Kinesiology, A Pathway to Effective Therapy

By Don McCann , MA, LMT, LMHC, CSETT

Digital Exclusive

Kinesiology, A Pathway to Effective Therapy


Digital Exclusive

I use kinesiology (in numerous ways) in my daily practice. A basic principle of Structural Energetic Therapy is to bring the structure of the body into support and balance to restore pain free function. This creates the ability to rehabilitate the cause of pain instead of trying to manage it.

The core distortion is a spiral twist, as indicated by Dr. Yokum's work, which runs from an imbalance in the iliums through the entire length of the body down into the feet and is considered normal. It was only understood by structural body reading or x-rays. Without x-rays the ability to observe this torsion throughout the body was dependent upon the ability to see distortions of the body that were due to the structural imbalances of the core distortion.

It took years to become good at body reading and to develop the ability to see and understand all the nuances of structural imbalances. When I started using kinesiology my understanding and verification of these imbalances became much more comprehensive and opened the door to more effective treatment.

Types of Kinesiology

There are three types of kinesiology that are extremely helpful in structural evaluation.

  • Structural kinesiology shows which muscles move which bones, and the direction of movement. Example: when adductors that attach to the knee are contracted they cause a medial rotation of the knee.

  • Functional kinesiology shows the actual strength of the muscle in its ability to function. To evaluate using functional kinesiology it is necessary to test the actual strength of the muscle while it is doing its function. Example: to test the strength of the anterior gluteal muscles I will have the client lie supine holding a straight leg six inches off the table, and I will press that leg down toward the table. If the leg is strong and able to offer substantial resistance there is no significant imbalance in the relationship between the ilium and the femur. If there is a significant imbalance of over 15 degrees in the relationship between the ilium and the femur then that tells me the leg would is significantly weakened and not able to function with full strength. Doing this test before treatment shows the therapist and client that there is a significant structural imbalance, and then repeating it after treatment verifies improvement to the therapist and client.

  • Applied kinesiology—it is not always possible to test the strength of an individual muscle in its relationship to a joint or structural imbalance. So I will identify a strong muscle with functional kinesiology, then challenge another muscle, joint, or cranial suture and test using that strong functional muscle. If the test stays strong there is balance and function. If it tests weak that indicates a significant imbalance or weakness in the area being tested. Example: have the client lie supine, raise a straight right arm to a 60 degree angle, rotate the arm with thumb pointing down toward the table, and do functional kinesiology (muscle strength). If it is strong I have a strong muscle to use for testing. I then challenge a joint like the TMJ by having the client open the mouth wide. If the right arm goes weak it indicates a significant imbalance in the TMJ. This can be used before treatment to indicate the necessity for treatment, and after treatment to indicate improvement for the client and therapist.

Using the Correct Type of Kinesiology

From the examples above you can determine which practice of kinesiology is most appropriate and the best indicator for what you are testing. In mapping and understanding the core distortion of the body all three types of kinesiology have been invaluable. Testing individual muscles using functional kinesiology revealed a 50 percent or greater weakening of muscles when there is a structural imbalance of 15 degrees or greater at the joints and the associated muscles.

Due to the spiral twist of the core distortion throughout the body each side is different. Example: for the right knee the hamstrings and medial attachments of the adductors are weak, but in the left knee the quadriceps and lateral attachments of the IT band are weak. So, if you want to create structural balance from the support of the legs it is necessary to restore strength and function.

This is extremely important information when treating knee injuries or bringing support to the pelvis for low back issues. This also explains why structural changes can be maintained when these areas are rehabilitated back to balance and full strength. With restored balance and strength, rehabilitation of significant collapses, such as scoliosis, are able to be maintained long term.

Before applied kinesiology was used to verify the core distortion in the cranium it was very difficult to perceive the cranial restrictions. Being able to use the right arm as mentioned above and developing tests that show the structural imbalance of the core distortion of the cranium led to the development of effective treatment for the distortion in the cranium. The torsion that takes place where the sphenoid and occiput meet results in all the cranial bones distorting accordingly. Mentioned above was a test for TMJ.

The significant weakness in the TMJ when someone is in the core distortion is evidence of the imbalance in the cranium from the core distortion. Other tests with eye movement can show imbalances and restrictions in the movement of the sphenoid, and rotation of the head can indicate restrictions and imbalances of the occiput and C1. Consequently, the imbalance of the cranium can be effectively evaluated using applied kinesiology.

The combination of structural, applied and functional kinesiology have not only led to a much greater understanding of the core distortion (spiral twist), but also to the development of more effective treatment to facilitate the long term rehabilitation of conditions causing musculoskeletal pain.