Most people, when they first experience the work I do, find it somewhere between incredible and impossible. And objectively speaking, it is a little amazing that simply through testing someone’s muscles and reflexes, in a practice called Nutrition Response Testing (NRT), I can get clear and accurate answers about a person’s state of health. This effective, noninvasive, modality is a key tool of holistic nutrition.
NRT is a systematic type of analysis that is conducted using manual muscle testing, neurological reflexes and acupuncture points. The underlying principle is that the body is run by chemical and electrical signals that are sent from (and back to) the brain via the spinal cord and the fluid nervous system. All of our organs are controlled by the brain and nervous system, and our hundreds of muscles are controlled by and connected to the nervous system. If there is an interference with electrical messages, the result is a weakened muscle.
A healthy, unafflicted muscle is naturally strong and will resist average resistance. What you probably think of as simple muscle strength is actually a much deeper connection to nerves, organs, glands and all of the systems of the body. When I subject clients to certain substances that they may be intolerant of, then apply average resistance and the muscle response changes dramatically and go weak, I know this is a reflection of a compromise on a deeper level.
Even the gentlest of pressure will weaken the arm if there is an underlying dysfunction in an area that corresponds to a specific organ or gland. In NRT, we are interested in neurological reflexes because they are connected to the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system controls the function of our organs. It is divided into the sympathetic nervous system (think “fight or flight,” the body’s accelerator) and the parasympathetic nervous system (think “rest and digest,” the body’s brake). The neurological reflexes reflect the functioning of the delicate balance of these two systems.
That’s the underlying theory of the system. Are you with me so far? So the way NRT session works are, after talking to a patient and reviewing her symptoms, I conduct the analysis part, usually with the patient lying face-up on my table. I first establish a “baseline muscle test” of how they react when not exposed to outside agents. This is typically done using the arm and shoulder:
I will gently hold the shoulder and push the raised arm away. Because it’s not being exposed to outside influences, it will resist completely. (If there’s injury or pervasive weakness in these areas, we can employ different muscle tests.) If it tests ok, the next thing I do is have the patient put her thumb, ring and pinky fingertips together on each hand separately (with her eyes opened and closed). This reveals whether a person may have dysfunction in the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system.
A positive reading changes my course of the testing. Assuming it’s negative, as it is 90 percent of the time, the next step is to test for blocked regulation of the autonomic nervous system. I put my hand over three different reflex points, and I test muscle response to determine whether the patient has autonomic dysregulation. Very sick people have autonomic dysregulation to some degree. They are stuck with either the accelerator going or, the brakes on.
I also work with acupuncture points, which are related to different organs or glands. This is my direct testing technique to determine if there is a weakness in an organ or gland. I touch points throughout the body, starting with the head and working down the torso. The analogy in the conventional-medical world is hooking a patient up to a device that tests the electrical function of the heart or the conduction of specific nerves and then records the findings on a graph or a chart.
With NRT, the practitioner, for all intents and purposes, becomes the device. Instead of connecting electrodes to the specific points being tested, I contact these points with my hands. With my other hand, I test the muscle of the extended arm. If it is a problem area or is dysfunctional, the nervous system responds with weakness to the arm. The patient will feel as if her arm is becoming weak to the point, that even if she tried with all her might, she couldn’t do anything to keep her arm in a raised position.
To the practitioner, even the gentlest application of pressure causes the patient’s arm to fall. Now, let’s say I touch the acupuncture point for the kidney and liver and the patient’s muscle response is weakness (the arm drops). My next step is to place supplements on the body or in the hand and observe which nutritional supplements strengthen the weak reflex. My objective is to have a patient walk out of the office with effective supplementation that will strengthen all of their weak reflexes.