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Valentina Carlile Osteopata
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  • Writer's pictureValentina Carlile DO

Osteopathy and voice: Chapman's reflex points

Chapman's reflex points

The discovery of Chapman's reflex zones or Chapman points dates back to the 1930s, years in which Osteopath Frank Chapman identified projection zones that were painful on palpation or metameres, an expression of visceral dysfunctions.

Following this discovery, the hypothesis was formulated that there could be a neurolymphatic reflex which, if stimulated, could induce a reconditioning effect on the lymphatic vessels of the associated organs/viscera through the connection between the lymphatic system, the endocrine system and the nervous system.

These points (about 125) are located on the anterior and posterior trunk and a detailed map has been drawn. Attention! They are not myofascial trigger points (TPs), nor Jones pain points!

Subsequent studies have highlighted how the treatment of these areas may reflect a relative increase in parasympathetic activity, and a consequent reduction in the overstimulation of sympathetic activity at the level of the intermediate-lateral nuclei of the spinal cord (W.H. Schmitt and S.F. Yanuck, 1999).

Nature of Chapman points

These spots appear as small masses of nodular consistency located in the soft tissues, associated with pain on palpation, without irradiation and bilateral.

Visceral somatic dysfunctions activate visceral afferent receptors resulting in the transmission of distorted signals at the dorsal horn of the spinal cord, firing interneurons to subsequent stimuli. A constant state of pre-excitation is thus maintained which involves efferent responses with consequent hyperstimulation of the organ/viscera and the surrounding lymphatic tissue, with the creation of these nodular masses.

Treatment of these points has always been used in Osteopathy. As regards ENT treatment specifically, it is important to treat the Chapman points relating to the sinuses, larynx, pharynx, middle ear, tonsils and middle ear, in combination with the other somatic areas treated. Their stimulation has a facilitating effect on some inhibited muscles, therefore the evaluation, before proceeding, is as always fundamental, and to obtain a better result it is always advisable to first free the affected fascial plane.


Valentina Carlile - Osteopath expert in Osteopathy applied to voice and speech disorders since 2002. For information and reservations visit the page Contacts

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