Yonsei Med J.  2011 Nov;52(6):982-989. 10.3349/ymj.2011.52.6.982.

The Effects of Heat and Massage Application on Autonomic Nervous System

  • 1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Wonju Christian Hospital, Yonsei University Wonju College of Medicine, Wonju, Korea. kimrehab@yonsei.ac.kr


The objective of this study is to evaluate the effects of heat and massage application on autonomic nervous system.
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 events.


Heat; massage; stress

MeSH Terms

Autonomic Nervous System/*physiopathology
Heart Rate/*physiology
Hot Temperature/adverse effects/*therapeutic use
Massage/adverse effects/*methods


  • Fig. 1 The picture of treatment device (Ceragem M3500). The internal projector moves along the natural back line.

  • Fig. 2 Schematic model, describing the study procedure.

  • Fig. 3 Plasma cortisol (upper panel) and norepinephrine (lower panel) variability according to time. *p<0.05.

  • Fig. 4 Changes of HRV: standard deviation (A), total power (B), and normalized low frequency (C) according to time. *p<0.05.

  • Fig. 5 Changes of SSR: the latency (A) and amplitude (B) of SSR according to time. *p<0.05.


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