Health & Grooming | Chronicles of a Spa Junkie

Spa Junkie on… kinesiology

Our covert reporter aims to unblock ‘the mother of all gridlocks’

Spa Junkie on… kinesiology

Image: Jay Yeo

December 31 2011
Spa Junkie

Part: 1 | 2


I, like many other fast-living, hard-working city dwellers, carry much of my daily grind-induced stress and tension in my neck and shoulders. This low-level but more or less permanent state of “fight or flight” has resulted in what one doctor recently referred to as “little wings” of stress. What he means is that the muscles are so tightly knotted, the tension can occasionally cause swelling, which creates the little wing-like bulges. They’re not exactly attractive, but far more than that, they’re also very painful – and a sign that something isn’t right.

Dalton, the personal trainer I’m working with at Bodyism, listens as I describe all this. He then suggests I go upstairs to see Nicky, the resident kinesiology practitioner after our session wraps up.

“Do you know much about kinesiology?” Nicky, every inch the earth mother, asks me warmly. I do remember a few years ago while at Chiva Som, my then-boyfriend had a bad left knee which had left him unable to run for a few years; he’d experience terrible pain each time he hit the road. He was sent to a kinesiology therapist at the spa; he told me later that the healer tapped on his knee, then had him get on and off the running machine, tapping wildly on key meridian points in between sprints. He came out after an hour, and ran for 45 minutes straight with me the following day. He has since run three marathons. The doctor said to him at the time that, on a metaphysical level, he was carrying fear about moving forward in his life, and that it’s common for this fear to manifest itself in a man’s left knee. (Apparently he also said that the onset of this fear often coincides with a significant other pressing for “commitment”; but that’s a whole other story for a whole other blog.)

So yes, I conclude to Nicky, I have seen what it’s done first hand – but I have no idea what it is, our how it works.

“OK, great!” Nicky lights up – rather oddly, considering that I’ve just said I don’t know what it is. She explains: “With most patients we have to spend at least an entire session or two explaining and proving the theory.

“In simple terms, kinesiology was inspired by ancient Chinese medicine (though actually invented by an American) and is the science of muscle testing to assess the overall health of specific energy systems in the body. Essentially, it provides a means to correct any imbalances. By using muscles as a monitor of weakness or strength, kinesiology provides a simple “yes-no” communication tool that allows me to detect areas in your body that may not be functioning properly due to physical injuries, emotional stress or poor nutrition. Once these imbalances are detected, I can use a number of methods to correct the problem.”

She tells me to lie down, leaving all my clothes on, and explains that in Chinese medicine, the body has 14 lines of energy, known as meridians, that run through it. When all 14 meridians are open and flowing, the body’s energies are balanced; we feel good, we have energy, and any physical discomfort is minimal. These meridians have “circuit breakers”, however, that, when flipped, block the natural flow of energy. “Think of it as a sort of energy highway; when there’s a traffic jam, everything slows or stands still.”

I smile wryly inside at the analogy. Apparently, if my pain and discomfort are any indication, my shoulders are experiencing the mother of all gridlocks.

Spa Junkie pays for all her own travel, treatments and accommodation.