The Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published a study on March 3, 2014, showing that chiropractic has a positive effect on resting heart pulse rate (PR). This study was designed to look at the PR of subjects immediately after a chiropractic adjustment in the upper neck.
The author of this study, John Hart, DC, MHSc Assistant Director of Research at Sherman College of Chiropractic, Spartanburg, SC, noted that prior studies have shown various results, with most showing a lowering of the PR after chiropractic adjustments. The significance of this study helps add to the body of evidence that chiropractic care can affect all functions of the body.
Dr. Hart explains, “One approach in chiropractic practice is to focus on a condition known as vertebral subluxation (now referred to as “subluxation”), generally defined in concept as a minor misalignment resulting in some type of neurological disturbance. An objective in adjusting subluxation is to improve neurological function (e.g., reduction / removal of nerve interference between the brain and the rest of the body).” If subluxations interfere with nerve system function, this should cause changes in bodily functions such as PR that can be measured before and after a chiropractic adjustment.
In this study, 23 chiropractic students were examined on three visits; two pre-adjustment visits and one post-adjustment visit. The process used for inclusion in the study was to sample the PR on the first and second visit. Then only if the PR increased between these two visits (with no chiropractic adjustment being given) would the subject be included in the study. Once included, the subject was then given a specific chiropractic adjustment designed to correct subluxation, and a third, post adjustment PR reading was done for comparison.
The results were varied, with a marked difference between how the males and females in the study responded. In the study, all but one of the males showed a decrease in their PR after their adjustment. However, only about half of the females showed a decrease, with the remainder showing a continued increase in the PR.
Although more pronounced in men than in women in this study, the results did show that correction of subluxations does have an effect on the resting pulse rate, and therefore, on body physiology controlled by the nervous system.