Health Kinesiology

by Jane Thurnell-Read



Health kinesiology  (HK) practitioners see a wide range of clients with a wide range of problems. Many people first visit a health kinesiologist because they have a physical problem, such as eczema or arthritis or recurring headaches, but once they experience the system, see the positive improvement in their symptoms and begin to understand its potential, they decide to continue seeing the practitioner in order to achieve their own potential. Jimmy Scott, Ph.D, developed HK originally to address health problems, but he very quickly realised that his system could do much more than that. In the introduction to the first manual for trainee health kinesiologists Dr Scott writes: “Through HK a person can become who they were designed to be.”  

In the twelve years that I taught health kinesiology I was struck by how the students themselves showed the truth of this. As they progressed through the training, most of them grew not only in knowledge and expertise, but also as people. They became generally more confident, better able to study and apply themselves, more focussed on what they wanted in life and more at peace with themselves. 

In the early 1970’s Dr Jimmy Scott first saw a demonstration of muscle testing. At that time he was a psychologist, working as a research scientist at the University of California Medical School. He says: “I was both fascinated and highly sceptical.” Over the next few years he saw further demonstrations of kinesiology. During this time he had become licensed as a psychologist and started to build up a practice in biofeedback and relaxation training. Eventually in 1975 he left the university and focused solely on his practice.  Gradually he became more and more interested in the concept of ‘health’ and started to look to nutrition for answers. Again he saw a demonstration of kinesiology this time by Chris Harrison, a chiropractor and diplomate of the International College of Applied Kinesiology. It was then that Jimmy began to realise the potential of kinesiology and started to attend kinesiology workshops. Very quickly he started to develop his own system: “My goals were to develop the most effective, robust, permanent methods for change that I could”. 

The central tool of kinesiology is muscle testing. Muscle testing is a painless procedure involving the practitioner applying gentle pressure to specific parts of the body (often the arm) to test the response of the underlying muscle. The arm is placed in a specific position, in order, as far as possible, to isolate the muscle that is being tested.  The muscle will either easily be able to resist the pressure from the practitioner or will give way, at least slightly. The health kinesiologist uses this response to gain information about what is happening and what is needed to restore balance. Because of the inter-relationship between muscles, meridians and body systems, this information can apply not only to the muscle being tested but also give valuable information about other imbalances within the body and the necessary procedures to correct them. 

Testing a muscle gives two basic responses: the muscle locks or the muscle unlocks and gives way. In health kinesiology these two responses are used to ask verbal questions of the body. The practitioner asks a verbal question and then presses gently on the arm. If the muscle locks, the answer is “yes”, but if the muscle weakens the answer is “no”.  So muscle testing can be used to establish exactly what is needed. It is a therapy that truly honours the innate wisdom of the person. It is a truly holistic system: one moment the practitioner can be working with magnets on the physical body and the next moment correcting subtle energy disturbances or childhood distress. At first sight the skill is in the muscle testing and knowing the various techniques, but in reality the skill is in the quality of the verbal questioning. The health kinesiology training programme teaches the student to be rigorous and precise in the questions they ask. 

Health kinesiology practitioners work to help the client achieve balance and harmony. They work to help the physical body to become stronger and function better and to help clients feel happier, brighter and more fulfilled on every level of their lives. HK recognizes that, even where the symptoms manifest in the physical body, this may be because there are imbalances in the person’s emotional life. For example, asthma, arthritis, vertigo or irritable bowel trouble may be reflecting disharmony and imbalance in the emotional, mental or spiritual areas. Sometimes work in one of these areas is all that is needed, because the physical problem is a reflection of imbalances elsewhere. The health kinesiology system also recognizes that the physical body is important, and that sometimes the best way to resolve physical symptoms is through nutrition, allergy work or other techniques which immediately and directly affect the physical systems. Sometimes psychological problems such as irritability and tension are there largely because of mineral imbalances in the body, and the focus needs to be on the physical rather than the psychological to achieve a lasting solution to the problem. Health kinesiology recognizes that everyone is unique. The imbalances, triggers and stresses that cause eczema are likely to be different from person to person. Fortunately, the use of muscle testing means that the kinesiologist has a fast and reliable way to access this information, which is unique to each person. 

Clients are often amazed at the diversity of things that happen during a typical HK session. One moment they may have to think a specific thought, and then they may have to put their hands in specific positions on their body. On another occasion they may find that small vials, crystals or magnets are placed on the body. Much of the time the practitioner will also be holding points or placing multi-coloured glass tubes on the body. A client once said to me that he found the sessions so fascinating that he would be tempted to come and see me even if he weren’t getting better. Each technique and procedure is established precisely through muscle testing. On its completion the practitioner will also check, again using muscle testing, that everything has happened correctly. The practitioner can also use muscle testing to establish an exercise programme, determine the correct diet and nutritional supplements or to construct an affirmation for the client to use in their everyday lives.  

Health kinesiologists prefer wherever possible to work at a deep level. This involves not just fixing immediate problems, but also helping clients to function more effectively in their lives. If only superficial problems are helped, people will constantly need to come back for support and new work for similar problems, although this may be necessary for some people where damage to the physical body is so severe it cannot be fully restored to health. 

In the many years of working with clients I have found some come to get their allergies fixed or their digestion sorted out, and then see the potential of this system to help them achieve their potential in many different areas of their life.


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Jane Thurnell-Read, a former university lecturer, has been a practicing kinesiologist since 1982.   Based in England, she has also taught kinesiology in Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, USA and Russia.  She has now stopped teaching and seeing clients in order to concentrate on research and writing. She has written many articles and been interviewed on television and radio. 

Jane Thurnell-Read is author of Health Kinesiology   and The Guide To Geopathic Stress .  The former was published in 2002;  is currently  available in German, and  a French edition will be published in early 2004. Her book The Guide To Geopathic Stress, republished in 2003, is available in several different languages including French, German, Italian and Polish.

Her email address is: and her website is at:

Readers interested in learning more about Health Kinesiology are directed to the websites (UK) and (international)