Three Papers in Honor of George Goodheart
In attempting to contemplate the vast world of Applied Kinesiology that George Goodheart created over forty years ago, all of it is amazing, of course—but none more so than what I consider the two most important ‘miracles.’ First, proving, for the first time in all the ages of medical history, the relationship between the major muscles of the body and the organs, and secondly, the gift of instant clinical feedback, giving every clinician a means whereby he can determine, based initially on his clinical judgment of course, exactly what is right for each individual patient.
The first miracle was the first relationship he found back in 1963 which was between the psoas muscle and the kidney—related, united, through the aegis of the kidney meridian. And using the second “gift,” specific points on the kidney meridian will be demonstrated, including the Kidney 3 problem, the Success Problem, which relates to a very specific aspect of wanting to succeed. And overcoming this is an essential constituent of holistic therapy. So from psoas—to kidney—to success. All on the journey led by George Goodheart—and every step from the very first would have sufficed.
1. The Gift of Instant Clinical Feedback: Your Body Doesn’t Lie
For nearly thirty-five years I have been honored by knowing George Goodheart D.C., the originator of the therapeutic discipline he calls Applied Kinesiology. Throughout that time I have never known him to carry out any therapeutic procedure, nor prescribe any nutritional supplementation, that he did not test for its particular effect on the particular patient at that particular time. Nothing was ever done without examining the patient, deeply, as to whether it was right for him at that moment. However powerful his clinical judgments—and they are as powerful as those of any clinician I have ever known—he always defers to the patient’s own body as the final arbiter of what should be administered.
Although the system he has developed is incredibly broad, almost infinitely wide- ranging, I still often believe that this may be his single most important contribution: that he has given every clinician a means whereby he can determine, based initially on his clinical judgment of course, exactly what is right for each individual patient. Only then can he first do no harm to the patient, and only then can he determine what is really best. No other system in the history of all the healing arts has ever had this incredible and, to me, most essential therapeutic power.
And it is complementary to whatever particular modalities the therapist may be employing, from nutrition to acupuncture to psychotherapy to manipulation, whatever—to all of these, and more, can be added the skill of determining how that modality can be best delivered to this particular patient at this particular time. In this sense, the testing procedures developed by Goodheart are truly complementary. That is to say, completing the therapy, whatever it may be—completing it by particularizing it: knowing instantly that whatever you are doing will be of most benefit to the patient. Furthermore, this reassurance to the patient can only increase the value of the therapy.
Consider four justly acclaimed doctors whom I have consulted over the recent months. One is a world-renowned specialist in preventive medicine who in response to my history and laboratory tests—but without ever once touching my body—prescribed a very comprehensive nutritional regime for me. I have no doubt that, in theory, it is right—but is it right for me: those particular supplements, those particular brands and formulations of those supplements, and in those particular quantities, in that particular combination? None of this he knows, or even seems interested to know. Yet when I prescribe food supplements I always test for all of these factors—and much more, for only then can I be reassured. I use the patient’s body to tell me, and him, what is right. It is, of course, based on my clinical experience, but this must always must be particularized for each individual, for that is what each of us is—an individual.
The second doctor is a famous osteopath, but he never once tested to find out whether his particular physical procedures were right for me. And yet I do this every time for every patient. Otherwise how does he know?
Another was a great acupuncturist—but, again, how does he know if he is exactly on the desired point, for being off by just one millimeter can make so much difference. Certainly he palpates the point beforehand, but the surface area of the tip of his finger is so much greater than that of a needle. Only by accurate testing can he insert the needle in exactly the right point. This is what I always do.
The fourth was a world-famous homeopath. How did he know, really know, that I needed that particular remedy? To a skilled homeopath, that is often a less difficult question than determining the right potency of a particular remedy. Again, how does he know? By testing I have found that there can be a great difference between, say, a 6x potency and a 12x potency.
I am not proclaiming that these most skilled doctors do not achieve good results. However, I do wonder how much better their results would be if they had immediate feedback as to whether their clinical intuition was right. Without this they may have to wait, sometimes indefinitely, and then try retrospectively to determine if their actions were correct. And in the meantime the patient has not been helped—and, all to often, actually is harmed.
Hippocrates taught that the doctor must first do no harm. For this, some instant system of appraisal is required, and there is none so accurate, so valid, and so specific as that developed by Dr. Goodheart. I have come to the conclusion, harsh and judgmental as it may sound, that to carry out any therapeutic procedure without asking the body is arrogance. (And arrogance literally means not asking.)
Let us now consider psychotherapy. I practiced this for years without ever knowing whether my interpretations were correct. I might have had to wait weeks or months for feedback! And even if there were an immediate response, how was I to interpret that? I believe that while it may be possible to carry out other therapies effectively without testing, it is virtually impossible for psychotherapy.
Over the years I have performed some millions of tests, in many different therapeutic areas. And every test is based on a hypothesis: is this what the patient is really feeling? Is this the supplement he really needs? Is this exactly the acupuncture point that requires treatment now? And so forth. With testing, and only with testing, I can get immediate feedback: I know exactly whether my hypothesis is right or wrong. There can be no more powerful training tool for a doctor than this one. Some millions of times a thought has come to me arising out of my clinical intuition and my experience, and each one can be, should be—and is—tested for its validity. This instant feedback greatly sharpens clinical intuition and diagnostic skill. So the testing of Applied Kinesiology, performed accurately, is not only of great, and essential, therapeutic value, but also a most powerful technique for both teaching and research. Especially in psychotherapy.
The testing must always be done against valid criteria, and this requires considerable experience. And it must always be carried out humbly—not to prove how great you are but to ensure that what you do is best for the patient. You humbly submit to the message that his body gives you. The patient’s body tells the doctor and the patient—not the doctor telling the patient.
How does the testing work? Consider that you are testing, let us say, a patient’s deltoid muscle. As Goodheart has shown, this particular muscle is energized by the chi, the Life Energy, flowing into it through the lung meridian. So any stress factor that reduces this flow of Life Energy will be manifested by the muscle testing weak in certain situations. Does a certain thought, a certain movement, a certain passage of music, a particular food—or whatever it may be—increase or decrease the flow of Life Energy into that particular muscle?
Every time we test the muscle we are challenging the efficacy of the flow of Life Energy through the associated meridian. And thus we can assess, potentially, the effect of every factor, internal and external, on the Life Energy of a particular individual at a particular time. Life Energy is the healing power, the vis medicatrix naturae of Hippocrates. It is this, by whatever modality he employs, that the doctor must actuate if his patient is ever to be truly cured. How can he truly cure if he can never be sure whether his activity is raising the Life Energy and, even if so, doing it maximally? Only the body knows—and the doctor must humbly ask. The wisdom of the body is not a mystical concept, it is physiology.
Based on my long-standing involvement in psychiatry, creativity, and the behavioral sciences in general, I developed what I call Life-Energy Analysis, a system by which the particular blockages and impediments to the energy flow can be accurately delineated and overcome by many means, especially by Creativity: by making the best choice for health, for love, and for life—by actuating the will to be well.
How accurate is the testing? It seems so simple, deceptively so. But one must be taught, correctly, how to carry it out—precisely, exactly. And it is a clinical test with all of the advantages and pitfalls that can occur in a human relationship. So the detachment of the tester is the utmost importance, as it must be in every experiment—and every test is in a sense a mini-research project.
There are many variables that must be controlled, a great many of them. Let me give you one example. It was more than twenty-five years ago that I tested a patient in my New York City office and then had to leave the room. On coming back a few minutes later, I unthinkingly did the same test again. He quickly pointed out to me that this time the test result was the opposite to the previous one. Something had changed—was it in him, in me, or in the environment? What was the variable that I was no longer controlling? It was then that I realized that between the two tests someone had started to play a piano in the next apartment. Could it be this that was making the difference? I continued to test, every time getting the second response, until the playing stopped, and then the first response reappeared. That was when I realized that it would be possible to test the therapeutic power, the Life Energy enhancing power of music, in fact of all the arts, of all creativity.
This I have continued to research, doing perhaps two million tests on this alone in the years since, testing some forty thousand records, twenty thousand tapes, and thousands upon thousands examples of music, of prose, of poetry, of art and sculpture, of photography and dance. Exactly how to play this passage of music. Exactly where to put the next brushstroke. Exactly how to lay out the poem. Exactly how to sing. In every case the exactness being determined by testing. Specifically: by how much, and in what particular way, does each creative act enhance or diminish the Life Energy?
All of it is based on my many years of medical and psychiatric, aesthetic and creative experience—and Applied Kinesiology. I believe that at last through AK we can really understand and practice psychosomatic medicine.
Thank you George Goodheart.
2. The First Miracle Would Have Sufficed
In the Jewish Passover service there is a prayer in which the worshippers give thanks to God for the miracles He performed to lead them safely out of Egypt. After each miracle is announced, there is the response, “It would have sufficed”. Any one miracle would have sufficed – even just the first, and there were many to follow.
I am often reminded of this “It would have sufficed” when I attempt to contemplate the vast world of Applied Kinesiology that George Goodheart created over forty years ago, and I keep returning to what was virtually the very first of his ‘miracles’. Goodheart proved, for the first time in all the ages of medical history, the relationship between the major muscles of the body and the organs.
We in Applied Kinesiology take this first miracle for granted. How often do we automatically work with the equation between, for example, the latissimus dorsi (which we have since long ago through familiarity called the “lat”) and the pancreas, or the “subscap” and the heart? We accept all this as gospel, but who in all the healing professions outside our area has any idea of them at all? That is how far we have traveled, safely, out of Egypt. And all the others are still in slavery, whether they know it or not.
That very first miracle started us on our journey of freedom, led into a new land. If it were not for George Goodheart we, too, would still be in Egypt! That would have sufficed. Had Goodheart done nothing more, that certainly would have sufficed.
Goodheart informs me that the first relationship he found, back in 1963, was between the psoas muscle and the kidney. And they are related, united, through the aegis of the kidney meridian. So let us now consider the kidney meridian (and thus the psoas and the kidney) in terms of the Acupuncture Emotional System.
Building on Goodheart’s discovery, over thirty years ago I started to understand the emotions, positive and negative, associated with the major acupuncture meridians, and then over the succeeding years to refine them in terms of sub-categories of the emotions and particular points on the meridians. So I came to learn that the kidney meridian relates to sexual energy. Whenever there is a psoas weakness it will be found, on detailed, controlled testing of the unconscious, that there is a kidney meridian weakness, and similarly if there is a disease of the kidney. In fact, if biochemical testing of kidney function were more refined, I am sure that whenever we have an impairment of the muscle or the meridian or the associated emotional state, we will also find an impairment, at some level, of kidney function. This is truly psychosomatic, holistic.
Whenever the kidney meridian flow is free, unimpeded, there will always be a state of “My sexual energies are balanced”. And the opposite, of course, if there is an impairment.
I will now relate the imbalances associated with but two of the kidney meridian points: Firstly, Kidney 2. The imbalance here is to do with sexual indecision: “Will I, or won’t I?” Will I have sex with this woman? Or with that woman? Or with a man?
Incidentally, all of Beethoven’s music, at a deep level, has a Kidney 2 problem. And the more you read of him the more apparent this becomes: he never married, probably never had any sexual relationship (the almost-mystical Dark Lady hardly counts), and, more revealingly, would refer to women as “fortresses”!
So whenever I find a primarily psoas problem or a primarily kidney organ problem I always look for the “third side of the triangle”. If it is Kidney 2, then we try to elucidate exactly the particular sexual indecision and, hopefully, help overcome it. For to ignore it and, say, only deal with the psoas, is merely treatment, not therapy – not holistic.
Often, it may not be possible in the real life situation to resolve the indecision: he may now decide he wants sex with one particular woman, but she may not want it with him! Whatever the external reality, however, we can at least overcome the sexual indecision by helping him to, for now, decide not to decide.
Now let us consider Kidney 3: So many times I have played recordings (not digital) of the same operatic aria sung by three tenors: Enrico Caruso, Beniamino Gigli and Mario Lanza. No Kidney 3 problem occurs with Caruso, but with Gigli it suddenly appears as he is nearing the climax of the aria, and with Mario Lanza the Kidney 3 problem is there from near the beginning of the aria and persists through to the climax. This is a good example of a Kidney 3 problem that I call Orgasm Success. Gigli becomes apprehensive as the “orgasm” approaches, Lanza is anxious from the very start of the “relationship”, whereas Caruso glories in it!
This problem relates to difficulty not so much with the sex act itself, but with the orgasm. Of course, it can prevent the act from even being initiated if the orgasm anxiety is powerful enough. And this problem does not only relate to actual sex, but to any activity, whatever it may be, that has been sexualized. For instance, many people fail in business – never reach the climactic success – because they have sexualized their business activities. (So I teach them: “Singing is for singing, business is for business – and sex is for sex”.)
Whenever I find a psoas problem or a kidney problem, I always test, at a deep level of the unconscious – in a very controlled situation – for a Kidney 3 problem. And overcoming this is an essential constituent of holistic therapy.
So from psoas, to kidney, to singing, to business, to sex. All on the journey out of slavery, into freedom – led by George Goodheart. And every step from the very first would have sufficed. Every step a miracle.
No, George, I don’t regard you as God. Your miracles are not His. But – please forgive me – sometimes you do seem just a little like Moses!
The affected meridian point is almost always – but not invariably – on the left side of the body.
This and Kidney 2 are the most common problems on the kidney meridian.
3. Why Are Our Muscles and Organs Interconnected?
One of the great biological discoveries of the last century was made by George Goodheart: the linkage of the major muscles of the body with specific organs, for instance, between the tensor fascia lata muscle and the large intestine. And they are connected via the acupuncture system, here the large intestine meridian. Why, we should ask, has this been “Planned”? What is its evolutionary value? Why must we have this connection?
Goodheart showed that the movement of a single muscle can energize the related organ. But only rarely does a movement involve but a single muscle. Virtually all our movements involve many muscles. (Think, for example, of the number involved in walking.) Thus, a complex movement involves many organs – sometimes all of them.
The “purpose” in the muscle-organ linkage is to enable our constant everyday muscular activities to energize, vitalize, tonify all the organs of the body, and so to promote health. If we are in a positive emotional state, our organs will be energized as a result of our muscular activity. However, if our emotional state is predominantly negative (that is to say, we are of low Life Energy), then our organs will be de-energized by our muscular activity – and that is the way to illness. Contrast the walk of the happy with that of the depressed.
The “better” we move, the better we will be. So, by improving muscular activity we can improve the emotional state, and thus the organs. And this is the role of the body-therapist. Through enhancing the Life Energy, the positive emotional state, we can, with muscular activity, energize our organs. This is the role of the psycho-therapist. The therapist that combines both is holistic, as, of course, is George Goodheart.