MELT, RTR and RRT
I am proud to say that, in 2009, I was the first person to be a trained MELT instructor in North Carolina. I have now been trained in the complete MELT curriculum including MELT Length, NeuroSrength and MELT on Pilates.
MELT stands for Myofascial Energetic Length Technique, and it was 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.
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.
Summary of a MELT class
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 to use.
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.
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.
What can MELT do for me?
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.”
The creator of the MELT Method
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.
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.
Gil Hedley: Fascia and stretching: The Fuzz Speech
Be warned that this video shows a dissection of a cadaver.
Strolling Under The Skin
This is a second clip of the amazing images of living fascia made by Dr. Jean Claude Guimberteau. This clip is from the video shown in the first fascia congress showing fascia & tensegrity
Fascial Research from German Television with English Subtitles
This is a 30 minute video with fascinating information about the role and importance of connective tissue in the body.
The MELT Strength techniques simulate highly specialized hands-on therapeutic techniques that are used to erase compensatory patterns and help people live pain free. Although the scientific action of these moves is very complex, Sue Hitzmann has developed a systematic method of getting these results in a hands-off group environment with great success. The cues, props, positions, and movements that MELT NeuroStrength uses allows you to access unconscious neurological pathways to influence the muscular timing required for pain-free stability and mobility. The focus of MELT NeuroStrength is the stabilization of the shoulder and pelvic girdles and the NeuroCore.
What’s truly unique about MELT NeuroStrength is it gives you the ability to reintegrate proper muscle timing so that you can then maintain that newfound stabilization during the subsequent repatterning of movement. Repatterining without reintegrating first only yields a stronger compensatory pattern. These two R’s together yield the stable, efficient movement necessary for an active, pain-free lifestyle.
As I continue to grow and learn as an instructor, I have studied other self-treatment techniques beyond MELT such as RTR (Relief through Rolling) or TBMM (The BioMechanics Method). The field of self-treatment is developing, and other techniques are emerging. I will continue to evaluate those for effectiveness, safety, and compatibility and have created classes and fitness programs which, though MELT-based, are a blend of techniques to optimize the beneficial outcome.
The MELT products are The MELT Method book, the MELT Hand and Foot Treatment kit with a separate DVD, a foam roller with a separate DVD, and an elastic band for the strength components. I carry most products at my studio at the same price as on the website www.meltmethod.com.
RTR (Relief Through Rolling)
Not just another foam roller techniques. RTR and MELT have the same goal of helping you decrease pain caused by the stresses of day-to-day living. The processes seem similar, and I think of the two techniques as a power couple where both are great in their own way but where the combination of the two is more than the sum of its parts.
The technique has been developed by Kevin Lucas. As an Advanced Structural Integration Practitioner (a branch of the bodywork modality from Dr. Ida Rolf) and teacher, Kevin has translated the techniques he uses on his clients into a series of deceptively simple exercises. The goal is to bring the body into better alignment. The following paragraphs are taken verbatim from his website rtrolling.com:
I am proud to say that I was the first trained RTR instructor in North Carolina.
RRT Rapid Release Technology
This is my secret weapon. Not an exercise but a handheld device of a unique vibrational frequency which can break up scar tissue and adhesions. I had purchased it for my own personal use but found the effects so compelling that I am using it on my clients (if they wish) before or after every exercise session. I also have individual session with the RRT Pro alone.
Here is what their website www.rapidreleasetech.com has to say: