Massage Techniques and Palpation Guide for the Psoas Major

Image of massage therapist palpating the abdomen of a client, with one hand on top of the other, pressing in toward the psoas muscle

This post features an excerpt from "The Psoas Solution" by Karrie Osborn, available in the January/February 2019 issue of Massage & Bodywork magazine available at www.massageandbodyworkdigital.com/i/1060121-january-february-2019/52?, and information from ABMP Five-Minute Muscles, the dynamic muscle-review program available exclusively as part of ABMP membership. Learn more at www.abmp.com/five-minute-muscles.

The seat of the soul. The source of ego. The fount of multidimensional wisdom and emotion. The psoas has quite a reputation in the multiple traditions and religions that work to define this muscle and its importance in the human body.

Structurally, the psoas is the deepest muscle in our core. It connects the upper body to the lower body, and is a major player in steadying the spine on the legs. Balance in this muscle is key for optimum function: a tight, short psoas can cause an anterior pelvic tilt, while an overstretched psoas creates a posterior pelvic tilt. The irony is that your clients may present with both.

The multidimensional psoas can be the undiagnosed culprit for low-back, hip joint, knee, or pelvic pain, but accessing it requires advanced knowledge of anatomy and assessment. The psoas is not a muscle that is easily addressed, but this center of movement, this center of balance, this seat of emotion, wisdom, and origin, begs to be heard in the treatment room.

ABMP members can access palpation and technique videos specific to the psoas major as part of ABMP Five-Minute Muscles at www.abmp.com/members/five-minute-muscles/Pelvis-and-Hip/Psoas-major. These videos feature master massage therapist Clint Chandler providing a hands-on demonstration to help address this complex muscle.

Not an ABMP member? Join today for access to ABMP Five-Minute Muscles, 200+ courses with free CE for members, the award-winning Massage & Bodywork magazine, and more!

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