The Power Of Chapman’s Neurolymphatic Reflexes! Performing A Neurolymphatic Massage

In this article, you’ll learn how Chapman’s Neurolymphatic Reflexes relate to the lymphatic system, their significance in restoring health, and how to perform a neurolymphatic massage!

To begin, I’d like to share my personal experience using these reflex points in an acute situation to get myself out of pain. 

It was a gorgeous Minnesota day. The 68-degree temperature, blue skies, and songbirds beckoned me to quit my work early. 

Within minutes, I was out the door driving to one of my favorite nature trails for a walk. I was barely down the path when all of a sudden a shooting pain hit my left knee and it went out on me. 

I found myself bent over, anxiously rubbing it to ease the pain. After a few seconds, I stood upright and tried to take a step. I was on the verge of panic with intense pain. As I looked around, I noticed there were no other people in sight.

Oh dear, how was I going to get back to my car? A flash of me crawling back to my car shot through my mind and then I saw a stump in the distance. I managed to hobble over to it. Once there, I rested, prayed, and pondered for a while. 

My head was swirling as I tried to figure out what happened and what I was going to do. With my head held in my hands, I realized I was activating Bennet’s Neurovascular Reflexes on my forehead, another excellent technique for emotional stress. 

I took a few slow deep breaths and then remembered that I could rub the Chapman Reflexes related to my knees and quadriceps. As I did so, the pain began to dissipate. I continued walking. Every time the pain would begin to creep up on me, I would stop and rub the reflexes again. I am thrilled to say that by knowing which reflexes to rub, I was able to enjoy my walk on that perfect spring day after all!

We can incorporate these reflex points into massage sessions or on a friend, family member, or yourself as I did to help dissipate pain.

Performing a Chapman Neurolymphatic Reflex (CNL) massage on the anterior aspect of the body:

Rub each area outlined in the diagram above firmly for 15-30 seconds. It does not matter what direction or order you massage the reflexes in. 

When there has been long-standing lymph stagnation, it may be necessary to massage these points for several minutes. When the tenderness dissipates or subsides, you know you have massaged long enough. 

It is not necessary to do both sides of the body, however, the effectiveness may be increased by working both sides of the body. The CNL Points near the ribs are located in the intercostal space, not directly on the rib. Refer to the diagram.

Here’s the order I use to perform this on myself:

  • Begin at the center of the collar bone and work across to the lateral aspect
  • Vertical creases along the armpits
  • Front and sides of the shoulders
  • Under each breast
  • Bottom of the rib cage, all across the rib margin
  • Up the sternum working between the rib spaces bilateral and back down again
  • Bilaterally 1 inch to the sides of the naval and rubbing 2 inches cephalad
  • Rub medial to the hip bones near the iliacus muscles
  • Rub all along the superior border of the pubic bone 
  • Down the sides of the legs (entire IT band) to the knees
  • Massage up the insides of the legs from the knees to the groin
  • Finish by rubbing down each quadricep lateral to the midline of each quadricep 

    For performing a CNL massage on the posterior surface of the body: 
    • Start at the top of the spine (C-1) and work bilaterally all the way down the spine to the PSIS
    • Massage the fleshy triangle between L-2 and L-4
    • Massage across the back of the waist between -L4 and L-5
    For self-massage on the backside of the body:

    You can lay on your back and use 2 tennis balls (or lacrosse balls, etc.), placing one on each side of the spine. Roll up and down and gently shift side-to-side to stimulate the CNL points. Sometimes I stand and reach my hands around my back to stimulate the points located on my lower back. I use my fists and reach up as high as I can and work across my beltline.

    What are Chapman Neurolymphatic Reflex Points and how does this technique work?

    Chapman’s Reflexes are a type of viscerosomatic reflex mediated by sympathetic nerves. These reflexes represent lymphatic stagnation secondary to imbalances in organs due to stress or disease. The reflexes are mainly located on the anterior and posterior surfaces of the body with a few located laterally supplying energy to the lymphatic system.

    The lymphatic system is dependent on physical movement, massage, and deep breathing to move lymph. When lymph gets stagnant, the NL Points become sensitive and act like circuit breakers, switching off the power which affects various parts of the body including muscles. The power to this system is restored by firm massage. 

    The location of the reflexes do not necessarily correspond to the physical location of the lymph glands or their associated organ. Rather, their locations are related to the nervous system. The reflexes can sometimes be palpated. They can feel like a mass of small peas or pellets and can be alone or scattered over the surface of an entire muscle.

    These points usually feel tender when stagnation is present. The reflexes on the front of the body are typically more sensitive than the reflexes on the back. When a muscle doesn’t lock as a result of lymphatic stasis, massaging the corresponding reflexes often have a strengthening effect during muscle testing.

    Dr. Chapman observed a pattern in many of his patients. He found that many of his patients presenting specific symptoms would often have certain reflexes out of balance. Based on his findings he would stimulate these reflexes to facilitate improved health.  

    Dr. Chapman also noted that these CNL reflexes were also connected to imbalances of the pelvis and resulted in dysfunctions of the endocrine system which affected the organs and glands that produce hormones. He found that stimulation of the CNL reflexes would increase lymphatic drainage, plus he observed an improvement in the associated organs. 

    The lymph is an important part of both the physical and energetic aspects of the body. Lymph fluid nourishes and cleanses the body deeply on a cellular level. The body manufactures five times more lymph fluid than blood. One-third of our body weight is composed of lymph fluids. These fluids circulate without the use of a pump and depend on the healthy function of muscle movement and deep breathing to flow. Stagnant lymph flow results in dis-ease. 

    Using CNL reflexes is an effective way to optimize rebalancing the nervous, muscular, and skeletal systems with other body systems such as endocrine and gastrointestinal. 

    A few reasons the lymphatic system can get out of balance may be related to excess stress, shallow breathing, lack of physical exercise, poor nutrition, insufficient hydration, and more.

    Benefits of Neurolymphatic Massage
    1. Decrease pain 
    2. Release toxins from muscles, tissues, and organs
    3. Relax muscles, tendons, and ligaments
    4. Promote relaxation to the nervous system
    5. Energize the body
    6. Promote clear thinking through increased oxygenation to the brain
    7. Release endorphins
    8. Enhance digestive
    9. Improve sleep at night
    10. Stimulate and strengthen the immune system
    11. Increase flexibility
    12. Feeling grounded


    For more of an in-depth explanation from a medical standpoint of CNL reflexes, read this article by Megan Bath.



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