M.E.L.T stands for Myofascial Energetic Length Technique, and it is the first self-treatment
method for the connective tissue, also referred to as fascia. MELT has elements of
several techniques such as reflexology, lymph drainage, trigger points and myofascial
release in its use of balls and rollers for a structured self-application. Through
this, MELT elicits adaptive changes in the body to improve posture and well-being. MELT
is a mind-body modality as it constantly invites the user to assess and re-assess
in order to evaluate the results of its application.
Okay, now what exactly does that mean?
Imagine seeing a massage therapist who uses her body (hands, fingers, elbows, sticks,
stones, maybe even feet) to work on you. He finds areas of tenderness, stiffness
or limited mobility and uses various techniques to rub, knead, stretch or press the
spots she identifies to release the tension on those areas. With MELT, you use little
balls for hands and feet and a foam roller for the rest of the body to take the place
of the massage therapist. You apply pressure onto the balls and rollers in a very
specific way to elicit the same results that a manual therapist tries to bring on.
What happens in a Hand and Foot Treatment class?
The MELT Hand and Foot Treatment is the foundation of MELT. Your connective tissue
is an interwoven fabric that covers the entire body and through which a fluids runs
that connects the entire body. As you stimulate the fascia in your hands and feet,
you affect not only those areas but also the upper and lower body regions. It is
very common for people to report that their entire legs and even low backs feel better
after having done the foot treatment. And often the same happens after people have
finished the hand treatment and notice that their neck and shoulders feel better.
And what about those pink or blue rollers?
If you ever sneaked a peek through the windows and watched a MELT Roller class in
progress, you could not help but notice those pink or blue foam rollers. What makes
them special is that they are a little softer than the regular foam rollers that
you may have seen around the gym. It makes the MELT experience quite a bit more comfortable
as you spend most of the hour with the roller along your spine, under your hip or
under your neck.
Why do you constantly assess and re-assess in MELT?
MELT is a self-treatment, and if you want to become a good self-treater, you have
to become a good assessor first. Regardless of whether you do hands, feet or the
whole body, it is important to assess the imbalances in your body first in order
to determine if the changes that you notice after you MELTed are bringing you positive
results. It also allows you to identify the areas you want to work on and which techniques
What happens in a MELT foam roller class?
After you have evaluated your body through an assessment, you will learn several
techniques to treat the connective tissue. In some cases, you use the roller to roll
over parts of your body; sometimes you move yourself on the roller. In other instances,
you lie on the roller as you learn to move your pelvis and rib cage independent of
one another. You will also learn to stabilize the core part of your body as you move
arms and legs in small controlled movement.
In a class, you will learn techniques for the decompression of the low back and neck,
lengthening of the ribs as well as other movements for hips and shoulders.
Looking from the outside in, the movements in MELT are small and discrete, and it
is probably difficult to imagine that the participants are doing much of anything
at all. However, MELT takes a lot of concentration because of the controlled manner
in which the body is instructed to move.
Depending where you are in your life’s journey, you may have accumulated a few aches
and pains. After the MELT classes, people have reported to me a variety of positive
changes, and they always say that they feel so much better. Most often mentioned
is an improvement in the lower back, greater neck range of motion and better mobility
in the hip and shoulder girdle. Foot problems can also be alleviated with MELT, most
notably plantar fasciitis, but even peripheral neuropathy. Arthritic hands often
feel better after MELT and have greater mobility.
And the most important thing: you can learn to do this yourself.
I am in good shape; why should I MELT?
If you are in good shape and nothing hurts you: congratulations! You are among the
few. As I was recently giving a demo to a group of instructors, one of them told
me after class: “I felt pretty good at the initial assessment; I had no idea how
much better I would feel after MELT.”
Who came up with that idea?
MELT was created by Sue Hitzmann, MS, CST, NMT, a nationally recognized somatic-movement
educator and manual therapist. Her decades of practice, research, and study of anatomical
science and alternative therapies have culminated in the creation of the very first
self-administered neurofascial treatment technique - a revolutionary approach to
pain-free fitness and longevity. To find out more about Sue and the science behind
MELT, please visit her web site www.meltmethod.com.
In 2009, she presented MELT to a wider audience at the IDEA World Fitness Conference
in Anaheim where I had the good fortune of meeting her and being introduced to the
MELT method in her lecture.
What is fascia?
I use the term ‘fascia’ throughout this site, and I like to give some illustrations
of it that will help with the understanding of this special type of tissue.
To do this, I have here links to videos on Youtube which explain and show fascia.
Gil Hedley: Fascia and stretching: The Fuzz Speech
Be warned that this video shows a disection of a cadaver.