Background: The analysis of heart rate variability is important to the investigation of stimuli from the autonomic nervous system. Osteopathy is a form of treatment that can influence this system in healthy individuals as well as those with a disorder or disease.
Objectives: The aim of the present study was to perform a systematic review of the literature regarding the effect of spinal manipulation and myofascial techniques on heart rate variability.
Methods: Searches were performed of the Pubmed, Scielo, Lilacs, PEDro, Ibesco, Cochrane and Scopus databases for relevant studies. The PEDro scale was used to assess the methodological quality of each study selected.
Results: A total of 505 articles were retrieved during the initial search. After an analysis of the abstracts, nine studies were selected for the present review.
Conclusion: Based on the findings, osteopathy exerts an influence on the autonomic nervous system depending on the stimulation site and type. A greater parasympathetic response was found when stimulation was performed in the cervical and lumbar regions, whereas a greater sympathetic response was found when stimulation was performed in the thoracic region.
Keywords: Myofascial release; Parasympathetic nervous system; Spinal manipulation; Spinal mobilization; Sympathetic nervous system.
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