FAQs

The following are common questions about applied kinesiology and their answers. There is much misinformation about applied kinesiology because it has been misused and advocated by individuals who are not properly trained.

  • What is applied kinesiology (AK) ?
  • Do you need a professional education to use AK?
  • What is PAKTM (Professional Applied KinesiologyTM) and who is eligible?
  • What is the ICAK (International College of Applied Kinesiology)?
  • What is the purpose of the ICAK?
  • How did applied kinesiology start?
  • What are the possible causes of a weak muscle?
  • Describe what is included in an AK examination?
  • What can alter a muscle test?
  • Describe the intricacies of muscle testing.
  • How does AK expand the practice of health care professionals ( MD’s, DDS’s, DC’s, DO’s, etc.)?
  • Is everyone who uses muscle testing practicing applied kinesiology?
  • Can nonprofessionals practice applied kinesiology?
  • How is the teaching of applied kinesiology organized?
  • Who can teach courses in applied kinesiology for ICAK credit?

What is applied kinesiology (AK)?

AK is an interdisciplinary approach to health care, which draws together the core elements of complement therapies, creating a more unified approach to the diagnosis and treatment of functional illness. A.K. uses functional assessment measures such as posture and gait analysis, manual muscle testing as functional neurologic evaluation, range of motion, static palpation, and motion analysis. These assessments are used in conjunction with standard methods of diagnosis, such as, clinical history, physical examination findings, laboratory tests, and instrumentation to develop a clinical impression of the unique physiologic condition of each patient including an impression of the patients functional physiologic status. When appropriate, this clinical impression is used as a guide to the application of conservative physiologic therapeutics.

Do you need a professional education to use AK?

The practice of applied kinesiology requires that it be used in conjunction with other standard diagnostic methods by professionals trained in clinical diagnosis. As such, the use of applied kinesiology or its component assessment procedures is appropriate only to individuals licensed to perform those procedures.

What is PAKTM (Professional Applied KinesiologyTM) and who is eligible?

(Professional Applied Kinesiology™): a registered term that only ICAK-U.S.A. Active Doctor members who have proven additional aptitude can designate. In 2005, the ICAK-U.S.A. Board of Directors determined that many individuals who did not meet the requirements of ICAK membership were able to use our ICAK marks, logos, etc.  In addition, the terms “AK” and “Applied  Kinesiology” could be used by any unqualified group or individual since those terms can no longer be trademarked. This created great confusion in the general public regarding who was and was not a proficient and qualified AK doctor.  For these reasons, the Board introduced a certification for ICAK members, protected for use by qualified doctors using AK, that have demonstrated their abilities by meeting the requirements for certification.  The PAKTM designation would indicate to the public and professional communities that these members had been educated, tested and certified in  muscle testing by the ICAK.  Additionally, these doctors continue to expand their proficiency and abilities in order to bring the highest quality care to their patients.

The requirements for PAKTM status include:

· Individual MUST be a doctor member of the ICAK-U.S.A. in good standing – current in dues and all other financial obligations to ICAK-U.S.A. as well as meet all requirements of membership.

· Individual MUST be 100-hour certified.

· Individual MUST recertify every 5 years by attending the ICAK-USA Annual Meeting.

Current PAK® Members include: ICAK-U.S.A. members who are Diplomates or 100-hour certified and meet the yearly requirements as stated above in order to maintain PAKTM membership status.   

What is the ICAK (International College of Applied Kinesiology) ?

The ICAK, founded in 1975, is an international group of nation chapters composed of health care practitioners, medical doctors, chiropractors, osteopaths and dentists, who specialize in AK. Currently, there are chapters in the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Switzerland and Russia.

What is the purpose of the ICAK ?

The International College of Applied Kinesiology provides a clinical and academic arena for investigating. substantiating, and propagating applied kinesiology (A.K.) findings and concepts pertinent to the relationships between structural, chemical, and mental factors in health and disease and the relationship between structural faults and the disruption of homeostasis exhibited in functional illness.

How did applied kinesiology start?

The origin of contemporary applied kinesiology is traced to 1964 when George G. Goodheart Jr., D.C., first observed that in the absence of congenital or pathologic anomaly, postural distortion is often associated with muscles that fail to meet the demands of muscle tests designed to maximally isolate specific muscles. He observed that tender nodules were frequently palpable within the origin and/or insertion of the tested muscle. Digital manipulation of these areas of apparent muscle dysfunction improved both postural balance and the outcome of manual muscle tests. Goodheart and others have since observed that many conservative treatment methods improve neuromuscular function as perceived by manual muscle testing. These treatment methods have become the fundamental applied kinesiology approach to therapy. Included in the A.K. approach are specific joint manipulation or mobilization, various myofascial therapies, cranial techniques, meridian therapy, clinical nutrition, dietary management, and various reflex: procedures. With expanding investigation there has been continued amplification and modification of the treatment procedures. Although many treatment techniques incorporated into applied kinesiology were preexisting. Many new methods have been developed within the discipline itself.

What are the possible causes of a weak muscle?

Often the indication of dysfunction is the failure of a muscle to perform properly during the manual muscle test. This may be due to improper facilitation or neuromuscular inhibition. In theory some of the proposed etiologies for the muscle dysfunction are as follows:

  • Myofascial or proprioceptive dysfunctions and micro avulsions
  • Peripheral nerve entrapment
  • Spinal segmental facilitation and deafferentation
  • Neurologic disorganization
  • Viscerosomatic relationships (aberrant autonomic reflexes)
  • Nutritional inadequacy
  • Toxic chemical influences
  • Dysfunction in production or circulation of cerebrospinal fluid
  • Adverse mechanical tension in the meningeal membranes
  • Meridian system imbalance
  • Lymphatic and vascular impairment

On the basis of response to therapy, it appears that in some of these conditions the primary dysfunction is due to deafferentation, the loss of normal sensory stimulation of neurons due to functional interruption of afferent receptors? It may occur under many circumstances, but is best understood by the concept that with abnormal joint function (subluxation or fixation) the aberrant movement causes improper stimulation of the local joint and muscle receptors? This changes the transmission from these receptors through the peripheral nerves to the spinal cord, brainstem, cerebellum, cortex, and then to the effectors from their normally expected stimulation. Symptoms of deafferentation arise from numerous levels such as motor, sensory, autonomic, and consciousness, or from anywhere throughout the neuroaxis.

Describe what is included in an AK examination?

Applied kinesiology interactive assessment procedures represent a form of functional biomechanical and functional neurologic evaluation. The term “functional biomechanics” refers to the clinical assessment of posture, organized motion such as in gait, and ranges of motion. Muscle testing readily enters into the assessment of postural distortion, gait impairment and altered range of motion. During a functional neurologic evaluation, muscle tests are used to monitor the physiologic response to a physical, chemical or mental stimulus. The observed response is correlated with clinical history and physical exam findings and, as indicated, with laboratory tests and any other appropriate standard diagnostic methods. Applied kinesiology procedures are not intended to be used as a single method of diagnosis. Applied kinesiology examination should enhance standard diagnosis, not replace it.

What can alter a muscle test?

In clinical practice the following stimuli are among those that have been observed to alter the outcome of a manual muscle test:

Transient directional force applied to the spine, pelvis, cranium and extremities

Stretching of a muscle, joint, ligament, and/or tendon

The patient’s digital contact over the skin of a suspect area of dysfunction termed therapy localization

Repetitive contraction of muscle or motion of a joint

Stimulation of the olfactory receptors by fumes of a chemical substance

Gustatory stimulation, usually by nutritional material

A phase of diaphragmatic respiration

The patient’s mental visualization of an emotional, motor, or sensory stressor activity

Response to other sensory stimuli such as touch, nociceptor, hot, cold, visual, auditory, and vestibular afferentation

Describe the intricacies of muscle testing.

Manual muscle tests evaluate the ability of the nervous system to adapt the muscle to meet the changing pressure of the examiners test. This requires that the examiner be trained in the anatomy, physiology, and neurology of muscle function. The action of the muscle being tested, as well as the role of synergistic muscles, must be understood. Manual muscle testing is both a science and an art. To achieve accurate results, muscle tests must be performed according to a precise testing protocol. The following factors must be carefully considered when testing muscles in clinical and research settings.

Proper positioning so the test muscle is the prime mover

Adequate stabilization of regional anatomy

Observation of the manner in which the patient or subject assumes and maintains the test position

Observation of the manner in which the patient or subject performs the test

Consistent timing, pressure, and position

Avoidance of preconceived impressions regarding the test outcome by the tester

Utilizing non-painful contact ensuring a nonpain-ful execution of the test

Contraindications due to age, debilitative disease, acute pain and local pathology or inflammation

How does AK expand the practice of health care professionals ( MD’s, DDS’s, DC’s, DO’s, etc.)?

In applied kinesiology a close clinical association has been observed between specific muscle dysfunction and related organ or gland dysfunction. This viscerosomatic relationship is but one of the many sources of muscle weakness. Placed into perspective and properly correlated with other diagnostic input, it gives the physician an indication of the organs or glands to consider as possible sources of health problems. In standard diagnosis, body language such as paleness, fatigue, and lack of color in the capillaries and arterioles of the internal surface of the lower eyelid gives the physician an indication that anemia can be present. A diagnosis of anemia is only justified by laboratory analysis of the patient’s blood. In a similar manner, the muscle-organ/gland association and other considerations in applied kinesiology give indication for further examination to confirm or rule out an association in the particular case being studied. It is the physician’s total diagnostic workup that determines the final diagnosis.

An applied kinesiology-based examination and therapy are of great value in the management of common functional health problems when used in conjunction with information obtained from a functional interpretation of the clinical history, physical and laboratory examinations and from instrumentation. Applied kinesiology helps the physician understand functional symptomatic complexes. In assessing a patients status, it is important to understand any pathologic states or processes that may be present prior to instituting a form of therapy for what appears to be functional health problem.

Applied kinesiology-based procedures are administered to achieve the following examination and therapeutic goals:

Provide an interactive assessment of the functional health status of an individual which is not equipment intensive but does emphasize the importance of correlating findings with standard diagnostic procedures

Restore postural balance, correct gait impairment, improve range of motion

Restore normal afferentation to achieve proper neurologic control and/or organization of body function

Achieve homeostasis of endocrine, immune, digestive, and other visceral function Intervene earlier in degenerative processes to prevent delay the onset of frank pathologic processes.

Is everyone who uses muscle testing practicing applied kinesiology?

When properly performed, applied kinesiology can provide valuable insights into physiologic dysfunctions; however, many individuals have developed methods that use muscle testing (and related procedures) in a manner inconsistent with the approach advocated by the International College of Applied Kinesiology. Clearly the utilization of muscle testing and other A. K. procedures does not necessarily equate with the practice of applied kinesiology as defined by the ICAK.

Can non-professionals practice applied kinesiology?

There are both lay persons and professionals who use a form of manual muscle testing without the necessary expertise to perform specific and accurate tests. Some fail to coordinate the muscle testing findings with other standard diagnostic procedures. These may be sources of error that could lead to misinterpretation of the condition present and thus to improper treatment or failure to treat the appropriate condition. For these reasons, the International College of Applied Kinesiology defines the practice of applied kinesiology as limited to health cue professionals licensed to diagnose.

How is the teaching of applied kinesiology organized?

An organized basic course in applied kinesiology, covering 100 hours of instruction, was first established in 1976. Due to the many advancements in AK, this syllabus has been modified and updated continually since then. After completing the 100 hour basic course, the student doctor can take other advanced courses taught by certified teaching diplomates of the college. In order to teach courses for ICAK credit towards its diplomate status, the instructor must be a board certified diplomate? The certification process is organized and administered by the International Board of Examiners. This group consists of Diplomates from almost all of the chapters and is composed of medical doctors, osteopaths and chiropractors. The requirements that must be met to apply for the test to become a Diplomate are:

  • 300 hours of instruction in applied kinesiology from certified teaching Diplomates.
  • 3 years practicing applied kinesiology
  • Writing 2 research papers based on some aspect of applied kinesiology
  • Passing a 5 part written test on various topics in applied kinesiology
  • Taking and passing an extensive practical test on AK
  • Who can teach courses in applied kinesiology for ICAK credit?

The teachers of AK must first be Diplomates in applied kinesiology having passed the testing procedures of the International Board of Examiners. After this they can apply for status in the Board of Certified Teachers (BCT). Maintaining active teaching status has specific requirements that must be met every three years.

Who can practice AK?

The International College of Applied Kinesiology-U.S.A. defines the practice of Applied Kinesiology as limited to health care professionals “licensed to diagnose.”

Most members of the ICAK-U.S.A. have taken a basic course that takes over 100 hours of classroom study and practice to complete. A basic proficiency exam in AK must be passed at the conclusion of the course. A minimum of 300 hours of AK instruction, passage of written and practical examinations, and submission of two (2) original research papers are required to become a Diplomate of the International Board of Applied Kinesiology (DIBAK). A Diplomate represents the highest level of certification in AK.

I would like to take courses in applied kinesiology- what is your college schedule of classes?

Actually the College is an association of license to diagnose health care practitioners who have joined together because of their interest in Applied Kinesiology. Our courses are limited to license to diagnose health-care practitioners and/or students enrolled in an accredited college program who, upon completion, will be granted a license to diagnose. If this applies to you, please see our training schedule for more information on courses offered.

What do the various initials after the doctor’s name mean?

ATC – Athletic Trainer, Certified

BCAO – Board Certified Atlas Orthogonist

CCEP – Certified Chiropractic Extremity Practitioner

CCH – Certified in Classical Homeopathy

CCN – Certified Clinical Nutritionist

CCRD – Certified Chiropractic Rehabilitation Doctor

CCSP – Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician

CCST – Certified Chiropractic in Spinal Trauma

CNS – Certified Nutrition Specialist

CSCS – Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

DAAPM – Diplomate of the American Academy of Pain Management

DABCN – Diplomate, American Board of Chiropractic Neurologists

DABCO – Diplomate of the American Board of Chiropractors

DACBI – Diplomate American Board of Chiropractic Internists

DACBN – Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Board of Nutrition

DACBN – Diplomate of the American Clinical Board of Nutrition

DACBSP—Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians

DACNB – Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Neurology Board

DC – Doctor of Chiropractic

DDS – Doctor of Dentistry

DHM – Doctor of Homeopathic Medicine

DIBAK – Diplomate of the International Board of Applied Kinesiology

DICCP – Diplomate of the International Council on Chiropractic Pediatrics

DO – Doctor of Osteopathy

DOM – Doctor of Oriental Medicine

FIACA – Fellow of the International Academy of Clinical Acupuncture

FIAMA – Fellow, International Academy of Medical Acupuncture

FICS – Fellow of the International Craniopathic Society

IAMA – International Academy of Medical Acupuncture

LAc – Licensed Acupuncturist

LDN – Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist

MD – Doctor of Medicine

MS – Master of Science

MSOM – Master of Science, Oriental Medicine

ND – Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

NMD – Naturopathic Medical Doctor

NMD – Neuromuscular Dentistry

Can I find a Doctor in my area?

Yes, please visit our online directory at: http://www.icakusa.com

If you need further assistance locating a doctor do not hesitate to call the ICAK-U.S.A. Central Office, (913) 384-5336, and a member of the ICAK-U.S.A. staff will help you.

Who can be a member of ICAK-U.S.A.?

The International College of Applied Kinesiology-U.S.A. and its courses offered by the College are only open to those individuals who are health care practitioners, licensed to diagnose, or students enrolled in an accredited college program who, upon completion, will be granted a license to diagnose.

Membership Application Requirements can be found here.