Back to Eden - Nutritional Herbs and Vitamins

Based on the concept of internal energy fundamental to traditional Chinese medicine, muscle testing is a noninvasive way of evaluating the body’s imbalances and assessing its needs. It involves testing the body’s responses when applying slight pressure to a large muscle, to provide information on energy blockages, nutritional deficiencies, and food sensitivities. It can also be used to test the body’s responses to herbs and other remedies.


Muscle testing is painless, noninvasive, and inexpensive. It provides a wealth of data that may not be available even with expensive equipment and laboratory testing.


Since the 1960s, each branch of medicine has found uses for this “soft technology.”  For example:

  • Chiropractors, to pinpoint problems and to tell when the vertebrae are correctly adjusted

  • Medical doctors, to test drug compatibility before giving a prescription

  • Herbalists, to select the herbs which will be most beneficial in a given situation

  • Allergists, to determine which molds, pollens, and other substances may be causing allergic reactions

  • Therapists, to demonstrate the negative effects of certain music, lighting, environmental or emotional stresses

  • Nutritionists, to detect subtle food sensitivities and determine which foods should be eliminated from the diet

  • Veterinarians, through surrogate testing to diagnose and select the optimal treatment

In a typical example of muscle testing, the person being tested is given an herb to hold (or a food, if testing for an allergy). The practitioner presses down on the person's other arm and the opposite shoulder with equal pressure (to facilitate balance). If the person needs the herb or is not allergic to the food, the arm will remain strong against the pressure. Otherwise, the arm will go weak. The same procedure can be used to determine how often each herb should be taken and how much each time. Muscle testing can also be used to test the body’s responses to thoughts, sounds, colors, and emotions.

Some practitioners test with the person's arm straight out to the side, which relates only to the lung meridian. Others use the central meridian for testing, with the arm at an angle of about 30 degrees to the body and slightly toward the front. All the meridians intersect with the central meridian, so testing it produces a more accurate response than testing just the lung meridian and is less fatiguing for both parties.

Although muscle testing is simple, answers will be incorrect if a person’s energy is blocked. Testing the body’s polarity reveals whether blockages are present. If so, they must be cleared before proceeding. The same test is also used with each product, to make sure the product doesn’t interfere with the body’s polarity. This could, in time, cause a reaction. The selected products are also tested as a group, because an individual product may test well but, combined with others, could cause a reaction.

Muscle testing is often referred to as applied kinesiology, although the two are not the same. Applied kinesiology originated with the work of Dr. George Goodheart, a chiropractor, in the sixties, based on earlier work by others. Offshoots of this technique, referred to as “specialized kinesiologies,” have also been developed. Perhaps the best known is a program called Touch for Health (TFH), which was created by a colleague of Goodheart’s, Dr. John Thie, and has been taught worldwide. Muscle testing is a component of all these practices.

Diamond, John, M.D. Your Body Doesn’t Lie. (Illustrated book on techniques of muscle testing)

Hawkins, David, M.D. Power vs. Force. (Discussion of philosophical issues arising from muscle testing and this technique’s transformative potential for society)

Levy, Susan, D.C. Your Body Can Talk. (Illustrated book on techniques of muscle testing)

Shepard, Stephen Paul. Healing Energies. (One of the first books on muscle testing)

Thie, John, D.C. Touch for Health. (Illustrated book on techniques of muscle testing)