Muscle Testing vs.
Reflex Muscle Testing
“Manual Muscle Testing is a procedure for the evaluation of the function and strength of individual muscles and muscle groups based on effective performance of a movement in relation to the forces of gravity and manual resistance."
-MN.Variations in current manual muscle testing.Phys Ther Rev.1959;39:466-475
Muscle testing is often a misunderstood diagnostic procedure. Within the health care community it is understood to be an excepted procedure. Muscle Testing is a viable means of evaluating the musculoskeletal system to determine muscle(s) that may be injured or damaged. It is also used to determine the level of nerve interference from the brain to the spinal level, along the path of the nerve to the muscle(s), to determine pressure or damage. Typically, removing the pressure or interference brings strength back to the previously weak muscle. The return of strength is felt by the patient and doctor. This is well accepted. No one in the health care field would dispute this.
The controversy comes in when doctors claim a patient or the doctor touches a part of the body and a previously tested strong muscle weakens. This has not been explained with scientific research. Never the less, it happens. Once you feel it happen to you, it cannot be denied. If that is not enough, doctors that perform this procedure claim a weak muscle can become strong when a nutrient that the body may need, is placed in the mouth or on the body of a patient. There are numerous other claims of this form of reflex testing. If I were to hear this, without ever experiencing it, I would think it is nonsense. Where is the research and why don't all doctors use this technique. The only research in this area is on a clinical basis, what doctors have observed and reported on. Doctors that utilize muscle testing reflex work subject themselves to being questionable and effecting their credibility.
However: Over the years, I have continued to further my education in my ability to find methods of uncovering the root cause of a patient’s condition. Certainly the bulk of my exam and treatment is with the use of conventional and progressive tests and treatment methods. However, in the process of studying different methods of diagnosing and treating conditions, if a procedure works to hasten the understanding of a condition and rehabilitation of that condition, I feel obligated to use it. How crazy would it be not to use it? The problem with the reflex muscle testing portion of my procedures is, it is hard to understand unless you have felt the weakness in your own body becoming strong or a strong muscle becomes weak by me touching a portion of your spine or other areas of your body that are under stress. It just does not seem possible. I use it because it works and I believe it shortens the duration of pain and dysfunction, decreases the need for active care and therefore reduces costs to the patient and insurance companies. Certainly, this reflex muscle testing does not work on everyone. There are countless reasons for this and many reasons we just have not thought about. If I were to guess, I'd say it works on about 90% of my patient population and then a percentage that it works moderately well and a small percentage it does not work on at all. Doctors are continuing to uncover ways to improve these statistics.
Reflex Muscle Testing is not a strength test. It tests the electrical tone of the muscles. Any muscle in the arms or legs can be used. To give you an idea of what it feels like. Imagine laying on your stomach and bringing your foot to your butt. You are using the hamstring muscle. Now imagine about a quarter of the way to your butt someone is stopping the movement. The hamstring tenses. The doctor and the patient apply equal force. It would be about a quarter of the strength, or less, of pulling or pushing almost as hard as you could. Once the resistance is met with equal resistance with the doctor, the doctor touches different levels of the spine. A perceived weakness is felt by the patient and doctor causing your lower leg to give away towards the table. It is like short circuiting the nerve to the muscle for an instant or longer. It basically tells us something is not right in the area the doctor touched. It does not tell the doctor what is wrong. Working on the muscles and adjusting the spine in the area of weakness most often eliminates the reflex. The doctor now touches the area and it stays strong. This gives the doctor a rationale that the cause of stress, at this level, has been removed.
From a nutritional standpoint, when the doctor touches a spinal level and a muscle weakens the doctor then places one of several supplements that are known to benefit muscles, tendons, discs or nerves on the patient one by one. If the muscle strengthens the doctor presumes the area of the spine wants this nutrient and becomes strong. So rather than recommending 5 or more supplements we can narrow the choices to one or two. Touching over the organs of the body produces the same reflex, if the organ is under stress. In essence, we are asking the body, where do you have stress? I know this sounds unconventional and frankly, I would have a hard time believing this if I did not see it work effectively on a day to day basis. Since we know that this is a difficult concept to grasp, if it has not been done to you, we offer a Complimentary Nutrition Check visit where we show you how the technique is used in conjunction with other findings. No cost. No hard sell. No follow up phone calls. All we ask is that you experience it to see if this is right for you.
When considering if this is a science or art, it is a science and an art. The science is that Muscle Testing is a valid form of diagnosis. The Art is being able to feel the muscle weaken on a positive reflex, interpreting what the weakness signifies and finding ways to eliminate the reflex.