Bending Backwards for You

If you read my blog, you might remember the “Of Cows and Men” story about the Iliopsoas muscles I published here about a year ago. The Iliopsoas muscles are so important, even vital for our well-being, that they deserve another write-up, so I am picking up where I left off.

The deep located Iliopsoas muscles (one on each side) are the only muscles that connect our spine to our legs. These muscles are the main flexors of the hips, allowing us to move our legs forward when we walk, bend our hips towards the chest when we run, bike, going up stairs, sit up to get out of bed, or bend our trunk picking something from the floor.

As if these functions were not essential enough, the Iliopsoas muscles also support internal organs, act like pumps, promoting the flow of blood and lymph and even play a role in breathing through their fascial connection to the Diaphragm.

However, if you look closely at the diagram of the Iliopsoas and think how these muscles operate to pull our legs and chest closer together, you might notice that there is a problem in the design.

You see, for a muscle to stay healthy, it must be able to contract and stretch regularly within its normal range. As we walk or run, the Iliopsoas contracts while doing the job of swinging our legs forward. But we hardly ever walk backwards, so the Iliopsoas does not have a chance to stretch.

The same goes for bending the torso. We often bend forward to tie our shoelaces or pick up something off the floor. But we almost never bend backward to stretch our Iliopsoas, and even if we wanted to, nature did not provide much flexibility for us to bend that way.

Contracting much, but rarely stretching, the Iliopsoas muscles often become short and tight, which can cause a variety of health conditions such as a compression of the spine, postural problems, pain in the lower back, hips, or knees, constipation, menstrual cramps, and others.

It really does look like nature made a boo-boo and forgot to provide us with a natural ability to stretch our Iliopsoas. And when nature makes an oversight, it usually corrects it with subsequent evolutionary developments. And so it did in this case.

To help you stretch your Iliopsoas, evolution created caring and knowledgeable massage therapists. And at the top of the evolutionary chain is the Breathe Spa on 7th Avenue SW in Calgary.

Look us up online at or call 403-457-3060 and make an appointment for a 60 or 90 min. massage treatment. Your Iliopsoas muscles are crying out for help.

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