Who We Are
ICAK-Canada is a one of 15 global chapters of the International College of Applied Kinesiology (ICAK), supporting applied kinesiology (AK) practitioners across Canada with the latest news and developments in AK, a valuable diagnostic tool for healthcare professionals who are licensed to diagnose (MD, DC, DO, ND, DMD – depending on provincial regulatory bodies).
A member-run organization, ICAK-Canada is committed to continual education and thought leadership for AK practitioners. ICAK is responsible for the standards in practice and accreditation as well as ongoing applied kinesiology research.
What Is Applied Kinesiology?
Applied Kinesiology (AK) is an assessment method that allows the certified health professional to check his or her basic exams. AK is a tool that uses functional assessment tools, gait analysis, motion amplitudes, static palpation, dynamics and muscle testing. The latter serves as a functional neurological evaluation. These tests are used with standard examination methods such as anamnesis, physical analysis, laboratory analyzes and diagnostic images to arrive at a unique clinical impression of the physiological status of each patient. This information will guide the professional in applying a conservative treatment.
AK aims to study the dynamic relationships between the biomechanical aspect (joints, muscles, ligaments, bones, scars, etc.), the biochemical aspect (eg diet) and the emotional aspect (stress at work, stress at the home, etc.) to identify causes that may be causing health problems. The practice of AK is limited to health professionals who are qualified to diagnose (eg doctors, dentists, chiropractors, podiatrists). The term “professional applied kinesiology” refers to the practice of AK which corresponds to what is taught and recognized by the International College of Applied Kinesiology (ICAK) and is limited to health professionals qualified to diagnose.1 ICAK is the organization responsible for the standards of practice, assessment and certification of graduates of the International Board of Applied Kinesiology (DIBAK) as well as teaching and promoting research in AK. In Canada, most professionals with a AK approach are chiropractors.
Learning AK is complementary to the academic training of the health professional. Thus, all the tools used in AK are added to the professional’s basic examinations (eg history of the problem, orthopedic tests, neurological examination, radiological examination, etc.). AK training is given by DIBAK professionals who are members of ICAK’s Board of Certified Teachers. Each health professional is required to use the AK within the limits of his field of expertise, the latter being defined by his professional order. For example, in Quebec, the scope of practice of chiropractors includes the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of neuromusculoskeletal disorders and the effects of these disorders on the general health of the person, so that the person can recover and maintain optimal health.2
Unfortunately, there is no oversight body surrounding the practice of AK specifically. Thus, many individuals claiming AK have developed techniques that use muscle testing (and other related procedures) in ways that do not correspond to those taught by ICAK. Although muscle testing is an important functional neurological assessment tool, AK as taught by ICAK is not limited to the use of muscle testing alone. To be certified in AK, eligible health professionals must at least take the ICAK-approved basic course (100 hours) and pass the exam. The title of DIBAK represents the highest certification standard in AK.
The treatments of professionals using AK can be at the biomechanical level: manual or vibratory muscle treatment, massage, joint corrections, stimulation of reflex zones and acupuncture points.
The evaluation may include certain biochemical or dietary recommendations: dietary recommendations, recommendation of dietary supplements for the maintenance of good health or reference to a specialized professional (example: nutritionist). In Canada, the professional with an AK approach may decide to carry out neuro-taste tests that must always be integrated into a complete patient assessment process (history, physical examination, etc.), according to the professional’s scope of practice. Neuro-taste tests aim to detect a change in the neurophysiological parameters of the patient (eg manual muscular test (MMT), movement amplitudes, palpation of different areas of tension (eg Chapman’s NL reflexes, muscles, vertebrae, etc.) to better understand the presence or recurrence of certain neuromusculoskeletal problems.
The evaluation of oral substances is used because it seems clinically useful in the evaluation process of neuromusculoskeletal problems. Exposure to taste would elicit a variety of neurological and muscular responses, in addition to digestive, endocrine, cardiovascular, thermogenic and renal responses.3 Relationships between muscle function and specific nutritional deficits have been suggested by Travell and Simons.4 Nerve pathways that may explain the neurophysiological changes in MMT response observed following insalivation of a substance have been hypothesized (eg Cuthbert 2013),5 but this subject requires further study. Nevertheless, there are several citations in the literature of an efferent response in the whole body resulting from the stimulation of gustatory and olfactory receptors produced during the insalivation of a substance.3, 6-11 In some cases, the clinician may also refer the patient to consult a nutritionist, who is experienced in the neuro-taste test, to aid in the management of chiropractic cases.12-13 In some cases, the clinician may also recommend that the patient consult a nutritionist who can develop an appropriate dietary plan.
1- Rosner, A. L. and S. C. Cuthbert (2012). « Applied kinesiology: Distinctions in its definition and interpretation. » Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies 16(4): 464-487.
2- Ordre des chiropraticiens du Québec. Consulté le 5 mai 2019 : https://www.ordredeschiropraticiens.ca/fr/la-profession-chiropratique/quest-ce-que-la-chiropratique/
3- Mattes RD. Physiologic responses to sensory stimulation by food: nutritional implications. J Am Diet Assoc 1997;97: 406-13.
4- Travell JG, Simons DG. Myofascial pain and dysfunction: the trigger point manual. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins; 1983. p. 103-64.
5- Cuthbert S. Applied Kinesiology Essentials: The Missing Link in Health Care. Pueblo, CO: The Gangasas Press; 2013.
6- Guyton AC. Textbook of medical physiology. Philadelphia: WB Saunders; 1991. p. 583.
7- Chambers ES, Bridge MW, Jones DA. Carbohydrate sensing in the human mouth: effects on exercise performance and brain activity. J Physiol. 2009;587:1779–1794
8- Pert CB. The wisdom of the receptors, neuropeptides, the emotions, and bodymind. Adv Mind Body Med. 2002 Fall;18(1):30–35.
9- Fiet J, Harmano M, Witte J, et al. Post-menopausal concentrations of plasma oestradiol, estrone, FSH, and LH and of total urinary oestrone after a single sublingual dose of estradiol 17-β. Acta Endocrinol. 1982;101(1):93–97.
10- Yamamoto T, Kato T, Matsuo R, Arate N, Azuma S, Kawamura Y. Gustatory reaction time under variable stimulus parameters in human adults. Physiol Behav. 1982;29(1):79–84.
11- Rybeck D, Swenson R. The effect of oral administration of refined sugar on muscle strength. J Manipul Physiol Ther. 1980;3:155–161.
12- Cuthbert S, Rosner A. Applied kinesiology methods for a 10-year-old child with headaches, neck pain, asthma, and reading disabilities. Journal of chiropractic medicine. 2010;9(3):138-45.
13- Caso M. Evaluation of chapman’s neurolymphatic reflexes via applied kinesiology: a case report of low back pain and congenital intestinal abnormality. Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics. 2004;27(1):66-72.
Only healthcare professionals licensed for diagnosis, and students in those programs, can study to become Professional Applied Kinesiology practitioners. Healthcare professionals must take the 100-hour Basic Applied Kinesiology Certification course and pass the exam. All courses follow the guidelines of the International College of Applied Kinesiology, which governs standards, education and certification globally.
In Canada, it’s mostly chiropractors, osteopaths and naturopathic doctors who integrate Applied Kinesiology into their healthcare practices. Dentists and MDs can study and practice AK as well – it’s interesting that in Europe, most of the healthcare practitioners who become certified in Applied Kinesiology and integrate it into their patient practices are MDs. As healthcare licensing in Canada is provincially regulated, the kinds of healthcare practitioners allowed to use AK varies across the country; naturopathic doctors aren’t licensed in Québec, so we don’t have members from that province who are naturopathic doctors as we do in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia
The courses offered are for health professionals who are licensed for patient diagnosis, most commonly chiropractors and naturopathic doctors, as well as students in these disciplines – depending on healthcare regulations, which vary from one province to another.
Applied Kinesiology courses are taught by ICAK members who have attained the highest level of certification, DIBAK diplomate. Some of the seminars offered here are for complementary techniques which fall outside the scope of ICAK but complement Applied Kinesiology methods.
Find A Practitioner
Practitioners listed are current members of ICAK Canada. To become a member, click here.
Board of Directors
Chairman: Dr Geneviève Gagné, Chiropractor, DC, DIBAK
Treasurer: Dr. John Millett, chiropractor, DC
Secretary: Dr. Mathieu Joyal, chiropractor, DC, DIBAK
Quebec and East of Canada Representative: Dr Catherine Therrien, chiropractor, DC, DIBAK
Ontario and West of Canada Representative: Dr Elizabeth Paul, chiropractor, DC.
In Canada, who can perform applied kinesiology legally?
While it isn’t actually illegal for someone who isn’t certified to practice Applied Kinesiology to practice it, it’s certainly not safe. Chiropractors, osteopaths, naturopathic doctors, dentists, MDs and other healthcare professionals that are licensed to diagnose can use Applied Kinesiology in their patient practices, as long as they have taken and passed the exam for the Basic Applied Kinesiology certification course.
What should I look for in someone who says they will use applied kinesiology on me?
Ask if they have received their certification. Watch out if they say they took a kinesiology course in university or learned it from someone else; they might not be certified. Be aware that using muscle testing techniques without the proper training can result in misdiagnosis or injury.
Do you need to be a naturopath or chiropractor?
While a naturopathic doctor or chiropractor can indeed study and practice Applied Kinesiology, so could an osteopath, dentist, MD or any other doctor licensed by a regulatory body.
Are there courses that you can take to perform AK even if you don’t have the above designations?
No there aren’t. The training is limited to licensed professionals because the extensive physiology knowledge required to practice only comes from formal education and each regulated body has rules for patient care. This keeps patients safe.
Is Applied Kinesiology safe?
Yes. Applied Kinesiology is a remarkable diagnostic tool; it’s accessible (no expensive tests), quick (performed in place in the doctor’s office with immediate insights) and non-invasive. When done by certified professionals, there is nothing involved that can cause harm to a patient.
The trainer I work out with says he can do muscle testing on me. Is that ok?
Muscle testing is the core tool used by healthcare professionals practicing Applied Kinesiology. It’s only safe and accurate with the proper education, which a physical trainer wouldn’t have access to, unless they were an osteopath or one of the other regulated areas of healthcare. At best, it’s likely testing will be inaccurate without a formal physiology education. At worst, misdiagnosis can result, or injury. Use our directory to find a certified Applied Kinesiology practitioner near you.