In our last two posts The Psoas Runs Deep and The Psoas gets a Bad Wrap we have been talking about habitually tight psoas muscles and the effects they have in our bodies. Let’s now discuss the best way to release your psoas based your new understanding of how the psoas relates to our innate reflexes, anatomy and emotions.
Sensory Motor Amnesia – the underlying cause of a tight psoas
A chronically tight psoas muscle is just that “chronically tight or chronically contracted”. Essentially, it has forgotten how to release.
Remember a functional muscle contracts to do the work it is asked to do and then it releases and relaxes.
Try doing a bicep curl. As you bend the elbow and bring your hand towards the shoulder feel how your bicep contracts. Now notice that when you release the contraction your arm straightens. This is because the bicep let go of the contraction and moved to a resting state or resting length.
If you noticed that you could not straighten your arm all the way then that tells you that the bicep doesn’t relax or let go of the contraction completely. It is suffering from Sensory Motor Amnesia. The bicep muscle fibres continue to receive a message from the brain telling them to stay partially contracted, even though you have attempted to release the contraction.
How do I Know if I have Sensory Motor Amnesia in a muscle?
As in the example above, Sensory Motor Amnesia is evident if the bicep muscle did not completely release preventing you from straightening your arm.
Other signs to look for are:
- a constant awareness of tightness or pain in your muscles
- the inability to coordinate movements
- a sense of weakness
- lack of awareness or control of muscles
- sense of fatigue in the muscles
Some common signs of Sensory Motor Amnesia of the psoas:
- low back tightness when bending over
- low back pain when straightening
- difficulty lifting your leg up to put on your socks
- poor digestion
- pain and tension in the hips
So what is the best way to release your psoas?
It all starts with Somatic awareness. Learning how to reconnect the brain to the body so that you can release chronic contraction and restore good function. The concept is simple, the exercises are easy and only take a few minutes a day.
Our muscles work together to support movement and provide stability. In the case of the psoas muscle, it relies on the glutes to let go when it contracts and vice versa.
Why is this important?
Well, if you release your psoas muscle but don’t re-educate your body about the reciprocal relationship between the psoas and the glutes you risk re-injury.
In addition to re-educating a chronically tight psoas, you also need to re-educate and strengthen the glutes.
Re-education – The Best Way to Release Your Psoas
The easiest way to address the muscles of the trunk and the psoas is through a process of re-education. Start by adopting a daily practice of Diagonal Arch and Curl. You can find a short video of this simple exercise on our YouTube Channel here.
We recommend that you practice the Diagonal Arch and Curl exercise daily.
After completing Diagonal Arch and Curl for at least a week add on the Method 101 Standing Stabilization Series practice to activate the feet, legs, glutes, and muscles of the trunk.
These and other movement videos can be found on our YouTube Channel.
What did you notice?
Now that you have done the practices above did you feel your glute (bum cheek muscle) contract under your hand as your leg turned out?
Did your glute muscle release as your leg rotated back to its home position?
Often the answer is no.
If so, try it again on your own. Bring your awareness to the glute muscle under your hand, sense and feel it. You may even tap it a few times to turn your brain’s awareness to it. Re-educating the glute muscle to fire when it is needed and to release when it is not.
Give these gentle and simple exercises a try. Do them gently without forcing.
Practice daily for two weeks and then let us know what has changed for you.
These exercises will help you to change the habitual patterns that keep you in tension and pain, in a way that does not require force or manipulation. When we clear tension from the center of the body regain neuromuscular control over working muscles and their counterparts movement function is restored. This formula is the best way to release your psoas.
Need more support? Join our 6-Week Change Your Pain Kickstart Program starting January 6th, 2019.
Learn more about what we teach here.