How I Learned to Listen to What My Body is Telling Me (An Indoctrination to Muscle Response Testing)
Just a little over a year ago I was close to 50 pounds overweight. I was also tired, depressed and physically in pain thanks to carpel tunnel that came on with the pregnancy of my first child ten years prior. And yet, whenever I sought the help of professionals, I was always told my blood and nutrient levels, along with eating habits and portion sizes were “perfect.” I had given up. I was resigned and angry and felt the only logical thing to do was to verbally assault my own body. Crazy but true. In order to get the full effect of the attack (after all, I was furious), one must imagine that the following is written in all capital letters: “If you told me what was wrong, body, I’d fix it!!! If I knew what you wanted, I’d give it to you!!! Talk about your famous last words.
The very next week I happened upon a little herb store in a town not too far from my home. Out of curiosity, I walked in and an innocent conversation led to me scheduling something called an electronic Muscle Response Test (or MRT) the following week. “Please, God,” I said to myself on the way to this MRT, “Please let them find something for my horrible digestion, zero energy and carpel tunnel,” which by this point was waking me up from the elbows down several times a night. Not one word about my issues was exchanged before the test, which took five minutes.
The results came back: “Take these herbs for your digestion, lack of energy and inflammation.” No way. Was it possible? Could it really be that easy? I contemplated the print-outs and went back to the store the next day to get my purchases. Within three days (ed. note – not everyone will have the same results), I felt better than I had in my entire life. Within three days, my stomach had settled down, I gave up my necessary 3:00 afternoon nap and I hadn’t woken up once in the middle of the night. I was hooked.
But what exactly is Muscle Response Testing and why does it often come with a negative connotation? The second part of that is easy: Unfortunately, there are many (including yours truly) who fail to explain what the test is and how it works. After first learning how to do it manually, I was so excited that I ran around exclaiming proclamations like, “No cheese for you! I could pull your fingers apart! Uh oh, weak fingers - looks like you’re allergic to wheat, too!” Ugh, what a disservice. I might as well have said I was selling snake oil. So let’s end that right now.
For starters, Muscle Response Testing is a non-invasive assessment of strengths and weaknesses. By “non-invasive” I mean no poking, prodding or blood-letting is required. A good naturopath begins by doing two things: Making sure that the client is balanced and getting permission from the client to begin. If both of these are not done, the results could be skewed. Cell phones, Fit Bits, and other magnetic devices such as jewelry that could get in the way are also asked to be set aside.
The client is then asked to lock up a muscle (usually in their arm) to see how strong it is. This is critical because if the objective is to see which areas are weak, one first needs to be strong. Otherwise, every single part of the body will test “weak” or “deficient” and make the assessment useless.
To understand the next step, we need to go back to elementary earth science where we first learned about magnets. You may recall that our planet Earth has a north and south pole. Their magnetic pull creates a magnetic field around the Earth. Humans, along with all living things, also have a north and south pole. Actually, we each have two sets: Our norths are at the top of our head and hand and our souths at the bottom of our feet and palms. Just like in the Earth, these create a magnetic pull and, together with the lines of electricity (or meridians) that we have in our bodies which were discovered hundreds of years ago by Chinese physicians, help to create our own magnetic field which surrounds us. Don’t believe me? Check out Kirlian photography when you get the chance.
Right about now you might be thinking, “Um, that sounds fascinating but what does it have to do with Muscle Response Testing?” Well, let’s review: If one were to take a magnet and put it on the refrigerator the normal way, i.e. north on south, the magnetic pull is strong; however, if we reverse that magnet, i.e. north on north, there is no pull and the weakness just make the magnet fall to the floor. Should a client’s polarity be “off” the whole test’s effectiveness is in jeopardy as the client could test “strong” or “weak” when they are really just the opposite.
In order to verify that the client’s polarity is in working order, the south side of their hand (palm) is placed on top of their head (north). The pull or strength should be strong; likewise, if they now turn the palm of their hand upward so that the top (or north) side of their hand is now touching the top of their head (north), the pull or strength should be weak. If for any reason this is not the case, a good naturopath will be able to reverse their polarity using a variety of methods which cross-integrate the brain.
Finally, now that the client is ready to test, the naturopath touches and names a particular part of the body that may represent an organ or gland. The client is asked to raise their arm laterally. How the muscle reacts determines whether or not the tested part is functioning properly. For example, if the muscle is strong, oxygen and nutrient levels are sufficient to function optimally. If, however, the muscle is weak, that suggests the opposite is true. There are, of course, other reasons it might test weak. One possibility is that the area has insufficient nerve flow.
If nutrient levels are being checked, the results show whether or not the person tested is deficient in that vitamin, mineral, etc. Muscle Response Testing can be used to determine anything if the skill level of the naturopath is high enough. Which natural remedy would work best for me? How much of it should I be taking? How often? The possibilities are truly endless – small children too little for testing can be tested “through” their parent and even out-of-town relatives can be “assessed.”
For those out there who are still in doubt, it’s important to point out that overall body strength has nothing to do with it. I’ve tested a seven year-old girl’s iodine levels and her arm did not budge an inch. I’ve also tested a highly-trained police officer with an extensive martial arts background whom I’ve seen lift a 300-pound armoire. He needed more B Vitamins. His arm dropped faster than you can fathom.
More often than not, because of the world we live in that is filled with stress, bad nutrition, pollution, chemicals, etc., numerous parts of the body test weak. Does that mean that you should plan on walking out after your MRT with a tote bag full of product? No. Again, a good naturopath will know how to determine primary weaknesses (i.e. the stomach is only testing weak because the liver is unhappy or strengthening the small intestine will also make the large intestine become stronger).
They will also be able to conclude if each weak/deficient area needs to be strengthened or cleansed. Nothing makes me crazier than “one plan fits all” approaches to health, such as, ‘Everyone should avoid meat” or “Everyone should be a vegetarian” or “Running a 5K is great for everyone!” Folks, if we applied that theory, someone could get hurt. Not everyone is strong enough for a cleanse and knowing if you are or not before you do one is very important.
Newly empowered with the knowledge of what an MRT is and what it can do, you are now empowered to make the best choice for you. Personally, I prefer asking my body what it wants rather than force-feeding it with invasive tests. One year later, the afternoon cat naps are still off the agenda, twenty of the fifty pounds and many waistline inches have disappeared, the carpel tunnel is gone, and the depression has officially been replaced with happiness and overall vitality. I’ve now moved on to tackling bigger root issues that have plagued me for over 40 years. Will it be an easy battle? Heck no. I often have to remind my Taurus self that patience is a virtue. But will I be victorious? No doubt about it. After all, thanks to Muscle Response Testing, I know exactly what to do.