Muscle testing (formally called “applied kinesiology”) can be a powerful tool for getting valuable information to support your well-being.
People use muscle testing for all sorts of purposes, including choosing supplements, checking in with spiritual guidance, and discovering subconscious limiting beliefs. (By “people” I guess I mean “me,” because I just listed my favorite reasons to use it.)
But the mistake people often make with muscle testing is taking for granted the accuracy of the feedback, when in truth it’s very easy to get false responses. I’ve learned a lot about that in my decade as a healer, and I want to shed some light on what you might be doing wrong.
First, though, let’s get on the same page about what muscle testing is, just in case you’re hearing of it for the first time. I remember one client who freaked a little when I first mentioned muscle testing to her. She thought it was a biopsy sort of thing that involved sticking a needle into her arm. That would freak me out too.
Thankfully, that’s not at all what we’re talking about. Muscle testing is a completely non-invasive technique. If we look at its formal name, “applied kinesiology,” we see that it’s the use of muscle movement (kinesiology) for a practical (applied) purpose. Yet another name for it is “autonomic response testing (ART),” which more clearly tells us that we’re engaging the autonomic (think: automatic) nervous system (ANS) and measuring its response.
How are we engaging the nervous system? By activating a muscle group – for example, pressing down on your arm while it’s extended outward – and observing whether it remains strong or becomes weak in the presence of a stimulus (i.e., the thing that we’re trying to test). Rather than trying to explain it further, I’ll suggest that you search “muscle testing”on YouTube and watch one of the many videos people have already made.
Then come back here and I’ll tell you what those videos leave out.
You see, anyone can show you the mechanics of how to muscle test, but just like the difference between singing karaoke and being talented enough to sell out an arena, there are ways to perfect muscle testing that can only be achieved through tons of experience or some expert coaching.
And here I am with that coaching.
The most important insight to understand about muscle testing is that since you’re using your body as a feedback mechanism, the pathways for that feedback need to be clearly connected – and most often they’re not. Those pathways are either disconnected (in a metaphorical sense which I’ll explain) or “gunked up” with interference. This interference comes from three primary hidden factors:
1. Being too much in your head
Like I already said, muscle testing relies on responses from your body to give you answers. In order for that to work, your awareness has to be in your body. And as you probably know, we humans in the Western world tend to spend our time in our minds rather than our bodies. You can’t feel the subtle responses of your body if you’re stuck in your head.
Getting out of your head and into your body is what we call “getting centered.” Regardless of which muscle testing technique you’re using, before you start testing you need to drop your awareness into your body. It’s the only way to quiet your mind and keep your thoughts from overriding your results.
When you don’t get centered first, you’ll most likely get the result that your mind wants or expects instead of the true response from your ANS. I’ve made this mistake myself when I feel rushed – or when I don’t really want to know the true answer. I’ve also stood in front of clients who’ve insisted that they were checking in with their guidance and receiving confirmation of what they just told me, when in fact I could feel that they never got out of their minds and into their bodies to accurately do the testing. Because they didn’t want to hear their guidance to say they were wrong.
In short, your body is an antenna; for it to work, you have to properly connect to it.
2. Triggered by physical sensitivities
One of the reasons I know so much about muscle testing is because years ago I took an ART workshop from Dr. Robert Johnson, a holistic dentist in Fairfax, VA. Most of that two-day workshop focused on allergies and sensitivities that interfere with muscle testing, and how to recalibrate for them. For instance, the nickel in my cute-but-cheap earrings was creating false negatives in my muscle testing, so I had to remove them to neutralize their effect.
Neutralizing nickel earrings is easy, but what about when you’re triggered by the wheat or corn you ate earlier in the day, or the mercury in your fillings? In those cases, you have to hold a sample of the irritant along with whatever you’re testing. (Why/how that works, I’m still not sure, but that’s how it’s done.)
Wheat, corn, sugar, milk, and heavy metals are the most common disruptors to muscle testing, as we learned in that workshop, but they’re not the only ones. How do you find out which ones you have? Well, you can buy a muscle testing kit and calibrate against thousands of samples each time you start. But most of us won’t do that.
The alternative is to pay attention to your own body all the time. Notice how you feel after eating foods that people are most commonly sensitive to (wheat, corn, sugar, cow dairy) or exposure to other substances. Any sluggishness or itchiness you feel after exposure is likely a sign of your ANS being affected, which means your muscle testing results will too. You can neutralize anything you’re sensitive to buy holding a sample of it every time you muscle test.
But here’s another idea: Rather than compensating for your exposure, why not eliminate your exposure? Not just to improve your muscle testing results, but because those substances are messing up your central nervous system, and that constant stress is detrimental in far more important ways than muscle testing results. Think about that.
3. Limited by hidden thoughts and feelings
Physical substances aren’t the only source of interference. Your thoughts and emotions, especially the ones that cause you stress, can sabotage your results too.
If your nervous system is irritated because you’re mentally stressed, then you’re not going to get accurate results. But even if you feel completely calm, your beliefs (conscious and unconscious) as well as stuck emotions can influence the results.
Let’s say, for example, that you’re muscle testing different probiotic supplements to find the right one. But let’s also say that you’ve been taught that probiotics should be stored in a fridge, and all of these are on a shelf at room temperature. It’s completely possible that none of those probiotics will test strong (positive) for you because how they’re stored doesn’t comply with what you believe is necessary to maintain their potency.
Another example: You’re headed to a party and muscle testing to get your angels’ guidance on whether it’ll be faster to take the highway or surface streets. But secretly you don’t really want to go to the party. You might actually get the wrong answer and end up stuck in traffic.