicted found the anterior serratus was weak. (see picture). He then began to firmly massage the beginnings (origins) and ends (insertions) of the muscle and in so doing found a series of hard little beads or muscle knots. As he worked more firmly, the knots disappeared. He went along the muscle and pressed all the knots until they disappeared.
Then he again had the man push against the wall. This time the shoulder blade was fine. Further, when the muscle was manually retested, it locked strongly.
An interesting case history in holistic health
As Dr. Goodheart began to increasingly use muscle testing in his practice, he found some clients had specific muscles that would test weak when they had certain types of disease conditions.
For instance, he found the pectoralis major clavicular (PMC), the chest muscle that connects to the collar bone, would generally test weak in clients who complained of stomach ulcers. He would apply certain chiropractic manipulations for the treatment of ulcers and reassess the strength of the PMC muscles. The change in muscle response was immediate and visible and the physical complaint often improved quickly.
Connecting physical muscle responses to physical organs in the body was a major break through.
Other natural solutions discovered
Dr. Goodheart started looking for answers in other areas. His quest led him to the work of an early American osteopath, Frank Chapman, who had observed that many of the symptoms of disease had their origins in sluggish lymph flow. Lymph is the bodily fluid that carries nutrients to tissues and organs and carries toxins away. Sluggish lymph flow means that over time, tissues become more toxic and less functional. Chapman published his findings in the 1930’s and called his work the Chapman Reflex Points.
He established that rubbing the reflex point Chapman had assigned to a disease would often strengthen the muscle associated with the same pathology. In spite of the great success of his newly discovered origin / insertion technique and the application of Chapman Reflex Points, some conditions and their associated weakened muscles failed to respond.
Holistic medicine: Kinesiology, the 'energy' connection
Not content with having made 2 major new discoveries, Dr. Goodheart kept looking. In the 1930’s another American chiropractor, Terence Bennett, had come up with his own model for restoring health based on proper blood flow. Like the lymph system, when blood flow becomes congested, tissues don’t get the right amount of oxygen and nutrition. Like Chapman, Bennett had worked out his own set of reflex points. Most were on the head and upper body with a few points below the waist and on the legs. Bennett found that applying light pressure to these points would stimulate increased blood flow to the associated tissues and organs.
Goodheart began to systematically investigate the relationships between Bennett Reflex Points and those muscles that would not strengthen with his other techniques; he was delighted to note that in most cases it constituted the missing link.
Applied Kinesiology (AK) is born
Working primarily with the Chapman and Bennett Reflex Points as well as the many other techniques that he had discovered, Dr. Goodheart was able to assign specific points to specific Muscle weaknesses. This marked the beginning of the new science of Applied Kinesiology which is now used by trained professionals to bring health and harmony into people lives.
Holistic Health: Our unseen reality revealed.
We live in a world where we take so much for granted. For example your thoughts and your feelings are not physical, but they are real and they exist in and ‘energy field’ that cannot be measured by conventional means. This is also true of the lifeforce energy that gives us life. So How can we research and understand this unseen world. Well that is exactly where Dr George Goodheart did next.
Acupuncture is a way to restore physical health that has been successfully used by the Chinese for thousands of years, yet there was no recognition of it’s benefits in conventional medicine. The 2 ‘worlds’ had never met. Undaunted, Dr Goodheart started research this field.
Energy Healing: The acupuncture connection
His research contained and included looking at the interaction between acupuncture meridians and muscles. This was truly pioneering work bringing Eastern concepts into the western world with a real demonstrable effect led to a major break through in understanding how the life-force energy flows through the human body. Because the Chinese had named their meridians after the organ with which they were associated, Goodheart, in a flash of insight, realised the organ was the key in this relationship. When the organ system was stressed (dis-eased); the muscle may develop an imbalance (weakness); the Chapman Reflex Point may become tender; the Bennett Reflex Point may become active, and the associated meridian flow may be disturbed.
Dr John Thie: A Revolutionary Idea
Another member of the Goodheart group was chiropractor Dr John Thie, who saw the synthesis of Western and Eastern knowledge as very exciting. It strengthened his belief that people should be able to take care of their own health, and that the West should change the foundation of its health system from crisis management to prevention. He realised that if everyone could balance their own energy on a regular basis they would be able to maintain their own health more effectively. Dr.Thie took the basic techniques that had been worked out in Applied Kinesiology and developed a new system that he called Touch for Health.
Touch For Health.(TFH)
Despite huge resistance from the AP community, John Thie started to teach the basic principles of Touch for Health in workshops that could be taken over a couple of weekends. Often his very simple system could produce profoundly positive health outcomes. From California, it quickly spread throughout the United States and from there to many other countries across the world. Now there are millions of people in over 50 countries who know about Touch for Health and who can practice it with great effect in the comfort of their own home.
An extraordinary legacy: The Touch For Health Tree
Who would have thought that so many powerful and profound methods of providing holistic health would have come from one man’s vision. The ‘Kinesiology Tree’ gives us a visual representation of all of the different types of kinesiology we have today. You can click on the link and it will take you to the website of the relevant folks involved.
This is a tremendous resource for those interested in seeing where any branch of kinesiology came from. It will help you to see just how big an impact ‘Touch for Health’ has had on the world.
In the next article we will delve into these connections in more detail
About the Author
Nigel Griffith Qualified with a first class honours degree in Agricultural Science (B.Sc) in 1975 from University College Dublin (UCD). To resolve his many personal health challenges, Nigel studied and became proficient in a number modalities including homeopathy, herbal medicine, nutrition, acupuncture, and kinesiology. Nigel is married with 4 children and 9 grandchildren.