MELT method helps fibromyalgia patients deal with pain

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Using small balls and soft foam rollers with techniques from a program called the MELT method, many with fibromyalgia find they can calm their central nervous system down. (KABC)

Ilana Amos suffers from fibromyalgia, a condition that made it impossible for her to continue being a pediatrician.

"Progressively feeling fatigue, tired, and it was more and more difficult to finish my daily routine," said Amos.

She's not alone. Estimates of fibromyalgia sufferers range from four to 10 million, with the vast majority being women.

"We know in research that fibromyalgia is mostly caused by sensory nerve endings that have become over reactive," said Sue Hitzmann who developed the MELT method.

Hitzmann created the program to help people in all kinds of pain.

"The MELT method is a simple technique that can help people restore connective tissue system and quiet the stress reflex in the nervous system through self care," said Hitzmann.

Soft balls and rollers are used to apply gentle compression to specific points on the body. The practice helps restore the fluid flow of the connective tissue needed for the body to properly sense and feel.

"Emotionally, mentally, neurologically -- we get so stressed out we literally have stuck stress living in our bodies, which is altering not only our nervous systems behavior, our metabolism, hormones and our immune system," Hitzmann said.

Whether on your own or with a health care professional, you first do something called "body mapping." You do this to find out where there's any pressure or perhaps pain.

"Lying on your back identifying what we call the masses and spaces, identifying if there's accumulated stress is existing in your body," said Hitzmann.

Then it's time for slow and subtle treatment.

"You have billions of sensory nerve endings in your joints and you have more joints in your hands your feet and your spine than anywhere else," said Hitzmann.

European studies show these techniques work when done regularly, but self care is required to be successful.

"I ended up with my dirty little secret. I was in chronic pain. I didn't want to tell anybody," said Christine Kwok, Amos's fitness coach.

Kwok uses the MELT method daily after being in pain herself after 15 years of fitness overuse.

But she realizes this is no quick fix.

"Don't look for instant changes, it's not a miracle. There's no overnight success," Hitzmann said.
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