Can This Simple Tool Banish Cellulite?
GP turned us onto body guru Ashley Black, who cured herself of a series of painful structural issues by healing her fascia, the connective tissue that covers all of our muscles. (Fascia work has been linked to the health of the lymphatic system and blood flow, a decrease in inflammation, and it can be a mega detoxifier, as frequent goop contributor, Lauren Roxburgh, has taught us.) Black, who was a fitness trainer, primarily for pro sports teams, developed her own tool for working this connective tissue, called the FasciaBlaster. It’s brilliant for a number of purposes (it’s really helped GP with some back pain), but at the top of the list is getting rid of cellulite. There are some insane before-and-after pictures online and in Black’s closed Facebook group, which has more than 220,000 members—women of all shapes and sizes. As Black explains, cellulite isn’t actually caused by fat or only suffered by those in a particular body-fat percentage. It’s the result of distortions in our fascia that pull down on the skin, creating the appearance of dimples. The key to zapping cellulite is smoothing out the fascia.
Here, Black decodes the cellulite myth (the title of her book on the subject), and we show you how surprisingly easy it is to use her tool.
A Q&A with Ashley Black
Does fat play any role in cellulite?
Fat itself is shapeless; it will take on the shape of whatever it’s encased in. Take a sausage for example: If the ground meat is placed in a smooth encasing, its surface will be smooth. Now imagine you take that same ground meat and put it in a fishnet stocking…not so smooth! The same is true with fat and fascia. If the fascia is lying flat and is in its healthy state, the fat will lie flat as well. If the fascia is adhered and tight, the fat will push up through this grid-like tissue and look bumpy and uneven.
Diet and exercise can cause you to lose fat and reduce the appearance of cellulite, but again, it doesn’t address the root cause! When you reduce fat, cellulite may be less apparent, but the fascial distortion is still present.
How does the FasciaBlaster address cellulite?
I’ve been studying fascia’s role in pain management and sports performance for more than two decades, and had no intention of inventing a cellulite tool. In our therapy clinics, we were primarily working with male pro athletes. It would take our practitioners hours to open up the fascia, using manual techniques, like vigorously rubbing the skin with our knuckles, or “fascia pulling,” which involves grabbing the skin and pulling it up. I originally designed the blaster to make these restoration treatments more effective—it allowed us to open up and access the deeper layers of the connective tissue within minutes.
Most of my male pro athlete clients were void of cellulite and used the blaster for years before I ever made the connection between cellulite and fascia. The lightbulb went off when a fit woman began using it, and told me that the cellulite she had been struggling with had disappeared.
When you scrub them over bare, lubricated skin, the claws rake through the fascial adhesions, restoring and smoothing them out layer by layer. [See our guide and video how-to below.] The FasciaBlaster is often compared to various rolling devices: Although I love a good foam rolling session, foam rolling is better suited for muscle knots, not the distortions that this tool gets at. Foam rolling simulates a massage session where a therapist might press an elbow into a knot. But picture fascia like a tangle in the hair; in order to untangle it, you need those bristles/claws to whisk through and smooth it out. The same way you wouldn’t roll through your hair deep and hard, you don’t want to steamroll over fascial recoil, adhesions, and distortions: You brush them out a little at a time. The fact that it doesn’t roll is actually what makes the blaster effective at getting rid of cellulite.
Most users experience some results—such as smoother skin tone, more muscle definition, better athletic performance—after the first few sessions. Our clinical research indicates that restoration can be seen in the layers of fascia and the look of cellulite can be diminished within sixty days of proper use. There’s no exact timeframe, though, since your lifestyle, health habits, posture, and many other factors play a role in the condition of your fascia [more below].
How many women get cellulite at some point in their lives? What age does it typically appear?
Problems with the fascia can actually start in the womb, but anyone can experience fascial recoil, and hence cellulite, at any age. Sources report that cellulite affects approximately 90 percent of women, and begins to occur primarily between the ages of twenty-five and thirty-five. In a poll from the 200,000-plus members in my private women’s only Facebook group, most women reported seeing cellulite as early as fifteen to eighteen years old.
I experienced cellulite myself as a teen, even though I was a competitive gymnast, but I had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Watching my daughter (who is a size two) experience cellulite at fifteen made me wonder if her scoliosis played a role. I think the question of age-related symptoms really needs to be rethought. We know that structural issues such as a jammed hip can cause fascia problems, and I think cellulite starts when these problems start, which is different for each individual. Sometimes we are just leaner when we are younger, so the problems are present, but not yet visible at the skin level.
Why do some women have cellulite and others don’t?
Cellulite is attributed to diet, exercise, stress, hormones, and genetics, among other factors, which are all things that affect every cell in the body, including the fascia. While these are important considerations, they are not the root cause. The fact that skinny women, curvy women, muscular women, toned and untoned, women of all ethnicities, and, yes, even supermodels, get cellulite, should debunk the concept that cellulite is a fat problem. In my experience, although there are varying degrees, pretty much every woman has distortions at some level. We’ve seen accounts from hundreds of thousands of our users with very different body types and body fat percentages, and the science always holds true: restoring the fascia = smooth skin.
So, the answer to why do some women have cellulite and some don’t is simple: some have more severe fascia issues than others. The good news is that everyone has the ability to restore their connective tissue.
What else can help get rid of cellulite? What about preventing it in the first place?
In a perfect world, we would all have healthy fascia since birth. Our structures would be perfectly aligned and our biomechanics would be on point, keeping our connective tissue in its ideal state. However, the reality is that misalignments and structural imbalances are all too common, and fascial recoil is something that we all encounter daily; it’s important to actively work to keep it in its optimum state.
Anything you do that is good for your body on a cellular level is going to benefit your fascia. Things you can do every day to maintain its optimal state include: stay well hydrated, maintain correct posture (this includes how you stand, sit, walk, exercise), eat clean, and be active. (In this episode of my radio show, I explain proper biomechanics and how to clean up your movement patterns from a neurological standpoint.) These elements are important for maintaining your fascia and keeping it healthy once it’s been restored, but these alone will not actually break up the adhesions that cause the appearance of cellulite. I always say no vegetable can break up a fascial adhesion, no squat can loosen recoil, and no amount of water can change a distortion… So even though other factors are important to your health, there is no substitute for going to the source with the blaster.
The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of goop, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.