Kinesiology: How it works & is it suitable for you?

In this article we explain what kinesiology is, as well as its benefits and drawbacks. We also provide an overview of the alternative therapies industry in Australia, and the 2019 changes to health insurance that affected the industry.
Kinesiology australia

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What is kinesiology?

Kinesiology is a type of natural therapy that combines muscle monitoring (biofeedback) with the principles of Chinese medicine to assess energy and body function1.

Muscle monitoring is a natural feedback system which receives information via nerve pathways, and the meridian system of the brain and body. The practice looks at imbalances that may be causing disease in the body, and aims to correct these imbalances, particularly those that may relate to stress, nutrition, or minor injuries.

Kinesiologists claim to be able to use muscle monitoring techniques to access information about a person’s wellbeing and promote physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health1. While the practice may contribute to positive changes in your health and may determine allergy triggers, it is not used to diagnose disorders.

What are the benefits of kinesiology?

The key premise of kinesiology is that the body has innate healing energy2. These flows of energy relate not only to the muscles, but to every tissue and organ that make up the body. They can be evaluated by testing the function of the muscles, which in turn reflect the body’s overall state, both physical, chemical, and emotional.

In order to improve health and vitality, a kinesiologist uses different techniques to help move the energy flows into a better position, allegedly assisting the patient with the following2:

  • Improved sports performance
  • Positive changes to overall health
  • Better understanding of what can trigger an allergic or sensitivity reaction
  • Enhanced learning ability in adults and children
  • Better decision-making
  • Improved communication with yourself and with others
  • And more

It’s important again to note that Kinesiology does not treat or diagnose diseases1. It’s concerned simply with the imbalances in the body’s energy, closely linking it with acupuncture and other Chinese medicines. As the therapy is based on an energy model of health and not a medical one, there is little evidence supporting the claimed benefits of kinesiology.

Techniques used in kinesiology

As a natural therapy that’s closely linked with Chinese medicine, some of the techniques used in kinesiology are similar to other Chinese therapies1. These include:

  • Acupressure
  • Lymphatic massage
  • Hypertonic muscle release
  • Attention to reflex, trigger, and body points
  • Natural remedies, such as flower essences and homeopathics
  • Nutritional advice

The rise in complementary and alternative care

Complementary and alternative care has become an established part of health care for many Australians. Known by many names, such as alternative therapy, alternative medicine, holistic therapy and traditional medicine, it includes a range of treatments that are not considered a part of standard health care3.

It’s estimated that two out of three Australians4 use complementary and alternative care, and the industry accounts for $3.5 billion in expenditure every year5. Kinesiology is one of these alternative therapies, with a number of professional practitioners registered with the Australian Kinesiology Association6.

While kinesiology and other complementary therapies can work alongside conventional diagnosis and treatment, it should never replace it entirely, as scientific evidence on their use is limited.

Regulation of complementary and alternative therapists

The complementary therapy industry in Australia is largely self-regulated, although state governments can apply regulations, which means laws can differ from one state to the next.

Most complementary therapists are affiliated with a professional association. For kinesiologists, there is the Australian Kinesiology Association. While membership may require therapists to maintain a certain standard of care, joining the association is voluntary, which means there’s no legal obligation.

The exception is in Victoria, where acupuncturists, Chinese medicine practitioners and Chinese herbal medicine practitioners are legally obliged to registered with the Chinese Registration Board7. Despite their similarities, this does not include kinesiology.

In the case of misconduct, police, the courts or a health review board may investigate the activities of a complementary therapist.

Is kinesiology covered by private health insurance?

From 1 April 2019, there were changes to the way that natural therapies were covered by private health insurance8. This means that from this date kinesiology, along with fifteen other natural therapies, is no longer being covered by private health insurance. You can learn more about the changes here.

The changes are the result of a review chaired by the former Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer, which found that there is no clear evidence demonstrating the efficacy of the excluded natural therapies.

Approximately 54% of Australians are covered by extras insurance8. As the cost of alternative therapies accounts for $3.5 billion each year, removing these sixteen options will contribute to reducing private health insurance premium growth.

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