In recent years, the treatment of fascia has exploded in popularity. The idea is that the fascia, or myofascial tissue, contributes to pain and cellulite when it’s tight.
For this reason, fascia manipulation, a technique that aims to loosen the fascia through physical manipulation and pressure, has become a trending topic in the health and wellness realm.
One widely popular method is fascia blasting. This technique uses a tool that’s designed to loosen the fascia, which is supposed to reduce pain and cellulite.
While some people report that fascia blasting has many benefits, others are less enthusiastic about its effects.
Here, we’ll take a deeper dive into fascia blasting and the science behind the method.
Scientists are still learning about the fascia. In fact, there’s a lot of debate on its official definition.
However, it’s widely accepted that fascia is a continuous layer of connective tissue that covers all your muscles, bones, organs, and nerves. It’s mostly made of collagen, and it helps to give form to your body.
The continuous nature of fascia helps your body parts move. Fascia attaches, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs, allowing these structures to slide and move through the body.
When fascia is healthy, it’s flexible enough to twist, glide, and bend. But inflammation and trauma can tighten the fascia, causing pain. Additionally, fascia contains many nerves that are sensitive to pain.
Fascia pain is associated with various conditions, such as:
It’s also believed that fascia plays a role in cellulite, the orange peel–like, dimpled skin texture that most often appears on the thighs, hips, and buttocks.
Cellulite happens when parts of the skin are pulled down by fibrous connective bands, which attach the skin to muscle. The skin becomes dimpled as fat cells collect between the bands.
According to a 2002 study, women with cellulite have weakness in the dermis and connective tissue, including the superficial fascia. However, this is an old study, and more research needs to be done to confirm the link between weakening fascia and cellulite.
Fascia blasting is a form of fascial manipulation. It involves a hard plastic tool called the FasciaBlaster, which was invented by Ashley Black. The tool looks like a long stick with little claws or feet attached to it.
While the FasciaBlaster is the most popular device, other companies make similar products. They’re often called cellulite blasters or fascia massage sticks.
A fascia blaster is meant to be massaged all over the body, one area at a time. This is said to loosen up the fascia.
There are several ways to do fascia blasting, but here’s how it usually works:
- Warm up your body with a heating pad or hot shower. You can also lightly massage your skin with the fascia blaster.
- Apply oil on the area you want to work on.
- Gently rub the fascia blaster device on your skin in a scrubbing motion. Continue for 2 to 5 minutes in one area.
- Repeat on other areas of your body as needed.
If you’re new to fascia blasting, you typically start with 1 minute or less to see how your body feels afterward.
It’s recommended to lightly massage your skin and drink plenty of fluids after the procedure. You can also take a cold shower to reduce any swelling.
Some people who have tried fascia blasting report that it has various benefits, including:
- reduced cellulite
- firmer skin
- less muscle pain
- less joint pain
- increased circulation
Despite these anecdotal reports, there isn’t much research on fascia blasting.
To date, the only research that’s been conducted is a small 2019 study. The article was authored by Ashley Black, the inventor of the FasciaBlaster, and researchers from The Applied Science and Performance Institute in Tampa, Florida.
The study involved 33 women with thigh cellulite. The participants used the FasciaBlaster on their thighs 5 days a week for 12 consecutive weeks. The researchers measured the women’s subcutaneous thigh fat, or fat under the skin, every 4 weeks.
After 12 weeks, the researchers found that the women’s subcutaneous thigh fat had decreased. They also observed a reduction in the appearance of cellulite. According to the authors of this study, fascia manipulation could help cellulite by freeing the fat cells from the fibrous bands.
But this is just one small study. More thorough research is needed to support the benefits of fascia blasting.
According to anecdotal evidence, fascia blasting may not be safe for everyone, and could have some potential side effects.
Some individuals who have tried fascia blasting claim they’ve developed various symptoms from using this technique. Some of the reported side effects include:
- severe bruising
- skin discoloration
- increased cellulite
- increased varicose veins
- increased pain
- extreme tiredness and fatigue
- weight gain
Some people who have used the FasciaBlaster have filed reports with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It’s important to note that anyone can file a report with the FDA for any particular reason.
Again, more research is needed to understand these purported side effects as well as the potential benefits of fascia blasting.
Fascia blasting isn’t the only way to stimulate the fascia. There are other ways to treat fascia-related conditions, including:
- Foam rolling. Compared to fascia blasters, foam rollers are softer and gentler on the body. Foam rolling is thought to reduce cellulite and myofascial pain.
- Massage. Massages are ideal for relieving general fascia-related pain, including lower back pain. Some massage therapists offer “anti-cellulite” massages, though the results are often mixed.
- Lipomassage. Lipomassage uses a handheld machine to knead and smooth the skin. The results are typically temporary, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
- Myofascial release therapy. Many people with myofascial pain find relief from myofascial release therapy. A massage therapist or chiropractor manually massages your fascia to relieve tightness.
- Ultrasound. Ultrasonic liposculpting may reduce the appearance of cellulite by destroying fat cells. Ultrasound therapy, which involves sound waves to promote blood circulation, could relieve myofascial pain.
- Stretching. A regular stretching routine can help fascia-related conditions like plantar fasciitis, myofascial pain syndrome, and fibromyalgia.
While advocates of fascia blasting say it reduces pain and cellulite, there isn’t much research on its efficacy. The reported benefits are anecdotal and theoretical.
Meanwhile, some users claim they’ve developed side effects like severe bruising and increased pain from fascia blasting.
If you’d like to try fascia blasting, talk to your doctor first. They can help determine if it’s a safe technique for you.