According to WebMD, chronic pain affects about 86 million American adults to some extent. It should come as no surprise, then, that many pain management programs have gone mainstream, replacing typical medications as a form of healing.

One such program, somatic-movement educator and manual therapist Sue Hitzmann's "The Melt Method" has gained exponential steam in recent months. It is a self-treatment method of pain relief aimed at hydrating connective tissue to pain.

"It's the first method that doesn't cause any extra pain or stress on the body. For people who use it, there is no pain. That's how they gain," Hitzmann said.

Though Hitzmann first began teaching group classes on her pain relief method in 2004, she released an introductory book about the subject, "The Melt Method," in January of this year. Since its release, "The Melt Method" has become a New York Times bestseller, and according to Hitzmann, has helped thousands of people reduce pain and stress.

"I couldn't keep it quiet. That's why I wrote the book," Hitzmann said.

"The Melt Method" book acts as an introduction to Hitzmann's method of pain assessment and treatment, as well as a guide to reducing pain. The book includes diagrams and pictures to assist in using The Melt Method foam roller and hand and foot balls.

Hitzmann explained that she wrote "The Melt Method" in a way that her 70-year-old mother would be comfortable with reading as a manual. Its simple descriptions and wealth of images make the book easy to read and make each of the exercises easy to follow.

The Melt Program targets the connective tissue in the body through low touch massage exercises that are completed with a back roller and hand and foot balls. The tools used mimic a manual therapist's hands-on techniques that reduce pain.

"I developed the roller and balls myself," Hitzmann said. "I was jabbing myself with a myriad of products, from rolled up towels to a tire I had cut up, so I could find the perfect one."

The program can be completed at home in 10 to 15 minutes each day. It includes an assessment performed daily, which is used to see how much "stuck stress" a person has. These assessments allow a user to track their pain and measure their progress through specific movements designed by Hitzmann.

A user then completes a series of simple, precise movements with the rollers to rehydrate connective tissue and rebalance the nervous system, Hitzmann said.

She added that Melt not only educates people about their pain and how to reduce it, but it also acts as a tool to help people reduce their pain.

"This is the only self-treatment that addresses connective tissue dehydration. It really is like nothing else out there," Hitzmann said.

As time goes on, Hitzmann plans to write more books that expand on her current method. These will help make the Melt Length and Melt Strength programs reachable for the average consumer. Hitzmann also aims to grow her class base by helping more people become instructors.

For now, though, Hitzmann's goal is simply to help others.

"Try the Melt Method," she said. "You have nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain."

Distributed by MCT Information Services