Go with the Flow
By Niamh Maher
Our modern lifestyles can make moving with intention and avoiding injury a far-reaching goal, but according to wellness entrepreneur and educator Sue Hitzmann, her “Hands-off bodywork technique” known as the MELT Method is a self-care ritual that anyone can practice. Whether you’re into rapid-fire high intensity interval training or yin yoga (a style of yoga where postures are held for longer periods of time), emerging evidence suggests that the best thing you can do for your body and mind is to slow down, simplify things, and make a genuine effort to understand the intricacies of your greatest asset – your health. Indeed, a healthy body is one where all systems effortlessly connect, support and maintain balance. Enter the MELT Method.
Hitzmann is a New York Times best selling author (her latest release is Melt Performance), international educator, and the founder of the therapeutic technique MELT Method (which stands for: myofascial energetic length technique). This New York City-based manual therapist’s mandate is “to help us live a more active, healthy and pain-free life,” she says, noting that over 200,000 people have tried her unique approach to bodywork. Hitzmann is also a founding member of the Fascial Research Society, working hard to reinforce her MELT Method techniques through advanced scientific research studies. “MELT applies neurofascial science and research, which continues to validate that our brain and body is plastic, malleable and that we can restore the health and efficiency of our brain and body if we know how,” she says.
So what is MELT exactly? While chiropractic care treats your skeletal system, and massage therapy focuses on your muscles, have you ever wondered what holds it all together? At the heart of the MELT Method and inside each and every one of us is a universal body-wide system of 3D structures that run from head to toe and everywhere in between. These thin web-like structures are called fascia. It is fascia that separates, but connects everything at the same time, keeping the body stable, supported and protected. Healthy fascia is what helps your skin glow, gives your muscles continuity, and provides your joints with shock absorption. “When properly stimulated, this hydration powerhouse stabilizes every cell, nerve and blood vessel in your entire body,” says Hitzmann. “When understimulated, we become tired, achy and irritable, a sure sign of stuck stress within your body.” Sound familiar?
The spotlight on fascia has recently been brought to the forefront of the wellness conversation by Gwyneth Paltrow’s modern lifestyle brand Goop, where fascial massage techniques are credited for giving you toned, longer, and leaner legs. With immediate results and a burst of feel-good endorphins, it comes as no surprise that the MELT Method has a loyal following that anyone can benefit from. Indeed, Hitzmann’s training program is wide-reaching and has been translated into eight languages thus far.
MELT techniques are similar to what you might find in a physiotherapist's office, but if you learn how to move your body in ways that avoid injury and optimize your energy, you’ll steer clear of ending up in costly physio sessions all-together. “These techniques will save you time, money, and most importantly, they put you in control of your health and wellness,” says Hitzmann.
The MELT Method’s goal is to teach students how to move with intention to avoid injury and live a longer happier life. Through the use of simple props like a soft roller and small resistance ball, these movements work to break up, compress, and release the fascia, whereby lubricating the tissue and restoring a full range of pain-free movement. With over 2500 MELT instructors worldwide, finding a class or event close to home is easy, but if you're like many of Hitzmann’s devotees, nothing beats the accessibility of an online platform that you can access from anywhere. MELT On Demand is exactly that, a subscription-based program, where Hitzmann herself guides you through exercises that she claims are proven to garner lifelong benefits.
For the self-care advocate who loves to indulge, lymphatic drainage massage is the go-to treatment of the moment that focuses on moving fluid (and energy) beneath the skin throughout the body. Research shows that fluid from the fascia actually drains directly into the lymph, making the MELT Method the logical place to start in order to optimize your results. Hitzmann recommends you “MELT daily” and follow her five minute facelift routine to keep your fascia soft and supple. Hitzmann says it’s these easy to follow techniques that will lead to sculpted jawlines, lifted brows, and pain-free lubricated joints.
While workout crazes come and go, Hitzmann stresses that “MELT is not exercise. It’s a method to restore balance, connection, interception, proprioception, and inner awareness, which are essential elements of living well as we age. If you workout, MELT is a great compliment to reduce the negative effects of exercise like joint ache, muscle stiffness and soreness, as well as imbalances that are often caused by repetitive routines.” No matter one’s age or fitness level, Hitzmann’s sound approach to movement makes a compelling and practical case for everyday well being.