Releasing the memory of past injury in horses. 


Applied kinesiology is a practice that allows the body to communicate through the act of muscle testing. The techniques we use are congruent with Chinese Traditional Medicine and enable the practitioner to explore the relationship between a muscle, a meridian, and an organ. For example, the Pectoralis Major Clavicular in the human shoulder is linked to the Stomach Meridian, and to the Stomach (organ). An imbalance in the stomach circuit can have an effect on this muscle, either weakening it, or rendering it hypertonic — that is, unable to switch off when challenged with light pressure from the hand of the kinesiologist. Muscles that are correctly balanced will normally “switch off” when one places the North Pole of a magnet on the belly of the muscle.

Let us consider briefly the stomach circuit: a lowering of stomach acidity in humans can easily affect the functioning of the Pectoralis Major Clavicular. Kinesiology enables us to find what the body requires for balancing. This may be structural, nutritional, emotional or energetic. It might be because one has “butterflies in the stomach” linked to some “undigested emotions” that a herbal remedy might balance. It might be asking for some Vitamin B12, because B12 cannot be digested under low acid conditions (1). The balancing varies from person to person and from situation to situation. Practitioners of systematic kinesiology aim to balance the body by testing a series of muscles through what we call a “wheel balance” that takes us on a tour of the meridians and of key indicator muscles.

My own particular interest is in working with horses, and to do this I use what kinesiologists call “the surrogate method.” This method involves the horse, the horse’s companion and the kinesiologist. Having balanced the horse companion through a wheel balance so that key indicator muscles are switching on and off fluidly when tested, the horse companion then connects to the energy of their horse by placing a hand on the horse’s flank. We can then “ask” how the horse’s circuits are functioning because any horse circuit that is out of balance will now switch their companion’s muscles off! It is a beautiful process to behold. 

A vast range of techniques exists to enable the kinesiologist to balance health. Here I wish to consider one particular technique, called Injury Recall.

Injury Recall

Injury Recall is a technique developed by the German Kinesiologist Willy Schmitt, see David S. Walter, 1988 (2). In this technique, we are looking at the somatic (body) memory of injury or trauma. General trauma is stored preferentially in two parts of the body — in the neck (for trauma above the neck, such as whiplash) and in the calcaneus bone of the foot (recall of injury below the neck, see Fig 1). As Walter states “Encoded memory association of trauma to the head and neck appears to usually reside in a cervical extensor reflex pattern [a withdrawal reflex]. The correction can be made at the ankle mortise or cervical spine; the latter is usually more effective”, Walter, 1988 (2).

To check for Injury Recall above the neck we gently put our client’s neck into a backward extension (similar to that of the Fish Pose or Matsyasana in Yoga) and then we test an indicator muscle. If this muscle — previously strong — now weakens to light pressure from the kinesiologist, we know that we have uncovered a non-specific recollection of injury. We then lock this “recall” into the client’s body, so that we can correct it by very gently manipulating the entire neck. This gentle massage gradually releases the memory of the trauma stored in the cervical region. On completion, we retest the client’s indicator muscle and when it is seen to test “strong” we know that the Injury Recall has been released.

There are many common types of encoded trauma found with the head and neck technique. There may be intraoral involvement from dental trauma, both accidental and from dental procedures, scars from surgery such as tonsillectomy, and/or sutures from cranial trauma. Cervical trauma of whiplash dynamics can cause trauma anywhere in the stomatognathic system — anatomic system comprising teeth, jaws, and associated soft tissues — Walter, 1988 (2).

A case study

In the spring of this year, I was working with a horse that had suffered mouth injuries due to severe mistreatment with barbs being added to his bit, some years previously. Happily, his mouth had healed. Having long since changed owner, he was now stabled in a school where he was very well cared for and greatly loved. Occasional sensitivity relating to previously sustained mouth injuries had been identified by the equine dentist. On being told of this tragedy by his new owner, it felt appropriate to examine her horse for injury recall above the neck. 

Having balanced the horse’s companion, I asked her to connect with her horse by placing her right hand upon his flank. I then placed her head in backward extension (see Fig 2)  — and tested her left arm indicator muscle. Although this muscle had previously tested strong, the muscle now immediately tested weak, showing that she was picking up her horse’s previous cranial trauma in her energy system.

We temporarily locked this trauma into her body and then I began the appropriate manipulation to her cervical region in order to release her horse’s stored memories. As this took place, she maintained hand contact with her horse. Her horse began to gently close his eyes and I could feel a deep relaxation taking place as recollections of this trauma flowed out of his body and through hers. After some minutes, I then re-tested the horse’s companion: her weakened muscle now tested very strong indeed. I replaced her left arm by her side. And as I did this, her horse turned towards me and laid his head upon my shoulder. I lightly held him, and there was a silence around us that was truly extraordinary as if the release had taken place at a very, very deep level. I can still feel the emotion as I write this. 

I realized at that moment just how much trauma must be contained in the head region of our equine friends. Whether it is through the use of aggressive bits, or on account of any vigorous yanking of the reins occasioned during hacking out, a horse will remember each tug through his or her somatic memory. 


The Injury Recall Technique is in my view a powerful technique for releasing the stored memory or injury, and something that I feel important to test with any horse that I am called to work with. We hang onto stored memories of pain as if our bodies are black boxes, recalling every injury or trauma no matter how small. Some injuries do, of course, leave a physical trace through scarring —  the memory remains visible to the eye.  The power of kinesiology is that it allows us to detect the memories of injury when there is no obvious physical manifestation. As my own osteopath once said to me — you, know, we are always going out of balance. A regular check-up for the Injury Recall Technique is, therefore, an integral part of my own energy approach — one that can contribute not only to our own wellbeing but to that of our equine companions as well.

References and notes

  1. Vitamin B12, bound to protein in food, is released by the activity of hydrochloric acid and gastric protease in the stomach. When synthetic vitamin B12 is added to fortified foods and dietary supplements, it is already in free form and, thus, does not require this separation step.
  2. David S. Walter, 1988. Applied KinesiologySynopsis, 2nd Edition. Systems DC, Colorado.
  3. Working with Equine Kinesiology — Equine kinesiology is non-diagnostic and should always be carried by a trained professional and with prior  and full consultation with your vet. If you suspect any health issue regarding your horse you should automatically contact your vet. Working with a complementary therapist can however be rewarding both for yourself and for your horse, deepening your relationship and enhancing wellbeing for you both. 

Peter Jeffs
trained at Reiki France, International Centre for Reiki Training (USA), Bristol School of Advanced Kinesiology (UK), and founded his holistic practice in Wiltshire, UK. He is a Reiki Master Teacher. He was naturally drawn to working with horses and their human companions and is currently developing his own holsitic approach which combines muscle testing, the Five Elements of Traditional Chinese medicine and EFT (Tapping) to help horses and humans to find balance and harmony. He is deepening his equine approach through Continued Professional development training with Gillian Higgins’ Horses inside out Academy.