Hips don’t lie, according to the title song by Columbian singer songwriter Shakira. Though the hips in Shakira’s song are sending messages about physical attraction, hips today aren’t lying about pain linked to tight muscles, limited flexibility and even stress or trauma.
For each person, for each discomfort, there are exercises, therapies and technologies to help keep the pain at bay. Energy healing and yoga that targets the hips are two popular ways to help your hips get their groove back, according to local experts.
“Hip pain hits all types of people – the elderly, the sedentary, the physically active, the young. The pain is linked to a tightness that often occurs because of poor flexibility and a lack of stretching,” explained Robert Hamilton, an licensed massage therapist and Reiki master at Charleston Massage & Bodyworks in Mount Pleasant.
Physical limitations aren’t the only causes of hip pain.
“Emotions such as guilt, abandonment and lack of trust can be energetically stored within the hips and lower back, creating pain,” Hamilton said. “As a natural human reaction to experiencing trauma, the hips and shoulders may tense.”
Hamilton provides unique energetic healing services, such as Reiki, to release these blocked energy centers.
“With our upper and lower body being connected by our hips and our spinal cord, carrying our nervous systems and information, running through the central part of our body, this is one thought as to why the stress is stored in our hips,” explained Kennae Miller, owner of Transformation Yoga.
Because of this hip connection between the upper and lower body, Transformation Yoga offers a restorative “yin class” that features a slower pace, longer holds and deeper, passive stretching to restore the nervous system.
In general, Americans tend to have more inactive days thanks to long hours at work desks or long periods sitting in front of televisions and in cars and planes. These habits and ways of life can cause a shortening of our psoas muscle, which results in tightness in the hips.
“Our psoas muscle also serves as connective tissue; it runs from the inner thigh through the hips and connects to the lower back, thus creating tight hips and lower back pain,” Miller explained.
Specific yoga movements – even ones that can be done in bed before you get up or in a chair at work – can help ease these pains.
Here are some recommendations from Miller:
- While in bed, “lie on your back and slowly pull both knees to the chest as close as desired and breathe deeply for a few breaths. Release both knees and stretch out long, then try bringing one knee toward the chest at a time and holding, releasing and switching sides.”
- From a seated position, sit up “as tall as you can and twist the upper body to one side then the other. Try placing one foot on the floor at a time and bending a knee. Cross the opposite foot across the bent leg as high as possible…then slowly begin to lean forward towards the table or desk until a stretch is felt in the hips, breathe a few breaths, then release and switch sides.”
- Chair yoga and chair yoga classes are popular approaches to easing pain. People who have varying capabilities in range of motion, flexibility and skill level find that chair yoga offers a safe space and a safe start. Because chair yoga essentially “brings the floor up,” it can also be an excellent way to stay active after surgery.
Hip pain and tightness can be an uncomfortable nuisance, but after exploring a few simple yoga positions, Reiki and other therapy techniques, your hips will assure you that they have found some relief.
By Riley Mathews