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A Pain-Free Pregnancy

The Mission

“Any self-care for a pregnant or postpartum woman is good,” says Sue Hitzmann, creator of the MELT Method. Her self-treatment technique educates people to identify “stuck stress,” as she calls it, and eradicate it using a lighter therapeutic touch than traditional compressive approaches. “My whole philosophy is why would you inflict pain to get out of pain?” she explains.

Hitzmann (pictured here), who is headquartered on New York’s Upper West Side, was inspired by her own struggles with chronic pain to teach other people how to manage it on their own. She also happens to have worked with hundred of pregnant women and new moms, focusing their energies on the re-hydration of connective tissue (the core dogma of MELT that sounds weirder than it is) and getting a compromised sensory nervous system back on track.

The Tools

A specially designed, specifically textured foam roller (it’s a bit softer than a standard foam roller), for the body; eight small balls (two each of various sizes and firmness) for hand and foot treatments; and Hitzmann’s book, The MELT Method.

How It Helps

Hitzmann often sees pregnant women and new moms with plantar fasciitis, sciatica, incontinence, lower back pain and a destabilized pelvis, which is a frequent result of a heavy load put on the pelvic floor.

“I try to reestablish pelvic stabilization,” she says. “If your pelvis isn’t stable, every time you pick up that baby the tissue along the spine is going to get obliterated. It’s going to get over-lengthened, it’s going to get over-tensed and then it’s not ready to react to movements like bending over.”

To help alleviate discomfort both during and after pregnancy, Hitzmann recommends the MELT Method foot treatment and plenty of lower-body compression with the roller, as well as upper-back and neck release and hand work, which is where she likes to start when targeting aches in the forearms, arms and shoulders. And while being pain-free is itself a victory, allowing yourself to jettison the stress that comes along with it is a bonus. “Don’t make that energy part of your relationship with your baby,” she says. Classes are held throughout New York City and the country. meltmethod.com.

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For all of your acquaintances who are expecting a child!

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