Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment and Cardiovascular Autonomic Parameters in Rugby Players: A Randomized, Sham-Controlled Trial

Full Paper

Authors: Luca Carnevali, PhD Francesco Cerritelli, PhD Franco Guolo, DO Andrea Sgoifo, PhD
Journal: Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics

Abstract – Objective

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) on cardiovascular autonomic parameters after a rugby match.


Resting and reactivity (ie, response to orthostasis) measures of mean arterial pressure, heart rate, and heart rate variability were assessed in 23 male players after a single session of OMT, both 18 to 20 hours after a rugby match and in a corresponding no-match condition, in a randomized, sham-controlled, crossover design.


Signs of reduced heart rate variability and elevated mean arterial pressure and heart rate were found 18 to 20 hours after a rugby match compared with the no-match condition. A significant increase in heart rate variability and a significant reduction in mean arterial pressure were observed after OMT in both the after-match and no-match conditions. Heart rate and heart rate variability responses to orthostasis were not affected by previous match competition, but were significantly larger after OMT compared with sham treatment.


This study suggests the presence of cardiovascular autonomic alterations in rugby players after a competitive match, which may be indicative of prolonged fatigue and incomplete recovery. In these players, favorable changes in cardiovascular autonomic parameters were observed following a single session of OMT.

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