A randomized controlled trial by Nuria Ruffini and colleagues published in Frontiers in Neuroscience in 2015 researched the effect of osteopathic treatment upon heart rate variability. Being an indirect marker for the autonomic nervous system and health status, this study evaluated 66 asymptomatic subjects in a 3-armed placebo controlled within subject cross-over single blinded study with heart rate variability measurement before, during, and after treatment. Osteopathy induced a significant increase in parasympathetic activity and possible decrease in sympathetic activity, indicating that osteopathy influences the autonomic nervous system activity compared to sham and control group.
Ruffini, N., D’Alessandro, G., Mariani, N., Pollastrelli, A., Cardinali, L., Cerritelli, F., 2015. Variations of high frequency parameter of heart rate variability following osteopathic manipulative treatment in healthy subjects compared to control group and sham therapy: randomized controlled trial. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 9(272).