Is kinesiology a legit way to determine food intolerances?

Food & Drink, Mind

To clarify, I’d never even heard of kinesiology – but a quick Google search shows it’s a serious thing – and can supposedly help determine food intolerances. Charlotte put it to the test…

My background

First thing first: I don’t think I have any food intolerances. I don’t eat shellfish or pork for religious reasons, but otherwise, anything is fair game. Plus, I say yes to dairy and red meat and eat sugar. I drink (though very moderately.) And yes, I eat gluten. I also don’t think I’m particularly intolerant to any of these. By that I mean – touch wood – I feel OK, have normal – ahem – ‘bowel movements’ and sleep well.

But I found myself reading about Kinesiology, aka the study of muscle movement. Kinesiologists look at how your body moves and functions, and how this can be improved on.

What is kinesiology?

Sandra Cohen is a kinesiologist in Harley Street. “Kinesiology is a stress management technique that is about identifying stresses in the body,” she says. “It is a non-invasive discipline that integrates Western anatomical theory with Eastern practices. Kinesiology is built on the principle that it is not enough to address a client’s stress, but to dig deeper to discover the sources.”

To find out more, I went along to see Helen Griffiths, a kinesiologist who I found via the Kinesiology Foundation and who practices in London’s Belsize Park, at a space called On The Lane. Muscle response testing connect directly to our nervous system and brain, she says. It is able to bypass the conscious and going straight to the subconscious. “I ask your body what’s causing stress,” Helen says.

When she’s found the stress, she tries to balance it. Her methods include techniques like tuning forks, aromatherapy, light, chakras and meridian points.

My session

It’s unbelievable how much Helen reveals. She starts by having me lie down on a bed and she tests my muscles, mostly leg and arm. Helen asks me to hold each muscle in place and then tries to unlock it, by squeezing in the bed of the muscle to release it. Unlock’ means dropping down from whatever position you’re holding them in. If it doesn’t unlock, it’s been under long term stress. Some people can’t actually hold certain muscle at all, which shows the body in a state of exhaustion, called third-degree stress. Muscles have a relationship with meridians, which are in turn connected energetically to organs and glands. For example, quads are linked to the small intestine and the sartorius (up your leg) is linked to the adrenal gland. If the muscle doesn’t come down when unlocked, there’s an issue in the corresponding organ.

What gets tested:

Helen tests these muscles and organ correspondents:

– Pectoralis Major Clavicular / stomach meridian

– Tensor Fascia Lata / large intestine meridian

– Quadriceps / small intestine meridian

– Sartorius / triple heater meridian / adrenals

– Middle trapezius / spleen meridian

– Adductor Pollicis / central vessel / uterus

– Piriformis / pericardium meridian/ reproductive system

My results

For me, the muscle that initially refuse to unlock is the sartorius, which relates to the adrenals – linked to stress, fight or flight, cortisol et al. Helen works on balancing these throughout the session. When she tries the same muscles at the end that refused to unlock, they now do so with ease. It’s involuntary and I’m amazed.

My stomach is rumbling and I apologise but Helen assures me this happens in most sessions – once you start getting rid of stress in the body, blood is able to travel more effectively to the stomach.

Food intolerances

Food intolerances are a symptom of a larger issue, Helen says, often a gut issue, which itself has links to stress. When we’re stressed, we’re in fight or flight mode. There, digestive function slows down as the body knows it’s not essential for survival. We have so many emotions attached to food, Helen says. Even a certain memory could in theory show up as intolerance.

Sandra agrees. “Food intolerances or food sensitivities are a source of stress for the body as some food might not be tolerated by some individuals. They basically refer to the difficulty to digest certain type of foods. They don’t trigger though the immune system like the food allergies, but affect the digestive system,” Sandra says. She adds, “the digestive system is known as the second brain and is where many hormones and neurotransmitters are produced. Any disruption or stress in the digestive system might impair the hormones and neurotransmitters production. Those are necessary for the good functioning of our body and our brain.”

How to test for them

I could happily focus on overall body health all day, which Helen mainly does. But I’m here to look at kinesiology and food intolerances. To test these, Helen places vials of extracts of dairy, gluten, fruits and veg and more on my stomach. She proceeds to test all the muscles pertaining to digestion – the stomach and small and large intestines. If they don’t respond properly, either by refusing to unlock or worse, totally unable to hold themselves up in the first place, she tells me there is a slight intolerance.

Common intolerances include dairy, gluten, sugar, caffeine, some chemicals or additives, Sandra says. My muscles respond well to eggs and gluten but to my dismay, there’s an issue with dairy. Helen then tests several different dairy vials once she’s narrowed down the issue. Butter is fine. Goat’s milk, cow’s yoghurt and cow’s cheese (sob) are not. I tell her I feel no discomfort after eating these. But she reminds me things can lie dormantly in the body for years. Then, the body overcompensates in varying ways, holding unnecessary stress.

What to do?

Helen doesn’t believe in cutting out food groups from intolerances. It would have to be a third degree stress in all three digestive areas before Helen would suggest this. Rather, when you get secondary intolerances – like I have here, where the muscle refuses to unlock – Helen suggests just being aware of your consumption and considering cutting back.

Final thoughts

This may sound woo woo to some. All I can is I am someone who tries many ‘out there’ for free as part of my job. This, I would absolutely go back repeatedly and pay for. I’m not advocating using kinesiology instead of other treatments or diagnoses, but certainly as a holistic side therapy. I fully believe there is a lot to be learnt here.

Session with Helen from £130 for an initial session, On The Lane

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