By Michelle Sathe
Signal Staff Writer
Jim Savery tried all sorts of physical therapy to lessen the pain of his spinal stenosis, but nothing worked. Finally, Savery’s chiropractor suggested yoga, which led him to eventually discover MELT (Myofascial Energetic Length Technique.
Two to three times a week for the last 18 months, Savery has taken the MELT class at Yogaworks in Valencia, using a blue foam roller in a variety of positions for an hour at a time.
“I love it. I can’t function without it,” he said. “Before, I had trouble moving, my back bothered me so much. MELT has relaxed a lot of the pressure and the pain.”
His favorite is the rebalancing sequence, where Savery and the other students lay on the roller vertically, aligning their spines along the roller and tipping gently back and forth. That’s followed by a series of breathing exercises and tucking and tilting the spine.
Once it’s finished, students roll off and lay on their yoga mats, doing a self-assessment on the before and after effects.
“I feel totally relaxed and loose, like everything is in place,” Savery said.
MELT was created in the early 2000s by manual therapist and connective tissue specialist Sue Hitzmann, who went on to write on to write the bestselling “The MELT Method: A Breakthrough Self-Treatment System to Eliminate Chronic Pain, Erase the Signs of Aging, and Feel Fantastic in Just 10 Minutes a Day.”
MELT, which has been reviewed by experts in the field of neuroscience and connective tissue, is used in rehabilitation and hospital settings, as well as at fitness, sports and wellness facilities.
By using the foam roller, as well as some small soft balls for the hands, feet, and face, those who practice MELT can relieve stuck stress and rehydrate the connective tissue that surrounds every joint, muscle, nerve, bone, and organ in the body.
Over time, MELT studies have shown it enhances the body’s ability to repair and heal itself, which improves flexibility, alignment and posture, joint mobility, sleep, and digestion, while reducing aches, pains, cellulite and wrinkles, tension, stress, headaches, and the risk of injury.
The secret to MELT is the soft roller, according to Jackie Field, certified MELT instructor at Yogaworks.
“Your body won’t tense up against it. You can’t get into the muscle and connective tissue when you’re tense,” Field said.
Field, a long-time fitness professional and former gymnastics trainer, doesn’t just teach MELT. She does it every day at home to relieve pain from a crushed foot, as well as a decades-old neck and back vertebrae injury from a car accident.
Before MELT, Field found herself having to take muscle relaxers and several hot showers a day just to function.
“I felt like my body was rejecting me. I felt hopeless,” she recalled.
Today, Field is feeling great, teaching MELT several times throughout the week. It’s a job she loves.
“It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. People come up to me with tears in their eyes. One student said it was their first time not being in pain since back surgery four years before,” she said.
The 56-year-old is also able to enjoy spending quality time with her young grandchildren.
“I can sit on the floor with them for an hour or two and it doesn’t bother me at all,” Field said with a smile.
One of Field’s mantras at the end of each MELT class is “you should sleep better tonight and eliminate in the morning” before signing off into the classic “namaste.”
Sarah Grizzle, of Valencia, found herself sleeping better the night after her first MELT class and become such a fan that she bought a roller to practice daily at home, which has helped her relieve leg tightness.
“It helped calm my whole body down,” said the 43-year-old, stay-at-home mother. “It makes me feel like I had a massage and I get into bed feeling grounded.”
Yogaworks is located at 23951 Newhall Ranch Road, Valencia. For more information, call (661) 799-2645 or visit www.yogaworks.com