In general, kinesiology is the study of human movement. It goes beyond that however, because it also looks at the different things that are behind human movements and offers the opportunity for practitioners to come up with multiple ways to try to affect people’s mental and physical health.
For instance, a practitioner named Kathryn Pape sees kinesiology as registering energy flow throughout the body, and believes that by looking for energy imbalances that one can create customized diets and behaviors to improve their personal awareness and perception of things. Some people might find that kind of thinking has been on the fringe, but there are organizations such as Sanctus Wellness that pretty much agree on the same thing.
For others, the thought about what’s conventional and what’s not is pretty much a hotly debated topic. Some practitioners come at it like a physical therapist, while others come at it from more of a metaphysical approach. There are debates around the question of voluntary versus involuntary movements, and whether movements can be regulated by mental processes as opposed to teaching different physical processes. It’s an interesting field mainly because of these discrepancies.
The American Kinesiology Association pretty much takes the position that it’s all about physical activity and nothing else. They believed that one needs to look at the daily movements of a person to determine how they fare in their daily lives. They’re geared more towards the educational aspects of kinesiology, which means they mainly work with colleges and universities, but they also support therapists who lean towards using kinesiology in their practices.
There’s also something called applied kinesiology which is also somewhat controversial. It is a mixture of both physical and metaphysical principles, as it employs some of the processes used in chiropractic medicine with touches of acupuncture and Chinese medicine thrown in. It professes that understanding the movements of the body and applying the principles of “chi”, or natural energy, is the best way to balance a person’s entire body and mind. Some people have said they have been helped by this, while many professionals believe this is only pseudoscience, and since there have been no studies based on scientific principle that have been performed, at this point both sides are only speculating as to whether this is a legitimate practice or not.