The Influence of Rib Raising Techniques on the Sympathetic Nervous System of non-smokers, Smokers and Athletes. | The International Academy of Osteopathy IAO

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The Influence of Rib Raising Techniques on the Sympathetic Nervous System of non-smokers, Smokers and Athletes.


Author: Dave Bruckenburg D.O.  BSc.(Hons) Ost. Med.
Supervisor: Dr. Prinse Wilhelmina

This study investigated whether rib raising techniques have an effect on the lung function, controlled by the sympathetic nervous system. By means of spirometry, this effect on the lung function was evaluated. The subjects who applied were divided into six groups by means of the male/female, smoker/non-smoker and athlete/non athlete criteria: groups of male/female non-smokers, groups of male/female smokers and groups of male/female athletes. Consequently this study investigated whether there was a difference in the effect on smokers, on non-smokers or on athletes, in other words, subjects with or without affected lungs and subjects with well-trained lungs. This study also looked for general differences between men and women. The effect of rib raising techniques was also compared to the effects of a sham treatment, thus making it possible to objectify the effect.  

The results of this doubled blinded study have demonstrated that the application of rib raising techniques (T1-T5) on smoking and non-smoking subjects and athletes will stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, resulting in a significant increase in respiratory function shown by significant changes in PEF, FEV1 and FVC for male and female smokers (between 3.24% - 6.72% improvement) and male and female non-smokers (between 3.31% - 8.07% improvement). For the female and male athletes an improvement can be demonstrated that is non-significant, which is very likely the result of the small research group.  

A clear difference between smokers and non-smokers cannot be demonstrated. This means that people with affected lungs will not react to rib raising techniques in a stronger way. For the athletes, due to the small groups, no difference with the non-smoking group could be found. Comparing rib raising techniques to sham treatment, this study found that the rib raising techniques have a significant influence on lung function. This study mainly investigated the short-term effect of rib raising techniques.