Of Cows and Men

All through massage school my favorite muscle has been the Iliacus. For one reason its name sounds like mine, and every time an instructor would say “Iliacus”, I reacted, thinking that she was talking to me. And I also knew that in cattle, the Iliacus muscle together with the related Psoas Major, collectively known as the Iliopsoas, constitutes the tenderloin cut, from which my favorite steak, the Filet Mignon comes from.

The Iliopsoas muscle of cows is soft and tender because they don’t use it very much. Consider: in cattle and in people the Iliopsoas muscle does the job of flexing the leg at the hip. This is something cows rarely do. So their Iliopsoas is a “lazy” muscle, which makes it mellow and ideal for a gourmet meal.

Not so, with us people. We flex our leg at the hip and use our Iliopsoas all the time when we walk, climb stairs, play sports. When we sit for a long time working or watching TV, our Iliopsoas gets short and tight and can get painful.

This is where your massage therapist comes in. If you’ve had a massage with me, you might remember how during the treatment when you were face down, I grabbed your leg just above the knee, extended your hip joint and held it for about 30 seconds. That’s what I was doing, stretching your hip flexor muscles.

So, next time you and your significant other are in a nice restaurant enjoying a steak and your partner makes a comment how tender and juicy the meat is, look him or her straight in the eye and say: “You know, dear, my Iliopsoas is pretty soft too, and that’s because my massage therapist at the Breathe Spa works on it every time”.

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