There are structural theories and therapies. On the other hand, there are energy theories and therapies. So far the two have been evolving in parallel, without much conscious interconnection. Yet since people are both structure and energy, it is common sense to say you are addressing people’s health incompletely if you only work only with structure or energy! It is imperative for our clients’ health and for our profession’s growth that we learn how to work simultaneously with structure and energy. This is the essence of the work I teach.
So how does this relate to the iliopsoas, its neighbors, and how we will approach
it? First let’s look at some fascinating facts that establish the structural
centrality of this muscle and the area it lives in.
Did you know that the psoas has two layers: superficial and deep? Between these two layers is imbedded the lumbar plexus of the nervous system! It has been reported Ida Rolf believed the most important reason to work the psoas is to enliven the lumbar plexus.
Did you know the iliopsoas is (with piriformis) the only muscle running from
the upper body to the lower body? The psoas is the muscle which initiates every
step you take. The psoas originates as high as T10—higher than the diaphragm!
So working the psoas activates the experience that each step originates from
a place higher than your diaphragm!
Forward flexion of the trunk is the single most devastating postural distortion. The rectus abdominis and, deep to it, the iiliopsoas are the primary muscles that restore length to the body. Most therapists are reluctant to address the abdomen in any detail, yet it is the most structurally significant area of the entire body!!!
The iliopsoas attaches not only to the vertebral bodies but also to the intervertebral
discs. So by addressing the psoas you help prevent disc compression and make
a healthier context for healing disc injuries.
Now let’s explore the energetic world of the iliopsoas. By its span and unique relation to the thigh, the pelvis, the back and abdomen, the psoas coordinates the actions of the first, second, and third charkas. This means that the psoas and its environs are vital to our grounding, healthy sexuality, life excitement, and self-support. The center of our energetic world lies nearly at the intersection of the psoas and iliacus. Oriental medicine understands this place as the origination place for our energy—the “hara” or “tan-tien.” The realm of the psoas is therefore not only the origination for every step you take, but also the origination point for the forward movement of your life. It is literally and figuratively the center of your structural and energetic world!
How will we integrate the energetic and structural in our work? I will introduce you to the best hands-on technique for integrating these that exists. It is the “fulcrum.” The fulcrum is a clear and strong way of touching that involves making simultaneous contact with energy and structure. You have to feel it to believe it—like all bodywork! But here’s a foretaste.
First you center yourself. Then you take out all the looseness in the physical structure. In this way, the client will perceive each additional movement as engaging them more than just physically. Then you “take up the slack” getting right into the middle of the person’s physical/energetic tension. Then give it time. You hold it for 2-10 seconds, while the client lets go from inside out, more and more deeply each moment. You observe for “working signs,” which I will teach, which are objective signs of structural and energetic change. Then you clearly disengage and give the person a moment or two to assimilate the changes before adding more work.
The fulcrum is a miraculous, clear, and strong tool for structural and energetic change. I look forward to sharing it and more with you! Can you wait to get your hands on this muscle and its close neighbors with feeling and intelligence?!