According to osteopathic principles, structure and function of the human body directly influence one another. ‘Somatic dysfunction’ is known as altered or impaired function of related components of the somatic system; skeletal, arthrodial, myofascial, vascular, neural, and lymphatic. Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) is the manual procedure utilized to treat somatic dysfunction. Focused breath work increases patient’s awareness of their breath. Altered breathing patterns are part of the constellation of somatic dysfunction within a patient. This study is designed to consider the effect of the sample size on the statistical significance for further study investigation while comparing the impact of OMT and focused breath work on somatic dysfunction.
This crossover trial included 35 participants from a pool of healthcare professional students. Participants were assigned to one of three groups. All groups were assessed for somatic dysfunction (SD), Thoracoabdominal Range of Motion (TROM), and Peak Expiratory Flow (PF) in each session. Each group followed a separate protocol for two weeks: either generalized osteopathic treatment (GOT), breathing exercise (BE) to be completed three times per week, or both. All participants completed each protocol over a six-week period.
Statistical significance was observed in the group that received both OMT (GOT) and BE revealing an estimated effect size for the intervention.
Based on these results, we can recommend that breathing exercises combined with OMT may reliably decrease the incidence of somatic dysfunction.