The immediate effect of osteopathic ‘rib raising’ technique on heart rate variability : a randomised sham controlled experiment

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White, Nicholas
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Osteopathy
Unitec Institute of Technology
Moran, Robert
Mannion, Jamie
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
physical therapy modalities
musculoskeletal manipulations
osteopathic medicine
rib raising technique (RRT)
autonomic nervous system
heart rate variability (HRV)
White, N. (2012). The immediate effect of osteopathic ‘rib raising’ technique on heart rate variability : a randomised sham controlled experiment. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Osteopathy). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from
Objective: To investigate application of an Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) known as Rib Raising Technique (RRT) and measure its effects on the autonomic nervous system (ANS) by detecting changes in Heart Rate Variability (HRV) parameters. This thesis includes a literature review to provide the basis for an experimental investigation reported as a journal manuscript. Design: A randomised, participant blinded, sham controlled experimental design. Participants: Eighteen healthy asymptomatic volunteers (n=18; 9 males, 9 females; mean ± SD age = 23.9 ± 2.3 years) were recruited from a university population. Methods: Participants were randomly allocated to sham or ‘genuine’ intervention groups. Participants in the genuine intervention group received a RRT applied to the upper five ribs within a single session. Those in the sham intervention group received a sham intervention designed to mimic the RRT intervention in a single session. Pre-test and post-test measures of the low frequency (LF), high frequency (HF), and low frequency: high frequency ratio (LF:HF) of the power spectra components of HRV analysis were recorded, immediately post-intervention, 24 hours post-intervention, and 7 days post-intervention. Conclusion: The findings of this study indicate that RRT was not accompanied by statistically significant changes in the power spectra parameters of HRV in healthy participants.
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