Healing approaches

Kinesiology: Learning the Touch for Health phenomenon

By Anita Ramsden, kinesiologist

Although Touch for Health has been described as the most widely-used system of kinesiology in the world, it is actually a relatively young alternative and complementary therapy. Since the first manual on the subject was published in 1973, millions of people in more than 100 countries have benefitted from it.

According to the International Kinesiology College: “The Touch for Health model does not treat or diagnose symptoms, but works with the energy, lifestyle and aspirations of the client, offering a safe and effective way to maintain health, enhance well-being and upgrade performance.”

In fact, the approach was created by the incredible John Thie, with the aim of encouraging and empowering people to take an active role in restoring and maintaining their own health and wellbeing and that their family and friends.

How can Touch for Health help me?

The premise of the so-called ‘Triangle of Health’ is that all aspects of an individual’s system need to be in balance for them to feel good. These aspects are mental/emotional, physical/structural and biochemical/physiological. When each of these elements are all in balance, you have an equilateral triangle. But if any one of them move out of balance, the triangle (and therefore, your health) become distorted.

For example, being under stress at work could affect your mental/emotional health, which in turn increases your stress hormone levels. This situation can generate biochemical problems, leading to headaches/migraines, an inability to sleep at night and so on. It could also result in muscular problems in the physical/structural area due to tight shoulder and/or back muscles, which creates poor posture, a twisted torso or even digestive issues.

In other words, an imbalance in one area can have a knock-on effect on each of the other areas too, so Touch for Health takes an holistic approach. But its aim is not to diagnose or treat symptoms. Instead it helps individuals and their bodies to move back into balance, thereby enabling them to attain health more readily.

How does Touch for Health help achieve balance?

Although it may sound a bit dry to say that Touch for Health is based on muscle monitoring or testing that helps obtain feedback from the body, it is actually a fun and fascinating thing to experience or feel. To help the body return to balance, muscle monitoring is used to literally communicate with it and find out exactly what it wants. 

A hands-on therapy, Touch for Health is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, using the same principles as those employed in acupressure, work with the meridians and nutritional therapy. While this may sound daunting, the approach is actually taught in a very easy-to-understand way based on simple-to-use techniques.

Essentially, you build on your knowledge as you move through four different levels. While level one acts as an introduction, in level two, you learn to use muscle testing to discover which foods are beneficial to the body and which are not, alongside incredibly powerful emotional stress release procedures. By balancing the body in this way, it becomes possible to help relieve aches and pains and gain more clarity.

In fact, from the first balance onwards, you can start to see postural changes. Stress dissolves and faces light up. There is always lots of laughing and a great connection between the students, who are encouraged to take responsibility for themselves and their needs by speaking up for what they feel and want during a session.

Do I need any prior knowledge to learn Touch for Health?

Absolutely anyone can learn this amazing technique. For example, when I was taught it back in 2004, one member of our class was a lovely, vibrant 72-year old nun who wanted to help the other sisters in her convent feel better. She was awesome. I am also currently teaching my daughter who would like to take this skill to university with her. While it does take practice, the two-day practical hands-on workshops give you all of the information and experience you need to start balancing others. 

How long does it take to learn?

Touch for Health is taught in four levels, each of which takes the form of a two-day workshop, or equivalent time (15 hours). Homework and practice is required after each level because muscle testing is an art that needs to be nurtured and practiced regularly if you are to become proficient. Working with as many people as possible makes it easier to feel different, possible responses, so the more you do it, the more confident you will feel.  

What can you do with Touch for Health?

Undertaking levels one to four enables you to work with friends and family, but if you choose to go on to the proficiency level, you can become qualified to practice on members of the general public. Just so you know, Touch for Health is both a stand-alone therapy and is also recognised as acting as a foundation for other branches of kinesiology – so if you would like to know more, please drop me a line.

Anita Ramsden

Anita Ramsden is a kinesiologist. She is emphatic about affecting positive change and her work encourages wellbeing for mind, body and soul. Anita is also a member of the Kinesiology Federation.


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Kinesiology: The science of human movement

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Healing approaches

Kinesiology: The science of human movement

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By Anita Ramsden, kinesiologist.

Kinesiology (pronounced kin-easy-ology) is sometimes known as the ‘science of human movement’ and is widely understood to mean muscle testing, with the key focus being on rebalancing an individual’s system.

Primarily used as a communications tool, this muscle-testing technique, which is based on a blend of principles from Traditional Chinese Medicine and western approaches, identifies what it is your body wants and needs.

Each person is treated holistically as all aspects of our being, whether they be physical, chemical, mental and emotional, are interrelated. If there is an imbalance in, or undue stress on, any of these systems, all of the others are affected. In other words, everything has an impact on everything else.

Each muscle group is related to an individual part of the body such as the digestive or endocrine system, nerves, organs and the like. As a result, muscle tests reveal how the body is functioning and where any imbalances lie.

The idea behind this approach is that if the body is in balance, it is better able to activate its own innate healing process. By obtaining information about any imbalances within their system, clients can also see where they would benefit from making changes in their life – on top of any adjustments made their practitioner.

If we think of life as being like a meandering stream, when all is well, the water flows beautifully and goes over or around obstacles. But occasionally a twig becomes snared and if it cannot free itself, leaves and branches can build up behind it. Before you know it, the little stream will be blocked.

In our daily lives too, a small issue can act like a twig and the situation can build up until our energy no longer flows smoothly. But kinesiology helps tug at the twig in order to release the blockage, allowing the stream to flow freely once more.

What are the origins of kinesiology?

Kinesiology was first developed by US chiropractor George Goodheart DC in 1964 when he started using muscle testing to evaluate the effectiveness of his corrective actions. Goodheart discovered that a number of techniques helped improve his ability to strengthen his patients’ muscles and, therefore, to encourage them into correct postures, reduce pain and restore wellbeing. These techniques included working with blood and energy flows, emotions, nutrition, the meridians and acupuncture points.

This knowledge was shared with other chiropractors and, in 1973, the International College of Applied Kinesiology was set up. A member of this pioneering team of applied kinesiologists, John Francis Thie, had the vision of making kinesiology accessible to everybody. His aim was to “empower people to promote and maintain health in themselves and their families”.

In the same year, Thie published a book called Touch for Health (TFH), which presented applied kinesiology techniques in such a way that the general public could understand and use them. The techniques were based on Traditional Chinese Medicine and founded on the principles of acupressureTibetan energy healing and nutrition.

A training programme was also subsequently developed as many people wanted more than simply a book to read. In 1990, Thie handed all of the work he had done on TFH to his newly-formed International Kinesiology College.

It is possible for people to either become proficient in TFH or use it as a stepping stone to other kinesiology approaches as there are now many branches of the practice.

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At whom is kinesiology aimed? 

Kinesiology is suited to pretty much everyone. The age range of my client base is currently between 18 months and 92 years. The kind of issues they suffer from include migraines, digestive problems and food intolerances, mental health issues such as anxiety and stress, emotional blockages, back and shoulder pain, chronic fatigue, hormonal issues, alopecia, skin conditions, seasonal affective disorder and adrenal exhaustion.

Kinesiology can also help people who want to develop a positive mindset, for example in relation to exams or job interviews, or to adapt to big life changes such as divorce or a change of career. But they may not always be aware of the impact these kinds of situation can have on their system.

For example, someone may come for treatment as they are suffering from a bad neck. They believe it is stiff because they have been sleeping in a strange position due to an old pillow they have been using.

But in reality, there is more to it than that. Their situation has been putting them under emotional stress, they have been experiencing digestive discomfort and their diet is currently lacking in B vitamins and iodine. As a result, their neck flexors, the group of muscles that flex and turn the head, have become weak – and a new pillow alone will not be enough to solve the problem.

Muscle testing will help to indicate what is required to alleviate the pain and stiffness. The practitioner can make “corrections” and also offer suggestions on what might benefit their client to include or exclude in their diet.

But it is also important to remember that an individual’s mental state, that is their thoughts and emotions, also affect their biochemistry and overall physical body. This means that aches and pains often have an emotional aspect.

What should clients expect from a treatment?

 Kinesiologists treat clients holistically as individuals, which means that each person’s session is unique to them. it is important that doctors have been consulted if necessary though and we strongly advise that medical help should sought if appropriate.

Each treatment is carried out fully clothed, usually lying down face up on a treatment couch. This couch can be adjusted to accommodate pregnancy, back or shoulder pain etc.

During the first appointment, it is necessary to fill in a general health questionnaire. All answers are optional but the aim of the exercise is to provide your practitioner with background information to help them build a picture of you, which includes pre-existing conditions.

This activity will also help you focus on yourself in a more holistic way. There are sometimes ‘aha’ moments as vocalising things can help you join the dots. Remember that you are a complex, intelligent being and everything in your life experience affects everything else at the physical, emotional and biochemical level.

As for the treatment itself, this will involve moving your arms and legs to test your range of motion and isolate how particular muscles are behaving. In the form of kinesiology that I practice, it is also about firmly massaging the neurolymphatic reflex points, which are mostly on the torso, front and back. I also trace the meridians and hold the acupressure points.

While each treatment is different, it can include nutritional advice, food testing, the use of flower remedies and the like.

Do clients attend treatment for a set length of time?

In order to see positive change, it is usual to attend a minimum of three treatment sessions. After the first, people usually feel more energised and positive, less sad or foggy-headed and more positive and mobile.

If they have experienced an issue for a number of years though, it can take more time to unpack their story and build up the treatment they need to help them on the journey back to wellbeing. Like an onion, it is initially about unpealing the first layers, before moving into the lower levels as blockages are cleared.

But it is also important that clients play their part too. For instance, if it emerges that eating gluten-based products is stressing your system and hindering your move back to health, it is advisable to avoid them for at least six weeks. Doing so will bring about the positive change you desire much more quickly.


Anita Ramsden is a kinesiologist. She is emphatic about affecting positive change and her work encourages wellbeing for mind, body and soul. She is a member of the Kinesiology Federation.