The MELT method
MELT stands for myofascial energetic lengthening technique. It is a self-treatment method created by manual therapist Sue Hitzmann. When used correctly, it helps prevent injury, increases circulation throughout the muscles and facilitates faster recovery after intense workouts. Essentially, the connective tissue that surrounds muscles, bones and organs gets lengthened to restore movement and prevent muscle breakdown.
Benefits of using MELT
MELT can be performed by anyone. Athletes benefit tremendously, since it improves posture and flexibility, enhances workouts and reduces pain and risk of injury. After performing the MELT technique, you will immediately feel improvements in mobility and overall well-being. The MELT method can even improve sleep and digestion.
Incorporating the Techniques of MELT
The MELT method employs a soft foam roller or hand and foot balls, depending on the area of focus. MELT should be done before a workout session to release tension and hydrate tissue, so your joints can move through their full range of motion and you can perform at your highest level. MELT can also be performed after workouts to ease joint pain and improve recovery.
You can incorporate many different MELT exercises into your training routine. Start with one of my favorites (below) to improve posture and reduce low back pain, which can develop from training and heavy weight lifting.
MELT for Low Back
- Lie on foam roller with legs together and tailbone resting directly on roller
- Slowly roll back and forth over low back and tailbone
- Bring knees toward chest and place hands on knees with arms straight
- Push against knees with arms; notice tension in mid-section
- Place one leg on floor and bring other knee to chest
- Simultaneously pull knee to chest and press opposite leg against floor
- Switch sides and repeat
After the exercise, remove the foam roller, lie on the floor and notice the curve of your low back; the space between your low back and the floor will be reduced.
Jamal Baptiste is a strength and conditioning coach and a licensed massage therapist. He has trained a wide variety of clients, including actors, investment bankers and athletes at all levels—high school, college and professional. He has worked for Velocity Sports Performance, and he currently assists in strength and conditioning at the Brooklyn Campus of Long Island University.