I’ve always been a proponent of both psoas releases and percussive therapy. I just never thought of using percussive therapy to release my psoas. It wasn’t until I had major postural discomfort and knew I needed some relief ASAP that I thought about using my Muscle Blaster as a psoas release tool.
Before I share my experience, I’ll explain what the psoas muscles are and why they are so important. Dr. Christiane Northrup, health expert and New York Times best-selling author says that the psoas may just be the most important muscle in your entire body, because no matter what you do, your psoas is involved. The psoas muscles are the primary connectors between your torso and your legs. They affect your posture and stabilize your spine. (That’s kind of a big deal.)
Because they are major flexors, weak psoas muscles can cause many of the surrounding muscles to compensate and become overused. That is why a tight or overstretched psoas muscle could be the cause of many of your aches and pains, including low back and pelvic pain. I have had the unique opportunity on several occasions during cadaver dissections to study the psoas. This dissection process is quite a feat as you have to remove most of what’s in the abdominal cavity as our psoas muscles are the deepest muscles in the core. Your psoas muscles allow you to bend your hips and legs toward your chest, for example, when you are going up stairs. They also help to move your leg forward when you walk or run. These same muscles flex your trunk forward when you bend over to pick up something from the floor. They also stabilize your trunk and spine during movement and while sitting.
The psoas muscles also support your internal organs. They are vital not only to your structural well-being but also to your physiological well-being because of their connection to your breath, as they are an integral connection to your diaphragm. The diaphragm and the psoas muscles are connected through fascia that also connect the other hip muscles. These connections between the psoas muscle and the diaphragm literally connect your ability to walk and breathe and also how you respond to fear and excitement. When you are startled or under stress, your psoas contracts. In other words, your psoas has a direct influence on your fight-or-flight response.
During prolonged periods of stress, your psoas is constantly contracted. The same contraction occurs when you sit for long periods of time, engage in excessive running or walking, sleep in the fetal position, or do a lot of sit-ups. All of these activities compress the front of your hip and shorten your psoas muscle.
That was the case for me during a prolonged work-from-home stint, combined with COVID stress and lots of sit-ups. My psoas felt like a balled-up fist.
The following is my experimental program that yielded amazing results:
Step 1: Begin by lying on your back with a pillow under your knees to allow your psoas to relax. Breathe deeply in this position until you feel a sense of total body relaxation. With the Muscle Blaster turned off, find the space between your ASIS or hip bone and your umbilical or bellybutton and place the attachment head of the gun with adequate over-pressure to slowly get deep into your abdomen. Continue your deep breathing. Remember, keep the massage gun off and do not choose the bullet attachment, as it could cause tissue damage. Continue breathing and adding pressure for approximately 2-3 minutes.
Step 2: Put the gun down, bend one knee, wrapping your hands around your shin and draw your knee to your chest while the other leg stays straight. Hold for 5 seconds and then repeat on the other leg. Continue this step for 5 holds on each leg, while continuously breathing deeply.
Step 3: Repeat step 1, adding the gun to your psoas release zone (area between hip bone and bellybutton) with the gun still turned off. Add more over-pressure and continue to breathe for 1-2 minutes.
Step 4: Put the gun down and separate your feet with bent knees. Do a windshield wiper by gently dropping your knees from side to side. Repeat this for 1 minute while deep breathing.
Step 5: Finally, place the gun on your psoas release zone without any over-pressure and turn the Muscle Blaster on at level 1. Use under-pressure until there is no discomfort, then use the natural weight of the gun before you add any over-pressure.
I turned the gun up two levels so that the frequency was higher, using maybe 10 lbs. of over-pressure for around 3 minutes. I continued my deep breathing and then I turned the gun off and laid it down. I stayed in this position in a quiet meditation for about 2 minutes and then slowly rolled over onto my hands and knees.
When I stood up to move around, the results were remarkable. It was the best psoas release I have ever experienced. Give it a try when your psoas is tight!
– Coach Michael Cummings