A new method of treating chronic pain relief hits town
A fairly new concept for pain relief, called the MELT Method, utilizes small balls and foam rollers to gently relieve stress and pain in the body. The course is taught locally by Newberg resident Shelley Thomas.
"(The) MELT Method is a simple self-treatment that reduces chronic pain to help people stay healthy," Thomas said.
Thomas tried the method herself and noticed a difference in her own chronic pain. She's not alone in seeking relief. It is estimated that chronic pain costs almost $600 billion a year in health care expenses, lost wages and productivity and that more than 100 million Americans suffer from it, according to the American Academy of Pain Medicine.
"It (MELT) made my body feel better every single time that I did it and it is true for everybody," she explained.
Because it helped Thomas, she decided to learn it and teach it to others to help them with their own pain.
Sue Hitzmann, a New York City-based manual therapist and connective tissue specialist, designed MELT as a way to empower her own therapy and passed it on to her clients. According to Thomas, one of Hitzmann's clients mentioned that if she taught her how to do the exercise, she would not have to come in as often. As a result, Hitzmann took that idea to another level in developing the MELT program.
The method is simple: soft balls and rollers are used to apply gentle compression to specific points on the body. Thomas explained that MELT is designed to reconnect whole-body, communication and rebalance the nervous system and rehydrate the connective tissue to release the compression in the joints.
"MELT is gentle; the equipment is designed to go into our connective tissue very gently," Thomas said. "It helps to restore the fluid flow of the connective tissue needed for the body to properly sense and feel.
"Fascia is the largest living system of your body and is the architectural system underneath your skin and in between your muscles. … This method teaches people how to rehydrate the body. When your body dehydrates, it is natural and a part of everyday living. It compresses and it is the compression that causes chronic pain.
"When a person is not hydrated they start to have aches and pains and stiffness. This causes lower back pain, headaches -- even digestive problems. I've seen people come to my class with neck pain, elbow pain or low back pain and wow, they would finish and it would be gone! I actually did an anti-aging workshop last month because MELT creates collagen and elastin, a byproduct of this technique. These are two of the three primary proteins in our connective tissue."
Thomas went through a series of workshops and classes to become certified to teach. She says she is the first and only instructor in Yamhill County and although the MELT Method has been offered a few times, Thomas is teaching classes locally on a weekly basis.
"MELT is not a cure for anything, but MELT supports your body's own ability to heal, it works with your muscles and gives your nervous system a boost," she said. "The lack of pain, helps people to live a healthier life because they feel better."
Thomas is teaching classes at Chehalem Physical Therapy, All People Yoga and Progressive Fitness in Sherwood. The curricula is designed to be used as either a self-treatment or in a class.