Some Notes on Fred L. Stoner, D.C., and Applied Kinesiology

Stephen Barrett, M.D.
April 28, 2001

Fred L. Stoner, D.C., has been practicing in Las Vegas, Nevada, since 1968. He originally caught my attention by placing a 2-page advertisement in the September/October 1976 issue of the Digest of Chiropractic Economics, a popular chiropractic magazine. The first page of the ad — reproduced here — suggested that Stoner Chiropractic Research Foundation Seminars would greatly improve a chiropractor’s income. The second page of the ad offered his 1975 book The Eclectic Approach to Chiropractic. The book identified Stoner as president of the Nevada State Board of Chiropractic Examiners, the Stoner Chiropractic Research Foundation, and Fred Stoner Offices, Ltd..

Much of Stoner’s practice — then and now — involves the practice of applied kinesiology (AK), a pseudoscience based on the notion that every organ dysfunction is accompanied by a specific muscle weakness that enables diseases to be diagnosed through muscle-testing and treated with nutrition supplements that “correspond” to the “weak” areas.

Stoner’s book provides a penetrating look at AK-related beliefs. Page 13, for example, claims that the patient can be diagnosed by testing the muscle strength of another person whose hand is placed on the “suspected” area of the patient’s body. Page 22 claims that if a patient who is deficient in a nutrient chews a supplement of that nutrient, a phenomenal increase in muscle strength will be detectable by muscle-testing ten seconds later. This test method is absurd.

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Page 31 of the book claims that pressure at various points on the mastoid area (the bony area behind the ear) can be effective against epilepsy. This page also recommends that if muscle strength gradually fades “after all other appropriate treatments have been tried, pump the cranium,” which the chiropractor does by pressing on the skull behind the ear. According to the book, the pressure increases the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. There is no physiologic basis for this claim.

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This page was revised on April 28, 2001.