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Healing from the Inside Out: The Psoas Muscle and Trauma Release

The psoas muscle and trauma release. The psoas is one of the most important muscles in the human body. It is a deep-seated muscle that connects the lower back to the hips and legs. It is responsible for many important functions, including stabilizing the spine, supporting the internal organs, and helping to maintain proper posture.

The psoas muscle also plays a crucial role in storing trauma in the body.

anatomical image of the psoas muscle, diaphragm, lungs and heart
Psoas muscle anatomy

Trauma is a person's reaction to an event that was perceived as deeply distressing or disturbing. Trauma is not defined by the event itself, which is why people can have similar or even identical experiences and have different responses from mild distress to PTSD. When a person experiences trauma, the body responds by releasing stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones prepare the body to respond to the threat by increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration.

The psoas muscle is particularly sensitive to stress hormones. When the body is under stress, the psoas muscle contracts, to help with flight or fight response. Chronic tension from constant stress will cause also tension and pain. This tension can become chronic, leading to a range of physical and emotional symptoms.

One of the most common symptoms of chronic psoas tension is lower back pain. The psoas muscle is connected to the lower back, and when it is tight, it can pull on the spine, causing pain and discomfort. Chronic psoas tension can also lead to hip pain, knee pain, and other joint problems.

In addition to physical symptoms, chronic psoas tension can also cause emotional symptoms. The psoas muscle is connected to the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body's fight or flight response. When the psoas muscle is tense, it can trigger the sympathetic nervous system, causing anxiety, panic attacks, and other emotional symptoms.

The psoas muscle is also connected to the diaphragm, which is the muscle responsible for breathing. When the psoas muscle is tight, it can restrict the movement of the diaphragm, making it difficult to breathe deeply. This can lead to shallow breathing, which can cause a range of physical and emotional problems. In the same area where the psoas and diaphragm connect are the kidneys which is where the adrenal glands are located. The adrenals release the sympathetic nervous hormone, adrenaline.

psoas muscle, lungs, diaphragm, kidneys, adrenal glands
Anatomy of psoas muscle with surround tissue

How can we release tension in the psoas muscle and heal from trauma? Glad you asked! There are several techniques that can be used to release tension in the psoas muscle, including massage, stretching, yoga and Trauma Releasing Exercises.

Massage is a great way to release tension in the psoas muscle. A skilled massage therapist or physical therapist can use deep tissue massage techniques to target the psoas muscle and release tension. Massage can also help to increase blood flow to the area, which can promote healing and reduce pain.

Yoga is an effective way to release tension in the psoas muscle. Many yoga poses, such as the warrior series and pigeon pose, among others, can help to stretch and release tension in the psoas muscle. Yoga can also help to reduce stress and promote relaxation, which is helpful for healing from trauma. When combined with engagement and poses that work the surrounding tissues, yoga can be an important and significant way of relieving psoas tension.

In my Trauma Releasing Workshops, yoga is combined with Trauma Releasing Exercises in a way to fatigue the psoas and surrounding muscles. Through this neurogenic tremoring is activated in the psoas muscle which is the physical release of trauma from the tissues. This is followed by Restorative yoga poses that focus on the connective tissue that surrounds and penetrates the psoas muscle and activates the parasympathetic nervous system to complete the psoas release and healing in the body.

These techniques, are wonderful for physically releasing trauma from the body, and can complement other modalities such as therapy, meditation, and other mindfulness practices which are helpful for addressing emotional trauma and reducing stress.

© 2023 Ruth (Day) Elliott. All rights reserved. Feel free to share this content, but please provide proper attribution by including a link back to this post and giving credit to me.


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