A muscle testing app? Introducing Sensie.
By Alexis Costello
It seems that there is an App for everything these days, but a muscle testing app? I was skeptical, but intrigued. I began reading the info on the website and then reached out to the team to find out more. The result was an online interview with one of the founders of the company Mike Dannheim where he answered my questions about the technology, how it works and why kinesiologists should be interested.
Obviously a cell phone can’t make use of the full-range of muscle tests that we employ in our work. The Sensie app uses what they call a ‘triple whip’ muscle test — sort of a flicking motion from the elbow while you hold your cell in your hand. There is a YouTube video where Mike demonstrates this; Mike explains that in a manual muscle test you are looking at the recoil of the muscle. By using the ‘triple whip’ motion, the device is able to measure the recoil in the wrist. “When you are moving forward, the mind can be involved, but there is an autonomous movement backward.” Neuroscientists that the Sensie team spoke to from Cambridge University think that what they are measuring is the response of the golgi tendons.
When the muscle movement is performed three times, the sensors in the phone are measuring three plots of data (one from each movement). They measure the pitch, amplitude and frequency of the movement. When someone is in a happy, true, or balanced state, a smoothness of movement can be observed. A false or unbalanced state appears rough and uncoordinated. The algorithm looks at the three peaks and classifies it, one way or the other. “It’s really hard to see with the naked eye, but our system detects it really well.”
The results form the initial studies show a 65% success with the app, which seems really low to anyone who works with muscle testing professionally. This prompted me to ask Mike if people get better at using the technology with time — similarly to how, your first attempts at muscle testing can feel a little sketchy, but your accuracy improves with practice. Mike points out that the experiment they did was basically with people off the street who had no experience or training with the technology. As people learn to let go and not try to control the outcome so much and become more familiar with the technology they can become ‘super-users’ who report over 90% accuracy.
When I read their initial writings, I found myself wondering about the use of the words “true” and “false” and using muscle testing to check these. Language can be really important in muscle testing and use of terms like this can create problems. This concern had already been addressed by the group however, in favour of language much more suited to Specialized Kinesiology practitioners. “We’ve moved away from the language of ‘true/false’, what the app says now is ‘balance/imbalance’.
“The signal will always be free so people can use it and learn to test. What we’re thinking is to partner with content providers who have developed techniques, for example food allergy testing, so they can put their methodology on a system that allows them to reach more people with muscle testing.”
The partnership with Anne Jensen out of Oxford University happened as part of an attempt to bring some credibility to the work so that it could be accepted by the general public. The upshot of this might be people who would never book a kinesiology appointment becoming interested in what it is and what it might be able to do. While an app such as this could never offer the kind of depth and energetic support that a session with a good practitioner can, I can see how it would be useful for my clients. The ability to test themselves for little things and self care between sessions for example. “We don’t want this to replace practitioners, we want it to strengthen practitioners.”
Video on YouTube showing the gesture and how to use it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2exTyHX3AVQ&index=5&t=8s&list=PLu02hkpMNKu-Et8RkpZwSxSfKyOT9g8XW
Link to the first Sensie study on their website:
Back To Basics Issue : Winter 2017