If you haven't yet heard of the FasciaBlaster, allow me to divert your attention to the founder's Instagram page.
Hi! Welcome back. You probably just saw a bunch of before-and-after photos of women looking more toned alongside images of a peculiar white tool with little claw feet along its edge. How does said tool yield those results, you're wondering? It's all about a system of connective tissue within your body called fascia. Similar to the marbling you'd find on a piece of steak, fascia encases your muscles and organs and is actually one whole piece of webbing that spans the entirety of your body. In its healthy state, fascia is stretchy and pliable. But if you experience physical trauma, emotional trauma, scarring, or inflammation, the fascia loses its pliability. It becomes tight, restricted, and a source of tension to the rest of the body. This is the basis of knowledge that founder Ashley Black enlisted when developing the FasciaBlaster. Her thinking is that when the fascia tightens, it adheres to the skin and muscle, which then causes bulges like cellulite and fat pockets. I spoke with a member of the FasciaBlaster team to learn more.
What Is Fascia?
Fascia is a web-like system that encases muscles and organs and spans the entirety of the body.
To better help us (and you) understand the whole process, we asked a FasciaBlaster rep to give us the lowdown on what fascia is and why blasting it helps with the overall tone of your body.
"The fascia tissue is protected by nature," she explains, meaning that it's altered by life factors. One of the key elements that affect our fascia is our posture. She continues, "Sitting down is already incorrect for your structural alignment, so then you're hunched forward over your computer all day, there are all kinds of imbalances that happen, like your neck leans forward, your shoulders are hunched—all these things happen, so the fascia will protect and stabilize it." In other words, 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. The same thing happens to our legs when we sit for prolonged periods of time—the thighs are flattened, which then creates fat pockets in the inner thighs and outer thighs, trapped by the tightened fascia.
Poor posture isn't the only way pockets of fat can form on your body—the daily wear and tear of life alters your fascia, even wearing tight clothing. These factors condition the fascia, and as a result, it reacts in such a way that it conforms to whatever pressure is being put on it, and so the bulges form. So Black created a tool that, when rubbed along the body in alternating movements, will 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 FasciaBlasted 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) decreased in width. Intrigued by this, 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.
Benefits of Using the FasciaBlaster
- Minimizes the appearance of dimpling and cellulite
- Reduces excess fluids
- Improves circulation
- Enhances lymphatic drainage
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. For an unbiased take on FasciaBlasting, I turned to two top dermatologists in NYC, Joshua Zeichner, MD, and Dendy Engelman, MD.
"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," says 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."
Engelman partially agrees, though believes results are due mostly 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.
How to Prepare
If you're looking for a personalized treatment plan, you can send photos of yourself to FasciaBlaster, 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. Black is also quite responsive on Facebook and encourages you to message her for a personal consultation.
Or you could take the bull by the horns and follow the included directions like I did. Whatever floats your boat.
What to Expect
Following the directions, I heated up my body in the shower (heat better activates the fascial release), and then applied the Blaster Oil 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, which is said to reduce any bruising that may result. By 3 a.m., 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 actually 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. But what I did notice was a noticeably flatter and more toned stomach and that the fat pocket had majorly decreased in size.
The Final Takeaway
If you're thinking 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 been seeing 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 tends 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.
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.
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