Manual Therapy for Childhood Respiratory Disease: A Systematic Review



      This study reviewed the scientific evidence available on the effects of manipulative techniques on children with respiratory diseases.


      Three databases (SciELO, PEDro, and MEDLINE) were searched for clinical trials on the effects of manual therapy techniques on children and adolescents with respiratory diseases. The relevant studies were chosen by 2 independent researchers who assessed their abstracts and selected the studies that met the criteria for a complete and structured review.


      Of the 1147 relevant titles, 103 titles were selected for abstract assessment, and of these, 24 were selected for a full-text review. After critical analysis, 8 studies were included in the review and 16 were excluded for the following reasons: 1 covered only conventional therapy, 7 were not about the studied theme, and 8 included adults. Of the 8 studies included in the present review, 5 consisted of asthmatic children and the others of children with the following conditions: cystic fibrosis, bronchiolitis, recurrent respiratory infections, among others. Only 2 studies did not identify positive results with the use of manual therapy. The other 6 studies found some benefit, specifically in spirometric parameters, immunologic tests, anxiety questionnaire, or level of salivary cortisol.


      The use of manual techniques on children with respiratory diseases seems to be beneficial. Chiropractic, osteopathic medicine, and massage are the most common interventions. The lack of standardized procedures and limited variety of methods used evidenced the need for more studies on the subject.

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