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Does Applied Kinesiology Qualify as a Reliable Diagnostic Tool; New Study Says No

Applied Kinesiology

This Abstract has been posted with the express permission of lead researcher Stephan A. Schwarz and has been presented at scientific conferences, submitted and accepted, though not yet published by Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing.

To view the article in its entirety:
AK Paper by Stephan A Schwarz in the March 2014 Explore Journal

If you would like a copy of this paper in its entirety, the author of this paper has given me permission to release it on an individual basis, though it is not to be re-posted or published in its entirety.

I have received multiple opinions and comments on the posting of this research abstract. My personal opinion is this; the study gives evidence that even very highly skilled practitioners do not have sufficient inter-reliability to find the same objective information diagnostically. That does NOT refute the possibility that accurate information about the body’s systems cannot be gained through the mechanism of AK muscle testing, it only means that there is a problem of being able to obtain the same information reliably from practitioner to practitioner. I have personally experienced some very skillful chiropractors well trained and using this technique in what I experienced to be an effective manner. However, I have also witnessed a much greater number of holistic practitioners use it with sloppy methodology and with what I perceive to be great bias in their desired outcome. This study is but one, though a thoroughly performed one, that is offering information that should be heeded especially if using health information derived from muscle testing to keep in mind that more evidence based diagnostic testing may be called for before making decisions on their health care interventions, especially for serious health conditions.

Stephan A. Schwartz,1 Jessica Utts, PhD, 2 S. James P. Spottiswoode,3 Christopher W. Shade, PhD,4 Lisa Tully, PhD,5 William F. Morris, DO,6 and Ginette Nachman, MD, PhD7


This study sought to answer the following:

  1. Is there a difference in muscular strength when individual holds substance inimical to life processes compared to substance essential for life?
  2. Does effect involve input from person being measured, and kinesiologist doing measurement, or only person measured?
  3. Is result same when different kinesiologists take measurement, or when no kinesiologist involved?
  4. Does belief, expectation, gender, or time cognition play role?

51 participants 3 trials: first kinesiologist, second kinesiologist, no kinesiologist testing using hand dynamometer. Each trial used pair of randomly numbered sealed vials, one vial saline solution, the other saline solution plus ionic hydroxlamine hydrochloride (NH3OH)+.

Each trial involved a separate muscle test for each vial. All present blind to vial containing toxin. Kinesiologist force measured via pressure pad system. Results: 151 sets of trials toxic vial identified 80 times (53%), onetailed exact binomial p-value 0.258.

Results kinesiologists: chance.
Dynamometer results: chance.

Testing whether significant difference in proportions for whom AK test worked based belief whether it would work non-significant chi-square value: 0.6 (p = 0.439) for trials with one kinesiologist, and 2.222 (p = 0.136) for hand dynamometer trials. Gender variable: no significant difference males and females, for trials of male kinesiologist or hand dynamometer, combined data for two female kinesiologists did reveal difference. Of 33 female sessions 15 successful (45%); 18 male sessions, 14 successful (78%) chi-square statistic: 4.96, p = 0.026. Given multiple testing chi-square results interpreted cautiously. Belief in whether or not AK test will work not significantly related to whether did work. Chi-square test time perception/correct vial choice: non-significant. Chi-square statistic using hand dynamometer data: 0.927, p-value = 0.629.

Conclusion: Study and review of AK literature using QUADAS, STARD, JADAD and CONSORT suggest: Research published by AK field fail accepted scientific standards. AK fails as reliable diagnostic tool upon which health decisions can be based.