I’m always looking for new ways to stay fit and pain free, which is often a tall order for dancers. Most of us are extremely fit, but pain free? Not so much. Chronic pain is a reality for dancers and non-dancers alike; many people suffer from back issues, beck and shoulder pain, and old injury flare-ups. In the past I’ve turned to chiropractors, massage, yoga and acupuncture but found none of them offered a permanent solution to these problems. An answer came to me while I was sitting in the toilet stall (of all places) at my yoga studio. I know that’s not the place most people expect find answers to some of life’s deeper questions, but inspiration has a funny way of appearing in serendipitous ways. Anyway… there was a flyer for something called the MELT Method hanging on the back of the stall door, promising techniques to eliminate chronic pain using passive yoga poses combined with props like balls and foam rollers.
A technique I could do at home to eliminate chronic pain? I was in.
I researched a bit before going to class and found Sue Hitzmann’s book, The MELT Method. Hitzmann is an internationally renowned fitness coach who found that even though she was eating a healthy diet, exercising and building muscular strength, she still had chronic pain. After years of studying anatomy she discovered the key: the body’s connective tissue–the system that supports, protects and stabilizes the entire body. Connective tissue dehydration was the underlying cause of daily aches and strain that leads to chronic pain. Even though you may drink plenty of fluids, the connective tissue can still be dehydrated–think of it as a dried-out sponge. Through personal exploration she developed the MELT Method to help people help themselves to eliminate pain.
Over the holidays I did some reading and practiced a few of the the techniques, which were simple to follow. One morning I woke up with blazing neck pain which normally would have sent me to the chiropractor but the neck exercises brought immediate relief.
I attended my first class last week. We lay in a number of passive poses and positioned the ball in various ways to essentially give the muscles a pressure-point massage lengthwise and across the muscles. Afterwards I felt a warmth and lightness in the areas we’d worked on, which meant increased circulation and healing.
I’m thrilled that a random bathroom stall provided a method I can use to finally work out some long-standing pain and tightness and I don’t have to spend huge amounts of time and money to do it.