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Diana Remaley, LMT
19 Compo Road South
Westport, CT

The Quad Stretch, Perfected

Nagging knee pain? Give this stretch a try


When clients come in to my office with knee pain (and the joint itself isn’t the problem) the quad muscle group is usually the culprit. Many of us know how to stretch our quads by pulling our heel toward our butt. But did you know that only stretches three out of four of the quad group muscles?

Anatomy Lesson:

The “Quad” group (so named because it has four muscles) consists of the Rectus Femoris, Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Medialis, and Vastus Intermedius. All four muscles attach to the back of the knee (Patellar ligament.) So from just this information, stretching the knee is indicated. But the critical differentiation is where the muscles attach at their upper (proximal) attachments. While all three of the Vastus muscles attach at the lower part of the pelvis, the Rectus Femoris attaches at the TOP of the hip. This key distinction affects how we can correctly stretch it.




The Stretch:

First, a definition: “Stretching” is, at it’s most simple, defined as moving the bony attachments of a muscle away from each other with the muscle straight.

When we pull our ankle to our butt, the pelvis will naturally tilt forward. When this tilt occurs, the Rectus Femoris is AUTOMATICALLY not stretching. In order for it to stretch (and it’s attachments to be pulled away from each other, the muscle needs to be straight. How can we accomplish this?




While holding on to something, straighten the pelvis by leaning forward as far as possible.

As you can see, this makes the Rectus Femoris completely straight from attachment to attachment, and ACTUALLY stretches the entire quad group.

When performing this stretch, most clients marvel that they feel like their quads are stretching correctly for the first time. It’s also fantastic for any nagging knee pain that might be caused by overuse of the quad group.

So the next time your knees and the front of your legs feel a little tight, pause, tip forward, and stretch that quad as completely as possible! And if all this still doesn’t work out the tension, it’s time to book an appointment for your next massage therapy session. I’ll see you in my Westport office!

Bridge Posterior Hip Exercises

A subtle way to help alleviate lower back pain

Low back pain is common. So common, that it’s abbreviated in almost all medical journals (“LBP”). While pain, and causes of pain are different for everyone, it’s worth checking posterior hip health when trying to alleviate tension. This is because the area that we commonly consider our “lower back”, actually includes the very top of the gluteal muscles.

Anatomy Lesson:

The area marked in this image is the small of the back (“lordosis”), making up the lower inward curve we have there. As you can see, not only are the muscles on either side of the spine implicated in this area, but the tops of the gluteal group (Glute maximus, medius and minimus) come up on either side of the spine. So when clients come in holding their lower back, the spinal muscles are certainly involved, but the tops of the glutes are usually tense as well. It’s also worth noting that when one has pain in the lower back, they typically move it less, leading to a pain cycle. That’s where these bridge exercises come in.


The Movements:

Begin lying flat on your back, toes in a straight line down from the hips.



Raise your hips up as high as possible, bending the knees, keeping a straight line from the chest to the knees, forming a “bridge”. If you need to, you can hold your lower back with your hands (but try not to!) Slowly lower your hips until they’re nearly touching the ground, and raise back up. This is one rep. Repeat 10-20 reps in this position.

Still want extra work?  Kick a single leg: 

A more advanced movement, which will affect more of the gluteal muscles, is to begin with your knees in a turned out position: Again, lying flat on your back, bring your toes together and allow your knees to bow out. Keeping the feet touching, raise and slowly lower the hips as before. You should notice the effort shifts from the very back of the hips to the sides of them. Repeat 10-20 reps again.  More advanced:  Kick a leg again: 

The most advanced movement is to combine these two exercises: Begin with the knees in a straight line from the hips, raise the hips, bow the knees out, lower the hips, and repeat. Repeat 10-20 reps again.

Whenever I feel like my lower back isn’t moving as freely as I want it to, or if my hips hurt a little while I’m laying down, I’ll spend the time to do these movements. Hip bridges truly do help your lower back function well. And if you find that you still can’t locate the source of your pain and discomfort, it’s time to make a massage therapy appointment. I’ll see you in my Westport office!

Welcome to My New Office!

19 Compo Road South, still in Westport, CT

I'm finally settled in to my new office!  I've been in the space almost two weeks, and I'm absolutely loving it.  It's bigger, brighter and more private than my old office.  Here's a little virtual tour!

From Compo Road South:

 My private entrance, as seen from the parking lot:

My private reception area, accessed from the main front building door.  You can come early and relax in a truly tranquil space: 

And finally, my new office:

I'm looking forward to many years to come in this fantastic new space!

Come take a look for yourself during your next massage therapy session.

And don't forget - November is CLIENT APPRECIATION MONTH!  During your session, you'll get a special little treat and be entered to win lovely prizes.  I hope to see you soon in my Westport office!

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Diana Remaley, LMT
19 Compo Road South
Westport, CT