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Yonsei Med J. 2011 Nov 1; 52(6): 982–989.
Published online 2011 Oct 20. doi: 10.3349/ymj.2011.52.6.982
The Effects of Heat and Massage Application on Autonomic Nervous System
Young-Hee Lee, Bit Na Ri Park, and Sung Hoon Kim corresponding author
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The objective of this study is to evaluate the effects of heat and massage application on autonomic nervous system.
Materials and Methods
One hundred thirty-nine subjects volunteered and completed this study. Heat and massage was daily applied for 40 minutes,
5 days a week for 2 weeks. Primary-dependent measures included heart rate variability, sympathetic skin response, and
serum cortisol and norepinephrine levels.
Serum cortisol levels were significantly decreased at 2 weeks compared to baseline (p=0.003). Plasma norepinephrine levels
at 4 weeks were significantly decreased compared to baseline (p=0.010). Heart rate, using the power spectra, increased
significantly after 2 weeks compared to baseline. Of autonomic nerve conduction measures, latency was significantly
increased at 2 and 4 weeks compared to baseline (p=0.023, 0.012), and amplitude was significantly decreased at 4 weeks
compared to baseline (p=0.008). There were no serious adverse events such as burns or other major complications.
The results of this study suggest that heat and massage applications provide relaxation to the autonomic nervous system
without serious adverse effects.