MELT vs Foam Rolling and MFR. Is there a difference?
October 20, 2012
Years ago I remember someone commenting on an event I taught at an IDEA conference saying, "she didn't invent foam rolling", as if I have made a claim that I did. It's true, I didn't invent foam rolling. I also didn't invent the foam roller. I was introduced to foam rolling in 1991 when I injured my knee and was told I'd need surgery to fix my miniscus. I opted out of surgery and instead looked to Jim Wharton and AI Stretch along with foam rolling to heal my injury.
I didn't like foam rolling. SImply because it hurt me and infliciting pain to get out of pain didn't make sense to me back then. It still doesn't now. Although working with a hands-on practitioner often times is intense if Rolfing methods or Structural Integration techniques are used, it's far and away a different approach to foam rolling.
Traditional MFR was designed to help restore bloodflow to muscles by heavy compression force. It also claims to restore the action of the golgi tendon organs and improve muscle strength.
MELT doesn't claim to do either. Although the benefits of MELT like improved posture, muscle timing, movement performance are found, the ultimate goal of MELT is to improve the overall integrity of the connective tissue system. This 3-dimensional collagen matrix relies on the hydration of the extra cellular matrix to provide architectural support to all structures in the body from the skin to the bones.
The true goal of MELT is to improve cellular stability to promote overall good health and cell proliferation for a lifetime. That sounds technical I know but consider that aging and active living causes the body to accumulate stress not to mention the basic environment we live in day to day. If you let stress accumulate and you don't tap into the body to improve the body's healing and repair mechanisms, stress ultimately outweights our body's natural ability to balance out.
When we sleep, our body's natural healing mechanisms should be dominant. However, when stress accumulates in our cells it alters our ability to sleep soundly natural healing doesn't balance out by morning. The next day and beyond, more stress gets trapped in our body. It's in our connective tissues that this stress is trapped causing cellular dehydration in the ECM. This in turn alters all cell development, stability, and proliferation - accelerating the aging process.
So yes, I use a roller. YES, I did invent the soft MELT roller. There were NO other soft rollers on the market before I worked to develop the roller we use in MELT. No, I didn't invent MFR and MELT isn't MFR anyway. I think there is a time and place for MFR and the use of a firm roller I think has benefit if you have knowledge on how to use it to make gains. Most people roll on their body aimlessly ironing their body like a shirt. Although mentally you may feel you have done something useful, by no means do I think that doing such a thing gives any lasting results anywhere near hands-on myofascial work. Again, MELT isn't a technique to simply restore blood flow to the muscular network. It's a technique to restore the fluid state of the ENTIRE collagen matrix that is found EVERYWHERE in the body - not just the "myofascial" layer in and around muscles.
So for those of you who haven't tried MELT because you know what MFR is, MELT isn't MFR and really, we don't roll on the roller much - and when we do it's a specific technique far and away unique and different than MFR rolling. Try it and you will see why using the MELT roller and these specialized techniques can offer lasting benefits that can help you gain more benefits from MFR if you do that too.
They are not competing methods of self-care. MELT compliments MFR and any other type of self care methods you do already. Try it and you will see.