Technique Focuses on Connective Tissues
By Teri Jacobs
Everyone is asking about MELT!
What is it?
How does it work?
Will it help me feel better?
As a big supporter of self-care, I will do my best to explain exactly why MELT can make a difference and how it can help everyone, from athletes to seniors.
Consider your body. We are a built from a structure of bones and muscle linked together by tendons, joints and ligaments — all covered by a thin layer of tissue called fascia.
Now pretend that layer of fascia is a clean, freshly washed and perfectly smooth bedsheet laid out flat on a bed. This is our fascia when we are very young.
Imagine tossing a ball on that bed. The sheet will probably just dimple a bit. A bigger object will make it crumple, twist or wrinkle. Roll around on it, and the sheet will be a lumpy, bumpy mess. That is our fascia as we go through life. Every bunched-up muscle, slight injury and everyday use crumples up our personal bedsheet.
MELT calls this “Stuck Stress,” and it makes other parts of our bedsheet crumple or stretch oddly, even on the other side of the bed, since it is all connected.
MELT, or “Myofascial Energetic Length Technique,” uses balls and rollers to smooth out our fascia again. Through a combination of rehydrating, stretching and smoothing our connective tissue, the pressure on joints and muscles caused by our “crumpling” is relieved, and pain goes away.
These techniques also may decrease pain and inflammation and rebalance the nervous system. For athletes, folks who exercise regularly or younger people, this has incredible preventive benefits. For older people, it can rejuvenate, increase mobility and prevent further pain and joint problems.
MELT is something you can learn in class and use at home. It can lower stress, help you sleep better and even make you want to exercise more now that you can move without pain.
I personally use a similar practice every evening, at home, as part of my self-care routine, and it makes a huge difference in managing pain.
I encourage everyone to create their own self-care plan, regardless of what you do. It can be as simple as stretching, quiet moments, yoga or a walk in the park. By taking control of your health and spending time on yourself, you will be giving your mind and body what it needs to thrive.
Teri Jacobs is a certified health education specialist, a certified personal trainer and fitness coordinator for Willamalane Park and Recreation District.