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18 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k m a rc h /a p r i l 2 0 2 3 Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything—anger, anxiety, or possessions—we cannot be free. —Thich Nhat Hanh There are a handful of muscles in the body that are notorious for being difficult to stretch. The abdominals, the iliopsoas, and the tibialis anterior and posterior top the list. But the adductors take the cake for being simultaneously easy and hard to stretch. For a large group of the population, posing with a wide stance and bending one knee can be quite the challenge. The adductors are getting stretched, but are they really elongating? Not so much. And, in my opinion, having worked with them on thousands of clients and owning some myself, I believe the adductors are secretly proud of themselves for this title. For massage therapists and bodyworkers worldwide, the challenge presented to us when a client walks (or limps) into our office with tight or torn adductors never fails to keep us guessing. How we work on them, it turns out, is like the paradox of how to find inner happiness. NO REST FOR THE ADDUCTORS When we are born, our adductors are as supple as butter and as stretchy as gummy worms. Our little bodies are sweet-smelling balls of bread dough that can mush into positions that make our adult bodies jealous. Our legs, more specifically, lend us so much movement that we can not only reach our knees to our ears but some of us even discover that we can suck on our toes. It would be even sweeter if our flexibility stayed with us as we aged, but, alas, it does not. The desire to walk comes with the necessity of stability. And so, our muscles become strong to prevent bobbling around like Bambi on an ice-covered pond. The problem is that the muscles that require the most strength are the adductors. True, standing and walking takes a lot of coordination from a lot of muscle groups. The quads, hamstrings, calves, and core muscles get worked. Growing up and doing things proves to be a great exercise that morphs a body from squishy to awkward in just a handful of years. But if those adductors aren't working overtime, the possibility of falling into a spontaneous split increases tremendously—which would be a tad embarrassing. (Or maybe not if you like to play the comedian.) The other previously mentioned muscles get the occasional break—like the quads rest when the hamstrings take over what the knee does. TECHNIQUE By Allison Denney KEY POINTS • The adductors take the cake for being simultaneously easy and hard to stretch. • In their secret efforts to master the art of puppeteering, the adductors fall victim to the inability to let go. THE REBEL MT The Secret Life of Adductors

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