The Psoas is the central component of a group of muscles that connects our spine to our legs across the pelvis, It combines with the iliacus muscle in crossing the pelvis and they both connect at the same point on the femur.
When we are properly stretched, aligned and fully connected with the Psoas, we will achieve maximum stride length, speed and efficiency of movement. Emotions become balanced and stress levels are reduced. Most importantly, it will decrease the amount of structural tension in our lumbar spines.
With over 70% of the working population suffering from some form of lower back pain we cannot ignore the Psoas
At Motion DynamicsTM Ltd., the Psoas is our main focal point when addressing poor posture, inefficient bio-mechanics and reduced hip function. Let’s face it; with all the hours of sitting we do at our offices, in our cars and at home, our Psoas is over worked, tense, weak and dysfunctional.
The Psoas is a power muscle, a posture muscle and a stabilizing muscle all in one. It also links locomotion (or gait) with breathing and alignment as there are direct connections into the diaphragm through fascia and ligaments from the legs. This gives the Psoas a crucial role to play in the general function of our vital organs.
The health of the Psoas is key to vitality, physical and emotional well-being
An overloaded Psoas has physical and emotional ramifications. Physically, poor flexibility in the Psoas causes you to lose stability, joint mobility, muscular integrity, stride length and speed.
How does this make us feel? How about fatigued, listless, in pain, dysfunctional, and weak. It is slowing you down physically and bio-chemically, and it is putting your physical and functional body systems into danger.
Emotional trauma or lack of emotional support can also lead to a chronically tight Psoas. This can lead to depression, anxiety, an exhausted immune system and low self-esteem.
“Whether you suffer from a sore back or anxiety, from knee strain or exhaustion, there’s a good chance that a constricted Psoas muscle might be contributing to your woes.” (1)
The entire kinetic (moving) chain is dependent on the Psoas
The Psoas is responsible for holding us upright. It helps lift our legs in order to walk, stabilizes the spine, and provides support through the trunk. It also forms a stable shelf for the vital organs in the abdominal cavity to sit upon.
The Range-of-Motion (ROM) of the Psoas is impressive. In full contraction, the Psoas can pull or flex the hip joint to a full athletic range of 140° - 160°. When engaging the opposite muscle, the Gluteus Maximus (medial fibers), our most powerful hip extensor muscle, this will allow the hip to move through a range of 15° - 20°of extension.
On a structural level, a tight Psoas creates a forward pull on the pelvis, as well as an external rotation on the hip joints. This forces us to lock out our knees and tighten our calves. The result is that we are thrown forward onto the balls of our feet. The reduced mechanical efficiency of a tight Psoas also impairs drainage of our lymphatic fluids and interferes with all movement of tissue fluids.
In most people, the Psoas has been shortened and chronically weakened through prolonged sitting and poor postural habits. Inferior bio-mechanics from a variety of symptoms prevent you from achieving full hip extension.
A tight Psoas causes shortness of breath and results in increased stress levels, fear and negative emotions
The Psoas is directly connected to our most vital breathing organ - the diaphragm – which affects breathing and fear reflexes. This is linked in turn to the interior portion of our brain stem - our reptilian brain. From here it runs into the spinal cord. Our fight-or-flight response and survival instincts are controlled from this point near the middle of the spinal cord.
The Fight-or-flight response is a “physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival.” (2) A discharge from the sympathetic nervous system prepares us to fight or flee.
One of the effects of our highly demanding modern lifestyle is stress. Stress triggers a surge of hormones and the adrenal glands activate the survival mode. This prompts a neural response through the brain stem to shut down and hyper-contract our Psoas muscles. We end up in the fight-or-flight mode. Surprisingly, we are not even aware that this is happening to us.
Soften the Psoas, Expand the Torso
Physically, as the Psoas softens, opens and lengthens, the reactive force from movement can flow and transfer energy through the bones and soft tissues. From the heels, to the legs, and upward to the spine, this creates fluid movement and bio-mechanically correct posture. This allows you to move freely and without pain.
Emotionally, the Psoas is connected to what traditional Japanese medicine calls the “hara”. This is the energy field of the body. It is an uninhibited and un-interrupted flow of life-force. Softening the Psoas can improve overall mental health and well-being and prevent the fight-or-flight response.
Don’t let your Psoas impact your daily life in a negative manner
Motion Dynamics™ Ltd. Mobility Trainers are skilled at softening and strengthening the Psoas. Our exclusive “Stretch and Align” protocols re-program hip extension and flexion, maximising mobility. Improve your physical and mental balance. Flex the years back to a time when we were light, nimble, supple, and flexible in our movements.
Awareness + Flexibility + Stability >> Mobility
You have but one life, live it.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a Postural Assessment and individually tailored program to flex back the years.
2. Cannon, Walter (1932). Wisdom of the Body
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