Communicating with Your Personal Guidance System: Muscle Test

by Joanna Pinney Buell

I learned how to muscle test to get yes/no answers to questions in 1994 in an energy work class that was part of my massage therapy training at the Dove Star Institute in Hooksett, New Hampshire. I've been using the technique ever since. It's quick, simple and doesn't require any special tools. Like dowsing, it does require that one is able to formulate a clearly defined question, and it takes regular practice to become accurate. Have you ever noticed that "simple" hardly ever translates to "easy?" Yet this practice is easy and accurate when you've put the time into developing the skill.

Here's the mechanics of learning how to muscle test:

With your left hand, touch your pointer finger to your thumb, making a loop. Do the same with your right hand and now link the loops. The rest of your fingers are open and relaxed. Now pull outward with small to medium effort and resist having the loop broken. Make sure your elbows are not locked down at your sides. You want to be relaxed except for the immediate muscles engaged in the pulling action. When you pull, say, Resist. A hold means a yes or positive answer.

Now relax your hands at your side, shake them out, and then form your test loop. Pull outwards while you say, Break. A break means a no or negative answer. (This can also translate to detrimental, as in the substance which you're testing for would be detrimental to your health.)

Now, make your loop and pull outwards and hold and say, This is my yes.
Make your loop and pull outwards and break and say, This is my no.

It's important to get the basic mechanics down. If you're at all confused, walk away and perhaps get a drink of water. (It's a good habit to drink a glass of water before testing, as being dehydrated makes for poor testing.) Sit down and take a few deep breaths and without reading the instructions, do the tests as you remember. Go back and reread if you have to, or watch the video clip at the bottom of this page.

Play time. Now let's see if you've got the muscle testing programmed to work for you. Ask yourself these questions and test the statement for yes/no or true/false or positive/negative. First make the statement, and then muscle test by pulling outwards.

  • My name is ____________(fill in the blank with a bogus name).
  • My name is ____________(fill in the blank with your real name).
  • My birth year is _________(fill in the blank with a bogus year).
  • My birth year is _________(fill in the blank with your birth year).
  • Drinking coffee is positive for my health.
  • Show me the energy effect on my body when I consume a teaspoon of white sugar.
  • Show me the energy effect on my body when I consume Mountain Dew (or insert a name brand soda).
  • When you get the hang of this, make a list of any supplements you're taking, and test them in this manner. Show me the energy effect on my body when I consume ___________.

You can do a blind test, too. Have someone put your supplements and/or any medications you're taking in plain bags which have been numbered. There can be a non-related item thrown in too. Say the show me the energy statement for each bag in numerical order and record your answer.

Your statement or questions must be clear and unambiguous. Don't ask Should I... questions. For example, don't ask, Do I drink too much? ("Should I drink less?") If you're asking this kind of question, you already know the answer. Note that you can override this process by wanting to receive your preferred answer. Cultivate a neutral attitude. Be prepared to be surprised. White sugar does not cause a weak muscle response in everyone, nor does coffee. This tool isn't meant to be used for spying on spouses or for picking winning lottery numbers.

How does muscle testing work? The theory behind this method is that a muscle goes weak when there's a negative or false stimuli, which can be present as a thought or a physical substance. In testing for yes/no or positive/negative, this theory holds up.

I use muscle testing to determine what temperature to bake my sourdough bread at, and how to time it. It might bake at two different temperatures for the duration. I start at the low end of the temperature range and work my way up to the high end in increments of 25 degrees. My loop breaks at the appropriate temperature. Then I ask, So, it's ____ degrees? to verify, and because I'm looking for a yes/no, the loop holds. When you're testing a list of options, it's more efficient to work this way than to have the loop keep breaking until you reach your answer. In this case, the aforementioned theory doesn't hold up.

Here's what I believe about how muscle testing and dowsing work. We are all part of the whole, the All That Is. In asking sincerely for help, we receive it. We will need to practice on both the asking and receiving end. When muscle testing doesn't work for us, we may have unconscious detrimental patterning that blocks the flow of information, or we may not be grounded physically or have right intention. These blocks to information can be addressed by receiving energy work, which includes dowsing, to identify and clear the detrimental patterns.

If Truth can only be experienced for us to know it, it's good to have a tool in our Personal Guidance System Tool Box that points us in the direction of having the actual experience of Truth.

© Joanna Pinney Buell, The Dowsing Deva, 2012-2014. All rights reserved. Printed here with permission. Joanna Pinney Buell is living the Good Life with her husband David Buell in Downeast, Maine, at their home, Light Heart Retreat. Joanna has been many years in the fields of spirituality, energy work and holistic health as a teacher, hands-on practitioner and writer. Most recently, she has channeled her desire to help others through The Dowsing Diva, where she offers resources for self-health, insightful blog posts, and dowsing services. Joanna can be reached via email at For more information, visit and to see what this unique place on Earth has to offer YOU.