The Man with Magic Fingers
Alternative Medicine/Applied Kinesiology
By Janice M. Horowitz
Monday, April 16, 2001
A meat-eating Republican who wears a coat and tie everywhere, including at the breakfast table,
George Goodheart wouldn't seem to have a New Age bone in his body--until you get him talking about
bones and muscles.
Like his father before him, Goodheart, 82, was trained as a chiropractor. But then, nearly 40 years ago, he began to focus not just on skeletal structure but also on the hundreds of muscles that support the bones. He thinks of them as the body's ambassadors--engaged in a constant, lively communication with the rest of the body. He developed a system, known as applied kinesiology, in which the muscles and surrounding nerves are manipulated not only to alleviate ordinary aches and pains but also to diagnose and treat organic diseases.
Linking muscle dysfunction to diseased organs is not entirely out of the mainstream. For years doctors measured thyroid function by testing how fast the tibial muscle jerks when the Achilles tendon is tapped. But for Goodheart, muscle testing is the diagnostic gold standard. He prods and palpates patients head to toe, searching for tiny tears where muscles attach to bone. These tears feel, he says, like "a bb under a strip of raw bacon." When "directional pressure" is applied, the bb's flatten, and slack muscles snap back, their strength restored.
And that, says Goodheart, may help strengthen a weakened organ. Goodheart believes that muscles and organs are linked by the same invisible neuropathways and meridian lines tweaked by acupuncturists. It took Goodheart years to ferret out the connections: the shoulders' deltoids map to the lungs; glutei maximi in the butt to the prostate; and the psoas that run through the groin to kidneys.
Even taste sensations can travel through the brain and loop back to muscles. Tasting a nutrient, he says, stimulates an area of the brain responsible for muscle reflexes, so that a patient with a liver condition can swirl bile salts on his tongue and feel his pectorals strengthen.
That may be hard for doctors to swallow, but Goodheart's patients in his Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., center swear he gets results--as do the patients of thousands of applied kinesiologists worldwide who now practice his techniques.