An Occult form of Kinesiology

Prof. J.S. Malan, University of the North

Abstract: Practices related to kinesiology are well established in the field of alternative medicine.

Practitioners of alternative medicine associate their therapies with (a) the “Eastern philosophies”, and (b) “muscle testing and the correction and stimulation of our energy-fields…” and therefore openly identifies with the New Age concept of holistic healing.

In this short review I will quote from the widely acclaimed Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs by Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr. John Weldon (Harvest House Publishers, Oregon, 1996).

Alternative medicine has become established as an umbrella term which groups together all forms holistic health practices. In a holistic world-view (e.g. the Eastern philosophies), no distinction is made between the natural and supernatural as they flow together in a cosmic whole. Natural, or physical phenomena (which can be scientifically determined and controlled) become fused with metaphysical (spiritual) phenomena which lie beyond the scope of science.

The Eastern cultures are not monotheistic but pantheistic in that they equate “God” with an impersonal life force, which is described as a creative energy that permeates the entire natural world:

“This energy goes by countless names. Some of the more popular are: life-force, vital force, the Force, animal magnetism, chi (yin/yang), the innate, life energy, universal life energy, cosmic energy, mana, orgone, para-electricity, prana and vital energy. The energy is said to be that in which all things have their origin and by which all things are sustained. If life is going wrong, or if an evil occurs, or an illness, it is because the life-energy is blocked at some point or out of balance. The solution is to redress that imbalance or unblock the flow. Because the source of the power is impersonal – therefore subject to no will but one’s own – anyone who knows the correct ‘spiritual technologies,’ such as those found in holistic health care, can tap into and manipulate this invisible force at will” (Ankerberg & Weldon 1996:XIII).

As for kinesiology, one must clearly distinguish between scientific and mystical (New Age) forms of it: “Kinesiology is the science or study of human muscular movement, especially as applied in physical education. While New Age muscle testing may or may not employ some of the methods of formal kinesiology, scientific kinesiology never employs the methods of New Age muscle testing. The two disciplines are based on an entirely different approach to physiology and health” (Ankerberg & Weldon 1996:399-400).

The kinesiology, or muscle testing, encountered in the field of alternative medicine is referred to as Applied Kinesiology as founded by George Goodheart, Touch for Health as founded by John Thie and Behavioural Kinesiology as founded by John Diamond. Ankerberg & Weldon (1996:399) summarises this practice as follows:

“How does it claim to work? Muscle testing claims that disease can be evaluated, at least in part, through specific patterns of muscle weakness. It also claims to manipulate alleged body energies to produce and maintain healing. By supposedly ‘unblocking’ congested energy along meridian pathways, or by infusing energy into deficient organs or bodily areas, practitioners believe that physical health can be maintained.

“Scientific evaluation. Discredited.

“Examples of occult potential. Manipulating invisible energies can easily become an occult practice, e.g. a form of psychic healing. In addition, many muscle testers employ pendulums, dowsing instruments, and other radionics devices.

“Major problems. Muscle testing rejects the known facts of human anatomy by accepting undemonstrated connections between muscles and specific organs and diseases; it also claims to regulate bodily energies whose existence has never been proven.

“Biblical/Christian evaluation. Muscle testing is often based, in part, upon Taoist philosophy or other Eastern metaphysics, is scientifically discredited and potentially occult. It should be avoided on this basis.

“Potential dangers. The attendant hazards of misdiagnosis and occult influences.”