On Tuesday night, Season 6 of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills was finally put out of its misery with the conclusive “Secrets Revealed” episode, which included a scene of Yolanda Hadid (née Foster) (née Hadid) visiting her holistic chiropractor to undergo muscle testing (also known as “applied kinesiology”) to see which Chronic Lyme treatments her body was best responding to.
“Dr. Kang just helps me prioritize through muscle testing what my body is going through,” Yolanda explains over footage of James Kang, Doctor of Chiropractic, having her hold various medicines, vitamins, and tinctures up to her chest while observing the muscles in her opposite arm. “When you hold something close to your body, it creates a strength or a weakness. Why? I don’t know.”
Here’s some background into the practice:
Developed by chiropractor George Goodheart in the mid sixties, applied kinesiology—according to the International College of Applied Kinesiology—“is a system that evaluates structural, chemical and mental aspects of health using manual muscle testing combined with other standard methods of diagnosis. AK, a non-invasive system of evaluating body function that is unique in the healing arts, has become a dynamic movement in health care in its relatively short existence.”
While it’s frequently used by chiropractors and naturopaths, the medical and science community remains skeptical and divided (much as they do over the existence of Chronic Lyme) on its effectiveness. Critics say it’s pseudoscience with results that are purely subjective to the person conducting the tests. Few (if any) medical organizations recognize it as a consistently reliable method of diagnosis and treatment.
“The research published by the Applied Kinesiology field itself is not to be relied upon, and in the experimental studies that do meet accepted standards of science, Applied Kinesiology has not demonstrated that it is a useful or reliable diagnostic tool upon which health decisions can be based,” states research from the Journal of Science and Healing.
Another study, published in Complimentary Treatments in Medicine, found that “the use of Health Kinesiology as a diagnostic tool is not more useful than random guessing. This should at least be true in patients with insect venom allergy that are tested by examiners with average skills.”
Applied kinesiology, which has also been rejected by the American Cancer Society, does have its supporters—among them being the majority of chiropractors and—more notably in this case—April Daisy White, Yolanda’s ever-present “health advocate.”
White, an actress and life coach, appears in a testimonial video on James Kang’s website.
“[Kang] was able to guide me and find through my body all the variant places infections was and the different kinds of infections that I was dealing with and treat them accordingly and in succession,” says White, draped in a fur coat next to an outdoor swimming pool.
“Sometimes the answer is totally unexpected,” Kang himself adds. “But I am pretty comfortable with my diagnoses—usually pretty accurate.”
The true confidence of a professional, in other words. But back to Yolanda.
“I am unstoppable and extremely disciplined when it comes to taking my pills and my I.V.s and sticking to my treatments in order to find a cure,” she tells the Bravo cameras, wrapping up her appointment with Kang. Now if only we could erase the entire season’s endless fight over Munchausen syndrome and instead focus more steadily on Yolanda’s visits with various doctors, naturopaths, and snake oil salesmen—then we might actually learn something.
Whether that “something” is actually useful remains—like the rest of this—highly questionable.