Make no mistake, the Pso-Rite filled a gap in the self-application of mobility treatment for the individual. Still, in its fetal stages of development, our users and creators alike are finding out the power that not only the psoas muscles command through healthy expression in the human body, but also that not using the Pso-Rite is a little like handing the keys of a Lamborghini to a 5-year-old. He or she can sit in it, beep the horn, and even claim ownership – but will never fully utilize all the functions.
This article, the first in our blog, will address the many functions of the psoas muscles, (hip flexors) primarily the psoas major. As you will find out this muscle is not a one-trick pony, rather, it is the soft-spoken Godfather through which the health of accompanying muscles, nerves, bones, and organs must rely upon to operate correctly. As you will see the psoas are the foundation upon which this house of cards we call a body is both built around and dependent upon whether we are running 70 yards downfield evading tacklers or feeling the pain and anxiety of losing a loved one.
If I were to describe them in a single word, that word would be "Elegant."
Location and Movement
The psoas major is one of the longest muscles in the body coming in at a whopping 16 inches. It has 6 origination sites to the lower vertebrae (T12-L5), on its way to attaching to the lesser trochanter of the Femur (Thighbone).
Due to its arrangement, the psoas will directly influence the abdominal organs, viscera, nerves, and skeletal balance of the pelvic basin by acting like a hydraulic pump essentially massaging these structures as the hip flexors are called upon to make the body move. To say we move with our legs would be stating the obvious, but the accurate statement would be that we "Move with our hip flexors, on our legs" as the hip flexors are the prime movers of walking.
The psoas major & iliacus' intimate attachment bridging the spine and legs together.
Think about the 10,000 or so steps you take for granted per day and you will then understand the importance this muscle has for the rest of the body. Movement, mechanical power, and its expression, balance, and support all originate from the beloved psoas making it our foundation as well as our engine. With the aforementioned knowledge, it would not surprise you that the psoas muscles are the only muscles in the body that connect the spine to the legs.
Lastly, a hotly debated topic amongst therapists is that the psoas major is the only bi-articulate muscle meaning that the upper portion of the psoas can act as support, while the bottom third of the muscle will act as a flexor. No other muscle in the human body can move in segments.
As a Supportive Structure
The psoas major can span the width of a human fist at its thickest point near the T12 origin. As it slightly thins on its way down to the thigh bone, a soft, healthy psoas muscle creates what is called a "psoatic shelf." As you walk the psoas major expands and contracts intimately moving with the diaphragm to create multiple massaging rhythms of the body's organs and structures especially the kidneys, adrenal glands, esophagus, major aorta, and lymphatic system.
The psoas intimate attachment to the diaphragm.
There is also a network of nerves called the lumbar nerve complex, with which the psoas directly communicates. In layman terms, we would call this our "Gut feeling," in spiritual terms we would call this our solar plexus. The solar plexus is an area of the body where our power, as well as where unwanted, or overwhelming emotions, are attempted to be controlled. The type of energy the solar plexus creates in the body does not flow through dry, tight, restricted psoas muscles, nor will they do their part in massaging the organs making their processes more stagnant. This, in turn, will create an environment where toxins are encouraged to thrive.
A buildup of toxins will not only affect your physical energy levels but your emotions as well. Two ligaments attach from the diaphragm and wrap around each psoas muscle on their way to attaching to the spine. There are also direct fascial connections of the psoas to the diaphragm, heart, and lungs, which we will get to in a moment. A constricted psoas major will amplify tension and anxiety in the rest of the system by keeping you in the flight or fight response. Much of this occurs due to our posture while sitting in planes, trains, and automobiles, but the number one culprit is our 9-5 desk job.
To be efficient, our psoas muscle will contract, dry up and freeze in a shortened position if we sit too much as we all do. The pelvis then gets pulled forward improperly stacking the spine, which will amplify compression in the lower spine while sitting and standing. Through the attachments to the diaphragm, the rib cage gets pulled forward compressing the abdominal area hindering our ability to breathe properly. Belly breathing dissipates and heavy mouth/chest breathing takes over which will eventually tighten up the neck muscles leading to chronic neck tightness and headaches/migraines. Sadly, our counterpunch to this is to take an Excedrin which masks the problem and decimates our small intestinal flora.
A contracted psoas muscle as a result of sitting too much will also cause:
- A leg length discrepancy if you sit awkwardly and only one psoas contracts.
- Sexual dysfunction through compressed internal organs.
- Constipation through toxin build-up and poor food absorption.
- For women – increased pain during menstruation.
- For men – due to its proximity to the ureter, spermatic cord, and related nerves the prostate will suffer from tight psoas.
- Knee and low back pain from a rotated pelvis, and a compressed spine.
- Due once again to not being able to breathe properly and stimulate circulation.
Through using the Pso-Rite, you will not just remove physical pain; you will be helping this supportive structure of the human body allowing you to express health and wellness on an optimal level, not just making through the use of pharmaceuticals.
The "Psoatic Shelf" for the kidneys & adrenal glands.
The main mechanical function of the psoas complex is to support, not to move. The main muscular function of the psoas complex is to move the legs like a pendulum under the pelvis. As a part of the physiological core of our being, the function of the psoas complex is to inform the central nervous system of our capabilities.
Loose, supple, responsive muscles allow the bones to bear the weight of gravity conserving energy as we move. Tight, dry muscles constrict movement decreasing the bone's abilities to move freely. Through continued abuse, we will disrupt our proprioception, which relates to our balance, equilibrium, flow through nature, and orientation of time and space. When all of these line up, it is said our body is in "harmony."
Having a shortened dried up psoas muscle is like operating on a day to day basis off of a wobble board. Movements become herkie jerky or exaggerated at best. Fluidity is lost as bones become more and more misaligned. The pelvis thrusts forward, dragging the spine into exaggerated curves. The femurs will then twist presenting the foot with an awkward position from which to operate. The body is now fragmented moving independently rather than together – the direct opposite of a harmonic state.
In the upper body, it gets worse. A tight psoas muscle will pull the rib cage forward like previously stated inhibiting diaphragmatic or belly breathing forcing the respiratory system to use more back and neck muscles to take short shallow breaths.
The connection of the psoas, diaphragm, heart, lungs, and blood supply. The shaded covering on the left lung is the parietal pleura, which directly connects the lungs to the diaphragm. Tight, dry psoas resist movement destroying the health of the cardiovascular system.
When the diaphragm loses its range of motion, the organs and blood supply do not get massaged leaving us less oxygenated and lethargic. A tight upper psoas muscle will also compromise the esophagus, and major aorta adversely impacting many metabolic processes in the body such as digestion and elimination. Having a tight lower psoas has been noted to reposition the sex organs in both males, and females worsening menstrual cramps for women and decreasing orgasm sensation in men. When the pelvis is frozen in fear it reroutes the sexual energy upwards to the cardiovascular system as anxiety. This is stated by Wilhelm Reich in his book, The discovery of the Orgone: The function of the orgasm:
"Sexuality and anxiety present two opposite directions of vegetative excitation… The same excitation which appears in the genitals as pleasure manifests itself as anxiety if it stimulates the cardiovascular system. That is, in the latter case it appears as the exact opposite of pleasure."
When you look at the fear response in human beings you are looking at the direct health of the psoas. Every emotion has a muscular sensation attached to it thus emotions are not psychological – they are a physiological function of the human body. The hip flexors being the engine of our body play a huge role in our fear responses because only fear can stop us in our tracks cold.
The lymphatic system (in green) and the nervous system (in yellow) follow, surround, and hug the psoas. When the psoas is healthy, they massage these structures helping move signals along.
The healthy psoas is a messenger of integrity in our core informing a person if they are safe or in danger. During times of danger the psoas contract which sends a signal for the diaphragm to get to work, which then stimulates the heart to accelerate. Our cardiovascular system is now on high alert for a fight or a sprint away from danger. A tight psoas is essentially "crying wolf" all of the time leading to a rise in blood pressure, frequent anxiety, and aberrant breathing patterns. Your body then stays in a state of perpetual tension.
This can become a massive problem which compounds over the years because the smallest sound, image, or thought can stimulate the fear response causing the psoas to shrink even more. In several therapy circuits, a patient will be diagnosed with weak hip flexors and told that it is the cause of their hip, back, or knee pain when the real answer is that their hip flexors are exhausted and non-responsive from the persistent stress of wanting to run away from everything, but physically knowing it is unable to even if called upon.
Targeted Pressure and the Power of Touch
Pressure is the only outside stimulus able to communicate to the fascia, brain, nerves, and muscles that it's time to relax. With the arrival of foam rollers and therapy balls, there have been many dismissive claims from doctors, and therapists that these devices do not truly "release" muscle tissue. We are warned to only use them for 30 seconds at a time to not harm our internal structures. Yet there are millions of accounts of these devices taking away people's pain.
The Pso-Rite was designed to have the shape of a hand, and the hardness of an elbow – essentially for you to become your own best therapist. Until the invention of the Pso-Rite you would have to look to the ends of the Earth to find a skilled enough therapist to understand how to release the psoas muscles, and many come out proclaiming that it cannot physically be done because of all of the muscle and intestines in the way – yet it is being done by thousands who have purchased our product.
When starting on the Pso-Rite do so by using one peak at a time 3 inches to the side of your belly button at the height of the top of your hip. You then need to wiggle and move around slowly until you sense a pain that is relieving and relaxing. It should be both pleasant and unpleasant at the same time. If trigger points are present, you may experience a pain sensation travelling down the front of your leg or going into your back. Stay on the spot for as long as you can tolerate while taking normal breaths in through and out of your nose, then stand up and walk around. Doing this will immediately activate and retrain the shortened psoa. Repeat for the other side and do this 2-3 times. Expect to be slightly sore in that area the next day if you were successful at moving the tissue around.
The white stars denote trigger points.
The Hindu's call the hip flexors the seat of the soul. In Japan there is an inward attitude of movement and balance known as "Hara" which is translated as "belly." Why does it seem that we as American's are only beginning to open up to the power these muscles hold?
The chakra system is known as the cosmic self – a system of points running straight up the middle of the body that work together connecting our entire body to the flow of the Universe. Chakra means wheel, which is believed to be a metaphor for the sun representing celestial balance.
When we are constantly stressed, we block the flow of energy going to the lower three chakras which represent the anus, spine, pelvic floor, legs, intestines, hip flexors, ovaries, testes, and diaphragm. This blockage erodes our gut feelings, emotions, primal needs, sexual flow, breath, pleasure, creativity, and personal power. Could this be the reason we feel more divided than ever today? Could this be why you're constantly bloated? Could this be the reason for lackluster sex life? Could this be the reason for needing 6 cups of coffee a day?
This is where we get to the Lamborghini part. Using the Pso-Rite frequently will not only help dissolve physical pain but will also supercharge the rest of your body making it the antenna for energy and well-being it has been built for. Your emotions will improve, your relationships will improve, and your ability to enter into restful sleep will improve allowing you to wake up refreshed and ready for the day.
You owe it not only to yourself but to those that you love to give it a try today!