Visceral manual therapy is increasingly used by UK osteopaths and manual therapists, but there is a paucity of research investigating its underlying mechanisms, and in particular in relation to hypoalgesia. The aim of this study was to investigate the immediate effects of osteopathic visceral mobilisation on pressure pain thresholds. A single-blinded, randomised, within subjects, repeated measures design was conducted on 15 asymptomatic subjects. Pressure pain thresholds were measured at the L1 paraspinal musculature and 1st dorsal interossei before and after osteopathic visceral mobilisation of the sigmoid colon. The results demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in pressure pain thresholds immediately after the intervention (P<0.001). This effect was not observed to be systemic, affecting only the L1 paraspinal musculature. This novel study provides new experimental evidence that visceral manual therapy can produce immediate hypoalgesia in somatic structures segmentally related to the organ being mobilised, in asymptomatic subjects.
McSweeney, Terence P Thomson, Oliver P Johnston, Ross eng Randomized Controlled Trial J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2012 Oct;16(4):416-23. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2012.02.004. Epub 2012 Mar 28.