Fascia is the sheath of connective tissue that surrounds and supports muscles, bones and internal organs. When you feel stiff and cramped after a long period of sitting in the same position or when you wake up stiff in the morning, your normally flexible fascia are likely to blame. With inactivity, fascia can become “stuck,” causing discomfort. Over the years, many different therapies have been developed to alleviate pain or posture problems attributed to fascial stiffness. Perhaps the best known is Rolfing, a system of deep tissue manipulation that aims to restructure the fascia. Massage and physical therapy can also help ease pain of this sort.
Fascia blasting is the latest approach. It involves the use of the FasciaBlaster, a white plastic wand with claw-like attachments that you rub on the skin over the painful area for three to five 5 minutes. I can’t tell you whether or not this method works because there have been no scientific studies of it. All we have are testimonials gathered by marketers of the product.
I’m dubious about claims that the FasciaBlaster can reduce cellulite. Its inventor, Ashley Black, maintains that by dealing with fascia you can eliminate cellulite. Black has no educational degrees and no medical credentials. She maintains that “fascia adhesions can pull the skin down and force the fat up, causing dents and dimples commonly known as cellulite. If the fascia were to lay flat, so would the fat.”
In spite of claims online that women have had success in changing the appearance of cellulite with the FasciaBlaster method, I have never seen any treatment that effectively eliminates it, although many are offered, from creams to dietary supplements to massage, wraps, injections, and special diets.
More than 60 women have reported injuries and malfunctions of the product to the Food and Drug Administration. As reported by BuzzFeed News, these complaints describe severe bruising, inflammation, and changes in menstruation. One woman claimed she had bruises six months after she stopped using the FasciaBlaster. Even some reviews posted on Facebook by Black’s company mention severe bruising, weight gain, sagging skin, increased cellulite and menstrual changes. Black maintains that the bruising that occurs when using the FasciaBlaster is a sign that the treatment is working. I say that’s nonsense.
Andrew Weil, M.D.