MELT: A simple self-treatment technique to rehydrate connective tissue and quiet the regulators of your nervous system •
Low Back Pain Study 2015
MELT Method Study Overview by Sue Hitzmann
The research study was conducted in partnership with NJIT and led by a biomedical engineering grad student, Faria Sanjana, who was advised by Tom Findley, Ph.D. (founder of the Fascia Research Society) and Hans Chaudhry, Ph.D. The study was presented at the 2015 Fascia Research Congress in Washington, DC, in September. The Fascia Research Congress is the premier conference for cutting-edge research into all aspects of fascial science, with top-notch scientists, researchers, and practitioners in attendance from all over the world—all of my mentors, peers, and respected colleagues. This was especially exciting for me because I am a founding member of the Fascia Research Society. Having the results of the study announced at biggest gathering of experts on fascia was such a rush. Study Details The study was called “Effect of the MELT Method on the Thoracolumbar Connective Tissue,” and the objective was to determine how the thickness of connective tissue and other biomechanical properties of myofascial tissue changed in subjects with chronic low back pain as a result of using the MELT Method. The subjects were men and women 25-65 with non-specific, chronic low back pain:
22 subjects for the MELT treatment group
22 subjects for the control group
Participants couldn’t have a BMI over 30 or a depression or anxiety disorder, and they couldn’t have had corticosteroid injections in the spine or a severe low back injury or surgery, among other things. The methods of testing included using an ultrasound machine, the Oswestry Low Back Pain Scale, and a forward flexion test, as well as using, for the first time, a handheld digital palpation device called a MyotonPRO:
Ultrasound: used to measure thickness of connective tissue in the low back using testing parameters and analysis previously developed by Helen Langevin, Ph.D.
MyotonPRO: used to measure biomechanical properties including stiffness, elasticity, tone, and stress relaxation time (recovery time when stress is applied)
Procedure The research itself took place over four weeks. The research subjects came to the testing facility for two separate sets of measurements, then came back at the end of the study for another set of tests.
Initial testing: Ultrasound, MyotonPRO, flexibility test in hip hinge position, and pain scale
Followed by: MELT group: 30-minute MELT self-treatment while watching a MELT video, and 5 minutes resting prior to retest Control group: read or relaxed during same period
Immediate retest: Ultrasound, MyotonPRO, flexibility test in hip hinge position, and pain scale
Followed by: MELT group: 4-week MELT self-treatment protocol Control group: no changes to routine
Final test: initial testing was repeated one month later; MELT group did not MELT on the retest day
Outcomes We’re so excited to report that participants who did MELT for four weeks had remarkable results! MELT group: Significant decrease in pain -43% immediate, -31% long term Significant increase in flexibility +9% immediate, +24% long term Significant decrease in the thickness of the fascial layers and combined thickness of the subcutaneous and fascial layers -26% immediate, -34% long term Significant increase in stress relaxation time in the lower area (below the 12th rib) on the left side of the muscle tissues of the spine +8% immediate, +7% long term Decreasing trend in stiffness of muscle tissue of the spine Control group: The control group showed no significant changes in pain, flexibility, thickness of the fascial layers, stress relaxation time, or stiffness. Our Next Steps The decrease in connective tissue thickness suggests that fascia is rehydrated as a result of MELT. We look forward to further study into this question. We also want to do research into other common chronic areas of pain, such as neck and foot, and explore MRI imaging to study the responsiveness of the brain and the nervous system to MELT. Thank you! I’d like to thank Faria Sanjana, as well as our advisors, Tom Findley and Hans Chaudhry, for all of their energy and attention. This study would not have been possible without them. Much gratitude to Helen Langevin for sharing her algorithm and guidance. Thanks to everyone on the MELT team who worked so hard to make this study a reality. And thank you for sharing my enthusiasm for the power of Hands-off Bodywork®! What This Means to You Doctors understandably want to see scientific proof before they recommend something as a treatment. Studies like this one will allow us to help more people get out of and stay out of pain without surgery or drugs. People who need proof that MELT works? Here it is! Here’s what one of our study participants had to say: A transformation—at least in my case. Over 20 years I have suffered from back pain and have exhausted every means for relief. Considering back surgery last year and then one day I received a MELT survey study. EVERYTHING has changed. With just 15 minutes each day using hand, feet, and back therapy, each new day I am completely free of back pain—completely free!!! Truly a blessing!!! –Brad O. If you’d like to see what the excitement is about, here’s the 30-minute MELT Map that study participants did to gain immediate, significant results:
Soft Ball Foot Treatment
Upper Body Compression Sequence
Back of Thigh Shear
Modified Tuck and Tilt Challenge
SI Joint Shear
Bent Knee Press
The full four-week home treatment will be featured in a coming blog. These moves use both the MELT Hand and Foot Treatment Kit and the Soft Roller. You can learn more about these moves in the bestselling MELT Method book or the companion MELT Method DVD, all of which are available at the MELT Store. You may also want to work with a MELT Instructor near you. Find one by going to Learn to MELT. If you know someone who lives with chronic pain, spread the word about MELT. If you experience pain, give MELT a try. And when someone asks you if it really works, you can now tell them, it’s actually been proven. .