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Applied Kinesiology (AK) is a system using basic muscle testing for evaluating areas of dysfunction within the body.

  • 1 What is the ICAK.

    The International College of Applied Kinesiology (ICAK) is a non profit interprofessional organisation dedicated to advance manual muscle testing as a system of diagnosis for evaluating areas of dysfunction within the body.
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  • 2 Annual Conference

    Come along and join us at the 2014 ICAK-U.S.A. Annual Meeting. Help us to celebrate AK's 50th Anniversary! June 19-22, 2014 Arlington, VA
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  • 3 What is Applied Kinesiology?

    AK uses the Triad of Health. That is Chemical, Mental and Structural factors that balance the major health categories. The Triad of Health is interactive and all sides must be evaluated for the underlying cause of a problem. A health problem on one side of the triad can affect the other sides.
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  • 4 Published Research Papers

    Several hundred studies have shown that musculoskeletal pain produces muscle weakness, the detection of which makes the manual muscle test invaluable in clinical practice.
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  • 5 AK practitioners are all around the world!

    AK practitioners are located around the globe. Find a practitioner near you.
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John F. Thie, D.C.

1973 to 1976

In the early part of the 1960's, George Goodheart made a discovery in his private practice of chiropractic that seemed so elementary and fundamental to the manipulative practice of healing that he felt it was necessary for him to share this information with others.

This discovery was that what appeared to be muscle spasm was not an over tight, pathologically contracted muscle, but a normal muscle that did not have opposing muscles doing the necessary counter pull. By examining the patient for the inhibited muscle function and directing the treatment to that correction, rapid changes in the body posture could be made. Goodheart gave the name "Applied Kinesiology" to this approach of examining the body to determine muscle inhibition.

This type of kinesiological examination follows the standards set up by Kendall and Kendall in their work on muscle testing, except that much more minor variations in the muscles were considered significant in the diagnosis and treatment.

Postural analysis, always a significant part of Chiropractic practice and procedures, took on much more importance as changes in the posture appeared almost instantaneously.

The reaction of the patient knowing that his body was responding in a very rapid way, from methods that were unsuspected prior to this time, caused great enthusiasm on the part of both the practitioners and the patients. Patients with intractable frozen shoulders, chronic sciaticas, palsys and other difficult cases in the musculoskeletal conditions of the body and other organ systems, seemed to get almost miraculous results.

Goodheart, in his enthusiasm to share this knowledge, accepted speaking engagements from coast to coast at State and National conventions and special seminars sponsored by chiropractic organizations. His presentations and monographs were accepted with enthusiasm.

He had added a visual and mechanical technic to the practice of chiropractic, which seemed to prove, with testing of the patient, that what the chiropractors and osteopaths had been doing for 100 years with good clinical results could now be demonstrated readily to the patient and doctor. When the muscle balance was restored, improvement in the clinical picture often occurred simultanesouly.

In June of 1965, Goodheart and I became acquainted personally when he appeared on the American Chiropractic Association program in Los Angeles. As a subject of his demonstration, I personally experienced the dramatic changes that can take place in the ability of the patient to control the strength and function of isolated muscles.

The following year, Goodheart was invited to California by the California Chiropractic Association, and I spent the two one-day programs as Goodheart's assistant. Since that time, Goodheart and I have been close friends and worked to develop the concept of applied kinesiology and methods of presentation that made the material a practical clinical approach for all the health professions.

As Goodheart returned each year, his presentations were a delight to his audiences, as he seemed always to have a new wrinkle to his presentation - a new idea that was a part of the already existing knowledge but in a dramatically different and exciting way, with the possibilities of helping patients with difficult problems by the use of applied kinesiology.

Complaints began to be heard among the doctors learning the technics - "I see him do it, but I can't seem to make it work in my office . . . His material is not clear . . . It is difficult to understand . . . He's a great showman, but . . ." Many did not return for subsequent lectures. Many of us urged Goodheart to change his presentations from lecture demonstrations to a workshop format, so that they would be able to utilize it in their practices on the next day.

Goodheart was amenable to this idea, but it was difficult for everyone to test the same muscle, which was necessary to develop the skill in feeling the differences in muscle strength. As Sheldon Deal of Tucson, Arizona, later was to demonstrate, the differences were minor compared to the dramatic differences as appeared from the stage.

Deal showed that the differences between what we considered weak and strong muscles were all probably less than 20%. This difficulty led me to attempt, when sharing this information with others when Goodheart left each year, to utilize acupuncture sedation points to inhibit the muscle function so that all members of the workshop could develop the skill in feeling the variation in the muscle strengths, and the restoration of the muscle strength by the acupuncture stimulation points or other technics.

Goodheart adopted this format for his California seminars and the groups then grew again. As the success of the workshop method grew, more workshops by chiropractors teaching other chiropractors grew, and Goodheart encouraged this development by naming study group leaders in various areas, where persons interested could learn the material that he had originally presented, in a paced, workshop style.

Having discovered the difficulty of teaching this material myself, and at various other meetings speaking to others designated by Goodheart as workshop leaders, I encouraged Goodheart to make the study group leaders a formal organization and volunteered to put the first meeting together.

This first meeting of Goodheart Study Group Leaders was held in Detroit, Michigan, in the summer of 1973. The criteria for attending this meeting was that you were personally designated by Goodheart to be a Study Group Leader and that you would present a paper on the methods that you used in teaching classes in Applied Kinesiology or some original finds in AK.

The meeting was a great success, and another meeting was scheduled for the summer of 1974, where plans were begun to make the organization formal. The name "International College of Applied Kinesiology" was chosen, and ideas regarding its structure were presented.

At this meeting it was also decided that a second meeting each year be held where papers would not be required but could be presented. This would be more social with time to meet informally while enjoying a pleasant atmosphere. The winter meeting was held in Florida in November 1974.

At that time, I was authorized to proceed with by-laws under the general provisions of the Touch for Health Foundation of Pasadena, California, but I later discovered that Goodheart and other members of the group had serious objections to having the ICAK a part of the TFH Foundation. At the 1975 meeting of the group, in Gaylord, Michigan, the proposed by-laws were adopted eliminating the sections that made the ICAK part of the TFH Foundation.

The following officers were elected: John F. Thie, Chairman; Bert Hanicke, Vice President; Nancy McBride, Secretary; Walter Schmidt, Treasurer; and George Goodheart was appointed Chairman of the Research Committee and serves as a member of the executive board in that capacity.

The first meeting under the new by-laws was held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in November, 1975, where plans were laid for cooperation with the Touch for Health Foundation. Other memberships were opened to charter provisions providing papers were presented to the education committee.

The Foundation sponsored the first Touch for Health/AK nationally advertised programs. These included the leaders in the AK movement who taught a complete program. This brought together not only members of the chiropractic and medical professions, but also dentists, nurses, physical therapists, athletic coaches, trainers, educators and lay public.

Speakers on these programs included Drs John Thie, George Goodheart, Sheldon Deal, LeRoy Perry, Victor Frank, Fred Stoner, Nancy McBride, Jerry Deutsch, Alan Beardall, Katherine and Terry Hovey, and many others who later developed much of what is now the basics of AK.

In the summer of 1976, the first members of the International College of Applied Kinesiology were certified as Charter Diplomates. This group represented three countries - the U.S., Canada and Australia. Among this group was John Diamond, M.D., who was later to write the very popular book, Behavioral Kinesiology. Dr Diamond has continued to research the function of the human body, mind and soul using muscle testing, although he has not remained active in ICAK.

The course of study for becoming a diplomate was developed and standardized. After four years as Founding Chairman, I stepped down and Dr Bert Hanicke of St. Louis, Missouri, was elected. Dr Hanicke served as chairman and was followed two years later by Dr Sheldon Deal of Tucson, Arizona, a member of the Board of the Touch for Health Foundation.

The Touch for Health Foundation continued its programs for the layman's use of Applied Kinesiology, as well as advanced courses for Registered Nurses. (Where nurses are required to complete post-graduate training, the Touch for Health courses are approved to provide these Continuing Education Units). The layman's text Touch for Health was utilized by many members of the ICAK to train their assistants and to give to their patients, so that the patients could be more effective in their home care.

Dr Fred Stoner, a Founding Member of the Board of the Touch for Health Foundation, wrote his text The Eclectic Approach to Chiropractic, the AK methods practiced by the large Stoner Clinic in Las Vegas, Nevada. Dr Stoner now heads a number of clinics around the world, all utilizing the Applied Kinesiology approach.

Dr David Walther developed one of the outstanding seminar programs in Applied Kinesiology, along with the first textbook for the 100 hour course, allowing for uniform presentation of the AK materials. Dr Walther has continued to research and develop these methods and to interest many other members of other health care professions.

In Oregon, Dr Alan Beardall documented the manual testing of over three hundred muscles of the body. Some of these are not yet in standard medical anatomy texts, as his approach is so new that until the AK methods were developed, the medical field had no need for the isolation of these individual muscles. A former associate of mine, Dr Victor Frank of Tujunga, California, has a specialized AK methodology which he calls "Total Body Modification," dealing with patients who have allergies, in a very rapid fashion.

These are just a few of the highlights of the development of Applied Kinesiology, its growing use and sophistication. Research is continually being conducted by the members and diplomates themselves, as well as the organization funding research in institutions of higher learning.

Remaining as Chairman of the ICAK for the past four years and leading the group to new heights of success, Dr Sheldon Deal personally developed advanced techniques and applications of AK. A member of the Board of Trustees of the Touch for Health Foundation, he and other members of the TFH staff felt the need for a chiropractic assistants program. Doctors utilizing AK procedures could have their assistants trained to be effective in aiding the doctor in diagnosis and treatment of patients utilizing the AK treatment procedures.

This course had been encouraged by Dr George Goodheart, also a founding member of the TFH Foundation Board, although in recent years his very busy schedule caused him to have to resign from this position.

Dr Deal's program, used in his Tucson office, has been said to be one of the greatest developments in AK because it has taken the materials of all the members of the ICAK and put them together in an easy-to-use, organized fashion. Using this procedure, the doctor can cover all the diagnostic points of AK in a short period of time, allowing the costs to the patient to be kept to a minimum - a very important consideration, as many doctors are very concerned over the high cost of rendering such comprehensive, quality health care in their practices.

The International Board of Applied Kinesiology has been functioning since the 1977 meeting, examinating candidates for diplomate status and certifying their credentials. Candidates have come from Australia, Belgium, France, Canada, and other countries as well as the U.S. The AK movement has developed so rapidly in Canada that in the last two years an official national organization, AK Canada, was developed.

The ICAK has continued to be a truly multi-disciplinary organization composed of DC's, MD's, DO's, DDS's, and Clinical Psychologists. Membership is limited to those who are licensed to diagnose as well as treat, in the jurisdiction in which they practice. If they practice in an unlicensed jurisdiction, they must be eligible to be licensed in the jurisdiction where they received their training.

Touch for Health continues to be separate in corporate structure from the International College of Applied Kinesiology, but in spirit supports the aims of the organization and encourages eligible professionals to join the ICAK and learn to help their patients utilizing the tools of AK.

As George Goodheart said, "The body heals itself. What we have tried to do for the professional, John is doing for the interested lay person. We can only keep what we give away. Knowledge renews itself, and by its dissemination more knowledge will be gained, and the public will be doubly served."

[Extract from “In Touch for Health”, June 1983, p12]

ICAK endorses the use of its skills by licensed health professionals only.