Dr Anna Rolfes

Indicator muscle monitoring, Kinesiology: A doorway to the unseen world

with Dr Anna Rolfes

As an orthopaedic surgeon and osteopath, I have cared for people with chronic and degenerative diseases for many years.

Despite the therapeutic successes of replacing joints and the availability of powerful drugs to inhibit inflammation, there was nevertheless a large group of people who needed a different type of care. They responded well to tactile therapies, herbs, homoeopathics, acupuncture, electrotherapy and counselling.

This observations led me to the conclusion that the mechanistic and pharmacokinetic view of bodily structure and function advocated by medical science was not making mention of a good deal of human reality, thereby depriving patients of appropriate care.

What I had learned at medical school needed to be complemented by the study of traditional healing modalities in East and West, which all acknowledge the existence of a vital force, known as Chi in China and Prana in India.

When I encountered Kinesiology in 1987 I was intrigued by the way isometric muscle tests were used with a different focus by the assessor.

Traditionally, isometric muscle tests were used in human movement studies as clinical assessment tool for looking at impaired muscle function and device specific training programs.

The Kinesiologists used the muscle tests in a different, more subtle way to look at deviations from the normal display of neuromuscular integrity in a patient’s muscles.

This deviation was interpreted as stress in other body systems than the muscles.

The Kinesiologists called their method of muscle testing, indicator muscle testing or indicator muscle monitoring.

I learned this method of muscle testing as I realised that indicator muscle monitoring provided a pathway from the structural to the bioenergetic aspects of health. Indicator muscle monitoring was a clinical method to observe the flow of vital energy in a person’s body.

What is Kinesiology?

Over the past forty years Kinesiology has become a new field of health care worldwide. Its origin is based on the discovery of George Goodhardt, a chiropractor from the US, that manual muscle tests have a further application to their traditional use of assessing permanent muscle impairment.

He noticed that during two consecutive isometric muscle tests a muscle could sometimes lose its strength and in a consecutive test regain its strength again.

In the years to come the group of chiropractors around Goodheart explored this functional phenomenon. They discovered a connection between the loss of isometric muscle strength and subtle dysfunction or stress in other parts of the body.

For example, Goodhardt observed that different eye positions could change a prior normal isometric test to a weak response.

Subsequently, these isometric manual tests became known as “indicator muscle tests” because the transient weakness indicated some instability in other body systems.

The transient loss of neuromuscular integrity itself was referred to as “indicator muscle change”, because a stressful stimulus could make a prior strong energy flow in a muscle test change to a weak response.

Likewise, an indicator muscle test that presented with a weak energy flow, could be strengthened by massaging certain reflex points on the body, stimulating meridians, introducing healthy food substances, and releasing emotional and mental stress.

Some pioneers of Kinesiology

Many of the initial chiropractors who first took interest in Goodheart’s discovery, contributed to the research into indicator muscles in the last forty years:

John Thie DC, is remembered for having brought the discovery to a wider audience. In 1973 he published the ‘Touch For Health Manual’, which describes the basic 42 indicator muscle tests and their connection to meridians, neurovascular points, neurolymphatic points, and biogenic food substances.

It remains a bestseller in its 35th year of publication.

David Walther DC published the first “Synopsis of Applied Kinesiology”, in which he assembled the teaching notes of the chiropractors trained by G. Goodheart, and organised them into a syllabus.

John Diamond MD, Gordon Stokes and Daniel Whiteside researched how indicator muscles can be used to restore emotional health. Stokes and Whiteside, Gail and Paul Dennison pioneered the kinesiological treatment of dyslexia and learning difficulties.

They, amongst others, developed programs for restoring healthy brain integration for sport and intellectual performance.

The use of “Fingermodes” was introduced by the late Alan Beardall DC. These are symbolic finger and hand positions used as non-verbal communication tools during a kinesiology balance.

In recent years Bruce Dewe MD and his wife Joan have compiled the most comprehensive database of kinesiology techniques under the fingermode system.

Nowadays, Kinesiology is practised worldwide. There are many who have furthered Kinesiology in the US, the European countries, South Africa, Indonesia, China, Japan, Hong Kong and Russia.

They cannot possibly all be listed. Over the years J. Thie’s manual12 has been translated into 23 languages.

What do Kinesiologists do?

Kinesiologists use indicator muscle monitoring as a biofeedback tool to assess a person’s state of health.

The tests provide a pathway to monitor a person’s life energy and tap into the person’s biocomputer to find and eliminate stressors connected with the health problem.

Such stressors might be nutritional or environmental factors, unbalanced emotions and belief systems, or unresolved traumatic memories.

In addition, indicator muscle monitoring is used as a guide to find solutions to the person’s health problem. Solutions that strengthen a person’s life energy and proposed solutions that weaken a person’s life energy will be discussed to assist the client in finding a workable and implementable strategy for her/his situation.

Over the last forty years Kinesiologists have collated a huge body of knowledge on non-invasive means to restore a person’s health.

Many techniques originated from the traditional healing modalities such as massage, acupressure, counselling, psychotherapy, herbalism, homeopathy, aromatherapy and spiritual healing.

They have been refined through the observation of indicator muscle response.

The indicator muscle tests help to tailor the application of such therapies to the specific need of the individual seeking health care.

Common balancing techniques used by Kinesiologists include a variety of massage skills, emotional stress release techniques, nutritional and exercise programs, reprogramming of unhealthy belief systems, life and spiritual coaching.

Indicator muscle monitoring provides a body counselling technique that allows a trained practitioner to access the person’s innate self-healing potential.

Therefore Kinesiologists can deal successfully with a variety of health problems in non-invasive and efficient ways.

The success of this approach has lead Kinesiology to flourish as a new health care modality that complements other forms of health care and healing.

My research on the phenomenon of indicator muscle change

When I first encountered Kinesiology as a client, I was intrigued by its simple clinical examination system of indicator muscles for finding dysfunction, and then determining the best treatment to correct the problem.

The instant improvement of my health problem was impressive, leading me to eventually learn the method of indicator muscle monitoring and many of the tactile, emotional and mental healing techniques the pioneers of Kinesiology were applying.

At the same time, in the 1980s, l was trying to find as much literature on the method as I could – not an easy task at the time, as most “Kinesiology knowledge” existed only in the form of workshop manuals and verbal statements.

Subsequently, I carried out a PhD research project on the phenomenon of Indicator Muscle Change.

The results showed that the circuits of motor control, which sustain muscle tone, play an important role in the phenomenon of indicator muscle change.

The subtle loss of neuro-muscular integrity on those levels when a stressful stimulus is introduced most likely elicits the transient loss of isometric muscle strength.

The ability of the body to override “weaknesses” through voluntary effort and voluntary control of muscle action can mask outcomes.

Similar results pointing to the involvement of the involuntary circuits of muscle control were observed in earlier studies by Leisman et al.

Recently a study by Monti et al. (1999) showed that true self-referential statements significantly enhanced muscle function.

Although we do not know the exact physiological pathways of the phenomenon of indicator muscle change as yet, the above outcome studies give evidence to the clinical validity of the method.

My work with Indicator Muscles

In 1990 I started to use the method in my own practice; first for my patients who were unwell and for whom traditional investigations did not provide any insight into the nature of their problems, or in cases where the therapies previously assigned to the ailment were not producing any results.

Sometimes nothing seemed to improve for the patient with an indicator muscle balance, and sometimes I witnessed healing for my patients that was beyond the scope of what I had ever imagined possible.

On the average, the indicator muscle tests in conjunction with the healing techniques I had learned were a great asset in helping many of my patients in a non-invasive way.

As a result of my research I use a modified form of indicator muscle tests by which the muscle monitored can stay in a relaxed state during the monitoring procedure.

This testing method complements the commonly used indicator muscle testing technique. It allows to bypass the voluntary efforts of the body and tap into the hidden disturbance and stress in a person’s energy field.

These ‘reflex tests’ were more sensitive in showing energy disturbance in the clinical trials of my research. My observation using the ‘reflex tests’ the last 10 years in my practice have confirmed this view.

The ‘reflex tests’ give access to hidden disturbance and stress in a person’s energy field that often is compensated through voluntary effort.

Monitoring muscle response on that level provides a doorway to observe the body’s life sustaining energy.

This allows a trained practitioner to guide a person to a steady organisation of life energy in order to support a healthy body.

What patients say about Kinesiology

Indicator muscle monitoring gives patients a deeper understanding and awareness of themselves, their past experiences, present obstacles and own innate self-healing potential.

During ten patient interviews conducted by Anna as part of her PhD research, a wide range of observations were made about the effects of indicator muscle monitoring.

See Kinesiology, a clients perspective on this website for a series of interviews with clients.

Although each person’s experience using muscle monitoring is unique, there was a common feeling among the group of patients who were interviewed that muscle monitoring had enabled them to access and trust their intuition in a way they had not experienced before.

One patient explained; “It’s another level of truth and that’s the best way to put it because reality is a bit hard to define. It’s a truth I’m not conscious of at times, I believe it’s part of my intuition.”

Another patient describes the positive benefits of this awareness; “It makes me feel stronger and forces me to look at things I’ve covered up and find ways of dealing with them, which I find very strengthening.”

By communicating with the body through indicator muscle monitoring patients gain valuable insight that can help them begin the process of self-healing.

“It helped me to see where the weaknesses and problems were and taught me ways of changing old ideas and thought patterns,” says one patient.

With the knowledge gained through indicator muscle monitoring people are encouraged to approach their health and wellbeing differently.

As one patient said, “It’s given me an awareness that there are a lot of things going on in your body that we are not aware of and that there are a lot of other factors involved in our well-being.”

People are able to establish positive solutions to help eliminate their unwellness, “It showed me things about myself that I didn’t know. It showed me things that I can do – practical and easy ways to keep feeling good.”

By Dr Anna Rolfes

Contact Anna on 0414 303 750

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