On Sunday, December 12, 2010, I completed the last available MELT (Myofascial Energetic Length Technique) course with Sue Hitzman and am now an Advanced MELT Instructor.
The entire curriculum is comprised of 'The Science of the Human Body' to become a MELT Hand and Foot Instructor and learn the foundation behind the creation of MELT. That is followed by the MELT Instructor course which focuses on the MELT Length techniques using the foam roller. And now I have completed the MELT Strength and MELT Advanced Core courses which use only the rollers and sometimes therapy bands to create resistance.
The main focus of MELT Strength is to create stability in the shoulder and pelvic girdle. Those are the 'forgotten' muscles in the traditional weight training world; they form the foundation of proper movement and functioning. Without correct timing and strength, shoulder and low back / hip problems are often the result.
I have come to think of myself as a movement educator rather than a fitness instructor or a personal trainer in the traditional sense.
As you may have noticed: my blogs are very much about this subject. To me, MELT is a key stone to all the other personal training modalities that I employ while training my clients.
As we are entering the 'season of joy', I often hear people say that they are so stressed by all the things that they believe they need to do that the season just passes them by. It ends with the sigh of relief "I can't wait for it to be over".
Take a little time out for yourself - just 15 minutes may do, and meditate, contemplate, or appreciate. If you know MELT already, use the 3 D breath breakdown which is a known stress-reliever. Take a moment to re-group. If you do not take care of yourself, you have nothing to give to others. This is not selfish but the best gift you can make to others.
My personal best stress-reliever - next to MELT - is Mr. Darcy, my wonderful canine companion. He always has his priorities right, and outward appearance means nothing to him. He makes me laugh all day every day and is the best piece of 'cardiovascular equipment' ever devised.
My Gravity Power Tower has long been my favorite piece of 'machine' in my studio. I owned its predecessor known as Total Gym (and even better known because of Chuck Norris who advertises for it).
I recently added some accessories to it which will enable me to teach exercises that are typically done on the Pilates Reformer.
My 'MELT on Pilates' classe at the Rex Wellness Center in Raleigh started little over two weeks ago, and I am pleased all around. I sincerely hope that my participants are, too.
My approach to the teaching of the Pilates portion is very detail oriented ond progresses every Pilates exercise slowly with plenty of reminders to the participants to find the level to which they can perform. It is my goal to have my participants leaving the class without any neck or low back pain which has no place in Pilates.
Yesterday, I presented MELT to a fibromyalgia support group. After a brief description of MELT, I let the method do the talking and did the MELT foot treatment with the group. We used to soft balls only, and MELT did not let me down. The participants reported that it made them feel better, not only in their feet but also up towards their lower backs.
We then proceeded to a brief demo on the foam roller where I had the participants assess their bodies first. We used the re-balanecing technique of diaphragmetic breathing, and yet again, the participants reported back to me that their bodies felt better as a result.
Obviously, the nature of fibromyalgia mandates a very gentle approach but I was happy to see that MELT is a modality which provides a viable option.
I will soon begin to teach a 'MELT on Pilates' class at the Rex Wellness Center in Raleigh. Pilates is already a well-established form of exercise, and I already talked about the synergy between the two. But I like to describe the similarities and differences between the two in more detail as they are significant.
What are the differences between Pilates and MELT?
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MELT is a self-treatment of the connective tissue. Connective tissue, also called fascia, is a ‘packaging’ tissue that surrounds the entire body including organs, bones and muscles. The goal of MELT is to re-hydrate the connective tissue and restore its elasticity which then enables organs and muscles to expand into the proper spaces. This makes MELT a foundation for other exercises including Pilates.
Pilates has a focus on the postural alignment for a balanced body. It approaches this from the perspective of the musculoskeletal system.
What are the similarities between Pilates and MELT?
Both MELT and Pilates use breathing in synchronicity with the movement. In Pilates, the breathing patterns support movement. In MELT, they are used to focus on the lengthening of connective tissue lines. MELT also uses breath to deliberately restore proper diaphragmatic functioning.
Another similarity is the concept of differentiation. In MELT, it means to learn to use, for example, the rib cage independent of the pelvis and vice versa. In Pilates, the core is strengthened as the student learns to stabilize it (called the “Powerhouse” in Pilates) while moving the extremities.
Does that make it “MELTILATES”?
No, certainly not.
I believe that the different objectives of both make it possible to teach both methods within an hour’s exercise class to facilitate the muscular alignment sought in Pilates by laying a foundation through the rehydration of the connective tissue which MELT can bring about.
I have used the Pilates principles of stablization in my personal training for years but had been on the fence about Pilates itself. MELT has given me the incentive to take another look at Pilates, and this has resulted in the fact that I am a certified Pilates Instructor as of today.
This will not lead to 'Meltilates' but I plan to use the synergy between the two modalities to help people achieve the lengthened look that Pilates is well known for with techniques from MELT using lengthening techniques for the connective tissue. I also intend to begin Pilates instruction with MELT ree-balancing techniques to help people get into a better feeling body before starting Pilates exercises
I have supported the Foundation of Hope for years. It is one of the few organizations that provides funding for research for mental illnesses. If you want to know more about them, please contact their web site www.walkforhope.com.
To support this organization, I will hold 3 MELT for Hope classes at the Rex Wellness Center in Raleigh as fundraisers.
I hope that you will join me there and know that you are doing something good for yourself and for others :-)
Donations in any amount are greatly appreciated. Participation in the classes is free for both members of the Wellness Center and non-members.
I just returned from one of the best courses I ever took. It is a continuation of the MELT curriculum and introduces MELT strength techniques to my toolbox. MELT is very much a technique 'from the inside out', and the MELT Strength exercises are all about foot, hip and shoulder girdle stability.
As a trainer, I have paid attention to the question of stability all along. On a personal level, after surgeries on each shoulder for impingement and a frozen shoulder on top, I have a vested interest in that subject and have in the past sought help from physical therapists as I noticed that things were just not as rehabilitated as I thought they should be. With enough determination, I had re-gained remarkable range of motion but was relying on adhesions and scar tissue to add extra 'stability'. Having said all that: I thought I knew all the shoulder exercises that there are, and I was corrected by the MELT Strength curriculum. It will help me personally, and I sincerely hope that my clients and students will benefit from the knowledge I have acquired.
And to change the subject: I even had time to see a show while in New York. I picked 'La Cage aux Folles' and was in stitches laughing.
Just came home from the IDEA conference in LA, My head is still spinning from all that I have learned. I could not wait to get home to update my profile in the new IDEA Fitnessconnect.
This IDEA was special to me because I had an opportunity to assist Sue Hitzman in her four lectures on the MELT method which she has developed. Since I have been certified last year in New York as a MELT Instructor, I have had great success with it. People try it for the first time and 'get hooked'. But the greatest thing about MELT is that people can learn to do it themselves.
I am still learning about this blog thing. But I promise that I will keep things short and informative :-)