Page 1Group 8Group 7Group 7
Beauty Style Fitness Wellness Living #RealTalk #EmbraceYourAge
Stay up to date

Get on the List

Unlock our weekly newsletter packed with tips on living authentically, healthfully, and stylishly at every age.Get on the List: The best beauty, fashion, wellness and fitness tips straight to your inbox

What the Heck Is Fascia Blasting?

If a friend handed you a short, elbow-width broom handle with multiple 2-inch plastic spikes resembling a medieval torture tool, and told you to rigorously roll it up and down your thighs, buttocks, back, arms, and belly to improve muscle tone, break up cellulite, and alleviate inflammation — “it may cause some bruising, but that’s OK” — would you do it?

Like gua sha (ancient Chinese facial massage with jade and rose stones — a legitimate blood flow and glow inducer) and Hanacure (the creepy-looking Korean beauty masks — results questionable), fascia blasting is doing the social rounds. If you’re on Instagram or Facebook even infrequently, chances are you’ve seen sponsored posts pop up for fascia blasters.

Women craving the next new device to help them combat cellulite to look and feel slimmer are buying fascia-blaster tools that claim to break down fat, tone the body, and rejuvenate skin. But there are questions around whether fascia blasting actually works — and strong concern in the fascia-research community over the safety of these blaster bodywork tools, which some experts in the medical field say can cause more harm than good.

But if you’re like us and open to a little pain-for-gain, your first thought before even considering purchasing may well have been: “What the heck is fascia and why do I need to blast it?” To get the lowdown on what’s behind the hype — and the bottom line on whether our bottoms and the rest of our body can benefit from incorporating fascia-blasting techniques into our toning routine — we turned to the experts at the Fascia Research Society.

Figuring Out Fascia

Fascia is an elusive part of our anatomy that experts and researchers still don’t fully understand. In anatomical circles, fascia is described as connective tissue, a layer in the interstitial spaces around our bones and muscle that has a structural support role. Yet scientists and experts don’t yet have a full understanding of fascia — or what it even looks like.

Some describe it as a delicate and ethereal form — translucent tissue resembling bubble wrap that cocoons around and in between our musculoskeletal structure; a wispy mass of spider webbing; or a cotton candy-like tissue that wraps around other tissue and reacts to how we move and feel, especially when it comes to body aches and pain, and even our mental health.

“It’s well understood in anatomy that fascia serves a role in structural support,” explains Sue Hitzmann, manual therapist, exercise physiologist, and founding member of the Fascia Research Society. “However, connective tissue supports something even more profound than our muscles and bones. It nurtures our sensory nerves, assists in metabolic functions, helps our cells transport nutrients to other cells, and houses cells that assist in tissue repair and defend against foreign organisms and bacterial invasion.”

And that’s not all. According to Hitzmann, fascia serves a role in nutrition as well. Different metabolites diffuse through connective tissue membranes during their transportation between blood capillaries and cells and other tissues. Fat (adipose tissue) is caused by calories that are unused in our day. These calories convert into lipids and are stored as adipocytes until they are used. If they aren’t used, they simply get stuck in the superficial fascial spaces (called microvacuoles) and ultimately can be stored in our viscera or gut.


As we age, fascia loosens and gets slack, dries up, and cramps, impeding correct movement. It’s why we’re stiff and slow to move in the mornings.


“This is a primary catalyst for poor absorption and digestion — not to mention the unsightly clumps on your thighs and butt called cellulite,” she states, bluntly. “So not only can fascia adapt on a structural level causing macro issues like poor posture, joint pain, and muscle strain, it adapts on a micro level, causing cellular degradation and an increased tendency to become sick, lowering our immune system, and ultimately accelerating our aging process.”

Hitzmann, author of New York Times bestseller The MELT Method, has studied fascia and its impact on the body’s overall function for 25 years and considers fascia to be a workhorse. She says regardless of age, activity level, or diet, the repetitive movements, sedentary postures, and overall stress of daily life negatively impacts the supportive qualities of fascia. It can be anything from a “desk sentence” (sitting all day) to a workout routine or training for a sport.

On top of that, as we age fascia loosens and gets slack, dries up, and cramps, impeding correct movement. It’s why we’re stiff and slow to move in the mornings. “Repetitive tension on our fascial supportive tissue is like stretching out a sweater. After a while, it just doesn’t return to its original shape.” Another analogy is a dry sponge. When fascia starts to dehydrate and dry up, Hitzmann says, “We need to rehydrate the fascia and squeeze it so that it then holds more water.”

To Blast or Not to Blast

When it comes to fascia blasting and manipulating your body with the equivalent of a soft-spiked rolling pin, the medical jury is still out. Some in the fascia field say it’s OK to try blasting if you go gently, carefully, follow the guidelines, and don’t overdo it. Others, including Hitzmann, are adamantly opposed, concerned about misuse and the harm these tools can do.

“I find the whole idea of fascia blasting offensive. There’s enough body dysmorphia out there without making women feel they have to ‘fix’ their fascia. Fascia is not a bad thing. The opposite. Our entire being relies on fascia. Everyone wants a quick fix, and the tools on social are preying on that.”

Hitzmann says keeping our fascia healthy requires daily attention for even just 10 minutes. “Pay attention to precursor signals that your fascia needs work, including your feet feeling achy and stiff on the floor when you get out of bed, feeling you have to constantly adjust yourself,  and/or getting up from a chair and feeling 20 years older.” The key, she says, is to work on rejuvenating and maintaining your fascia from both the inside out and the outside in.


“Fascia is not a bad thing. The opposite. Our entire being relies on fascia.”


“We don’t drink enough water throughout the day, but the secret to cell and fascia hydration is more frequent and consistent intake of water in smaller amounts, every 15 minutes. Take one sip and just keep going. On the whole, you’re better off drinking sips throughout the day than chugging.” And if your excuse is that you don’t like water, she doesn’t want to hear it. “That’s like saying I don’t like air! Put two drops of cayenne and a drop of lemon in your water for a spicy kick that makes you feel a little thirsty (the lemon helps cut the spice). Drop one drop of cayenne in each cube of an ice cube tray, a little squirt of lemon, then just pop a few in your water. As the ice dissolves, it makes you want to drink even more.”

And for the outside-in? “I swear to God if all you do is stand up every 30 minutes, stretch your arms overhead, exhale, and put arms down — that’s a great start!” Hitzmann says standing desks are great, but they can cause fascia stiffness from being in one position too long, so you need to add posture rebalancing and movement every half hour for 10 minutes to restore fascia fluid flow.

Ideally, she says, you need to commit to a 10- to 15-minute daily routine of applying gentle, hands-off, soft-tissue manipulation with firm but soft foam rollers and rebalancing techniques, as she guides in her self-care MELT Method approach, or under the guidance of a trained manual therapist.

“The do-it-yourself approach to fascia is still new, and you need to be careful,” Hitzmann says. Bottom line? Be wary of social ‘experts’ and research before you buy.

Photo: Spwidoff

You Might Also Like

5 Exfoliators for 5 Aging-Skin Problems
Beauty

5 Exfoliators for 5 Aging-Skin Problems

It seems that with age comes a more complicated skin care routine....

read
I Feel OK About My Neck
#RealTalk

I Feel OK About My Neck

The late Nora Ephron’s essay “I Feel Bad About My Neck” is...

read
Every Wrinkle Tells a Story
#RealTalk

Every Wrinkle Tells a Story

As I approach 50 and beyond, I look at myself differently. Whereas...

read
Shave Your Face: Yay or Nay?
Beauty

Shave Your Face: Yay or Nay?

Hair removal has long been an integral part of beauty routines. As...

read
The Science-Based Solution for Aging Hair
Beauty

The Science-Based Solution for Aging Hair

There’s no question that our hair changes as we get older. It...

read
6 Questions With... Skin Care Pioneer Jane Iredale
Beauty

6 Questions With... Skin Care Pioneer Jane Iredale

Jane Iredale began her eponymous brand in New York in 1994. As a casting...

read
Women Who Inspire: Actress and Author Lisa Oz
Living

Women Who Inspire: Actress and Author Lisa Oz

Lisa Oz is the wife of Dr. Oz, but she’s never languished...

read
10 Real Women Who Endlessly Inspire Us
Living

10 Real Women Who Endlessly Inspire Us

They’re not celebrities. They don’t have a ton of money. But they...

read
5 Standing Yoga Poses for Lower-Back Pain
Yoga

5 Standing Yoga Poses for Lower-Back Pain

If you have lower-back pain, you are not alone. According to the...

read
Has the Carbohydrate Conundrum Been Solved?
Wellness

Has the Carbohydrate Conundrum Been Solved?

New research studying carb intake in relation to mortality confirms that contrary...

read
Office Hours: How Can I Get Back Into the Workforce?
Living

Office Hours: How Can I Get Back Into the Workforce?

Welcome to Office Hours, where a Fairygodboss expert answers a question from one of...

read
5 Recipes for an Unforgettable Holiday Cookie Party
Wellness

5 Recipes for an Unforgettable Holiday Cookie Party

’Tis the season for a cookie party. Legendary cookie baker Dorie Greenspan...

read
7 Lessons for My Younger Self
#RealTalk

7 Lessons for My Younger Self

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards,” said...

read
Is Sitting Ruining Your Posture?
Wellness

Is Sitting Ruining Your Posture?

Back pain, leg pain, shoulder pain, headaches. We tend to attribute inconvenient...

read
Put an End to Your Perfectionism
Wellness

Put an End to Your Perfectionism

Earlier this year I had an epiphany: The never-ending feeling that I needed...

read
Women Who Inspire: Model Gillean McLeod
Living

Women Who Inspire: Model Gillean McLeod

Gillean McLeod, 62, admits being “late to the game” has been somewhat...

read
The Fine Line Holiday Gift Guide
Living

The Fine Line Holiday Gift Guide

From hard-to-shop-for men to the gal who likes it all, the people...

read
Fitness Gifts You Won’t Have to Sweat Over
Fitness

Fitness Gifts You Won’t Have to Sweat Over

If even thinking about shopping gives you a hot flash, you’re not...

read
Perfect Presents Under $150
Living

Perfect Presents Under $150

Holiday gift giving shouldn’t break the bank. We found 13 presents under...

read
Great Gifts for Good Guys
Living

Great Gifts for Good Guys

Why are guys so hard to buy for? We don’t have the...

read
The Tastiest Holiday Gifts for Foodies
Living

The Tastiest Holiday Gifts for Foodies

We got hungry just thinking about wrapping up these tasty holiday gifts...

read
Hostess Gifts to Show Your Gratitude
Living

Hostess Gifts to Show Your Gratitude

Whether you’re just popping over for dinner or staying a few days,...

read
Holiday Gifts for Women Who Love Wellness
Wellness

Holiday Gifts for Women Who Love Wellness

Don’t stress over holiday gifts for your gals who walk the wellness...

read
Eat This Now: Ultimate Cleansing Foods
Wellness

Eat This Now: Ultimate Cleansing Foods

If you’re among the millions of Americans suffering from obesity, diabetes, high...

read
Need to Know: Heavy Metals
Wellness

Need to Know: Heavy Metals

Heavy metals are odorless, invisible, and virtually undetectable — but they’re of increasing...

read
Problem/Solution: Teensy Bladder Leaks
Style

Problem/Solution: Teensy Bladder Leaks

You laugh. You sneeze. You cough. You do 13,791 burpees at the...

read
How to Get Started With Exercise at 75
Fitness

How to Get Started With Exercise at 75

When you hit your mid-70s, you may feel like your daily routine...

read
5 Hormone-Balancing Foods
Wellness

5 Hormone-Balancing Foods

Are your hormones out of whack? Often the best place to start...

read
37 Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance
Wellness

37 Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance

Hormones play an enormous role in how we look, think, and feel....

read
7 Reasons to Embrace Cardio
Fitness

7 Reasons to Embrace Cardio

Cardio is any form of exercise that raises your pulse and conditions...

read
Load More
share
To Top