Innocuous mechanical stimulation of the neck and alterations in heart-rate variability in healthy young adults

Auton Neurosci. 2001 Aug 13;91(1-2):96-9. doi: 10.1016/S1566-0702(01)00306-X.


The present study examined the effects of cervical spinal manipulation, a widely applied form of physical therapy, which involves innocuous mechanical stimulation, on heart rate and heart-rate variability, in a cohort of healthy young adults. Using a cross-over treatment design, with a one-week washout period and, in contrast to a sham procedure, the authentic manipulation produced significant alterations in both heart rate and measures of heart-rate variability calculated from power spectrum analysis. In particular, there was an increase in the ratio of low-frequency (LF)-to-high-frequency (HF) components of the power spectrum of heart-rate variability, which may reflect a shift in balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic output to the heart.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Manipulation, Spinal*
  • Mechanoreceptors / physiology
  • Neck
  • Reference Values