Liz Koch an international teacher and author with 43 years of experience working with and specializing in the psoas offers these pearls...
3 Things You May Not Know About Your Psoas
Your psoas is not merely a muscle. It is a primal messenger from the core channel of your being, which is often referred to as your central nervous system. This bio-intelligent tissue not only expresses your coherency but also your integrity. Discover three things you may not yet have discovered about your psoas. click the link
Why You Should Stop "Stretching" Your Psoas With the psoas on each side of your spine, this intelligent tissue communicates relationships between right and left, back and front, upper and lower, and deep and superficial layers of your core being. Located behind the large abdominal muscles, digestive and reproductive organs, arteries, and veins at our skeletal and gravitational centre psoas creates a muscular pendulum upon which the kidneys and adrenals literally float. When in harmony with diaphragmatic breathing, the psoas gently massages all the abdominal organs, stimulates blood circulation, and enhances the rhythmic flow of synovial fluid. Given the dynamics of psoas, it may seem counterintuitive to not stretch the psoas in order to improve its flow, range, and movement. You may ask why it is problematic to stretch your psoas. The answer is as complex and mysterious as your psoas. Although defined as a muscle, the psoas is actually a very sensitive and responsive tissue. Sue Hitzmann, the creator of the MELT Method ® , a system for supporting healthy functional connective tissue, refers to psoas as part of the NeuroCore™ . Embedded in this sympathetic neuro-core are your central nervous system, psoas, kidneys, and adrenals. Playing an essential role in thriving (as in full-body orgasmic wave), psoas is also part of your primal survival responses propelling you into a full run, kicking your leg in defense, and curling you into a protective ball. Interfacing the reptilian brain and the cortex, psoas is a core messenger. As a messenger it behooves us to stop pulling on this tissue and learn to understand its message. The psoas is not short and in need of stretching; rather, your psoas may feel short because it is exhausted and possibly dry. It is counterproductive to attempt to stretch dry, exhausted tissue in hopes of making it healthy, fluid, and responsive. So why is your psoas dry? How does psoas become exhausted? Psoas becomes exhausted when it is overused, misused, and abused. Whenever there is a loss of skeletal proprioception, unresolved trauma, and defensive posturing, there is often depleted adrenal health and exhausted psoas. Over time poor ergonomics as well as sympathetic freeze responses can cause an array of compensations that recruit psoas for stability, eventually resulting in dry tissue. Because your emotional well-being, conscious expression, and functional movement all hinge upon cultivating functional psoas, the best place to begin rejuvenating this tissue is not to stretch it but to learn to hydrate your overall connective tissue, nourish your kidney/adrenal health, and increase your proprioceptive relationship with gravity. An effective key for resolving psoas inflammation, pain, and tension, therefore, is not to stretch or to palpate, but to learn a comprehensive approach to nourishing the neuro-core. Ergonomics and every day behaviors play an essential role. If your psoas feels constricted, it may be a reflection of the chair you sit on, the shoe you wear, the stress of engaging in repetitive sports or fitness activities, as well as the emotional or physical injuries that you have sustained but have not yet healed. A car accident, a fall, abuse, and habitual movements are often the cause of muscular/skeletal imbalances that invariably demand help from your psoas. You may be recruiting your psoas to achieve performance or as a result of tips, dips, and torques in the pelvic basin. Overdeveloped muscles often pull on the skeletal system causing core disruption that evoke a response from your psoas. Powerful external muscles such as overdeveloped quadriceps can pull the pelvic basin forward and down eliciting a response from the NeuroCore. Tight, restrained, or locked hip sockets, often a result of a sacroiliac injury or dysfunction, can recruit psoas due to a lack of proprioceptive skeletal coherency. Low back, knee, ankle, and toe problems also suggest the psoas may be being misused. Over time, by compensating for lack the of healthy skeletal balance, fluid psoas begins to lose its suppleness and become more like ligament which define a range of motion. As a messenger of the sympathetic NeuroCore, the psoas does not benefit when manipulated by others or through self-help techniques. Using tools that dig into your psoas, or having your psoas directly palpated is not only painful but also can be harmful by causing bruising, broken arteries, and hernias that manifest trauma without resolution. Manipulating the psoas simply does not address the reason your psoas is constricted. Psoas is rarely the problem but simply the messenger. Although invasive techniques may achieve temporary relief, they do not ultimately address the messenger’s message. My advice is don’t shoot the messenger; learn its language. The best way to sustain or regain healthy psoas is by listening to its message and resolving dysfunctional patterns and habits. By creating coherence through sensory awareness, you can revitalize your psoas thus gaining a deeper level of core integrity. Working with, not against, the psoas may bring you in direct contact with your deepest fears, but it will also connect you with instinctive wisdom and deep relaxation within your belly core that increases functional movement and self-expression.