I tried kinesiology: Can it help relieve anxiety?

Desperate for some relief for her mounting anxiety, Tara Ali decided to seek alternative treatment in the form of kinesiology. Did this natural therapy actually help?

Kinesiology is first suggested to me when I mention to a friend that my anxiety has become a little out of control ever since I re-entered the workforce part-time after having a baby.

Panicky feelings rise up my throat as I rush to the library at 9am where I work as a freelancer, and they’re still there when I collapse into bed at 11pm after working in the evenings to meet my deadlines.

It’s making me irritable, argumentative, and not the best person to live with. She starts raving about how it saved her sanity during an emotionally difficult time in her life. I need a fix, quick. 

What is kinesiology? 

Kinesiology is an alternative therapy that’s touted as a powerful, but gentle, way to help with physical conditions: anything from back pain, respiratory problems or sports injuries, and also mental and emotional issues. It uses muscle testing, which doesn’t test how strong your muscles are but rather, how the nervous system controls its muscle functions.

There are several different kinds of kinesiology but generally in a session your practitioner will use a combination of muscle testing and attention to acu, reflex and trigger points to investigate where imbalances in the body are, then gentle corrections and alignment of the nervous system to put things back in balance. 

Session one: Am I healing?

During my first session Jane, asks me to draw what I mean when I say I have ‘one foot in motherhood, the other foot in deadlines – and the two aren’t gelling’. She practices holistic kinesiology and believes muscle testing allows us to tap into our body's inherent wisdom and intelligence. My sketch is illuminating: one side is soft and sweet, my little boy and I cuddling, surrounded by teddies and story books. The other is adult, corporate: my computer, a pile of dollar bills, a clock. It gets me talking about the conflict I’m feeling inside trying to excel in both of these worlds of mine, and feeling such an enormous pressure about it all.

Next I move to the bed while Jane asks me questions out loud (‘What would happen if you stopped earning money?’; ‘What would happen if your son encroached into your work hours?’) and then holds my arm up and asks me to push back at different points against her pressure as I respond. The sceptic in me is a little amused, but apparently the body is a truth detector, and she gets messages about my inbuilt belief systems from the way my body does or doesn’t push back. Then we come up with an alternative belief that's more helpful than the ones I’ve been telling myself and Jane gets me to repeat it until my body responds affirmatively. It feels something like therapy, combined with a bit of physio, massage and some kind of healing. 

Session two: The tears flow 

I can’t say I notice an immediate improvement in my anxiety. The day after my session I feel like I’m going to spontaneously combust as I frantically finish a story at baby nap time while also trying to batch cook and vacuum the Weetbix-stained carpet because we have friends coming for dinner. But then I remember a visual Jane gave me, to imagine soft velvet curtains in the centre of my chest, slowly closing and sweeping a sense of calm through me. It really works.

Three weeks later I’m back again and telling Jane that the kinesiology has a strong effect on me and I’ve been very emotional. I spend most of the time in tears, themes come up of missing my family in the UK, ungrateful that I feel sad when I know I have so much, a niggling pain in my neck and shoulders, feeling overwhelmed by a normal thing like Christmas – whoah. It’s like kinesiology flicked an emotional switch in me last time and I haven’t been able to turn it back off. This session focusses on balancing things back the other way. Jane reads me some text from a vibrational healing book that hits the nail on the head. She massages my neck and has some more conversations with my limbs and we’re done until next time.

The outcome

A month on and there has most definitely been a shift. I still have anxious tendencies when work starts piling up and I’ve only had six hours broken sleep and my toddler doesn’t care. But there’s a difference now… I slow down and do what I can and there’s no longer the pressure of feeling that if I drop a ball the world may end. I drop several each day, but I know now can just clean up quickly and keep going.

Tara Ali had kinesiology sessions at thepreciousmettle.com.au (sessions were paid for).

To find a kinesiologist near you visit aik.org.au

Cost per session: Around $90 for an hour. Many health insurers offer rebates, depending on your level of cover.

If you or someone you know is suffering from anxiety, please seek professional medical advice or contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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