It is the first Monday of February and winter roars on here in Minnesota. This winter has been a quietly roaring winter but still it is too cold to stand outside in your bare feet and certainly not the time of year to soak in some Vitamin D.
I started something new in December and personally for any of us with hypothyroidism and the resulting aches and pains I think it is almost a necessity. What is this fabulously necessary thing? A fascia blaster.
On Blasting Fascia
Fascia is not a concept invented by a woman named Ashley Black but this little number shown below is. It is a “fascia blaster” and like Rolfing or other manipulation, it digs in to help release tension but unlike Rolfing the little plastic fingers dig deeper than human fingers can (it has been compared to “coining” aka Gua Sha) and have the ability to release trapped fascia.
Fascia covers your entire body in so many spider-like webs. To quote Wikipedia “Like ligaments, aponeuroses, and tendons, fascia is made up of fibrous connective tissue containing closely packed bundles of collagen fibers oriented in a wavy pattern parallel to the direction of pull. Fascia is consequently flexible and able to resist great unidirectional tension forces until the wavy pattern of fibers has been straightened out by the pulling force. These collagen fibers are produced by fibroblasts located within the fascia.”
When fascia gets bound up the muscle and fat stick through it like dimples. If muscles get pulled on by fascia they hurt. Eventually these tight masses start to pull on ligaments and tendons and that all pulls on bones and joints. Pretty soon you are all bound up, tense and in pain.
You might get migraines because fascia is so tightly bound to your skull it makes your brain hurt. You get wrinkles on your face and neck, losing definition because fascia is pulling on certain areas (for instance scarred areas) and causing dimples (not the cute smile dimples but dimpling of the skin) or wrinkles. Ashley talks about the elevens that form between your eyebrows and crow’s-feet that form at the edges of aging eyes. All of it can in some way be attributed to the pull of twist of fascia and those little fingers in the blaster will help release and straighten the fascia tendrils.
What? Black and Blue?
When you start blasting one scary thing happens. As you release these tightly bound layers you will bruise and I don’t mean cute little bruises as if you bumped your hand on the edge of a door. I mean full, deep purple bruises that might cover an entire side if you have tissue bound by fascia on that side.
I have to admit, here and now, I have a very low tolerance for pain, so my bruises have been small and fairly light because my sessions are under 30 minutes. I blasted a friend the other day who has more tolerance for pain. She had been doing her own blasting, where she could reach with her large blaster, and she had already created a palette of purple I have not seen on the color spectrum (just kidding).
When I was done blasting her I can only imagine the new bruises she has. We worked on one area of her back almost an hour. I could see the redness and bumpiness appear as I worked on her back. She tells me she now has another display thanks to our session and she is fine with it, excited by it and appreciative (I think). She is a nurse by education and her knowledge of the body and how it works helps her understand more of what is happening to cause these bruises, it does not upset her.
Here’s the thing. All the bruising will go away and as she heals and gets rid of these fascial bindings she will re-shape her body. She may get her waist back and her thigh pads, referred to as saddlebags, will lessen and, she hopes, disappear. Other women have their facial shape return, jowls diminish, and their chin line returns. Tummy fat from pregnancies lessen and flatten out. Plantar fascitis will disappear. It is a tool for many maladies and I am hoping for the best of results for the both of us.
I could quite honestly go on and on but it would get really boring and I would lose your attention for sure. I will provide you with my insight and then set you loose to chart your own course.
I am not blasting to re-shape my body. If that happens I will not be disappointed but I want the Fascia Blaster for pain relief. My poor dental hygienist’s neck has been aching at night like never before. I have tried new pillows and new mattresses, essential oils and Boswellia. I have tried ice packs and chiropractic adjustment all to no avail.
Currently, I am blasting my scalp and my neck, arms and pecs to release the pull fascia has on my skull and scapula not to mention the pull on my Occiput and the tension in the semispinalis capitis muscle (if you want to see the areas just click on the highlighted words). When I do a treatment, or when my blasting partner did a treatment of my neck and shoulders, the pain is less intense but it soon returns, so I know the process is a long-term thing and I do not expect overnight results nor results without some maintenance.
I also am hoping to relieve some IT band discomfort and some unnatural pulling on my pelvis and knees. Because fascia covers your entire body extensively treating one area means treating nearly the entire body, so without too much pain and discomfort that is my plan.
So here is a typical session plan. This afternoon, I am planning a full body blast but it will not be a long drawn out affair, perhaps a 15 minute session covering foot to head. To prepare, I will do some aerobic exercise for 30 minutes. While I exercise, my sauna will be heating and when I am done exercising I will warm myself completely in my sauna for 15-30 minutes.
Once my entire body is heated and pliable I will take my coconut oil and my Mini Blaster 2 in to a warmed bathroom (the warmth cannot be over emphasized as fascia will not respond as well when you are cold). I also will take my iPad and my YouTube app along and play one of many Ashley Black Guru videos to ensure I cover all necessary areas in a pattern that is most helpful (it is a must to know all the contraindications, so watch the video covering those).
I will then cover an area or several areas with a nice coating of oil. Working my blaster up and down, back and forth and even in a diagonal motion but never in circles as that just binds up fascia. I will use quick but constant motions with moderate pressure. I will avoid direct or deep contact in the areas that have lymph nodes. I am looking for a reddening of the skin as that means I have increased the blood flow bringing much-needed oxygen and other nutrients to that area of my body.
When I move to a new area I will apply more oil (yes, cover everything around you with a towel that can be washed) and blast that area. When I have covered all the areas I wish to do today I will shower and end my shower with cold water. Before I am done for the day I will take 2-3 pellets of Arnica 200cc (my blasting partner suggested this before and after you blast) to help reduce any inflammation and bruising.
I am sharing this information to inform you of yet another way you can reduce pain and inflammation in your body. If you are curious and want to know more I suggest joining Ashley Black Fascia Blasting Facebook group. They are a great group of women who share amazing photos and experiences. It is very reassuring to see such support among women and I enjoy reading all their testimonials.
Have a great February and for all my Aquarian and Pisces soul mates, happy birthday!