Why Is Everyone Fascia Blasting Right Now—and Does It Work?
Fascia blasting claims to reduce cellulite, but is the technique safe and effective?
Though cellulite is completely natural, it remains one of the most common complaints people have about their bodies. And just like any other aesthetic insecurity out there—such as wrinkles, skin laxity, or discoloration—you can find all sorts of creams, tools, and treatments that claim to improve this self-perceived flaw.
“Fascia blasting,” which is a term coined by sports medicine therapist Ashley Black, is one of those modalities. The process involves using a wand-shaped tool with plastic claws that deeply massages tissue to help with “myofascial release.”
“The device is based on the premise of targeting certain muscle groups with pressure point massage to release fascial bands,” explains Vanessa Coppola, a nurse practitioner and owner of Bare Aesthetic. “[Black] has lectured that, through her work with professional sports athletes, she has noticed that fascial release therapy has caused a reduction in the appearance of cellulite.”
Before you go out and spend money on a fascia blasting device, though, let’s take a quick minute to learn about what fascia blasting is, how (and if) fascia blasting works, and what safety considerations to keep in mind.
What Is Fascia?
Ahead of discussing what fascia blasting is, we should first cover the basics of fascia. Long story short, fascia is a thick, sheet-like layer of fibrous connective tissue that surrounds and binds important structures of your body. Your body has multiple layers of fascia, and each layer has its own function ranging from support to strength.
“The claim is made that fascia can become ‘dysfunctional’ due to things like dehydration, poor nutrition, trauma, or other conditions leading to tiny ‘micro adhesions’ in the fascia which start to stick to themselves,” explains Jeffrey G. Lind, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon at The Lind Institute of Plastic Surgery in Houston, Texas.
He says that the claim is that these areas can thicken and grow denser over time, which leads to pulling on the skin’s surface and—you guessed it—cellulite dimpling. (Fun fact: Dr. Lind notes approximately 90% of all women have at least some cellulite, so it’s extremely common!)
What Is Fascia Blasting?
The claim behind fascia blasting is that the claws on the handheld device help release the knotted fascia that causes cellulite. Black, who invented the OG device, also claims that the tool can help with circulation.
But when you put tool to skin, does fascia blasting really work?
Dr. Lind says that this is definitely a “your mileage may vary” situation. In some cases you might see mild improvement, and in others you may not see any change at all. What’s more, he argues that any improvement you do see may not be long-lasting.
“If any improvement is seen, it is likely only temporary and as a result of increased lymphatic drainage or temporary stretching of the fibrous [tissue] that surround the pockets of fat that cause the appearance of cellulite,” Dr. Lind says. “Any results seen would be temporary and extremely short lived.”
Coppola agrees. She notes that while it’s a relatively harmless tool, there’s not much scientific evidence out there supporting its claims as a cellulite treatment. As such, your money and time is arguably better spent using different modalities and treatments.
“Fascia blasting has not been shown to have the same results as other cellulite treatments, such as thermal coagulation with ultrasound, radiofrequency, or laser technologies,” Coppola says. It’s also not as effective as subcision techniques, which involves the surgical, manual release of these fibrous bands of connective tissue.
Dr. Lind goes so far as to say that you probably just leave your cellulite alone, as even more established cellulite treatments haven’t shown a ton of promise. “The only thing that is going to be reduced by these treatments is your bank account,” he argues.
Is Fascia Blasting Safe?
If you’re tempted to try the fascia blasting tool just to see if it’ll work for you, you should keep a few things to keep in mind. For starters, people who’ve used the tool report that it can be painful. Also, a number of undesirable side effects have been reported anecdotally.
“It has been widely reported that fascia blasting can lead to some pretty bad bruising, skin discoloration, severe pain, and even increased loose, crepey skin. Some women have even reported changes in their menstrual cycle [due to an increase in inflammation],” warns Dr. Lind. “There have been many adverse event reports submitted to the FDA detailing various side effects of this trending device.”
Ultimately, the question of whether you should try fascia blasting to remove cellulite is up to you. Just be wary of the low reward and high cost potential, and take care to speak with your medical provider beforehand.
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