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What is Neuro-Emotional Testing?

While the NET protocol itself is not considered to be psychology, the following principles apply within the steps of NET:

  1. cognitive (identifying thoughts and internal dialog associated with recollections),

  2. emotional (identifying the emotions the recollection elicits), and

  3. behavioral (how the recollections affect actions, relationships, etc.).

It has been demonstrated that manual muscle testing can be used to access the physiology of the body, including the physiology of an emotional response, and that muscles — which initially test strong in the clear — will test as being inhibited (weak) when words are posed that have a 'charge' or stress-response associated with them.

Neuroemotional Technique (Net) is a mindbody technique that uncovers emotional stress in the body and helps to free the body of this stress. Hans Seyle’s work showed that emotional and mental stressors produce the same physiological responses as physical and chemical stressors. Emotions are related to information substances called neuropeptides, neurotransmitters, and hormones.

These information substances can interact with every cell in the body. When these information substances react with a cell an entire cascade of responses may be elicited by the cell. On a simple level this may include the heart rate changing, breathing changes, and pupil dilation.

Net assists the subconscious or limbic system of the body to complete the process of extinction of an emotional response. For example, a person may have had an emotional event from their past cause an emotional response in their body. The conscious brain may believe that the issue has either been resolved or not, but this doesn’t seem to matter, because the subconscious brain may still be affected by this event or situation. This original event may be setting up a conditioned response by the body to react to a similar stress. The body will keep reacting because the process of extinction has not been completed. 

A major component of Net is the acupuncture five element theories. This theory associates specific emotions with a meridian system. For example

  • Anger is associated with the liver meridian

  • Resentment is associated with the gallbladder

  • Fear is associated with the kidney

  • Grief is associated with the lungs


Although NET was originally developed as a way of finding and correcting an emotional/stress component that was related to a physical problem, very early on patients started reporting that the ‘dramas’ of their lives were improving too. Patients found they were feeling significantly less stressed, happier, more at ease, and so on.
The ‘physiology’ of emotional response

Although the concept of dealing with emotions and stress has long been associated with talk-it-out psychotherapy, counseling, and other therapeutic modalities, NET specifically works with the ‘physiology’ of emotional/stress responses. Extensive scientific research over the past several decades has verified that an emotional/stress expression is a complex reactive pattern of changes in response to a stimulus. This includes changes in neuronal chemistry and neurological, vascular, and muscular tone. The type and intensity of the reaction may occur in response to a specific person or event and may involve widespread physiological changes, such as increased heart rate and inhibition of peristalsis.
NET does not treat ‘emotions’

The goal is to identify and correct physical aberrations (subluxation or meridian imbalance) and not the emotions. In fact, emotions do not need to be corrected. Darwin expounded on emotions in a non-psychological way, supporting the concept that emotions are normal and healthy phenomena found in humans and animals. In an unhealthy organism, however, emotions can cause psychosomatic and somatopsychic problems. In short, NET deals with those weakened physiological states that have ultimately made the body vulnerable to the formation of what NET has defined as a Neuro Emotional Complex (NEC).
Definition of a Neuro Emotional Complex (NEC)

An NEC is defined as a subjective maladaptation syndrome adopted by the human organism in response to a real or perceived threat to any aspect of its survival. A primary goal of NET is to identify and resolve NECs either via the associated vertebral subluxation(s) or active pulse point(s).
The individual’s unique NEC includes:

  • Specific subluxation or sequence of subluxations

  • Specific emotion
[Note: All NECs have an emotion incorporated in the complex, but not all emotional expressions are incorporated in NECs]

  • Conditioned response (a predisposition for stimulus generalization and a resistance to extinction)

  • Meridian imbalance and active pulse point, with a specific meridian access point

  • Facilitated (strong) or inhibited (weak) muscle response

  • Cathected and often recallable memory picture of a past significant emotional event
Note: All remembered events related to an NEC are always considered to be ‘Emotional Reality’, as they may or may not correspond with actual or historical reality.]

  • Vulnerability to repetition compulsion, and re-stimulation /re-aggravation causing cyclical reinforcement


NET does not treat emotions, but rather it addresses the physical complex in which an emotion and a related subluxation are component parts.
NET is not counseling

The term ‘emotional’ can conjure up images of clinical counseling, which NET, in fact, does not employ. Although counseling in chiropractic, osteopathic, acupuncture, etc., offices is legal in most (if not all) states in the USA, it is not used in the NET procedure. NET is distinguished from psychotherapy in that it is not a therapy directed to the psyche. It does not employ counseling, nor does it advise behavioral changes. It does not have a goal of insight for the patient. It is not a ‘talk-it-out’ cure. It does not teach anything, and it does not show one how to learn from one’s life experiences.
Neurological basis of NET

Contemporary neuroscience has demonstrated that emotion and our stress responses are largely related to a physiological response in our body. Particularly important is the work of award-winning neuroscientist Candace Pert, PhD, who demonstrated that neuropeptides form the molecular basis of emotion. Neuropeptides are found in all parts of the body and most notably clustered in the posterior horn of the spinal cord. Pert, et. al. also noted that, functionally, the limbic system extends down into the posterior horn of the spinal cord.
On a more macroscopic level, the findings of widely acclaimed and award-winning neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux, PhD, demonstrated emotion to be first experienced in the old mammalian brain (or limbic system) and only secondarily in the neocortex. Ledoux’s research demonstrates emotion-induced rapid sub-cortical pathways travel to the thalamus and amygdala first and, only after that, to the cortex.
Neuroscientist Paul MacLean, MD, developed the “Triune Brain” model, separating the brain into reptilian, old mammalian, and neocortical brains. In general, psychotherapy and counseling predominately work with the neocortex (the thinking brain) with such therapeutic approaches as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). In contrast, NET works predominately with the old mammalian brain (the feeling brain), which is essentially the limbic system and its associated meridian-related emotional responses.

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