How Does Systematic Kinesiology Support People With Long-Term Health Conditions?
Updated: Apr 25
I was recently invited to give a talk on Systematic Kinesiology at a Bristol-based support group for people experiencing long term health conditions, with a particular focus on fibromyalgia and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (also known as M.E.). The talk would explore how kinesiology supports people with long-term health conditions and would provide those attending with the opportunity to experience kinesiology through some live demonstrations.
What are Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and fibromyalgia?
According to the Department of Health, a ‘long term condition [...] is a condition that cannot, at present, be cured but is controlled by medication and/or other treatment/therapies’. M.E. and fibromyalgia share some similarities: their root causes are unknown, they are chronic diseases, the rate of incidence is higher among women, there is a complex range of symptoms and there is no laboratory test to confirm a diagnosis (only to rule out other diagnoses).
M.E. is believed to affect around a quarter of a million people in the UK. It causes persistent fatigue or exhaustion that is not improved through rest or sleep with one in four affected so severely they are unable to leave their house and frequently, their bed. It affects everyday life and people’s capacity to do the most basic of tasks. M.E., sometimes known as post-viral syndrome, impacts the immune system and nervous system. There is no single experience of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis: some people suffer from it for a short period of time and for others the symptoms change over time and are experienced acutely with little respite.
Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that causes widespread pain in the body. It is thought to be caused by the nervous system and brain not being able to control or process pain signals from other parts of the body. The NHS suggest fibromyalgia may be triggered by chemical imbalances and a particularly stressful or traumatic event, such as the death of a loved one. According to the NHS website, other symptoms include increased sensitivity to pain, extreme tiredness, muscle stiffness, headaches, difficulty sleeping and irritable bowel syndrome. It remains unknown how many people are affected by fibromyalgia as it is hard to diagnose and symptoms are similar to other conditions. However, estimates suggest that around one in twenty people in the UK may be affected to some degree.
According to extensive UK government research conducted in 2012, people experiencing long term conditions said they wanted:
to be listened to
support to understand their condition
support to self-manage their conditions
to be treated as a whole person
Based on the conversations I had with the women at the support group, there hadn’t been much improvement in the last decade in meeting the wants identified by the Department of Health. The women said they felt ‘invisible’, ‘unheard’, ‘frustrated’ and left to fend for themselves when it came to the medical response to their conditions. This is why support groups, such as the one I attended, play a vital role in providing a safe space to be heard.
What is Systematic Kinesiology?
Systematic Kinesiology is a natural health care system that combines chiropractic techniques with ancient Chinese wisdom. It works from the perspective that different muscles relate to different organs and healing systems within the body. Through gentle muscle testing, the body’s responses communicate to the practitioner and client areas in need of support and ways of bringing the body and mind back into balance. Systematic Kinesiology is about identifying what the body needs to bring it back to its optimal level.
There are some key principles that kinesiology stems from:
The first is that our bodies are designed to heal themselves. This means that when our bodies are in a state of homeostasis, where everything is functioning optimally, the body’s design is such that it has all that it needs to be able to live a balanced and healthy life.
The second is that people are viewed from a holistic perspective, which means understanding people as physical, emotional, chemical and energetic beings whose experience of life is affected by factors such as age, gender, socio-economic status, heritage, sexuality, life experience and beliefs.
The third is that kinesiology treats the person and not their symptoms. So rather than treating, for example, fibromyalgia, a kinesiologist treats the person which will then invariably positively impact the fibromyalgia.
What is a holistic approach to health and wellbeing?
In each treatment, Systematic Kinesiologists work with the innate intelligence and wisdom of the body through muscle testing. The tests locate mental stress, nutritional deficiencies and sensitivities to foods/products, structural (muscular) issues causing physical pain and energetic (also known as life force) imbalances.
In kinesiology, there is always a connection between the physical and the emotional as there is always an emotional component to illness or disease. During a treatment, through muscle testing, kinesiology can identify what emotions are impacting the body’s capacity to get better, where they are stored in the body and then use techniques to release the emotions.
Certain conditions are often linked to certain emotions. For example, fibromyalgia is often linked to feeling unwanted, knocked down by life’s challenges and feeling overstressed. Epstein-Barr virus is often related to feeling oversensitive, not feeling good enough, lacking confidence and people who carry suppressed energy. Myalgic Encephalomyelitis can often be related to frustration about constantly having to do what you don’t want to do, wishing you were somewhere else, feeling stuck, about pushing past your limits.
With regards to emotions, it is not what people have experienced that is of significance in a treatment, although great respect is paid to the experience. More importantly, kinesiology is focused on how the emotion is stored in the body and the focus then becomes on how to release it.
Systematic Kinesiology can test nutritional deficiencies and sensitivities and offer clients suggestions on how they may make changes to their diet. For example, often people with long-term health conditions have sensitivities to certain foods. People experiencing fibromyalgia are often sensitive to gluten, processed foods, caffeine, dairy and refined carbohydrates and research has demonstrated that removing these foods can have a positive impact on the body’s ability to heal itself or mitigate the symptoms.
Regarding the physical realm of the body, aches and pains are an issue for a large amount of the population. According to the NHS, back pain is the largest single cause of disability in the UK, with lower back pain alone accounting for 11% of the total disability of the UK population. Systematic Kinesiology can identify muscles that are causing pain or knocking the body out of balance and then by strengthening the muscles, the pain is diminished.
The energetic realm centres on our vital life force referred to as Qi in Traditional Chinese Wisdom. The body’s life force flows through channels called meridians. This is the same set of channels that acupuncture is based upon. The meridians are like a highway system, a bit like the circulatory system, except they carry energy, rather than physical material. An unimpeded flow of life force is essential for good health and for organs to function optimally. Kinesiology can identify where the life force is blocked and use techniques based on the meridian system to clear these blockages.
How does Systematic Kinesiology support long-term health conditions?
Kinesiology is a person-centred holistic approach that peels back the layers of complexity that define long-term health conditions. There is no one-size-fits-all response to someone with long-term health conditions because everyone’s experience is subjective and thus unique. Kinesiology provides a space for people to be heard, and understood and by bringing people back into balance, creates the opportunity for the body to be able to heal itself.
If you are interested in how Systematic Kinesiology can help you, drop me an email HERE or book a free discovery call below.
Collin et al. (2017) Trends in the incidence of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia in the UK, 2001-2013: a Clinical Practice Research Datalink study. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. Accessed online: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5499564
Segal, I. 2010. The Secret Language of Your Body: The Essential Guide to Health and Wellness. Atria Paperback//Beyond Words Publishing