the story of applied kinesiology the story of ak
by Dr. Wally Schmitt

The Fascinating Story of Applied Kinesiology

This post has been derived from a presentation given by the late Dr. Wally Schmitt.

If you’d prefer to watch the video presentation, check it out below.


In the realm of healthcare, advancements and discoveries have been a constant driving force behind the evolution of treatment modalities. One such groundbreaking development that emerged in the 1960s is Applied Kinesiology (AK), a holistic approach that has gained recognition and widespread acceptance in the medical and alternative health communities. Join us on a journey through the history of AK, exploring its inception, key discoveries, and the valuable insights it offers in the diagnosis and treatment of patients.

In 1964, Dr. George Goodheart discovered Applied Kinesiology after an interaction with a patient. This patient was a veteran and was originally being treated for symptoms related to hyperthyroidism. Many of his symptoms had been successfully addressed by Dr. Goodheart, but despite these positive changes, he had an additional problem: a winging right scapula, where when he put his arm out, his shoulder would appear gargoyle-like in its posture.

history of ak applied kinesiology

During his visits to the clinic, this patient regularly embarrassed Dr. Goodheart by asking in front of a full waiting room: ‘Hey Doc, when are you gonna fix my shoulder?’

Dr. Goodheart, feeling the pressure to resolve this issue, eventually had a breakthrough. After reading a book titled "Muscles: Testing and Function" by Kendall and Kendall, he finally recognized the winging scapula as a sign of a weak serratus anterior muscle.

So one day, he calls the man into his office, and attempts to do his first bout of muscle testing using what he learned from this book.

Realizing the connection between the weak serratus anterior and the scapula's unusual posture, Dr. Goodheart began a series of diagnostic tests, one of which involved asking the patient to press his hands against a wall to assess the scapula's behavior. When the scapula still winged out, Dr. Goodheart decided to palpate along the serratus anterior's attachment points, discovering tender, nodular areas that were sensitive to pressure.

As he does this, the patient is squirming and experiencing some discomfort. With his usual humor, Dr. Goodheart said, ‘after all this time, this guy has been embarrassing me in the waiting room. I'll make sure I give him a real good payback.’   

After applying pressure to the nodules, working along the muscle's attachments, the patient experienced significant relief. His discomfort lessened, and he even regained strength in his shoulder. In astonishment, the patient exclaimed, "Doc, that feels better. Why didn't you do that before?"

With a touch of humor, Dr. Goodheart responded, "Well, that's what you come here for. It takes a little time to build up to a thing like this. You didn't get sick overnight, and we have to get you well over a period of time."

Dr. Goodheart then asked the patient to test his shoulder strength again by pushing his hands against the wall, and to their amazement, the scapula no longer winged out.

This marked the birth of applied kinesiology, the first-ever treatment of its kind, demonstrating the power of this innovative approach in improving patients' well-being. 

(To hear this full story from Dr. Goodheart himself, click here.)

In 1964, Dr. George Goodheart made a significant breakthrough in healthcare by introducing what is now known as Applied Kinesiology. His pioneering work began with the treatment of a patient who had a persistent shoulder issue caused by a weak serratus anterior muscle, which manifested as a winging scapula. Following a single, effective treatment, this patient's shoulder problem never recurred.

Dr. Goodheart's journey into muscle testing, a cornerstone of Applied Kinesiology, allowed him to recognize that the root cause of many musculoskeletal issues lay in muscle weaknesses rather than muscle spasms. He firmly believed that muscles held the power to move bones and not the other way around.

The Emergence of Muscle Testing

Fueled by his first patient's success, Dr. Goodheart delved deeper into muscle testing methodologies, referencing the insights from Kendall and Kendall's book. In 1964, he authored the first "Applied Kinesiology Workshop Manual," emphasizing the manipulation of muscle origins and insertions. This approach proved exceptionally effective in treating patients with muscle injuries, similar to the initial patient's case, where a single treatment produced long-lasting results.

Dr. Goodheart's visionary approach extended beyond treating symptoms to addressing the root causes of recurring subluxations and structural imbalances. He identified that muscle weaknesses, often overlooked in traditional healthcare, played a pivotal role. By correcting these muscle imbalances and ensuring muscle equilibrium, the structural integrity of the body was restored, resulting in more enduring and effective treatment outcomes.

The Key Principle of AK

The concept of muscle balance in Applied Kinesiology was akin to the guide wires of a sailboat's mast, ensuring proper alignment. When a muscle weakened or became inhibited, its counterpart might appear tight or spastic. However, Dr. Goodheart's understanding was clear: the primary issue lay in the weakened muscle.

By addressing the weak or inhibited muscle and restoring proper muscle balance, he effectively normalized the patient's structural alignment, highlighting the key principle of Applied Kinesiology: recognizing that there are muscle imbalances, and that muscles move bones, and that we could direct our attention towards the weak or inhibited muscle, and that then the opposite muscle, which would appear to be tight or spastic, will normalize when we return normal muscle balance.

The Triad of Health: A Balanced Equilateral Triangle

In the early stages of the development of Applied Kinesiology, a profound concept emerged, known as the "Triad of Health." This concept revolves around the idea that three key elements—structural, chemical, and mental—form an equilateral triangle, with each side affecting the others. Applied Kinesiology, which has its roots in chiropractic care, adopted this framework to understand and address health issues.

  • Structural: At the base of the triad, the structural element represents the physical well-being of an individual. Chiropractors and physical therapists, among others, are primarily concerned with this aspect.
  • Chemical: The second side of the triangle encompasses the chemical aspect of health. Nutritionists and allopathic practitioners focus on this dimension, considering the impact of dietary and biochemical factors.
  • Mental: The third side emphasizes the mental or psychological aspect of health. Emotional upsets, whether current or past can throw the health triad out of balance.

The holistic approach of Applied Kinesiology encourages practitioners to consider all three dimensions—structural, chemical, and mental—in order to maintain a balanced state of health.

triad of health story of AK

Enjoying this read and want more from Wally?

Did you know we offer a free trial of the QA Course? The course contains his exact methods for organizing Applied Kinesiology (AK) into the most effective system for patient results. 

The Five Factors of the IVF: Navigating the Mysteries of Interconnected Health

Dr. George J. Goodheart, the pioneering figure behind Applied Kinesiology, ventured further into the intricacies of health by introducing the concept of the "Five Factors of the Intervertebral Foramen (IVF)." These factors provide a comprehensive framework for understanding how various elements interact to influence muscle balance and overall well-being.

  1. 1. Nerve: The first factor in the Five Factors of the IVF is the nerve. Contrary to the earlier belief that nerves get "pinched," Applied Kinesiology acknowledges that nerve issues often result from feedback from joint misalignments and muscle imbalances. These misrepresentations impact neurological functions at the spinal cord level.
  2. 2. Neurolymphatic Reflexes: Dr. Goodheart explored the work of Frank Chapman, an osteopath who identified reflex points on the body known as Chapman's reflexes. These reflexes, when stimulated, have been shown to elicit responses in various organs. Dr. Goodheart found a connection between these reflexes and the lymphatic system, highlighting their role in somato-visceral and visceral-somato reflexes.
  3. 3. Neurovascular Reflexes: Dr. Terrence Bennett’s observations of vascular reflexes that, when stimulated by light touch, seemed to improve blood flow to various organs and muscles paralleled Dr. Goodheart’s observations once again.
  4. 4. Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF): The CSF factor emphasizes the importance of the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Changes in CSF flow can influence the entire triad and overall health.
  5. 5. Acupuncture Meridian Connector (AMC): While the existence of the AMC can't be directly observed, each level of the spine is believed to have an associated acupuncture meridian connector. These connectors play a vital role in the interconnected nature of health.
  6. 6. (Nutrition): Though not physically present in the intervertebral foramen, nutritional factors are carried by cerebrospinal fluid. Proper nutrition supports the overall health of the individual.

A Bridge Between Structure and Function

Frank Chapman's neurolymphatic reflexes, or Chapman's reflexes, provide a remarkable link between structural and functional aspects of health. These reflex points, located on the body's surface, correspond to specific organs and can be palpated to identify areas of tenderness or nodules. Dr. Goodheart's exploration of these reflexes opened new possibilities for diagnosing and addressing health issues.

When a patient with chronic sciatica sought relief from Dr. Goodheart, he discovered the power of Chapman's reflexes. By identifying tenderness along the iliotibial band, which Chapman had associated with the large intestine, Dr. Goodheart used his expertise in muscle testing to alleviate the patient's pain. This was a pivotal moment in the development of Applied Kinesiology, demonstrating how interconnected health factors can influence well-being.

The Birth of Applied Kinesiology

Our journey began in 1964 when Dr. Goodheart made a remarkable observation. He noticed that when testing muscle strength, certain muscles displayed an imbalance. This observation led to the inception of Applied Kinesiology (AK), a diagnostic method that involves evaluating muscle strength to identify underlying health issues. Dr. Goodheart's discovery marked the beginning of a new era in healthcare, one that focused on the interconnectedness of the body.

Chapman's Reflexes: A Pioneering Exploration

Dr. Goodheart's journey into the world of AK continued as he delved into the exploration of Chapman's reflexes. These reflexes, according to Chapman, were associated with various organ functions. Dr. Goodheart embarked on a mission to discover if Chapman's reflexes had an impact on specific muscles.  

  • What he found was nothing short of revolutionary: a distinct muscle-organ relationship associated with Chapman's reflexes.
  • Rubbing Chapman's reflex for the stomach resulted in a response in the pectoralis major clavicular.
  • Rubbing the Chapman's reflex for the liver led to a strengthening of a weak pectoralis major sternal.
  • A weak latissimus dorsi muscle could be strengthened by rubbing the Chapman's reflex for the pancreas.
  • Rubbing the Chapman's reflex for the kidney had a strengthening effect on a weak psoas muscle.
  • The large intestine's Chapman's reflex affected the tensor fascia lata.

These findings paved the way for a deeper understanding of muscle-organ relationships and the potential for therapeutic interventions based on AK.

Bennett's Neurovascular Reflexes: Another Piece of the Puzzle

In 1967, Dr. Goodheart came across the work of Terence Bennett, a chiropractor with a keen interest in neurovascular reflexes. Bennett's reflexes became another vital component in AK. Dr. Goodheart recognized that Bennett's reflexes, often found on the skull, could be stimulated by a light touch, leading to a vascular reflex. He observed that these reflexes also exhibited muscle relationships.

  • Stimulating Bennett's reflexes for the stomach affected the pectoralis major clavicular.
  • Bennett's reflex for the liver influenced the pectoralis major sternal.
  • The pancreas reflex was linked to the latissimus dorsi.
  • The kidney reflex impacted the psoas.
  • The large intestine reflex strengthened the tensor fascia lata.

The striking similarity between the muscle-organ relationships in Bennett's reflexes and Chapman's reflexes provided substantial clinical support for AK's growing recognition.

The Role of Cerebrospinal Fluid and Cranial Techniques

In 1968, Dr. Goodheart delved into the study of cerebrospinal fluid and cranial techniques. He drew inspiration from early chiropractic investigators and osteopaths, such as William Garner Sutherland, who examined the movement of cranial bones and the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. Dr. Goodheart understood that spinal subluxations could impact cerebrospinal fluid flow and vice versa. This discovery introduced a fourth factor into the Integrated Vertebral-Foramen (IVF), further enhancing the AK framework.

Unlocking the Potential of Acupuncture Meridian Therapy

The exploration of acupuncture meridians was a significant development in the history of AK. In 1966, Dr. Goodheart documented the relationship between acupuncture meridian points and muscle balance. While this insight went largely unnoticed at the time, the resurgence of interest in acupuncture in 1971 brought this discovery into the spotlight.

Dr. Goodheart's work revealed a consistent pattern:

  • Imbalances in the stomach meridian were associated with a weak pectoralis major clavicular.
  • Liver meridian imbalances weakened the pectoralis major sternal.
  • Pancreas meridian imbalances affected the latissimus dorsi.
  • Kidney meridian imbalances influenced the psoas.
  • Large intestine meridian imbalances resulted in a weakened tensor fascia lata.

This revelation provided even further evidence of the muscle-organ relationship and the interconnectedness of the body's systems.

The Formation of the International College of Applied Kinesiology

In 1973, the International College of Applied Kinesiology (ICAK) was founded as a result of the growing popularity and influence of AK. The ICAK's primary goal was to unite AK practitioners, provide a platform for the exchange of ideas and research, and ensure the continued growth and development of AK. Over the years, the ICAK expanded its reach, with chapters established in various countries worldwide, making it a truly international and multidisciplinary organization.

The Vertebral Challenge: A Revolutionary Diagnostic Tool

In 1973, Dr. Goodheart introduced the vertebral challenge, a groundbreaking diagnostic tool for identifying subluxations in the spine. The vertebral challenge employed muscle testing to determine the presence and direction of subluxations. The tool not only facilitated the detection of spinal issues but also aided in the verification of post-adjustment changes in muscle strength.

The Game-Changer: Therapy Localization

Arguably the most significant discovery in the history of applied kinesiology came in 1974 with the introduction of therapy localization (TL). Dr. Goodheart found that by simply touching a problematic area on the body, a muscle could change strength. 

This discovery had profound implications for patient diagnosis and treatment.

Weak muscles could become strong, or strong muscles could weaken when the appropriate area that needed therapy was touched.

Therapy localization acted as a guide to identify the location of health issues within the body.

While it couldn't pinpoint the specific problem, it provided valuable information to guide healthcare practitioners in directing their care toward the most effective interventions.

Applied Kinesiology: A Glimpse into the Future of Healthcare

In the span of just over a decade, applied kinesiology had transformed from a simple observation into a multifaceted diagnostic and therapeutic framework. Its muscle-organ relationships, the five factors of the IVF, the interplay between neurovascular reflexes and cranial techniques, and the discovery of acupuncture meridian therapy and therapy localization, had revolutionized patient assessment and care.

Today, applied kinesiology remains a powerful tool for healthcare professionals, offering a comprehensive approach to patient diagnosis and treatment. While muscle testing alone cannot provide a definitive diagnosis, it guides practitioners to the root causes of health issues, promoting holistic and patient-centered care.

As the International College of Applied Kinesiology continues to grow, AK practitioners around the world are equipped with the knowledge and tools to navigate the intricate web of the human body's interconnected systems. With the legacy of Dr. George J. Goodheart as the guiding force, the future of applied kinesiology holds great promise in transforming healthcare for the better.

Do you practice AK?

If so, you probably know that Dr. Schmitt, along with Dr. Kerry McCord, published his own system for organizing the steps of AK, so you can always know what to do first, next, and last
to get the most
extraordinary results for your patients. 
It's all available online in the QA Course.  

If that sounds like it would be game-changing for your practice,
grab your free trial for the QA Course below!

Copyright 2024 - Quintessential Applications - All Rights Reserved