The 3rd edition of Palpation and Skills:Assessment Through Touch, (ISBN 9780443069352) has just (December 2009) been published by Elsevier (as has the 3rd edition of Fibromyalgia Syndrome ISBN 9780443069369).
Both books come with DVD-ROMs that contain dozens of video-clips, as well as the full texts and all illustrations, so that the book can be easily carried around on your laptop.

The format of Palpation Skills involves 15 chapters (and hundreds of skill building exercises) – 5 of the chapters have been contributed by experts in their fields (see below) – plus14 ‘Special Topics’ that highlight areas of particular interest that don’t quite fit into the main chapters, but complement these.

The contents and authors, for this revised and expanded edition are:

Special Topic 1 Using appropriate pressure (and the myofascial pain index)
Chapter 1 Objective: palpatory literacy Leon Chaitow
Special Topic 2 Structure and function: are they inseparable?
Chapter 2 Palpation reliability and validity Michael Seffinger
Special Topic 3 Visual assessment, the dominant eye and other issues
Chapter 3 Fundamentals of palpation Leon Chaitow
Special Topic 4 Source of pain – is it reflex or local?
Chapter 4 Palpating and assessing the skin Leon Chaitow
Special Topic 5 The morphology of reflex and acupuncture points
Chapter 5 Palpating for changes in muscle structure Leon Chaitow
Special Topic 6 Is it a muscle or a joint problem?
Chapter 6 Fascial palpation Thomas W. Myers
Special Topic 7 Assessing dural restriction
Chapter 7 Assessment of ‘abnormal mechanical tension’ in the nervous system Leon Chaitow
Special Topic 8 Percussion palpation
Chapter 8 Palpation and assessment of joints (including spine and pelvis)
Leon Chaitow
Special Topic 9 Joint play/‘end feel’/range of motion: what are they?
Chapter 9 Accurately identifying musculoskeletal dysfunction Whitney Lowe
Special Topic 10 Fibromyalgia palpation assessment
Chapter 10 Visceral palpation and respiratory function assessment Leon Chaitow
Special Topic 11 About hyperventilation
Chapter 11 Introduction to functional palpation Leon Chaitow
Special Topic 12 Synaesthesia Sasha Chaitow
Chapter 12 Understanding and using intuitive faculties Sasha Chaitow
Special Topic 13 Red, white and black reaction
Chapter 13 Subtle palpation (including cranial rhythms, energy and ‘has tissue a memory?’) Leon Chaitow
Special Topic 14 Palpating the traditional Chinese pulses
Chapter 14 Chinese palpatory skills Stefan Chmelik
Chapter 15 Palpation and emotional states Leon Chaitow
Appendix: Location of Chapman’s neurolymphatic reflexes

Let me tell you a little about the contributors of new chapters:

Sasha Chaitow MA
Independent Researcher, Athens, Greece
Chapter 12. Understanding and using intuitive faculties
My remarkable daughter Sasha has contributed on a difficult but important topic – intuition – based on her own skills, and the critical thinking she has honed via her two Masters degrees. She has also contributed a Special Topic on Synesthesia – a subject that which deserves a post of its’ own…..something to look out for during 2010 when my work pressure eases a bit. For more about Sasha go to:

Stefan Chmelik MSc
Mind–Body Physician, New Medicine Group London, UK
Chapter 14. Chinese palpatory skills
Stefan Chmelik is one of the UK’s leading experts on TCM ,and his chapter introduces us to the elegant palpation skills that have evolved over thousands of years. For more about Stefan go to: The New Medicine Group

Whitney Lowe LMT

Director, OMERI Sisters, OR, USA
Chapter 9. Accurately identifying musculoskeletal dysfunction
Whitney Lowe is probably America’s leading expert on orthopedic assessment for massage therapists, and his chapter highlights his dedicated focused approaches. For more about Whitney go to:

Thomas W. Myers LMT NCTMB CSI
Director, Kinesis, Inc. Walpole, ME, USA
Chapter 6. Fascial palpation
Tom Myers is now a super-star in the world of manual therapy. His landmark book Anatomy Trains remains one of the most popular amongst the spectrum of therapists including physical therapists, chiropractors, osteopaths and massage therapists. His work with fascia is nothing short of remarkable, as is his chapter in this book. For more about Tom’s courses go to:

Michael A Seffinger DO FAAFP
Associate Professor, Family Medicine/Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine
Chair, Department of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine
College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific, Western University of Health Sciences Pomona, CA
Chapter 2. Palpation reliability and validity
Mickey Seffinger is one of the leading osteopathic educators in the USA, and his important chapter on the reliability and validity of palpation findings represents an essential confidence building element in this new edition. What we “feel”, really can determine our best therapeutic choices.
For more about Mickey’s landmark book Evidence Based Manual Medicine (with DVD), go to:

Some thoughts on palpation:

  • British osteopath, Denis Brooks (1997), noted that we need to learn to palpate through our fingers rather than with them.
  • And as Sutherland said – in relation to palpation (1948):“It is necessary to develop fingers with brain cells in their tips, fingers capable of feeling, thinking, seeing. Therefore first instruct the fingers how to feel, how to think, how to see, and then let them touch.
  • Greenman (1989) summarized palpation objectives as follows:
  1. Detect abnormal tissue texture
  2. Evaluate symmetry in the position of structures, both physically and visually
  3. Detect and assess variations in range and quality of movement during the range, as well as the quality of the end of the range of any movement
  4. Sense the position in space of yourself and the person being palpated
  5. Detect and evaluate change in the palpated findings, whether these are improving or worsening as time passes.
  • Viola Frymann (1963), probably the greatest advocate of skilled palpation in the osteopathic world, said: “It is one thing to understand intellectually that physiological functions operate, and what may happen if they
    become disorganized. It is quite another thing, however, to be able to place the hands on a patient and analyse
    the nature and the extent of the disorganization and know what can be done to restore it to normal, unimpeded, rhythmic physiology. This then is the task before us; to know what has happened and is happening to the tissues under our hands, and then to know what can be done about it and be able to carry it through . . . [however] . . . palpation alone is virtually worthless without the rest of the patient evaluation. The value comes from the entire package – history, examination [including palpation], special tests, and response to treatment.”

It’s important to acknowledge that this new edition – despite its’ hundreds of skill-building exercises, supported by dozens of video-clips on the DVD – cannot replace appropriate tuition…..but it can certainly enhance whatever is being taught by traditional methods – supervised in a class, hands-on, and can also certainly help to polish and refine the skills of even experienced therapists and practitioners.

The Palpation book is available from Amazon UK : CLICK HERE
Or from Amazon USA : CLICK HERE

…. also newly released is the revised, updated and expanded 3rd edition of Fibromyalgia Syndrome: A Practitioners Guide to Treatment (with DVD-ROM) (Elsevier).
This contains chapters by : Peter Baldry (medical acupuncture), Eric Blake (hydrotherapy), Jan Dommerholt & Tamar Issa (dry needling), Rebecca Good & Pat Winstead-Fry (Therapeutic Touch), John Lowe (metabolic [thyroid] rehabilitation), Carolyn McMakin (frequency specific microcurrent), John McPartland (endocannabinoids), Paul Watson (cognitive behaviour therapy/interdisciplinary pain management).
The Fibromyalgia book is available from Amazon UK : CLICK HERE
Or from Amazon USA : CLICK HERE

Brooks R 1997. Life in motion, the osteopathic vision of Rollin Becker D.O. Rudra Press, Portland, OR.
Frymann V 1963. Palpation – its study in the workshop. Academy of Applied Osteopathy Yearbook, Newark, OH.
Sutherland W.G 1948. The cranial bowl. Mankato, Minnesota.
Greenman P 1989. Principles of manual medicine. Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore