How to: Stretch Pirformis

Maybe you’ve spent more time sitting around over the past few weeks, or maybe you’ve been out on the slopes or the rink. Either way, you may find yourself feeling stiff or tight around the low back, hips, or buttocks. And if you’ve been driving more than usual, some sciatic-type symptoms might be showing up. One of these piriformis stretches may be just what you need to ease some of that discomfort. Your RMT can also suggest rolling and other exercises or treatment that can get down into whatever muscle tension is cramping your style.

Body Poets Massage Therapy

Piriformis - Ottawa Massage BlogOne of the more commonly tight muscles, the piriformis, can be a real pain in your …. well, you know. But stretching it out regularly will help reduce pain and discomfort in your … well, you know. The following stretches aren’t just for the piriformis though. They also help with the gluteus minimus and other external rotators of the hip (there are five others!).

Some indications that you may need to stretch your external hip rotators are:

  • sciatic pain
  • SI joint pain
  • stiffness in the hips
  • postural imbalances such as being ‘duck-footed’ (toes pointing out) or weight bearing on one leg (hip jutting out)

Without further ado, here are some stretches and modifications for the external hip rotators. Find one that best suits your flexibility level.

Pigeon Pose: Kneeling on all 4s, bring the right knee forward to the right wrist. Let the right knee sink out toward the ground…

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Running Pains: Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome

Genevieve Ward 2015By: Genevieve Ward
Genevieve is a registered massage therapist at Body Poets who mixes other activities with running to keep her IT band happy.


If you run, cycle, or walk for exercise, you know about the iliotibial band, or ITB, on the outside of the thigh, and during exercise you might have suffered from pain at the knee that is known as Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome or ITBS.

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Turning your calves into cows

A Soleus - Ottawa massage blogstrong lower leg is a key component in a strong foundation. In fact, if one of your calf muscles – the soleus (pictured at right) – were not in constant contraction, you would fall forward! Not only that, strong calf muscles protect your ankle joint, improve your running and jumping ability, and help blood flow return upward to your heart.

As with most muscles, there are two parts to ensuring strong, healthy calf muscles: strengthening and stretching. This is especially true for the gastrocnemius (the large outer calf muscle – cut away in the diagram at right), which is prone to spasms. Finding the balance between adequate amounts of strengthening and stretching can lower the chance of spasms occurring.

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