Those looking to tighten and tone their skin aren't just altering their diet and exercise routines these days. Instead, some turn to a tool that claims to yield significant results by changing the connective tissue (known as the fascia) within the body. If you haven't yet heard of the FasciaBlaster, allow me to divert your attention to the founder's Instagram page, which is full of before-and-after photos of women looking more toned, alongside images of a peculiar white tool with little claw-feet along its edge.
What Is Fascia?
Fascia is a web-like system that encases muscles and organs and spans the entirety of the body.
I spoke with a member of the FasciaBlaster team to learn more. "The fascia tissue is protected by nature," she explains, meaning that it's altered by life factors, such as our daily posture (for example, when we're hunched, our fascia tries to compensate and support the lower back by holding a buildup of extra tissue in the stomach area). According to the brand, the blaster targets and leans out those stubborn fat pockets.
For an unbiased take on FasciaBlasting, I turned to a few top dermatologists: Joshua Zeichner, MD, and Dendy Engelman, MD, both based in NYC, and Margareth Pierre-Louis, MD, medical director of Twin Cities Dermatology Center in Minneapolis.
Keep reading to better understand what the FasciaBlaster is and how it helps with the overall tone of your body.
Best for: Cellulite, fat pockets
Uses: Minimizing cellulite and dimpling
Star Rating: 4/5
About the brand: Founder Ashley Black founded the FasciaBlaster after experiencing health problems herself and helped contribute to the creation of Fasciology.
In short, the FasciaBlaster is a tool that, when rubbed along the body in alternating movements, is meant to loosen the fascia that's trapping the fat in those pockets so that it decreases in size. The rep tells me that in a 90-day research trial, subjects fascia-blasted for a minimum of 20 minutes per day, five days a week, with no changes in diet while performing simple isometric activation exercises. The results showed that subcutaneous fat (the layer of fat under the skin and the stuff responsible for cellulite) decreased in width.
"Cellulite is caused by a combination of factors, including globs of fat just under the skin, connective tissue that holds those globs of fat in place, and thin skin," explains Zeichner. "Treatment involves reducing the size of the fat, loosening the connections that [hold it in] place, and keeping the skin foundation as strong as possible. Tissue massage can minimize the appearance of dimpling by breaking apart those fascial connections. It does not take the place of in-office procedures that your dermatologist can perform but can offer some modest benefits."
Potential Benefits of FasciaBlaster
- Minimizes the appearance of dimpling and cellulite
- Reduces excess fluids
- Improves circulation
- Enhances lymphatic drainage
About My Skin
Intrigued by the photos I'd seen, I thought I'd try FasciaBasting my lower stomach, an area that's developed a pocket of fat I haven't been able to shake no matter how many ab exercises I do or how healthy(ish) I eat.
How to Use
If you're looking for a personalized treatment plan, you can send photos of yourself to FasciaBlaster via the founder's Facebook page, and they'll tell you exactly how long you need to FasciaBlast, how often, and what other supplemental actions you should take, such as exercises, to see better results. You can also go to founder Ashley Black's YouTube page to watch informational videos and see the FasciaBlaster in action.
Or you could take the bull by the horns and follow the included directions like I did. Whatever floats your boat.
Following the directions, I heated my body in the shower (heat better activates the fascial release, according to the brand) and then applied the Blaster Oil (included as part of the Beginner Kit) to my stomach. I then rubbed the Mini 2 in horizontal and vertical directions all along my stomach for about 10 minutes before bed. Finally, I followed up with the Blaster Cream (also part of the kit), which is said to reduce any bruising that may result.
By 3 a.m. on the night I first used the FasciaBlaster, I woke up to intense cramping that persisted for about an hour until it finally subsided. However, the next morning, my stomach was flatter. I chalked the cramping up to the tool "getting things moving," if you know what I mean, and I felt less bloated that morning.
I continued to FasciaBlast every night for about two weeks and didn't notice much cramping at all after the third night. What I noticed was a visibly flatter and more toned stomach and that the fat pocket had majorly decreased in size.
Other side effects may include redness or bruising (from rubbing the skin vigorously). "FasciaBlaster requires mechanical pressure placed on the skin that may be uncomfortable and lead to bruising," notes Pierre-Louis. "It seems to actually cause fatty tissue to break down through kneading the skin but comes with bruises. Other than pain, discomfort, and bruising, there does not appear to be systemic adverse effects to using FasciaBlaster."
If you think you can just massage the area and have a six-pack, not so fast. The rep tells me that you'll still need to tone and condition your body through exercise in order to see muscle definition. She also notes that crunches aren't the answer, especially for the lower stomach. She recommends planks and plank variations. One of the main reasons I've seen such definition in my stomach post–fascia massage is that I've been working out consistently for months. Otherwise, I'm sure the results wouldn't be as noticeable.
The rep says it also depends on your age and weight. If you have a lot of excess fat you're trying to get rid of, the time it takes to see results will be longer. And in terms of age, younger skin and muscle tend to smooth out faster than mature skin. But if you're looking to tighten and decrease a moderate amount of subcutaneous fat, she says you'll begin to see results right away.
Fascia's connection to cellulite is a relatively new concept that hasn't been studied too widely—perform a Google search, and you won't find many studies or articles on it other than as it relates to the FasciaBlaster. And since it's so untouched, you'll find articles questioning the tool and its efficacy.
Engelman believes the FasciaBlaster results are primarily due to flushing out water weight. "Cellulite is caused by fibrous septae comprised of fasciae. To see great results, the area should be massaged daily. Any effect is short-lived and probably due to the removal of excess fluid, improved circulation, and enhanced lymphatic drainage. Once the massaging stops, cellulite will come back." In other words, you'll need to be consistent with your blasting if minimizing cellulite is your goal. The product is worth trying out if you're searching for a cellulite solution, but you shouldn't solely rely on just the FasciaBlaster for toning and weight loss.
TriggerPoint Grid Foam Roller: So this wasn't exactly made for busting cellulite, but for $40, it produces similar results as the FasciaBlaster and helps to alleviate sore muscles, too.
Frank Body Express-o Body Scrub: This Aussie-based brand sells natural skin care products made from coffee. Focus this fuss-free scrub ($20) on areas you want to give extra attention to, and you'll notice smoother, tighter, and brighter skin after just one use.
Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream: Swap your basic moisturizer with this moisture-rich version. Thanks to powerhouse ingredient guarana, it promises noticeable differences in circulation, hydration, and texture in no time with this $45 product.
StriVectin Crepe Control Tightening Body Cream: This derm-approved cream ($59) pairs peptides and caffeine meant to tighten and smooth skin over time.
One more thing: While I've only blasted my stomach area, the rep says blasting your entire body is better because the fascia is one system of tissue (as we discussed before) that stretches from head to toe, so by loosening all of the fasciae and doing full-body workouts, you'll be better toned, according to the brand.
Jameson TB, Black AD, Sharp MH, Wilson JM, Stefan MW, Chaudhari S. The effects of fascia manipulation with fascia devices on myofascial tissue, subcutaneous fat and cellulite in adult women. Cogent Med. 2019;6(1):1-13. doi:10.1080/2331205X.2019.160614