bal harbour blog

Melt Chronic Pain with Sue Hitzmann

Sue Hitzmann will present her new book, The Melt Method, on Monday, September 16 at Books & Books Bal Harbour.

Somatic-movement educator and manual therapist Sue Hitzmann will make a special appearance at Books & Books Bal Harbour on Monday, September 16 to discuss her new book and innovative approach to pain-free fitness. Hitzmann’s MELT Method has become nationally known for creating a self-treatment program that helps eliminate pain and provide a fast and relaxing system to enhance movement within the body. Here, we caught up with the author to get a preview of Monday’s special event.

Congratulations on your first book. Tell us about the MELT method and the Four R’s.
The MELT Method is a self-treatment technique to teach people how to get out and stay out of chronic pain. This groundbreaking program quickly rehydrates connective tissue, which allows the body to release long-held tension. With easy-to-learn techniques that use a soft body roller and small balls, MELT restores the natural balance of the body so people can live pain-free without medication. I developed the 4-R's of MELT⎯Reconnect, Rebalance, Rehydrate, Release⎯to simplify the science of Hands-Off Bodywork into technique that anyone can do in just minutes a day.


To what can we attribute the tendency to treat symptoms rather than illnesses themselves?
When you feel pain, the tendency is to focus on the area that is hurting you. Medicine focuses on treating the symptoms with pain-meds or surgical intervention, not prevention or directly addressing the root cause. As a result, people don’t know what the cause of pain is or that there are non-drug, non-surgical ways to resolve chronic issues. Recent science has shed light on the cause of pain and pain-meds don’t resolve this cause. Other intervention is needed and MELT is the very first hands-off method to do it.

How does MELT change our way of treating and healing?
MELT treats the cause of pain⎯connective tissue dehydration, not aging or muscle tension as most people believe. Have you ever felt a little stiff or achy when you get up in the morning, but once you start moving around the stiffness subsides? That’s the beginnings of connective tissue dehydration. Day-to-day living creates tension within our bodies. Daily repetitive movements and postures cause connective tissue dehydration, and over time, “stuck stress” and inflammation. What starts out as small aches and stiffness can lead to common health issues such as neck and low back pain, headaches sleeplessness, digestive issues, anxiety or depression, and ultimately a chronic state of disarray. It’s a complex molecular and cellular issue that diet and exercise don’t address and medication can actually make worse.


When did you first begin your research that led to MELT?
I’ve been trained and have studied hands-on modalities since 1993. Yet with all I was learning, in the late 90’s I found my own body in a chronic state of pain so I know pain in my own body. It was debilitating. When I finally found the source of my pain, I went head deep into finding the science and research to learn more.

As a manual therapist, I’ve seen thousands of people come through my practice…on pain killers, in debilitative pain. I wanted to empower them to get out of my office. So in 2004 I started developing techniques that truly simulated the light touch neurofascial techniques I applied with my hands to my clients, and I’ve witnessed people transform their bodies far faster and more effectively than just coming to see me multiple times in my private practice.

Talk to us about “dehydration” and its role in chronic pain.
The component in your body that supports you and keeps you stable and pain-free is your connective tissue, scientifically known as fascia. Fascia is made up of collagen, elastin, and other fibers that are bathed in cellular fluid. The connective tissue surrounds and supports all aspects of your body, including your muscles, bones, nerves, and organs. It’s a three-dimensional web that seamlessly connects everything from head to toe and from skin to bones. There is more connective tissue in your body than anything else—it is everywhere. Daily living causes this tissue to become dehydrated and stressed. Dehydration isn’t just about drinking enough water: it’s about getting the fluid moving in the tissues.

Connective tissue is a fluid-based system, and when it becomes dehydrated it becomes stiff like a dried out sponge. When it’s dehydrated, it gets stiff and inflexible, which can lead to pain. For example, if you have dehydration in your thumbs from texting, over time that dehydration can spread to the wrist, up the forearm, and into the neck, leading to neck and shoulder pain.

Living in New York City you have the opportunity to travel by foot a lot more than many people who commute to work in a car do. Is that regular activity beneficial?
Should we seek out opportunities for movement on a daily basis? YES! We need to move daily! Walking is a great daily activity. At the very least, three tips I would give anyone to live a more pain-free life are and aid your stability system to do its job more efficiently are: 1. Get up and move around every hour for at least 5 minutes. Just move in a different way than you normally do. Perhaps you could stand up and stretch like a cat. My cat Beren does great poses! Put your hands against a wall and fold your torso forward, then reach to the sky and side bend so you feel tensional pull from the side of your foot to the tips of your fingers. 2. Sip water all day long. Every 10-15 minutes, just take a sip of water. Don’t guzzle it a few times in a day, really commit to just taking a sip 4 times every hour. You will stay cellularly hydrated more efficiently by drinking water frequently in less quantity than the other way around. 3. Sit outside for 10 minutes today. No sunglasses, but you can sit in the shade. Physiologically the retinal vessels are similar to those in the brain. You clean your blood through the eyes with the sun and eliminate toxins this way.

Meet Sue Hitzmann at Books & Books Bal Harbour at 6:30 on Monday, September 16.

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