The Healing Artist Radio Show Interview

Listen to my interview with Karina Yanku, LMT, host of “The Healing Artist” on CityWorld Radio Network, NYC on 9-17-13: 

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MELT Self TreatmentOne of the best things you can do for yourself is to get a massage. Now you can enjoy the deep relaxation, pain-relief, and effortless movement you feel after a massage through a self-treatment technique called MELT . Have you heard of MELT?

The MELT Method® was developed by manual therapist Sue Hitzmann. She wanted to help her patients relieve tension in their bodies at home on their own, in between professional sessions. She developed a system that used specific props to get the work done and reach where your own hands can’t. The mainstays are a soft body roller and small, squishy rubber balls.

We are fortunate to have MELT uptown classes in a quiet, clean, book-lined community room in Castle Village. The classes are given by a neighborhood treasure by the name of Edya Kalev. Edya is also a wonderful yoga teacher who has contributed to our neighborhood well-being for many years. She is one of our favorite yoga teachers in the Sunset Yoga program in Fort Tryon Park.

I took my first MELT class with Edya several years ago and recently returned for a couple more. Edya says that “MELT gives you a sense of relaxation, of being deeply in your body. Moving is more effortless. Wherever your body is complaining–whether that be your feet, shoulders, jaw, back– MELT can help.”

During the class, we started with the balls on the floor and MELTed the bottom of our feet – a real treat in these days of walking in sandals. Then we worked our hands using pretty much the same techniques.

We then laid down on the roller lengthwise so it was along the spine, making small movements and exploring the breath. Honestly, just being on the roller feels releasing. I could feel the sides of my body flowing downward to the ground effortlessly.

Next, we sat on the roller rolling over our sitz bones and our hips. Finally we MELTed our shoulders, neck, and even our skulls, exploring nooks and crannies and using specific techniques to release what Hitzmann refers to as “stuck stress” in the connective tissue, the most abundant tissue in the body, which surrounds the muscles, joints, bones, organs, and nerves.

MELT addresses the entirety of the connective tissue system, not just the myofascial, or muscular layer that traditional foam rolling reaches. “Connective tissue is a fluid system. If you have a blockage, fluid is not flowing freely into and out of the cells” explains Edya. She adds, “Just drinking water won’t rehydrate the tissues on this level because the flow is blocked. With MELT, we locate the barriers and gently work from the edges in, so your cells can resume taking in nutrients.”

While you may be tempted to just go out and buy a regular foam roller and start rolling around on it, The MELT Method uses a different roller, in a special way, to get results. Personally developed by Hitzmann, the MELT roller is softer and squishier than the firmer roller you might be familiar with. If you’ve ever used a regular foam roller, you know it can be uncomfortable to say the least, but part of the MELT philosophy is that, “You don’t cause pain in order to relieve pain. You want to go in gently.”

With regular practice, MELT can help you improve your flexibility, posture, range of motion, sleep, and digestion. It also reduces aches and pains, digestive trouble, and accelerated aging. It’s not like yoga, Pilates, or any other technique because these primarily address your musculoskeletal system. However, it is a great complement to any fitness-related practice because when connective tissue becomes rehydrated, muscles work better, joints have more support, and exercise is more effective.

Taking a few classes to learn the specific techniques is recommended, but anyone can learn to MELT with the bestselling book, The MELT Method® (Harper Collins, 2013). A DVD is coming soon.

Edya teaches classes, workshops, and private sessions throughout Manhattan. She will also be leading a special program this fall just for women who want to make a change in their bodies, called the “Ten-Week MELT Transformation Program”.