December 05, 2019 at 12:00AM by CWC
My neck feels like it’s perpetually stuck in a C-curve. Thanks to all of the staring down at screens that I do throughout the majority of my day, my neck alignment is way off and my posture‘s a mess. But all it takes to combat that tension is an easy exercise to decompress your neck.
Enter: the “Melt Method.” All you need is a foam roller or a towel to put behind your head, and you’re good to go. “The unloading of our spine is so overlooked and a daily necessity,” says Karen Joubert, PT, celebrity physical therapist in Beverly Hills. “The use of cell phones has made this a necessary addition to our daily routines.” She likes the melt method because you barely need anything and it only takes about three minutes to do.
“Use a foam roller, or, if you tend to have a forward head that makes this difficult, use a small hand towel and fold it,” she says. “Place it under the base of your head—not under the neck. Also bend the knees to unload the low back.” Just the pressure of gravity on your neck over a foam roller works to decompress all of that forward tilting that you do. Sue Hitzmann, neuromuscular therapist and creator of the Melt Method, says it’s key to keep the pressure consistent at the base of your skull, which you can do by looking up at the ceiling. To get all sides of your neck, slowly turn your head right and left as you keep your foam roller or towel in place.
“Perform this for a good two to three minutes each time,” says Dr. Joubert. “Focus on breathing from the diaphragm—count to three as your stomach expands, and let it out on a count to five.” Her tip? Do it first thing in the morning and right before bed in order to reap the most benefits. And trust me, you’ll want to—it feels really good.