Reactive Muscle Kinesiology

What is Reactive Muscle Kinesiology? To answer this question, it is first necessary to understand that our bodies are not just structural and bio-chemical, but also electrical or energetic systems.

Reactive Muscle Kinesiology (RMK) works with the energy system as it relates to our muscles. A person may have very strong muscles, but if they are “switched off” they will act as if they are weak. Think of a light bulb – it doesn’t matter how high the wattage is, if the switch isn’t on, the light won’t go. Or possibly a better analogy is that of a 6 cylinder engine – if your engine is only “firing” on 4 cylinders, it won’t be working properly. And if several muscles are “switched off”, your whole body will be running roughly.

Our bodies are self-balancing mechanisms, constantly becoming unbalanced and working back towards a state of balance, or health. In a healthy system, if a muscle becomes switched off, it will usually be switched back on within a few seconds. But if your body is under more stress than it has the resources to deal with, it will take longer to self-balance. With today’s fast paced lifestyle and refined foods, at any point in time, each one of us is likely to have several muscles turned off. This will have effects on how your body feels:

  • The flow of energy through your body will be disrupted, so your overall energy levels and sense of well-being will be reduced.
  • Your posture is likely to be affected
  • Some muscles will have to work harder to compensate. Over time, this can lead to tension and pain in the compensating muscles, but also in the switched off muscles.

How did it develop?

Around 5000 years ago, the Chinese developed their system of Traditional Chinese Medicine, based on the flow of energy (chi) through energy pathways (meridians) in the body. This is a very comprehensive system and includes relationship between organs and meridians, the concepts of yin and yang, and the five elements. But it doesn’t include which muscles are associated with each meridian.

About 50 years ago, a chiropractor who was looking for ways to reduce the number of times his clients needed to have treatments, started investigating the relationships between the meridians and individual muscles. He found which meridian each major muscle was linked to, and from there was able to find ways to restore muscle function by restoring energy to the related meridian. Over time, a number of different techniques were developed for restoring function (by chiropractors such as George Goodheart and Frank Chapman), each if which is incorporated into RMK. RMK is also part of the system called Touch For Health, developed by John Thie, which some of you may have some knowledge of.

What’s involved in a session and how long would it take?

Typically, a session of RMK may take around an hour and a half, and include:

  • Muscle testing to find which muscles (and associated meridians) are switched off
  • Corrections to restore the flow of energy to the muscles, and to the whole energy system
  • Investigation of reactive muscle relationships – one muscle (the reactor) “bullying” another muscle (the reactive) and causing it to be switched off when the first muscle is being used
  • Training the reactive muscle, so that it can stay on when the reactor muscle is being used

Usually you will be on a massage table, or a padded surface on the floor. Unlike some types of kinesiology that only use one muscle for testing, RMK mostly uses range-of-motion style testing to test the actual muscle. So it’s best to wear something you can move comfortably in.

What results am I likely to get?

If you are relatively healthy and you have only a few muscles turned off, you may feel little difference after a session. But if you are fatigued, in pain or an athlete looking for increased performance, you are likely to see results such as:

Increased energy:
As blockages are cleared, the “chi” can flow freely through your body. One client reported an increase in energy from a 2 to a 6 or 7 out of 10 after her first session, plus a dramatic decrease in her feelings of stress.

Reduced pain:
Reactive muscles are often tight but lengthened, which means that massage and other types of bodywork can be of limited help. But once they are turned back on, knots and pain often disappear. Another client was used to having deep tissue massage once a fortnight, which for him was incredibly painful. After a lot of work done on switched off muscles, he was surprised to find his first massage after a 6-week gap was hardly painful at all.

Increased recovery from injury:
If your muscles are turned off, no amount of physiotherapy is going return them to completely normal function. So combine your physio sessions with RMK to make sure all the muscles you are trying to rehabilitate are turned on.

Improvements in posture:
When muscles are able to do their job properly, this improves their position. Combine RMK with an analysis of which muscles are tight and short, and need stretching, and posture can come back into alignment.

Increased performance:
As muscles are no longer being turned off by other muscles, it can dramatically improve your strength. For example, I found my quads were turning off my hamstrings, and my gastrocnemius (calf muscle) was turning off my glutes. When these relationships were corrected, I found myself powering up hills that I’d previously trudged up.

It’s hard to convey in writing the sense of amazement and magic people feel when experiencing muscles being turned on and off. RMK is a very exciting and rewarding therapy to use, with lots of potential and many applications.

I am now offering Reactive Muscle Kinesiology and Touch For Health Kinesiology, in Wellington, NZ, through my health coaching service.