How many times has a patient told you, “That last treatment was the best you ever gave me. Do that again.” And when you try to duplicate the outcome, even try to duplicate the exact same treatment, the results are disappointing.

The nervous system is in a constant state of flux and the sensitivity of neurons to various neurotransmitters can change from one moment to the next, much less from one week to the next. For example, at one moment norepinephrine (NE) will cause the depolarization of a nerve membrane and the nerve “fires”; one minute later, the same amount of NE may have no effect due to a change in the sensitivity of the nerve membrane to NE.

Changes in the sensitivity of neurons to various neurotransmitters depend on the presence of other neurotransmitters and other chemicals called neuromodulators. Neuromodulators are polypeptide molecules (i.e., long chains of amino acids as opposed to the neurotransmitters which are usually made from only one amino acid). In recent years the many neuromodulator factors are beginning to be understood.

A rapid change in emotions, changes in hormones, infection or allergy, pain, and many other factors appear to affect neuromodulator activity and hence, the sensitivity of the nervous system to various other inputs, including chiropractic adjustments. Changes in the immune system, in particular, have been shown to affect nervous system function. These relationships are presently being researched under various names such as psychoneuroimmunology or neuroimmunomodulation.

The cells of the nervous system and the immune system arise from the same embryological layer – the ectoderm. The cell membranes of white blood cells and neurons both have receptors for the same groups of neurotransmitters, neuromodulators, and hormones. That is, both the nervous system and the immune system are sensitive to the same influences.

It is almost as if the immune system (i.e. white blood cells) is an extension of the nervous system and vice versa. And both are influenced (modified) by the same factors including the emotional state of the patient, the hormone balance at the moment, the presence or absence of pain, allergy, infection, and so on.

So the adjustment today may have a totally different effect on the patient than when the same adjustment is administered in an hour, tomorrow, or next week.

Using muscle testing as functional neurological evaluation has led us to begin to recognize certain patterns, especially those involving variations in immune system function. We are now beginning to categorize the different patterns in order to more effectively correct them.

We can certainly identify manual muscle testing (MMT) patterns when a patient is in the midst of allergic reactions as was published in the following reference: Schmitt, W.H. Jr. & Leisman, G. Correlation of applied kinesiology muscle testing findings with serum immunoglobulin levels for food allergies. International Journal of Neuroscience, 1998, 96, 237-244.

Changes in Indicator Testing and MMT responses to specific sensory receptor based diagnostic challenges can identify various types of innate and adaptive immune responses. Some of these findings have been taught in the “Clinical Pearls: Immune System” seminar that is available on DVDs and audio CDs.

It is becoming clear that there is a very important rule: “You cannot affect the nervous system without affecting the immune system …and you cannot affect the immune system without affecting the nervous system.” An extension of that principle also seems to be valid: “If it affects the nervous system, it will be demonstrable through Indicator Testing and muscle testing . . . and if it affects the immune system, it will also be demonstrable through Indicator Testing and MMT.”

No healing art at any time in history has had at its disposal the incredible clinical tools that muscle testing as functional neurological evaluation provides. As basic science information becomes available, we in AK are most able to apply it clinically through these great tools. As our knowledge expands, the words of Dr. Goodheart come to mind over and over again: “Your patients will make you the complete physician, if you let them.”