- Chronic Pain & Wellness
- Chronic Pain & Wellness
Study: MELT Method for Lower Back Pain - It Works!
We’ve always known that the MELT Method helps relieve low back pain and that we feel better every time we MELT, but now we have actual scientific proof that MELT works!
The MELT team and researchers at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) recently finished a study that looked at the effect of MELT on people with chronic low back pain, both right away and after four weeks of MELT.
What’s significant is that we found that MELT reduces chronic low back pain, increases flexibility, and initiates real change in the connective tissue. By contrast, the control group, which did not MELT, showed no improvement.
We’re so delighted to have scientific proof that MELT can be a helpful self-care tool for people with chronic low back pain so they can feel better without drugs!
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.
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)
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
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
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
We’re so excited to report that participants who did MELT for four weeks had remarkable results!
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
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.
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!!!
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
- Rebalance Sequence
- Upper Body Compression Sequence
- Back of Thigh Shear
- Modified Tuck and Tilt Challenge
- SI Joint Shear
- Bent Knee Press
- Rest Reassess
The full four-week home treatment will be featured in a coming blog.
About the author
Creator of the MELT Method®
Sue Hitzmann, MS, CST, NMT, is a nationally recognized somatic-movement educator and manual therapist. Her decades of practice, research, and study of anatomical science and alternative therapies... View Articles