A Scientific Explanation of Muscle Testing and “Energy Medicine” | Robert A. Erickson, M.D.

In the 1990s I was having my own health challenges with a reactivated parasitic infection from an ill-fated scuba diving trip to an island off the Yucatan peninsula I took 20 years earlier. Like many of our patients, I saw a number of excellent traditional physicians and went through extensive testing without answers. I was told I picked up a disease in Mexico but they couldn’t identify what it was or how to treat it. Various antibiotics I was placed on didn’t work. As I sought answers I was introduced to a chiropractic physician/nutritionist who did CRA (contact reflex analysis), a type of muscle reflex testing. It seemed strange to me at the time, but this doctor told me what was wrong in less than 10 minutes. That same week I saw an acupuncture physician who had an electrodermal device that tested meridians and he came up with identical answers – 6 different parasites and mercury issues. I knew there had to be a scientific reason for why these 2 health care practitioners were able to find the same thing. I was later introduced to Dick Versendaal, D.C. who developed CRA. At the time, Dr. Versendaal was giving lectures and teaching seminars all over the USA. At these lectures he would ask volunteers from the audience to come in front of the lecture hall and undergo CRA testing. I volunteered and was asked to tell his assistant what my problem list was. I was still skeptical at the time and instead wrote down on a piece of paper 5 things that were bothering me, put the list in my pocket, and told the doctor to “tell me” what she found. Not only were all 5 problems identified, but a 6th problem I had forgotten about was also determined. I was amazed, but still didn’t understand how muscle testing worked. At that point I spent two years learning about muscle testing and nutrition, and worked with Dr. Versendaal during parts of this time


The current model of traditional medicine views the body as a complex “machine” with biomolecular reactions that can be altered with drugs. It does not recognize the viewpoint that the human organism is a series of interacting, multidimensional energy fields at the atomic and subatomic levels. Energetic forms of healing such as acupuncture, reflexology, reiki, and Qigong are often dismissed as “unproven.”

Einsteinian and quantum physics have shown us that the biochemical molecules that make up the physical body are actually a form of vibrating energy. Albert Einstein came to the startling conclusion that matter and energy were interchangeable and were, in fact, two different forms of the same thing. Hence his famous E = MC2 equation described how matter and energy were interrelated.

It may come as a surprise that magnetic resonance scanning (MRI), which many of us are familiar with, utilizes energy medicine principles. When a person undergoes an MRI scan, a strong magnetic field aligns particles called protons which are within the hydrogen atoms in the body. Normally the millions of protons all lie in random directions, but with the magnetic field all the protons line up in parallel to the magnetic field, like tiny magnets. Then, short bursts of radio waves are sent from the scanner into a person’s body. The radio waves knock the protons from their position. When the burst of radio waves stops, the protons realign back into place. As they do so they emit radio signals. The protons in different tissues of the body realign at different speeds. Therefore, the signals emitted from different body tissues vary. So, for example, softer tissues can be distinguished from harder tissues on the basis of the signals sent. These signals are detected by a receiving device in the scanner. The receiving device transmits the signals to a computer and the computer creates a picture based on the radio signals emitted from the body.

The Human Energy Field

Using the principle that our physical bodies are actually a form of energy, it is now known that our tissues generate electrical fields that can be detected on the skin’s surface. Physics demonstrates that any electrical current generates a corresponding magnetic field in the surrounding space. Since these fields were too tiny to detect, biologists assumed they had no physiological significance. In 1963 scientists at Syracuse University in the Department of Electrical Engineering developed a machine that detected the biomagnetic field projected from the human heart. In 1970 David Cohen, a physicist at MIT, using a SQUID (Superconducting Quantum Interference Device) magnetometer, confirmed the heart measurements. He went on to build a heavily shielded room to block out external electromagnetic interference, and use a more sensitive device to measure other biomagnetic fields in humans, including those from the brain.

In the 1980s, Dr. John Zimmerman began a series of important studies on therapeutic touch, using a SQUID device at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He discovered that a huge, pulsating biomagnetic field emanated from the hands of a therapeutic touch practitioner. Other researchers in Japan and elsewhere studied practitioners of various martial arts and other healing methods, and found similar biomagnetic field emanations.

So we now have scientific proof of the human energy field and we have begun to understand the roles of energy fields in health and disease. Most people, including physicians, are simply not aware of this research and persist in the attitude there is no logical basis for energy healing modalities.

The Story of “Energy Medicine” Began Over 2000 Years Ago

Acupuncture has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. According to Chinese medical theory, the free flow of energy or what they call “Ch’i” is necessary for the normal functioning of the body and any obstruction in the energy flow can cause an imbalance in the body which can lead to illness. Ch’i enters the body through specific points in the skin surface called acupoints, travels through channels called meridians, and feeds Ch’i or energy to the various organs of the body. (This concept is analogous to sun light containing photons entering a plant leaf where photosynthesis and energy production occurs.) Chinese medical theory further states if the energy blockage is removed, a balance in body energy will return. In order for this to happen, the root cause of the blockage must be corrected. When acupuncture needles are placed at different points in the acupuncture meridians, energy blockages are removed temporarily and the reinstatement of the free flow of energy and a state of balance is achieved.

Western physicians remained skeptical until 1972 when then President Richard Nixon visited China and a New York Times journalist named James Reston, who accompanied Nixon, had an acute appendicitis attack. After his surgery, he was in a lot of pain and was treated with acupuncture. Reston brought back stories of surgery performed under strict acupuncture anesthesia. Following this, acupuncture research began to establish its place within Western medicine as an acceptable form of therapy for certain pain syndromes. One reason for this acceptance was research showed acupuncture therapy caused endorphins to be released from the central nervous system, reducing a person’s pain. Linking known pain pathways in the brain and spinal cord, most Western physicians assumed the analgesic effects of acupuncture had to be mediated through some type of stimulation within the nervous system.

Is There Evidence that Acupuncture Meridians Exist?

Most traditional physicians have dismissed the idea of a meridian system through which energy from the acupuncture entry points flows to the various organs in the body. Part of this dismissal stems from lack of anatomical evidence in the Western medical literature for the existence of these meridians within the human body.

In the 1960s a team of researchers headed by Professor Kim Bong Han used animal models and injected radioactive P32, a isotope of phosphorus, into rabbit acupoints. Utilizing the technique of microautoradiography, he discovered the P32 was actively taken up along a fine duct-like tubule system which followed the anatomical path of the classical acupuncture meridians. Concentrations of P32 in the tissue adjacent to the meridians or near the acupoint injection site was negligible. When P32 was injected directly into a nearby vein, no significant amounts were detected within the meridian network. This finding suggested the meridian system was independent of the vascular system.

Kim found that there were both deep and superficial tubules, that all the tubules were eventually interconnected and that the terminal tubules eventually reached the tissue cell nuclei. Fluid extracted from these tubules revealed high concentrations of DNA, RNA, amino acids, hormonal substances, and corticosteroids in levels far different from those found ordinarily in the blood stream.

In the 1980s Dr. Bong Han’s work was replicated by two French researchers, Claude Darras, M.D. and Pierre de Vernejoul, M.D., but this time the subjects were humans. The physicians injected radioactive technetium 99m in acupoints and used nuclear scanning equipment to non-invasively follow the flow of the radioisotope. In order to make sure the doctors were really measuring meridians and not blood vessels or lymphatic channels, some patients received technetium injections into adjacent non-acupoint skin regions as well as into nearby blood vessels and lymphatic channels. When non-acupoints were injected, the radioactive tracer diffused outward from the injection site in a typical small circular pattern. When the true acupoints were injected, the radioactive technetium migrated along classical Chinese acupuncture meridian pathways for a distance of 30 cm in four to six minutes. Even more amazing was when acupuncture needles were inserted into distant acupoints along the same tracer labeled meridians and then “twirled,” a change in the rate of flow of technetium through the meridians was produced. This work provided objective evidence that acupuncture-needle stimulation affected the flow of Ch’i through the body’s meridians, and that these meridians, in fact, exist.

Muscle Reflex Testing

In 1964 George Goodheart, Jr., D.C., incorporated muscle testing into the healthcare system he developed called applied kinesiology. The word “kinesiology” refers to the science of movement. Isolation techniques, a chiropractic procedure, made it possible to test the strength of an individual muscle or muscle group without the help of other muscles. Dr. Goodheart studied muscle-testing techniques extensively in his clinical practice and found that the strength or weakness of every muscle correlated with the health or pathology of a specific corresponding body organ. He further determined that each individual muscle was associated with a specific acupuncture meridian and correlated his work with that of Felix Mann, M.D. on the medical significance of the acupuncture meridians. Dr. Goodheart published books on applied kinesiology and he began to teach the technique to colleagues. His work lead to the formation of the International College of Applied Kinesiology and his work also was accepted by members of the Academy of Preventive Medicine. Thousands of practitioners in different disciplines throughout the world began using muscle testing in a wide variety of applications, including allergy testing and treatment, NET (neuroemotional technique) for emotional issues, supplement adjustments and compatibility. It has been estimated that over 1/3 of all chiropractors today use some form of muscle testing in their practices.

Dr. Nambudripad is a physician and acupuncturist who has a clinic in Los Angeles. In her book Say Goodbye to Illness (3rd Edition), she hypothesizes that a measurable weakness in a particular muscle is produced by the generation of an “energy disturbance” in the particular spinal nerve root that supplies the corresponding weakened muscle when a specific item is brought into its energy field. In her system, “any item that is capable of producing energy disturbance in any spinal nerve route is called an allergen. Through this simple kinesiological testing method, the allergens can be detected; disturbed spinal nerves and their nerve routes can be identified; and the target organs, tissues and other body parts can be uncovered.” I had the good fortune to take one of her courses in Los Angeles and interact with her. NAET (Nambudripad Allergy Elimination Technique) is an allergy treatment Dr. Nampudripad developed where a person holds a small allergen vial while receiving a specific sequence of acupressure or acupuncture treatments. She states 85% of those persons treated either partially or completely eliminate their allergies after a single treatment. It has been our experience at the Center that this treatment not only works, but is permanent. I have used it on my own family members.

Muscle testing has never caught on or been accepted by traditional allopathic medicine. One of the criticisms is that muscle test results are not duplicatable among different practioners or with even the same person. My answer to this criticism is muscle testing works if it is done properly and if the practitioner using muscle testing is skilled and properly trained. Muscle reflex testing is just one of the modalities we use at the Center along with traditional physical exam diagnosis, laboratory testing, and the use of X-rays or other traditional diagnostic tests.


  1. Say Good-Bye To Illness; Devi S. Nambudripad, M.D., D.C., L.Ac., Ph.D.; Third Edition
  2. Power vs Force: An Anatomy of Consciousness; David R Hawkins, M.D., Ph. D.
  3. Vibrational Medicine; Richard Gerber, M.D., Third Edition
  4. American Academy of Environmental Medicine Seminar- October 2012; Lecture by Magda Havas, Ph.D., Associate Professor at Trent University. “The Harmful and Beneficial Effects of Electromagnetic Exposure