Chapman’s Reflexes

Chapman’s Neurolymphatic Reflexes

“The cause of nerve irritation must be found and removed before the channels can relax and open sufficiently to admit the passage of the obstructed fluids.” – A.T. Still

Chapman’s Reflexes are named in honor of Frank Chapman, D.O., the osteopathic physician who discovered and charted their location and therapeutic value in the diagnosis and treatment of disease.  These reflexes are located in the lymphoid tissue in the fascia and are manifested in the acute stage by soreness or tenderness at the distal ends of the spinal nerves.  The tenderness is due to hypercongestion and is known as a Chapman’s reflex point.  These hypercongestions vary in size according to their location, and to the proportion of pathology present.

Dr. Chapman had worked alone with his ideas of lymphatic drainage for about twenty years calling these areas of hypercongestion, lymphatic centers.  Chapman charted over two hundred separate and distinct reflexes, each one having a definite and specific effect upon the endocrine gland or viscus with which it is in association.  When he found a given combination of tender areas he always found a given disease entity or organ pathology present, or vice versa with the manifestation of a certain disease entity or pathology there would always be present a definite combination of tender areas.

Dr. Charles Owens, who continued with this work after the death of Dr. Chapman, realizing the importance of the autonomic phase, called these areas reflex centers and he has stressed the importance of the pelvic- thyroid-adrenal syndrome, or gonad group.  So far, we know that a Chapman reflex point is the result of a lymph stasis in the viscus or glands.  This lymph stasis is responsible for the dysfunction of that organ or gland.  Both the lymph stasis and the resultant dysfunction are reflexibly responsible for the Chapman lesion due in part to nerve impulse and to a chemical reaction of the lymphatic tissue in which the reflex lesion is found.

To understand Chapman’s reflexes we must have knowledge of the autonomic nervous system, the endocrine system, the embryologic segmentation and fascia, as well as of the lymphatic system which are necessary to work out the pathways from viscus or gland to associated lesions.  The significance of these reflex or receptor organs is twofold–they are a reliable index to the nature of the disturbance within their associated organs or glands and they are a specific means of correcting the disturbances.  By the stimulation of these receptor organs both the afferent and efferent vessels draining the surrounding tissues will be affected, as will also the entire lymph system of this area.  These receptor organs are easy to palpate because of the edema or congestion localized around the area.  This method of diagnosis gives an exact picture of the existing condition even to the extent of involvement, and treatment, correctly applied, usually obtains the specific results desired.

A bony lesion may be primary or it may be secondary to some functional disturbance.  Any lesion which disturbs the bony pelvis interferes with the blood and nerve supply to the gonads which in turn directly affect the thyroid, whose function it is to influence the oxygen content of the blood.  All the blood passes through the thyroid gland at least twice an hour and there receives thyroxin, the secretion of the thyroid, which is carried to every tissue cell.  Thus with a pelvic lesion is started the imbalance to the endocrine system which in turn interferes with nutrition to body structures.  Result–impaired function of gland or viscus and possible further result–bony lesion.  This is the reason that no attempt should be made to correct bony lesions until the corrected nutritional disturbances responsible for the pathology nave been re-established at the site of such lesions.  Frequently by that time the lesions will have disappeared or their correction will be a very easy accomplishment.  And because of this removal of tissue pathology at the site of the bony lesion that lesion when corrected will stay corrected.

This point has been experienced by many Osteopathic Physicians especially in the treatment of chronic conditions that manipulative treatment will add to the discomfort of the patient and to the severity of the condition. This happens because of a lack of understanding of the need for the removal of the underlying tissue pathology before the attempt of bony correction which oft times aggravates a chronic state causing still further stasis of body fluids. Equally important in this connection is the fact that corrective work before the nutritional change has been re-established is apt to dissipate the effect of the reflex work or at least tend to obscure the usual spectacular results.

“To one who would practice manipulatively it is essential that one understand (1) the anatomical, physiological, and pathological relations of the human body; (2) that he properly correlate these with the signs and symptoms he elicits; (3) that he apply specific treatment in accordance with his findings and therapeutic aims; and (4) that he develop palpatory and manipulative skills that will enable him to achieve his objectives in treatment.”

Balancing the Pelvis

“I want you to pay particular attention to Dr. Mitchell as he presents the crux of the Chapman reflex treatment–the balancing of the bony pelvis.  Upon this delicate balance depends a large share of the effectiveness of a reflex treatment.  If the pelvis is not balanced properly, a large part of the reflex treatment is nullified. If the pelvis becomes unbalanced, as it frequently will, signs and symptoms will return.  It is not always possible to balance the pelvis and have it remain in balance from the first treatment on.  Oftentimes the pathology is so severe that it tends to unbalance the pelvis.  Sometimes it may take several weeks before the pelvis remains in balance. This is a particularly trying period, as symptoms tend to recur.  The balance of the pelvis is one of the criteria of the progress of the patient and his treatment.”

from “Clinical Aspects Of The Chapman Reflexes” by Edward A. Brown, A.B., D.O.

Chapman’s Reflexes


Cerebellar Congestion (Lapse of Memory)

(A): Just medial tip corocoid process of scapula.

(P): Across transverse processes atlas.

Cerebral Congestion (Stroke)

(A): Laterally from spinous processes 3-4-5 cervical vertebrae.

(P): Between the transverse processes l -2 cervical vertebrae near their tip ends.



(A): Front of humerus, middle aspect surgical neck.

(P): Occipital bone, sub-occipital nerve.


(A): Front of humerus, middle aspect surgical neck downward.

(P): Occipital bone, anterior branch occipital nerve.


Otitis Media

(A): Upper edge of clavicle, just beyond where it crosses 1st rib. Treat only these to relieve motion or sea sickness.

(P): Upper edge posterior aspect, tip of transverse process 1st cervical vertebra.



(A): Upper edge 2nd rib–3 l/2 inches from sternum.

(P): Lamina of C2.


(A): 1st rib at sternal border, also lateral aspect of humerus from head down.

(P): Transverse process of C1 behind ear and C2.


(A): 2nd rib—3/4 inches from sternum.

(P): Lamina of C2.

Pharyngitis (Eustachian Tube)

(A): The front of the first rib, ¾” to 1” toward the sternum from where the clavicle crosses the rib.

(P): Lamina of C2.


(A): 1st intercostal space near sternum.

(P): Lamina of C1.


(A): Upper surface 2nd rib 2-3 inches from sternum.

(P): Lamina of C2.


(A): 2nd intercostal space near sternum.

(P): Lamina of T2.

Bronchitis (also treat spleen, liver and pancreas)

(A): 2nd intercostal space near sternum.

(P): Lamina of T2.

Upper Lung (also treat colon)

(A): 3rd intercostal space near sternum.

(P): Lamina of T3.

Lower Lung

(A): 4th intercostal space near sternum.

(P): Lamina of T4.



(A): 2nd intercostal space near sternum.

(P): Lamina of T2.


(A): Inner aspect, upper end of humerus, surgical neck downward.

(P): Posterior aspect transverse processes 3-4, 6-7 cervical vertebrae.


Arms (Circulation)

(A): Muscular attachment pectoralis minor muscle to 3-4-5 ribs.

(P): Superior angle of scapula–1-2-3 ribs along inner margin of scapula.

Dupuytren’s Contracture

(P): Lateral edge of the scapula, just below the head of the humerus.

Neuritis of the Upper Limb (look for 3rd rib dysfunction and foot dysfunction)

(A): 3rd intercostal space near sternum. (Along with extreme pain the shoulder, arm, forearm, and hands – worsening at night).

(P): Lamina of T3.


(A): the entirety of the pectoralis major muscle, including its attachments.

(P): 4th rib just under medial border of scapula. (Sleep Center)


Myocarditis (also treat thyroid, ovarian and broad ligaments)

(A): 2nd intercostal space near sternum.

(P): Lamina of T2.


Atonic Constipation

(A): A gangliform contraction of the muscle tissue between the ASIS and the trochanter.

(P): Neck of 11th rib.

Abdominal Tension

(A): Upper pubic ramis, between symphysis and femoral ligament.

(P): Transverse process of L2.

Gastric Hyperacidity

(A): 5th interspace from midmamillary line to the sternum on the left.

(P): Lamina of T5 on left.

Gastric Hypercongestion

(A): 6th interspace from midmamillary line to the sternum on the left.

(P): Lamina of T6 on left.

Pyloric Stenosis

(A): On the front of the sternum at the junction of the manubrium with the gladiolus, down to the ensiform cartilage.

(P): 10th rib head.

Small Intestines

(A): 8th, 9th, and 10th intercostal near the cartilages on both sides of the body.

(P): Lamina of T8, T9 and T10.

(8th rib=upper portion of intestine, 9th rib=middle portion and 10th rib=lower portion)

Pancreas (look for in diabetes)

(A): 7th interspace from midmamillary line to the sternum on the right.

(P): Lamina of T7 on right.

Congestion of the Liver and Gall Bladder

(A): 6th interspace from midmamillary line to the sternum on the right.

(P): Lamina of T6 on right.

Torpid (Congested) Liver

(A): 5th interspace from midmamillary line to the sternum on the right.

(P): Lamina of T5 on right.


(A): 7th interspace near junction of cartilage the left.

(P): Lamina of T7 on left.


(A): 2.5” above and 1” on either side of the umbilicus.

(P): Lamina of T11.  Only one side may be involved.


(A): Laterally 1” from linea alba and 1” above the horizontal plane of the umbilicus.

(P): Lamina of T12.

Appendix (check against right ovary in female)

(A): Tip of 12th rib, right side.

(P): Lamina of T11.

Colon (Spastic Constipation or Colitis)

(A): An area 1 to 2” wide, extending from the trochanter to within 1” of the patella; front, outer aspect of femur, both sides.

(P): A triangular area bounded by the transverse process of L2, L4 and the iliac crest, bilaterally.

(The colon is mirrored on the femurs – the right trochanter corresponds with the cecal region, right mid-thigh is the ascending colon and near the right knee is the 1st 2/5 of the transverse colon.  On the left side the last 3/5 of the transverse colon is near the knee, the descending colon is mid-shaft and the sigmoid is near the trochanter).


(A): Just above the ischial tuberosity.

(P): On the sacrum, close to the ilium, at the lower end of the iliosacral articulation.


(A): Lesser trochanter of the femur downward.

(P): On the sacrum close to the ilium, at the lower end of the iliosacral articulation.



(A): Upper, inner edge of pubic symphysis.

(P): Transverse process of L2.

Cystitis (check urethral reflexes)

(A): Tissues around the umbilicus.  Contracture just lateral to pubic symphysis = affected side.

(P): Upper edge L2 transverse process.

Groin Glands (Inguinal Lymph Nodes)

(A): Lower 2/5 of sartorius muscle and just above inner condyle of femur.

(P): On the sacrum close to the ilium, at the lower end of the iliosacral articulation.



(A): Pubic tubercle.

(P): Lamina of T9 indicates an involvement of the inner half of the ovary.  Lamina of T10 indicates an involvement of the outer.


(A): At the upper edge of junction of pubic ramis and ischum

(P): Lateral sacral base.

Uterine Fibroma

(A): Laterally on either side of the symphysis, for about 2” across the inner, lower margin of obturator foramin.

(P): Tip of transverse process of L5 parallel with iliac crest for about 1”.

Broad Ligament

(A): Outer femur, from trochanter down to within 2” of the knee joint

(P): Lateral sacral base.

Salpingitis (also treat uterus and broad ligament)

(A): Midway between the acetabulum and the sciatic notch.

(P): Lateral sacral base.

Irritated Clitoris/Vaginismus

(A): Upper, inner aspect of posterior thigh, 3-5” long and 1.5-2” wide.

(P): Around the sacrococcygeal joint.

Leucorrhea (vaginal discharge)

(A): Inner condyle of femur (knee) and upwards 3-6” posterior.

(P): Lateral sacral base.



(A): Outer femur, from trochanter down to within 2” of the knee joint and just lateral of symphysis pubis.

(P): Lateral sacral base.

Vesiculitis – Seminal Vesicles (also treat prostate)

(A): Midway between the acetabulum and the sciatic notch.

(P): Lateral sacral base.


Sciatic Neuritis

(A): starting 1/5 of the distance below the trochanter and for a space of from 2-3”downward on the posterior outer aspect of the femur.

Second – 1/5 of the distance above the knee, and continuing upward for a matter of 2” on the posterior outer aspect of the femur.

Third – mid-posterior region of the femur and 1/3 of the distance upward from the condyles.

Supplemental Points:

(a) Proximal fibular head.

(b) Middle of the femoral ligament.

(c) Just below the PSIS.

Note: Loosen up the initial or principal contractions first, before touching the supplemental points.

(P): Upper part of the sacrum inside of the sacroiliac articulation.

An innominate lesion will usually be found in such conditions.


(A): Upper inner aspect of posterior part of thigh from medial end of gluteal crease downward for 3-5” (up to 2” wide).

(P): Sacro-coccygeal articulation.


(A): Inner lower margin of obturator foramen about 2”.

(P): From tip of 5th lumbar parallel with crest of ilium for about 1”.


First correct (in order), any:

Innominate up or down shears,

Pubic dysfunction,

Sacral dysfunction,

Innominate rotation,

Inflare or outflare.

Pelvic-Thyroid-Adrenal Syndrome

Second treat:

Broad Ligament or Prostate (anterior only)


Ovaries or Testicles



Then treat the (A) then (P) reflexes, particularly the (A) with the terminal phalanx of the index or middle finger with a light rotary movement for about 15 to 30 seconds. The pressure must be light.

Do not forget drainage areas.

Complete with sympathetic activation exercises- patient prone, spine straight, pillow under chest or separation in table.  Arms hanging at side of table.  Operator standing at side and facing patients head.  Thumbs of operator pressed in intervertebral spaces.  Patient swings arms toward head each time thumbs are moved to lower space throughout dorsal area.

From: An Endocrine Interpretation of Chapman’s Reflexes, by Charles Owens, D.O.  and

Selected Writings of Beryl E. Arbuckle, by Beryl Arbuckle, D.O., F.A.C.O.P.

Both books published by the American Academy of Osteopathy.

Posterior Reflections of Chapman’s Reflexes

When finding a dysfunction at the following levels, look for these Chapman’s centers:

Occiput – Retinitis or Conjunctivitis

C1 – Cerebellar Congestion, Cerebral Congestion, Otitis Media, Nose, Tonsillitis

C2 – Cerebral Congestion, Pharyngitis, Tongue, Laryngitis, Sinusitis

C3 – Torticollis (Wry neck)

C4 – Torticollis (Wry neck)

C5 –

C6 – Torticollis (Wry neck)

C7 – Torticollis (Wry neck)

Scapula – Dupuytren’s Contracture (lateral edge), Neurasthenia (medial edge)

T1 –

Rib 1 – Arms

T2 – Thyroiditis, Bronchitis, Esophagitis, Myocarditis

Rib 2 – Arms

T3 – Upper Lung, Neuritis of Upper Limb

Rib 3 – Arms

T4 – Lower Lung

T5 – Gastric Hyperacidity (Lt), Torpid Liver (Rt)

T6 – Gastric Hypercongestion (Lt), Liver and Gall Bladder (Rt)

T7 – Pancreas (Rt), Splenitis (Lt)

T8 – Small Intestine (upper)

T9 – Ovary (inner), Small Intestine (middle)

T10 – Ovary (outer), Small Intestine (lower)

Rib 10 – Pyloric Stenosis (Rt)

T11 –Appendix, Atonic Constipation, Adrenals

T12 – Kidneys

L1 –

L2 – Abdominal Tension, Urethra, Spastic Constipation or Colitis, Cystitis

L3 – Spastic Constipation or Colitis

L4 – Spastic Constipation or Colitis

L5 – Uterine Fibroma, Neoplasm

Iliac Crest – Spastic Constipation or Colitis

Sacral base – Salpingitis (F), Vesiculitis (M), Leucorrhea, Prostate, Uterus, Broad Ligament

Sacrum – Hemorrhoids, Sciatic Neuritis, Rectum, Groin Glands, Cauda Equina

Coccyx – Irritated Clitoris and Vaginismus, Cauda Equina

From: An Endocrine Interpretation of Chapman’s Reflexes, by Charles Owens.  Published by the American Academy of Osteopathy.

Total Chapman’s.DOC         Posterior Chapman’s.DOC        Female Chapman’s.DOC        GERD Tx via Chapman’s.DOC