The Hip Is A Messenger!

Stories and Testimonials // October 24, 2017

Photo provided by Gyrotonic Headquarters

By Lisa Marie Goodwin, GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® Master Trainer
Goodwin Studios, Owner

Why I chose to enter into the never-ending investigation of the health and wellness industry was primarily due to the discoveries my own body was offering me.

After doing and teaching the work for 15 years, my quality of life was being affected due to old dancing injuries accumulated over the years.  In 2005, after much research, I underwent arthroscopic hip surgery. Under the knife, the surgeon found that I had both anterior and posterior labral tears, as well as frayed ligamentum teres.

At the time of my surgery, there were not many surgeons performing arthroscopic surgeries on the hip. There were a few in the US who had done more than 2,000 surgeries, and they were actually training other surgeons how to perform it. Because the options for this were so limited, the aftercare, and even physical therapy before and after an arthroscopic hip surgery, were extremely limited.

Knowing that I wanted to return to dancing, teaching, and living comfortably in my body for many years to come, I took it upon myself to use this experience to learn more. This path was an opportunity to gain knowledge and understanding, and I was determined to learn as much as I could so that I would be able to share this new information with my future clients and teachers.

Hip issues are not only about the hip

There are some key things that I have learned along the way to better health. To begin, the hip, in particular can be a great messenger. Being at the center of our bodies, it sends messages to the spine above, and to the legs below. The Gyrotonic methodology holds a unique and effective approach to acknowledging that hip issues are not about the hip alone, but that they are full-body experiences.

Some of the ways the hip might “speak” is through these things:

· Lower back instability

· Shoulder issues

· Cervical spine issues

· Knee issues and tracking

· Feet and ankles

One of the first things we want to ask when working with a hip injury is how the injury is affecting quality of life. Then, you can go on the journey of working to enhance quality of life and increase longevity, so that you can do things and move in ways that bring joy and pleasure.

Releasing, igniting, connecting, and strengthening are all an integral part of rediscovering how to live freely and fully within our bodies.

Photo provided by Lisa Marie Goodwin

We want to accomplish releasing the congested region. The idea is to allow the body to let go of tensions so that we may begin to reestablish new and healthier functional movement patterns.

In targeting hip pain, we can release the posterior pelvic floor and deep external rotators as well as the larger gluteal muscles. But we must not forget to release the front of the hips, primarily being the illiacus and psoas. This can be done in simple ways such as using balls and foam rollers. As of late, I am liking the Alpha balls (medium size), but tennis balls work just as well.

If lying on the floor is not an option, then you can release the back of the hips while standing against a wall with the ball behind your hips and Glutes.

There are also passive treatments that may help the release of the tight areas, such as acupuncture, cupping, and massage.

The Gyrotonic Method inspires optimal function of movement. It is unique in that it allows the body to explore three-dimensional movement and can support this movement by adding traction, or guidance, via the machines.

We are then able to teach specific exercises focusing on the glut medius, glut minimus and the supportive part of the glut maximus around the sacrum. Traction, length, and strength are combined to create a well-supported and integrated body.

If you have been in pain, then your body has most likely been creating other compensating movement patterns. It’s time to learn new movement patterns so that the body can begin to heal and unwind from the trauma, permitting the nervous system, visceral system, fascial body, spirit, and mind to return to ease and harmony.

One example is learning to move your leg from the hip with the hamstrings and psoas working synergistically while lessening the hip flexors and quadriceps from over firing. Often this can be established in a supine position with the feet up on a wall. This not only helps to decompress the spine, but also assists the femoral head to glide more posterior in the acetabulum (hip socket). Slide a leg up the wall with attention to the hamstrings and psoas engaged and extend the leg up the wall and lower it. Focus on the deep external rotating muscles (in the Gyrotonic methodology we often refer to them as the “wrapping” muscles).

Photo provided by Lisa Marie Goodwin

Four-point position movements are not only helpful in gliding the femoral head deep into the hip socket, but they are also usually quite safe. There are many Gyrotonic movements that can help assist in creating blood flow into the acetabulum as well as strengthening the deep supportive gluteals and hamstrings and create pelvic and lower back stability.

A personalized home routine of daily exercises that include release work, stretches, and strengthening are created specifically for the client. This also helps lift one’s spirit and attitude by helping the client understand that they are not a victim of the pain, trauma, or discomfort, but that they can be an active, responsible participant in the healing of their own bodies.


An assortment of what are considered “specialized” pieces of Gyrotonic equipment offer an array of movements that are often not possible in other methodologies. For example, the GYROTONER® can take one into different upper body planes of movement to allow the sacrum to open up, the psoas to lengthen, thus connecting the upper body to the lower body. The lower aspect of the piece of equipment can offer space and nourishment safely into the hip sockets whether it be for a full hip replacement, partial hip replacement, or arthroscopic surgery.


The Gyrotonic Method holds a unique and effective approach in changing dysfunctional messages, which may be the cause of much pain, to more healthy and functional ways of moving. And the hip can offer us a chance at learning to listen to our bodies, discover how our bodies move, and show us how we can take care of ourselves for the future.

I am ever grateful for the wisdom the body brings me, for all that I continue to learn and am able to share through the Gyrotonic work, through Juliu Horvath, and through my clients and students.

Leave a comment below with your thoughts!


4 thoughts on “The Hip Is A Messenger!”

  1. Laura Klein says:

    Laura, I’d highly recommend Dr. Justine Bernard at Elements Fitness and Wellness in Washington DC for your dad. She and many other gyro/PT instructors at her studio are amazing. It is a bit of a hike from Centreville but would be worth it at least for initial consultation I think. I’m not sure if any of them also speak Spanish. Best of luck to your dad….

  2. Narjes Maïche says:

    Thank you to share this with us.
    Really grateful.

  3. Laura Arellano says:

    My dad (65) had an accident while jogging back in 2016, he was struck by a pick-up truck.. He suffered multiple injuries to include; broken collarbone, one or two bruised vertebrae, ribs hands and feet but his hips took most of the impact. His left hip was shattered. He’s had two reconstructive surgeries (INOVA) and intense physical therapy sessions. He still uses a cane and a prosthetic lift in his shoe but he still walks with a slight “limp”.
    Thankfully he’s back at work but not in a full-time capacity, he’s medically insured through Aetna and his primary language is Spanish. I was wondering if Gyrotonic exercises would be a good fit for him. He lives in Centreville, VA. Unfortunately, we are stationed overseas or else I would visit your gym personally to explore the options.

    1. Cina Canada says:

      Hello, Laura. Thank you for your inquiry. I would recommend that you find a studio near your father and send him for a consultation with a trainer who can advise him. You can find studios near Centerville, VA via our studio finder at: You may also find this article of interest: I hope this helps and that your father finds a full recovery!

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