Kelley Starrett from Crossfit San Francisco and of the MWOD, Mobility Workout of the Day, has a much more simpler and effective way to do so and shows you how to work, or floss, the psoas (hip flexor) muscle using a kettlebell and a lacrosse ball. This is real gritty stuff that can help get rid of tightness of the psoas muscle which often, as in my case, leads to lower back pain. In the past, I had tried rolling the psoas muscle on tennis balls or other harder balls, as well as using the Thera Caneas demonstrated in the The Trigger Point Therapy Workbookto loosen or release the tight psoas muscle, but it is a hard one to reach and you have to be careful. By lying on your back as in this video, I find that I am able to relax and let the weight of the kettlebell slowly work on releasing that troublesome muscle.
Jonathon Fitzgordon, author of Psoas Release Party! has a page of video exercises for your psoas muscle. Here is an interesting take on the lunge.
Here is the Running Times Runner's Guide to the Psoas.
Here is a great article by Keats Snideman on Self-Assessment and Massage for the Hip Flexors which includes this video on using a ball to roll out the psoas.
Here is a video showing how to use the TP Trigger Point Productsto work on the psoas. As you can see, It is much easier to use the above approach with a kettlebell weighing down a lacrosse type ball to reach the psoas.
Finally, here is Martha Peterson's Somatics approach to release the psoas muscle. You can read about her approach here. Martha's book called Move Without Pain is an excellent source for understanding Somatics and introduces many somatic exercises with simple directions and explanations.
Meanwhile, if you have got this far, here is an update on my running. I am not. I haven't run for about a month when the physical therapist told me to stop. I am doing his exercises, but it is hard to see improvement as I need to run to see if it is working. He said it takes about 8 weeks for soft tissue to change. He said I can start up the running after the next visit on Friday. I am a little cynical that things haven't changed much due to the fact that I still get the same pains on different days and I am doing nothing to aggravate things. I think the muscles around my hip are waging a war on each other pushing and being pulled and certainly things are not in balance like I would expect. That is why, I was doing the kettlebell psoas release as I could feel that tightening up and pulling on my back and irritating my adductors and everything else that gets tight down the line. The kettlebell trick has worked for the past two days. Interestingly, at my last PT visit, the therapist asked if I have had my psoas worked on my an ART practitioner, but that is as far as he got with that conversation. I will follow up on Friday. I can wait to get started running, but somehow I feel like not running is just a punishment, and I will be no farther along when I start up again.