Effects of a chiropractic three-dimensional surface on vagal nerve activity and distress: An experimental study

Author(s): Hadas Tavil, Ariel D. Levine, Ronen Tuchfeld, Barak Sekeles, Ronen Mendi, Yori Gidron


Research in the past 30 years has shown the importance of the vagal nerve in predicting reduced risk and possible therapeutic effects on fatal diseases (e.g., heart disease, cancer) and chronic pain. Vagal nerve activity is indexed by heart-rate variability (HRV).


This study compared the effects of a unique chiropractic 3D surface on HRV, distress, and discomfort with two control conditions.


Thirty-six participants were recruited (mean age 51.6 years; 52.8% women), who were randomly assigned to rest for 10 minutes either in supine position on a standard mattress (control 1), rest in prone position on a standard mattress (control 2), or to rest in prone position on a chiropractic surface (experimental group). We measured HRV, blood pressure, heart rate (HR), distress, and discomfort, before, immediately after the 10min rest, and 5min later.


For participants in control 1, SDNN and PNN50 increased significantly from 1st to 3rd measures only. For participants in control 2, HRV did not change significantly. In the experimental condition, SDNN, RMSSD, and PNN50 increased significantly from 1st to 2nd measure, and SDNN increased significantly from 1st to 3rd measure. Increases in PNN50 were more prominent in the experimental group than in both controls combined.


This study showed that a chiropractic surface significantly increased multiple HRV parameters, more than two control conditions. Suppose the results are reproducible in clinical situations involving the vagal nerve (e.g., diabetes); such a chiropractic surface may be a novel treatment for chronic health conditions associated with reduced HRV.

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