- The Fascia Blaster is a handheld device that claims to roll away cellulite while easing muscle pain.
- Doctors have mixed opinions on the device, but most agree that it’s not an effective way to treat cellulite.
- The Fascia Blaster may be an affordable and simple way to treat muscle pain, joint pain, and general aches.
What is the Fascia Blaster?
Developed by self-proclaimed weight loss guru Ashley Black, the Fascia Blaster is a handheld device that’s rolled along the skin to lessen the appearance of cellulite. Black also claims that the Fascia Blaster can help improve blood flow, reduce pain and speed up muscle recovery through the process of myofascial release.
The device targets the fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds the body’s muscles and organs. This tissue can become rigid and stiff, leading to pain and muscle tightness known as fascial adhesions.
Fascia Blasting can work out the fascial adhesions that lead to irritation. Think of it like a next-level deep-tissue massage, but one you can perform at home without a massage therapist.
According to Dr. Marc S. Schneider, the director of the Schneider Center for Plastic Surgery, the Fascia Blaster is just one of many similar tools on the market.
“There is a layer of tissue that covers the muscle called fascia, and there is a layer of tissue between the muscles that can sometimes get tight,” Schneider says.“When it does, it can cause a variety of muscular pain syndromes. It is difficult to stretch out these layers on your own. Often, you have to go to a therapist for myofascial release.”
According to Black, who also penned The Cellulite Myth, It’s Not Fat It’s Fascia, targeting the fascia is key to reducing the appearance of wrinkled skin. She claims that fascia adhesions cause those frustrating dents and wrinkles, and that physically smoothing them out can help eradicate them for good.
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Does it work?
Whether or not Fascia Blasting actually works comes down to your unique goals. If you’re using it for myofascial release — to release tight tissues for pain relief — you’re in luck. On the other hand, if you’re looking for an easy way to improve muscle definition, roll away fat cells, or smooth stubborn cellulite, there’s a good chance the Fascia Blaster won’t live up to your expectations.
“For the layperson, the Fascia Blaster gives them the mechanical advantage to perform myofascial release on their own,” says Schneider. “That said, as a plastic surgeon and as a sports nutrition adviser to professional athletes, using the Fascia Blaster for uses other than fascia release will leave the consumer disappointed.”
That’s because, according to Schneider, there’s no scientific basis for the Fascia Blaster purported benefits.
“Cellulite is caused by small vertical fascia ligaments within the fat that are tethered to the skin,” he says. “If one does a treatment to cellulite skin that causes swelling in the skin, it will temporarily make the skin cellulite look better. But as soon as the swelling goes away, the cellulite is back. The only successful techniques we have for eliminating cellulite is to cut these vertical fibers.”
Dr. Reza Tirgari of Avalon Laser in San Diego agrees that there’s promise, but little proof, that this device could roll away dimpled skin.
“Most Fascia Blaster-like gadgets depend on the customer applying enough pressure to have an effect and to treat the area regularly. These can be inconsistent and provide uncertain results,” Tirgari says.
Benefits for treating pain
So now that we know the Fascia Blaster probably won’t help erase cellulite and dimpled skin, should you avoid the gadget altogether? There is some evidence to suggest that the device and other at-home myofascial release tools can encourage pain reduction. Its makers even suggest that the tool can help roll away migraines and tension headaches.
The myofascial release technique itself has been proven effective for treating tissue restrictions that can inhibit joint function and lead to pain. Foam rollers, and other self-myofascial release tools, are commonly found in gyms, physical therapy clinics, and training facilities to warm up muscles prior to physical activity.
The gentle massage brought on by these types of tools can help treat pain. In fact, one study showed that myofascial therapy significantly reduced the chances of getting tension headaches for most patients.
Does it hurt?
Any form of myofascial release — whether performed via self-treatment options such as the original Fascia Blaster or with the help of a massage therapist — can be painful.
According to the full-body Fascia Blaster tutorial posted by Ashley Black on YouTube, the device should be rolled directly onto bare skin on the upper arms (bat wings), legs, thighs, and tummy.
As you can imagine, if you already have joint pain — especially hip pain or muscle soreness — the device can cause some pain and bruising in the treatment area. Black recommends using her product Blaster Oil while working out the muscles in order to help the device glide smoothly over the skin, making it more comfortable.
Reports filed to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) show that many people have experienced undesirable side effects from using the Fascia Blaster on a regular basis, including major bruising, lethargy, depression, and more.
Cellulite treatments that actually work
If you’re committed to finding a proven cellulite treatment, the best thing to do is talk to a board-certified plastic surgeon or laser specialists. There certainly are some proven cellulite treatments out there including:
According to Schneider, there is a tried-and-true, surgical method to cellulite removal. “In my practice, cellulite is treated surgically by inserting a small needle through the skin and then using the tip of the needle to cut and release the offending ligament. If the indentation is deep, then I also may inject a small amount to the patient’s fat to fill out the divot,” says Schneider.
Tirgari recommends that his patients seek out a radio frequency (RF) body contouring treatment alongside the Fascia Blaster for measurable results. “When it comes to cellulite, adding heat and RF energy plus a specific ‘roller’ action tends to give much better results for cellulite. This is because the connective tissue is more effectively targeted which tends to be the crucial factor when it comes to treating cellulite,” he says.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (ADA), a minimally invasive cellulite treatment called Cellulaze can treat cellulite via a laser that breaks up the tough bands beneath the skin that cause those frustrating dimples. Doctors say that Cellulaze isn’t a cure, but that most people will see improvement with the treatment.
Non-invasive cellulite procedure Cellfina severs the same tough bands as lasers, but instead uses a precise blade. Sounds scary, right? Well, the blade is really just a needle, and the entire procedure is performed under local anesthesia. According to the manufacturer, this method smooths away dimples for at least three years.
Should you try the Fascia Blaster?
The bottom line? Don’t waste your money on the Fascia Blaster unless your goal is to reduce pain. Doctors have a whole lineup of other cellulite treatments that actually work.
The key is to find a treatment that addresses the problem at its core by severing the fibrous bands that cause dimpling. Sadly, no amount of rolling will smooth away those spots with the Fascia Blaster alone.
Myofascial Therapy and Massage Tools: Top Products
Tools for myofascial therapy and gentle massagers can help to both treat and prevent muscle pain, especially when exercising. These devices are suitable for everyone, from professional athletes to office workers.
Muscle Max Massage Ball
This massage ball takes the benefits of myofascial therapy rollers and delivers them in a compact form. The Muscle Max Massage Ball can be easily used on targeted areas of the body. Its high-density rubber design can withstand up to 500 lbs of weight, and its lightweight design makes it the perfect gym companion.
Gillsun Fitness Massage Ball Set
Gillsun Fitness offers a three massage ball set. The peanut ball is perfect for spine and deep tissue massages. The mobility ball is similar to Muscle Max’s Massage Ball, except slightly larger in size, while the small rubber lacrosse ball can be used for arm and neck massages.
SAVVYIO Myofascial Release Tools
This premium myofascial release set comes with four high quality medical-grade stainless steel tools to help relieve muscle pain. The handmade set includes the SVIY001, a longer tool that’s ideal for use on large muscle groups like the back and arms. Conversely, the “S” shaped SVIT002’s smaller design is best used for small muscles such as the hands and ankles. The SVIT003 targets the chest and neck, while the SVIT005’s treats joint pain in the knees, wrists, and elbows.
Body Back Buddy Self Massage Tool
Body Buddy’s unique design makes it an effective multifunctional tool. With its hooked shape, the massager can be used without assistance to easily treat the entire body. In addition to being a myofascial release tool, Body Back Buddy’s Self Massage Tool eases sore muscles and may even relieve headaches.
FitPlus Foam Roller
Foam rollers are the original myofascial therapy tools, and are still widely used to this day. The FitPlus Foam Roller is among the most popular rollers available as it combines several massage types into one tool. Its durable extra firm EPE foam build means that FitPlus’ roller will outlast many other similar products.
- American Academy of Dermatology: Cellulite Treatments (n.d.) aad.org/public/diseases/cosmetic-treatments/cellulite-treatments
- Effectiveness of Direct vs Indirect Technique Myofascial Release in the Management of Tension-Type Headache (2011) doi.org/10.1016/j.jbmt.2011.01.021
- The Effects of Myofascial Release with Foam Rolling on Performance (2014) wellpastforty.com/uploads/Effects_of_SMR_on_Performance.pdf
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Maude Adverse Event Report (2018) accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfMAUDE/Detail.CFM?MDRFOI__ID=6585274&pc=IOD