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My name is Gavin McClements. I am a wargamer and family man, living in Los Gatos, which is a suburb of San Jose, CA. Building terrain is one of my favorite aspects of the wargaming hobby - in fact, lately I've become more interested in making my battlefields "pop" than in actually playing.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Adventures in Applied Kinesiology / Muscle Testing

This is a rant. I know this is a blog dedicated to my passionate hobby of wargaming and miniatures in general, but I have a subject I really want to unload on. Please do not read this if severe and harsh language, or undisguised sarcasm and venom, bothers you, or if you hold sacred a belief in all things holistic when it comes to health and healing.

First, let me preface some of this. I believe in food sensitivities, and I believe in natural remedies and cures. However, I do use modern medicine, and would never think of not taking an Advil if I had a headache just because I wanted to try more natural solutions. I have lost damn near 25 pounds in the past 2 months just by isolating and getting off foods that I have sensitivities to (which in my case includes wheat, corn, and a few other things).

That being said, this rant is about applied kinesiology / muscle testing / holistic medicine and the people who practice it.

My wife has always believed in this style of medicine, while I have always had a fair level of mistrust and disdain for it. However, recently she discovered another practitioner in our area who a lot of people she knew were using (her last contact moved away nearly 10 years ago), and so she began getting into this again. My wife loves nutrition and health (mental and physical) and studies it like I study wargaming rule books. She has taken my children to see this woman, and my sisters have done the same. I refused to go, but I was willing to test naturally for food allergens, so we began an elimination diet. This is the diet that promptly led to my weight loss, and it has continued to drop. How can I argue with those results?

So my wife wanted more, but knowing my hesitation, she bribed me to go with something I couldn’t refuse. Yea, call me a sucker, but I agreed, and yesterday I went to see this nutritionist with my wife.

You see, in our haste to get there on time, we didn’t have time to do some of the exercises we needed to do to “set” ourselves (heh…seriously? Is this like doing calisthenics before going for a checkup at the doctor?). So I had to place my non-dominant hand on my belly button, make a “gun” with my right hand (using 2 fingers) and rub my neck just around my collar bone. It was painful, but I had to do it for like 30 seconds (only 2 fingers, are you sure? My spellbook says I need to use 3…). That accomplished, we were ready to begin. (But why my belly button? My ass is more connected to my stomach than my defunct belly button is! And non-dominant hand? Damn, I should have used my right – she wouldn’t have known!?!)

My wife began by reading off foods from a list, while I sat in a chair. The lady stood in front of me, and with my left arm outstretched, she held both my wrist and my forehead, and as each food was read aloud, she would “test” me by pushing on my arm. If she found less resistance after a word was spoken, it got a “No” instead of the “Yes” I would get when I had “good strength” to a food. Or word. Either one :P

My first issue: REALLY? You want to read a word aloud and see if my arm has weakness to it? OK, do you all remember that experiment we did in like 5th grade, where you stand in a doorway, and with your arms at your side, raise them straight out and up until the backs of your hands are touching the door frame? Push outwards for 30 seconds to a minute, then step forward and out of the doorway, dropping your hands to your side. Your arms start to rise on their own, don’t they? So yea, arms do weird things, ESPECIALLY when my arm is fatiguing and all I want to do is drop it back to my side.

My second issue: The bitch was pushing my arm differently! The first words on the list were fruits, and it was, “Yes, yes yes…no”. Yea, but on that “no” she pushed with 2 fingers instead of one! Oh MAN, I needed to bite my lip. I had promised my wife I’d be nice, dammit, and so I would hold back any biting or sarcastic remarks…but she definitely continued to push my arm differently each time I got a “no”. At one point my wife said sagely, “Your lack of resistance is so obvious, I can see it from here.” Wow. That’s because she is pushing differently! Was I the only one who could tell this?

Every now and again as the test continued, after I got a “no”, my wife wanted to know if I was allergic to the food instead of just sensitive to it. So the lady would put her fist on top of my head and “bonk” me, and could instantly tell if I was or not. Wow, I’m SO LUCKY she was so smart! (A fist on the head is better than two on the forehead?!)

Now, here is how this thing supposedly works. Words have power, right, and so saying the name of the food triggers something in our minds, and it reacts to the electrical currents in our body (remember how we had to “set” ourselves painfully? This is why!) and can weaken your muscle strength magically. Seriously, it really works. Really (you caught the sarcasm, right? Please tell me it was really obvious from there). So what about the words my wife was mispronouncing and I had never heard of? Doesn’t matter, my MIND KNEW! (Turns out I was sensitive to the mysterious, mispronounced food). I wonder if foreign languages would work? Maybe I should go back with a list of words in Chinese or Mongolian and find out! Oh, and they had to “clarify” during the testing, “We are going to test the ORGANIC versions of this food” as if that made a difference. S-M-A-R-T SMART they are. So much for the nursery rhyme, “Sticks and stone will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” HAH, wrong, sucka’s!

My third issue: The elimination diet was hard, but to be on it, I took out all foods known to be common problems for people and ate only simple foods for like 2 weeks to get off “bad things”. I got off sugar, caffeine, grains, dairy, and even most fruits. I ate some meat, some veggies, and not much else at first. When I felt fine and had no stomach aches or bloating, I started adding foods in. One of the very first foods that my wife and I isolated and tested in the beginning was bananas, and as soon as I ate one (all by itself, remember, as I was using a scientific method of isolation and controllable variables) my stomach started cramping up. Going right back onto my “safe” foods, I tried again 3 days later, and got horrible cramps within 10 minutes. Well, that’s how the diet worked, and I found quite a few foods I couldn’t eat. THE LADY GAVE IT A YES AS SHE BLEW BY IT ON THE LIST! I immediately stopped her and said, “Umm, that’s wrong!”. That was like 4 foods in. How could I trust her with the rest of them, giving that she couldn’t tell the one that I KNEW to be bad?

Well, the answer was that we were rushing things, see, and I hadn’t done enough exercises or some such crap. Give me a BREAK! I cry complete and utter bullshit on this, and no, hurting myself with my non-dominant hand and two fingers instead of three does NOT “set” you such that a mispronounced mysterious food can be detected as a sensitivity!

OK, at this point I was fuming inside, and while being quiet, both the lady and my wife knew I was furious (at the end of it, the lady said that she was sad that I was “bummed” and it took a lot of self control to not blurt out, “Oh, I’m not bummed, lady, I’m biting my tongue because you are full of shit”, but see, I was biting my tongue! I'm such a good boy!).

The very last bit? I don’t know if this is the BEST part of the 30 minutes, but it was certainly one that I had the hardest part being nice. My wife inquired as to supplements that my body was craving (trust me, I opted out of that test before hand, but I still got a 5 minute version), and she indicated that she had brought along two bottles of vitamins with her to see which one was ok. One by one I was handed a bottle to hold in my right hand, and the strength test was administered as it had been. (Really? I’m holding PLASTIC, lady, and you have NO IDEA what is inside! Maybe it was the plastic I was ok with?) Oh PHEW, I was ok with those. Now, more words were uttered (namely names of vitamins) and I was tested on each, and THEN she uttered NUMBERS to find out how many doses of each I needed daily! 6 here, 2 there…holy crap. I think both ladies were believing everything being said. I was ready to scream, and SO ready to be done with all this.

When I finally was dismissed, I fled. I felt angry, violated, and incredulous all at once. I felt sad that people actually believe this crap. I don’t really care if you do, and I don’t really care if she got some foods right. I know she got at least one wrong (“My body isn’t sensitive to it, but my stomach is, see, so when it relaxes we can add it back in” or “That vegetable is part of the nightshade family, so it makes sense that you cannot eat it” (green beans. Seriously)) so how can I trust her without knowing what else she got wrong? Even psychics get some of their readings right, and I sure as fuck don’t believe in psychics.

As to the bribe my wife offered me? It would make you jealous if you knew what it is was…and you know what? I released her from it, because I don’t want anything related to that visit at all. I'm done with it. I told her not to buy the supplements that she was told to buy for me, and I may just start eating what I want again just out of pure rebellion, because I feel disgusted by the whole thing. I love my wife, but I feel violated and angry that I was tricked into going to something that I KNEW I was 100% against (“You weren’t tricked, you agreed!” Yea! Because you offered something I REALLY wanted! You would have agreed too!), and now I don’t want my kids going either. I don’t want the diet. I don’t want the supplements. I don’t want to hear about it, and I don’t want to think about it. I’m fucking pissed off and God dammit, I want to shout it to the world. But I won’t. /sigh

If you’ve read this far, you’re a moron J  I had to vent somewhere, because I can’t go off on my wife (I still love her, after all, and she is only meaning well) but I want to get my feelings and thoughts out where I can read and analyze them, and maybe share with a few lost souls who stumbled here by accident. Feel free to share your opinions on the subject, but even if this form of holistic medicine is 100% legit, I don’t buy it, I don’t condone it, and I will never be a part of it again. ‘Nuff said :P

[Postscript: After I left the office, my wife stayed for her own appointment. When she got home she was mad at me, predictably, and said that after I left, the lady was so shaken that she needed to go drink a glass of water. WOOT! Vengeance! I'm driving people to drinking (even if its only a cold glass of holistic H2O)!]

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