Osteopathy May Decrease Obstructive Apnea In Infants

December 2017

Research

Country of origin: Europe

Obstructive apnea is a sleep disorder characterised by pauses in breathing during sleep: breathing is interrupted by a physical block to airflow despite effort. The purpose of a recent study was to test if osteopathy could influence the incidence of obstructive apnea during sleep in infants.

Thirty-four healthy infants (age: 1.5-4.0 months) were recruited and randomised in two groups; six infants dropped out. The osteopathy treatment group (n=15 infants) received 2 osteopathic treatments in a period of 2 weeks and a control group (n=13 infants) received 2 non-specific treatments in the same period of time. The main outcome measure was the change in the number of obstructive apneas measured during an 8-hour polysomnographic recording before and after the two treatment sessions.

The results of the second polysomnographic recordings showed a significant decrease in the number of obstructive apneas in the osteopathy group (p=0.01, Wilcoxon test), in comparison to the control group showing only a trend suggesting a gradual physiologic decrease of obstructive apneas. However, the difference in the decline of obstructive apneas between the groups after treatment was not significant (p=0.43).

The article concludes osteopathy may have a positive influence on the incidence of obstructive apneas during sleep in infants with a previous history of obstructive apneas as measured by polysomnography.
Additional research in this area appears warranted.

The complete article is available as a provisional PDF.

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