Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT), is a non-pharmacological treatment modality unique to the osteopathic profession. It focuses on diagnosing, treating, and preventing physical manifestations of diseases such as joint restriction, muscular imbalance, and fascial distortion.
OMT can supplement other treatment modalities to improve a patient’s overall outcome and lead to a faster recovery time. OMT can promote vascular health (circulatory) by improving blood flow and the movement of fluid in the body. OMT may also promote circulatory health in indirect ways, for example, by correcting mechanical stressors and alleviating pain that triggers the stress response and elevates blood pressure.
With OMT treatment, a person will be more likely to move and be physically active as a result of becoming less restricted mechanically and by pain. Physical activity is ideal for maintaining healthy blood pressure, blood sugar, blood cholesterol, and promoting overall vascular health. With the addition and relief of OMT, a more healthy vascular lifestyle can be achieved in a person’s daily life and fitness.
OMT and Blood Flow
One main focus of OMT, and osteopathy in general, is to free the body of mechanical stressors such as soft tissue and bony impediments. Such impediments can interfere with the natural flow of fluids like blood and lymph (fluid drained from tissues) in the body. When these impediments are corrected, fluid movement throughout the body becomes optimal, allowing the body to heal easily and the person to feel better.
A research study by Lombardini et al. (2009) looked at the effects of adjuvant OMT on patients with peripheral artery disease. Peripheral artery disease or PAD is a condition in which the narrowing of arteries reduces blood flow to the limbs. This research suggests that “OMT significantly improves endothelial function and functional performance in intermittent claudication patients” (Lombardini et al. 2009)
This study is significant as endothelial (the inner lining of blood vessels) dysfunction contributes to the narrowing of blood vessels, contributing to PAD. By improving endothelial function we are improving blood flow to the limbs as well as the associated symptoms of PAD. Intermittent claudication refers to pain experienced in the calves of people with PAD due to limited blood flow from the narrow arteries, and OMT can help them function better.
Pain and Vascular Health
Mechanical stressors in the body can cause acute pain, but abnormal movement from these stressors over time can lead to chronic pain and flares. Acute pain can trigger the stress response, elevating heart rate and blood pressure, which is not ideal for cardiovascular health. Findings from a review by Saccò et al. (2013) on the relationship between pain and hypertension concluded that chronic pain may be associated with a greater risk for high blood pressure.
Pain from mechanical stress is also likely to keep a person from being physically active in an attempt to avoid feeling more pain. When these stressors are corrected a person’s blood pressure may drop from reduced pain and then be inclined to be physically active, which as discussed earlier are both beneficial for vascular health.
Physical activity and exercise reduce a person’s overall risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) by reducing resting blood pressure, improving insulin sensitivity, and regulating blood lipid levels (Nystoriak and Bhatnagar, 2018). A study by Cerritelli et al. (2011) where OMT was used as a complementary treatment for patients being treated for hypertension, concluded that OMT was highly associated with the improvement in systolic blood pressure after one year.
Improve Vascular Health with Services at CORE
Santa Cruz CORE offers OMT and other therapeutic services to lower your blood pressure and promote vascular health. Consider combining OMT with other services we offer for a well-rounded health experience!
A therapeutic massage can help calm the sympathetic nervous system (associated with the stress response) and help alleviate pain. Therapeutic exercises can strengthen muscles, increase insulin sensitivity, and lower risks for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Nutrition counseling also helps control blood sugar, blood lipid levels, and fight inflammation in the body. Corrective exercise and chiropractic can help alleviate musculoskeletal pain and reduce one’s risk for sport and occupational injuries.
At CORE, we are able to offer all of these services and more from experienced professionals in one location. By using these services with OMT therapy, we are able to help you reach all your health goals and live a happier, healthier life.
Call here to learn about our initial offers for OMT therapies
- Seffinger, M. A. (2018). Foundations of Osteopathic Medicine: Philosophy, Science, Clinical Applications, and Research (4th ed.). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer.
- Lombardini, R., Marchesi, S., Collebrusco, L., Vaudo, G., Pasqualini, L., Ciuffetti, G., . . . Mannarino, E. (2009). The use of osteopathic manipulative treatment as adjuvant therapy in patients with peripheral arterial disease. Manual Therapy, 14(4), 439-443. doi:10.1016/j.math.2008.08.002
- Cassar, K. (2006). Intermittent claudication. Bmj, 333(7576), 1002-1005. doi:10.1136/bmj.39001.562813.de
- Saccò, M., Meschi, M., Regolisti, G., Detrenis, S., Bianchi, L., Bertorelli, M., . . . Caiazza, A. (2013). The Relationship Between Blood Pressure and Pain. The Journal of Clinical Hypertension, 15(8), 600-605. doi:10.1111/jch.12145
- Nystoriak, M. A., & Bhatnagar, A. (2018). Cardiovascular Effects and Benefits of Exercise. Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine, 5. doi:10.3389/fcvm.2018.00135
- Cerritelli, F., Carinci, F., Pizzolorusso, G., Turi, P., Renzetti, C., Pizzolorusso, F., . . . Barlafante, G. (2011). Osteopathic manipulation as a complementary treatment for the prevention of cardiac complications: 12-Months follow-up of intima-media and blood pressure on a cohort affected by hypertension. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 15(1), 68-74. doi:10.1016/j.jbmt.2010.03.005