To understand what is kinesiology all about, consider this: The human body contains and can provide more information than you might think – skin color, eye and body movement, or voice tone can indicate a person’s health status.
There is a simple method by which a direct ‘dialogue’ can be established with the body to tell its problems and, from there, seek a solution. This is the principle of kinesiology.
This tool includes different therapeutic techniques that favor the organism’s recovery at a physical, emotional, and energetic level.
Although it is also used to solve problems related to muscles and bones, and that is why we talk about applications of kinesiology in physical therapy, this discipline is pervasive and reaches deeper levels.
Many specialists emphasize that its benefits are multiple and extend to the sports field.
Perhaps the best-known relationship between kinesiology and sports is the one that united the footballer Leo Messi with the Italian dietician Giuliano Poser for years, under whose prescriptions achieved improvements in his physical performance.
**The case of the Argentinean and how kinesiology helped him is detailed almost at the end of the post.
Basic principles and muscle test indicator
The word kinesiology comes from the union of the Greek terms kinesis, which means movement, and logos, which can be translated as treatise or study.
The kinesiologist uses his knowledge to, through different manual techniques focused on the muscles and reflex points of the body, detect alterations within the system from emotional, nutritional, energetic, neurological to postural, to cite some examples.
Once identified, the body is returned to its normal or homeostatic (stable) state.
The idea is that the body indicates the problem, and its subsequent solution comes from some of the techniques used, such as the Indicator Muscle Test (Muscle Monitoring) or the Arm Reflex (AR) muscle test.
In both, the therapist establishes a dialogue with the organism by generating stimulations that provoke a muscular tone response. When this is not correct, there is a problem.
Decoding the problem
The kinesiologist has the ability to decode the information given by the body. They have the knowledge and tools to know how to ask the right questions to the body and understand the answers (it’s like a normal conversation).
For example, if an athlete presents a contraction and the kinesiologist wants to know what the cause is, he must be making different stimulations (questions), normally in the muscles (muscular test), and evaluating the tone (answer).
If he identifies that the stimulus changes the muscle tone, there lies the problem. The specialist may also use other techniques such as acupuncture points, acupressure, etc.
Subsequently, more specific tests continue to be carried out until the main cause and priority factors involved are found. Once found, the techniques that correct all these imbalances can be applied, and the problem can be solved.
No sophisticated machines of advanced physiotherapy are used to correct the problems. Instead, other techniques are used, such as acupuncture points, neurolymphatic and neurovascular points, craniosacral therapies, supplementation, integration techniques, and brain activation, among many others.
To verify the effectiveness of the treatments, the procedure is quite similar. The professional can also use these tests to check if the muscle tone is adequate, which would mean that the incidence in the body has been resolved.
Similarly, it can determine which health professional is the most suitable to work more deeply in the area where the problem has been identified. Or, also, which therapy is the most convenient to apply.
What is Kinesiology and the science behind the muscle tests?
The Indicator Muscle Test and the AR test are the main techniques with which a kinesiologist works to resolve imbalances, or what is the same, functional and energetic alterations that prevent a person from being at 100%.
Indicator muscle test
This test is based on isometric contraction -without muscle length changes- a muscle and evaluating the tone response.
When applying a stimulus, it verifies if the muscle remains strong (facilitated) or if, on the contrary, it becomes weak or inhibited.
The area where the stimulus is applied always corresponds- to a part of the body. Therefore, if a reaction is not ideal, it is possible to determine where the problem is.
The muscle test’s secret lies in the connection between the muscle nerves, organs, and glands through the spinal cord.
A decrease in the nerve flow of a muscle is also associated with a reduction in an organ or gland’s nerve flow. It is, so to speak, a circuit.
If the result is not the desired one, there is a problem in the ‘wiring,’ and the cause of this low nerve flow must be determined.
In this technique, the key is found in the human body’s two muscle chains: the left and the right.
When we look at the length of the arms when we gently stretch them, both should be the same length so that there is a compensated balance in both parts of the body.
However, if when applying a stimulus that generates stress, there is one that is shorter or longer, the body has not been able to compensate or adapt to it.
A stressed brain generates an order that causes muscular chains to compensate for the stress; the kinesiologist can see the reflex in the extremities’ length.
Depending on the stimulus, the kinesiologist interprets a response. As previously said, it is a conversation with the subconscious, which had stored everything and responded when ‘asked.’
What types of Kinesiology are there?
Kinesiology can be classified according to the characteristics and the type of therapy you want to achieve.
You can go from kinesiology that analyzes and checks the movements and the muscles’ response to reach their potential to that which seeks the body’s health as a means of energetic balance and thus achieve the integral health of body, mind, and soul.
The following are the most important types of kinesiology:
Applied kinesiology is when different tests and analysis of the muscles and their movements must be applied.
In this way, the problem or condition of the same can be diagnosed, and adequate treatment can be carried out to solve it.
Holistic kinesiology is where muscle conditions and problems must be diagnosed and treated based on the mental or energetic imbalance produced.
This way, it is possible to achieve good health, not only corporal but also psychic, emotional, or energetic.
Its objective is to carry out treatments to avoid or prevent future conditions of the patient.
Likewise, to carry out the necessary care when the first symptoms of a condition appear. With this type of kinesiology, the organism can be maintained in an optimal state before future ailments appear.
This has the objective of carefully treating a problem or condition at a muscular or motor level, reducing it, and even eliminating it.
This type of kinesiology is responsible for reducing and eliminating pain, bruises, stiffness, and even some types of paraplegia.
In this type of kinesiology, the patient must carry out the movements indicated in the therapies so that he is the one in charge of following up on his own.
These therapies are performed with the assistance of a professional kinesiologist.
In this type of kinesiology, the professional therapist is responsible for carrying out all the therapy effort, performing with the patient all the movements required for recovery.
- Kinesiology helps to improve motor skills and coordination
- It helps to improve body posture
- It is a good exercise for personal growth and development
- It eliminates any physical ailment and even reaches holistic benefits, eliminating psychological and emotional problems
- It helps to reduce stress and anxiety caused by any personal or family problem
- The use of kinesiology allows a correct evaluation of the muscles and their movements and reactions. In this way, a correct diagnosis and treatment can be reached
- It allows eliminating all the pains and physical and muscular tensions
Types of treatment
- Preventive – to prevent pathologies, injuries, or to avoid that they worsen irreversible injuries.
- Curative – injury, joint blockage.
- Pre-surgical – teach the patient a pattern of exercises to do before surgery.
- Post-surgical – Early or immediate phase: after-effects of the intervention (scar, edema…) Late phase: pathology for which the patient has been operated.
- Post-immobilization – the muscles atrophy, lack of calcification in the bones (plaster, fédula…).
- Maintenance – for example, deformities in the spine.
What is kinesiology fields of action?
- Orthopedic Surgery
- Plastic Surgery
- Sports Pathology
- Cardiovascular Pathology
Roberto Perez, a Colombian Kinesiology specialist, points out that the kinesiologist’s work can range from resolving symptomatology to preparing the body for a certain objective.
The task of this professional is “to look for the deepest causes of these imbalances and restore them so that they bring much more energy to the organism.”
As indicated, this discipline does not necessarily have to be used to treat pain or pathology. It can be used to make a person perform at his best in the face of opposition or to achieve a sports goal.
Because if there is something that makes you stressed or uncomfortable, you will never give 100%.
As Perez explains, the great advantage of kinesiology is that it is “the body itself, the unconscious, that is telling us where the problem is, where we have to go and how we have to solve it or the tools that we have to use.”
“For professionals, it is an interesting tool because it is the patient who will be guiding you on what he or she needs.”
This way, you can apply the techniques more accurately. Besides, it can be used on any person, with no age or health restrictions.
The expert cites a case that reflects quite well how kinesiology works. For example, a dancer who used to dance and suffered from pain in her feet. Through testing, she was identified that she was suffering from a lot of stress due to being observed.
Those nerves altered the active primitive reflexes that caused changes in the muscle basal tone.
Having one side more toned than the other caused coordination problems and, therefore, pain. Once the problem was identified, it was corrected, and the pain disappeared.
The Argentinean star used to suffer from vomiting during matches. It was an Italian doctor, Giuliano Poser, who managed to solve this problem thanks to kinesiology:
“Through several muscle tests, you can see the effect that a food or an integrator has,” the expert said in an interview recalling the case of the South American soccer star.
Messi radically changed his diet after passing through the hands of Poser. This therapist also mentions the example of the veteran cyclist Davide Rebellin, winner of several important races after he worked on his vertebrae.
Kinesiology and Sports
Despite Messi’s successful case, kinesiology is not very widespread in the sports field (beyond the Kinesio tape).
This does not mean that it is not useful. On the one hand, it can help in the preventive factor to avoid injuries:
“If you are emotionally unstable or have personal conflicts …, that will generate an internal discomfort that will weaken your muscles and lead to injuries. When you leave the person ‘balanced,’ his body performs better,” says Roberto Perez.
It can also be interesting from a recovery standpoint, “especially in those cases where they don’t know what the problem is,” highlights Perez.
According to the specialist, “there are times when the origin of the problem is not the muscle but its nerve ending or an organ associated with that muscle.
Therefore, it is important to know how to find out that origin in order to solve the problem.”
Another application of kinesiology in sport is to prepare the body for competition. As explained above, certain elements can interfere with an athlete’s performance and go unnoticed: problems with colleagues, stage fright…
All of these affect the final result. If these internal ‘noises’ are eliminated, an athlete will give 100%, which will help him achieve his goal, whether it is a great race or match.
Finally, the expert mentions that this tool can favor the work of supplementation, helping to detect what the athlete needs and adjust the doses.
What is Kinesiology in today’s world? Conclusion
Roberto Perez considers the work of a kinesiologist to be very useful in the health field, as it can help speed up the recovery of any patient:
“As far as I’m concerned, it should be applied on every sports discipline and health center,” he says. Despite the expert’s opinion, the scientific community has not been able to agree on this discipline’s true usefulness.
Thus, some studies have demonstrated its effectiveness in correcting or identifying problems. In contrast, others point out that it cannot be established as a useful or reliable diagnostic instrument.
Some governments have included it in therapies that are still being evaluated. In other words, there is still no consensus in the scientific community on its efficacy and safety.
For Perez, the “lack of knowledge” and “rushed judgments” that are made about it have prevented it from being more widely implemented in the healthcare field and in society.
To put an end to this situation, his K. center in Colombia carries out different training courses that bring kinesiology closer to people and develop masters to train new kinesiologists.