Children and Applied Kinesiology

Children have a remarkable ability to respond to chiropractic care. Some of the most dramatic health corrections in the annals of chiropractic have been accomplished with children. In obtaining health correction, chiropractic uses the body’s own recuperative powers. This ability to rebuild diseased or malfunctioning organs or structures is especially great in a child.

One of the most important aspects of a child’s future is the prospect of good health. The future certainly looks bleak if there is low resistance to disease. To most pre-teen or teenage youth, the question of health at the “old” age of 40 is remote. A parent’s duty to his children does not end with education and immediate health care; it includes education to insure good health throughout the child’s life.

The body develops its neurologic organization through many stages as the child grows. Each stage of development is important to the ultimate balanced function of the nervous system. Periodic examination – and correction when necessary – by a doctor knowledgeable in applied kinesiology procedures will help these stages of development to be completed successfully, before the next stage begins.

All children endure bumps and jars as they grow. Most of these injuries are insignificant; however, sometimes imbalance can develop that causes interference with normal nerve function. The injury may possibly cause a vertebral misalignment that irritates a nerve root, affecting an organ or structure; or a muscle itself can be over-stretched or over-contracted, causing a disturbance in the nervous system. These are also effectively examined and corrected on periodic evaluation by your applied kinesiologist. Use a regular evaluation to determine if control of body systems is correct, just as you do for dental development and preventive treatment.

Low Back Pain. 10% of children aged 9-10 have been reported to suffer from it with 2% of schoolchildren experiencing disability because of it. In schoolchildren, the lifetime prevalence of low back pain has been estimated to be anywhere from 20% to 51%. If mechanical distortions are allowed to remain in a spine while a child is growing, the spine develops in a strained position much the same as a tree would grow if it were distorted into a bent position. Although bumps, jars, and injuries cause spinal displacements that irritate the nerves, they are easily corrected by chiropractic examination and adjustment. Uncorrected misalignments can cause major problems many years later, after they have irritated the controlling nerves for a long time. Often when nerve irritation is first present, an individual is young enough and has enough resistance to ward off the resulting symptomatic involvement. Later in life the body no longer has the resistance necessary to continue functioning normally when nerve irritation is present. Symptoms develop that drive these individuals to a doctor. Many major adult health problems could easily have been corrected if the basic underlying cause had been discovered when it first developed.


Dr. Scott – along with many other clinician-scientists around the world – has published a series of research papers about the applied kinesiology care of children at the Chiropractic Health Center and elsewhere. These papers are available online as indicated below, as well as at the clinic. Please let us know if you would like this information from the clinic.
  • Conservative management of post-surgical urinary incontinence in an adolescent: A case history, 2011. 
  • Applied kinesiology methods for a 10-year-old child with headaches, neck pain, asthma, and reading disabilities. [link]

    This paper is important because it explains in detail the methods of correction used to help a young man overcome his headaches, neck pain, asthma and learning difficulties. This elaborates upon the much larger – though the details of treatment were briefer – research paper below on Developmental delay syndromes. This paper showed “how to” do this specifically in a particular child.

  • Applied Kinesiology Management of Candidiasis and Chronic Ear Infections: A Case History.

    Chronic ear infections are very common in children with weakened immune systems and for children who have been treated repeatedly with antibiotics for conditions that their own immune systems should be able to handle. This paper demonstrates what was done to change that rapidly in a young 6 year old girl.

  • Developmental delay syndromes: psychometric testing before and after chiropractic treatment of 157 children. [link]

    This research project was unique in chiropractic history as it involved the largest cohort in the profession’s history. The children were monitored before and after treatment by an educational psychologist, who used “psychometric testing” (that evaluates cognitive, sensory, and muscular function) before and after treatment. The outcomes for this series of patients was very exciting indeed!

  • Developmental Delay Syndromes and Chiropractic: A Case Report. [link] and A randomised controlled trial of the Neuro Emotional Technique (NET) for childhood Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): a protocol. [link]

    Neuro-Emotional Technique (N.E.T.) is a system of treatment developed from AK technologies. Within the framework of AK there are many examination and therapeutic procedures that are intimately involved with the mental-emotional side of the triad of health. As AK has grown and branched into so many areas within the healing arts, it has become apparent that many mental and emotional problems are due to physiologic dysfunction. When the body is returned to normal function, the mental or emotional problem is often eliminated or the patient is better able to cope with it. The literature on the AK and its associated MMT systems of diagnosis and treatment in relationship to children with various kinds of cognitive and behavioral disorders is growing. This paper is an important contribution to our understanding of how manual treatments may be helpful in these children.

  • A Multi-Modal Chiropractic Treatment Approach for Asthma: a 10-Patient Retrospective Case Series. [link]

    The treatment of children with asthma with cost-effective, non-invasive, non-toxic methods has a growing evidence base. Ten patients are presented (7 male, 3 female) between the ages of 3 and 22. Each patient had been medically diagnosed and treated for asthma, and all patients were taking one or more asthma medications. After physical, orthopaedic and AK manual muscle testing examination, the patients were admitted to a multi-modal treatment protocol including chiropractic manipulative therapy, cranial manipulative therapy, muscle therapies aimed at strengthening the muscles of respiration, and nutritional evaluation using the methods developed in applied kinesiology chiropractic. Outcome measures for the study included subjective/objective visual analogue respiratory impairment scales (VAS), improvement in exercise-induced asthma symptoms.

  • Applied Kinesiology: An Effective Complementary Treatment for Children with Down Syndrome. [link]

    This report describes 15 children’s case histories who have Down syndrome, and provides their clinical findings and their evaluation and treatment using applied kinesiology methods. Children with Down syndrome will be developmentally slower than their siblings and peers and have intellectual functioning in the moderately disabled range, but the range is enormous and the distance from their peers is the crucial factor where chiropractic and cranial therapeutics can make a profound difference.

  • The Effects of Chiropractic Care on Individuals Suffering from Learning Disabilities and Dyslexia: A Review of the Literature. [link]

    This paper offers an excellent review of AK concepts regarding the treatment of children with learning disabilities and dyslexia. This is an extensive review and a description of the published scientific evidence regarding outcomes for these children who have been treated with AK.

  • Pediatric case history: cost effective treatment of block naso-lacrimal canal utilizing applied kinesiology tenets.

    To present a case discussing the successful treatment of a blocked tear duct in a 14-month-old boy. Through the use of surrogate testing – a technique unique to applied kinesiology – cranial and spinal lesions were specifically identified for correction. This approach provides a safe, cost effective approach and should therefore be considered as a standard first line of treatment for this condition. Further studies should be designed to elucidate this.

  • AK classic case management: enuresis. [link]

    The founder of applied kinesiology, Dr. George J. Goodheart, Jr., notes that many doctors and many parents are deeply concerned with the problems that enuresis produces in the children under their care. Dr. Goodheart offers methods of diagnosis and treatment for the causative factors that make bed-wetting occur. The treatment is physiological, non-invasive, and satisfactory for both the child, their parent, and the physician.

  • Applied Kinesiology Helping Children with Learning Disabilities. [link]

    This was a study of a group of 10 children all experiencing learning difficulties and how they responded to Applied Kinesiology (AK) treatment. Treatment involved a patient/therapist contact time of 3 to 4 hours spread over 9 to 12 sessions over a period of 6-12 months. The children were tested before and after treatment by an Educational Psychologist using standardised tests of intelligence to monitor changes in their learning skills. Parents and teachers were asked to complete questionnaires before and after treatment regarding other aspects of the children’s educational performance. A health profile was also kept based on parental observation. Results were compared with a control group of 10 children matched for age, IQ and social background who had not received any AK treatment over a similar period.

  • A pilot study on the value of applied kinesiology in helping children with learning difficulties.

Athletic injuries should be examined and treated early. Many individuals suffer later in life from athletic injuries that could have been effectively treated earlier. Football injuries are a good example of this. Do not make the frequent error of thinking, “It’s just a muscle strain – it’ll go away.” Competitive sports, although good for the child’s total development, can cause health problems that are not recognized until adult health is affected.

Strength and development come naturally to children in sports and at play; these activities should be encouraged. A child’s development will be monitored by the doctor of chiropractic, making certain that the muscles develop in a balanced manner. Occasionally – especially in unilateral competitive sports – the body develops faster in some areas than in others, causing an imbalance that may be present for life and may affect future health. The doctor will also suggest which sports might be better for a particular child.

Infections in a child are best treated by keeping his/her resistance high. Have you ever wondered why only a portion of a class will “catch” an infection when the entire class is equally exposed? Fighting an infection after it has already developed is hindsight, not foresight. Give your children the advantage of a health program designed to develop natural health and resistance to disease.

Childhood diseases fit into the resistance picture noted above. The child with well-developed natural health goes through the different childhood diseases easily and rapidly.

Dietary Habits. Poor dietary habits develop in children in many ways. First, and probably the most obvious, is that children develop a fondness for — or dislike of — certain foods by observing what their parents and other adults around them enjoy. Food likes and dislikes are primarily acquired. If a new and strange food is placed before a young and impressionable child, and someone he admires — such as his father rejects the food with the comment, “What did you fix this yucky stuff for?” the child is well on his way to disliking the food before he even tastes it. These patterns of observation in children develop well before the average adult thinks the child is paying any attention at all.

The use of food as a reward or punishment should be avoided. Sometimes the comment is made, “Eat your zucchini or you can’t have any ice cream.” To the child, this means the zucchini is bad and ice cream is good. The promise of sweets is a very common reward used by many parents. Unfortunately, this just increases the child’s desire for food that has little nutritional value and is possibly even a negative food item. Negative foods are those that provide little or no nutritional value and may cause damage. For example, high sugar items usually provide no more than energy for a very short time after they are eaten; they can contribute to dental caries, adrenal stress, potential triglyceride problems, liver congestion, and more.

The use of high sugar and other detrimental foods as rewards is bad not only because the reward is detrimental, but because the child’s mental attitude toward the reward is to want more.