Sue Hitzman, Harper One, 2013
This book review of the bestselling (#1 on Amazon right now) The Melt Method is heavily influenced by the fact that I just spent 2 days with author Sue Hitzmann taking the 2-day instructor training course for the Melt Method hand and foot treatment.
That’s a good thing, it means I have a lot more insight than someone who grabbed the book off the shelf after watching the episode of Dr.Oz that featured Sue. This would have been the case had Sue not rented a space where I work to run the instructor training. That’s how I heard about Melt Method in the first place.
And yes at first glance I totally prejudged Melt Method thinking it to be the gimmickry of yet another 6-pack flaunting fitness guru with their own ‘method’ and set of DVDs to sell to wishful masses of quick-fix health seekers.
Boy was I wrong. I can honestly say now that this is the stuff that years of dedicated passion, intensive research, unique ‘energy’ gifts and thousands of hours of practical application produced.
The book is FULL of stuff. Good stuff, but be ready to read, reread, study and get down and dirty on the floor before you master it all.
My extensive fitness background likely distracted me from learning from the book as easily as someone just looking for pain relief. I constantly found myself comparing concepts to my existing knowledge and questioning my own practices.
I had previously read the Melt Method hand and foot instructor manual in full, watched the full DVD, taken the two-day course (and have a degree in human kinetics and 15 years studying and teaching human movement) yet because I found many of the concepts very new to me, and while not complicated, I really had to ‘study’ this very new approach to health and learn all new techniques. It’s been a bit time-consuming.
Author Sue Hitzmann is a practitioner first, and an educated one. She has a master’s degree in exercise science. Her accomplishments in the fitness industry and the world of therapy speak volumes about her ability to take projects to the absolute highest level. As an international fitness presenter and star of her own fitness videos, Sue clearly doesn’t just practice, she creates, she shares, she grows continuously. She goes big. I like her spirit and drive.
It’s NOT myofascial release
As the main imagery for the MELT METHOD might have you believe (blue foam rollers everywhere), the Melt Method does not deal with muscles, myofascia or trigger points. It is primarily concerned with a more superficial or outer layer, a ‘skin suit’ that surrounds the entire body and all its structures.
The MELT METHOD takes advantage of the spongelike nature of connective tissue, compressing out fluid lightly so it draws new fresh fluid back in
“A seamless, weblike matrix” P.23
“Spongelike, flexible, adaptable” P.26
The gist of the book
After years of being a manual therapist Sue developed a ‘hands-off’ technique her clients could do in her absence: The Melt Method. The book outlines the decades long formative process that resulted in Melt Method. We learn it’s extensive roots in physiology, fitness, therapy, research and Sue’s very unique ‘energy’ gift.
The book presents very new (and fascinating) discoveries about connective tissue, its role and extreme importance to our health. The idea is that connective tissue dehydration is the underlying cause of the daily aches, stiffness and strain that lead to pain.The book presents the full background, philosophy and strategies to achieve healing from pain using her ‘hands-off’ bodywork technique to rehydrate connection tissue.
The book fully details the MELT METHOD including strategies, technique, assessments, ‘maps’ (or schedules) including full images of each light touch, self-care technique using Melt tools: a special Melt Foam roller and set of Melt Method small balls.
Cool stuff I learned
- An entirely new way to look at connective tissue (CT), it’s not just a ‘covering’ but a fluid based system and “ultra sophisticated chemical, mechanical, electrical and energetic communication system”
- To respect the body’s stiffness, tightness, cramping and aching as ‘pre-pain’ signals. The body is trying to tell you something.
- To pay attention to pain that ‘lurks’ and is not related to activity
- Cellulite is a connection tissue dehydration issue.
- Made me rethink posture alignment and posture correction strategies
“muscle imbalance is a symptom of postural misalignment, not the cause”
You must study & practice
There is a lot of new science to fully understand what the heck you are doing rolling around on the floor. Beginner or advanced, to fully understand you will have to learn whole new set of terms and concepts and techniques:
Autopilot, neurocore, stuck stress, shearing, gliding, rinsing, masses and spaces, domes and arches…
You can skip the science and go right to the technique but the foundational knowledge will enhance your experience.
Who should read it
- The genuine health seeker (in pain or not) will find the new science of connective tissue fascinating. You won’t be overwhelmed by physiology or Latin or medical terms. It’s easy to read and follow with large clear images and simple layout.
- Personal trainers and body workers really should read The Melt Method book to understand the new science of connective tissue and to open your eyes to a completely different approach to pain management, stuck stress and posture alignment. It’s quite different from the ‘fitness world’ has been teaching.
- Cure–in-a-pill types, you will not get past the first chapter.
Some things to consider
Yes, you will need MELT tools to do the MELT technique. The MELT roller is soft, not firm like the one in your gym or physio office. The size and firmness of the small balls probably won’t be matched at a dollar store.
The technique will have you rolling around in all sorts of positions on the floor. Front, back, sideways. If that’s a challenge for you, private adapted MELT sessions with a skilled practitioner might be best for you.
Although everyone benefits from this technique, if you are young, agile, supple and pain-free you may not experience much at all from a MELT session. The tightness, stiffness and aches caused by tissue dehydration is generally linked to aging, inactivity, sitting for long hours or intense physical activity. You won’t walk away feeling like a whole new person if you started feeling pretty good.
I believe that one day all these new MELT concepts and terms will become a part of our everyday practice as fitness professionals, rehabilitation specialists and the general public looking for self-care strategies for pain.
I’m very thankful for the opportunity to learn all about the Melt Method and do the teacher training. I am planning introductory workshops for the Melt hand and foot treatment and am building a workshop series that incorporates connective tissue rehydration using the MELT METHOD.