Formerly part of Fascia Treatments for EDS and Fibromyalgia, which I decided to update and separate into two posts, this one now focuses solely on my tips for blasting with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and/or Fibromyalgia. Truth be told, the use of the FasciaBlaster is trending toward a much broader use than collagen disorders, but since EDS and fibromyalgia are diagnoses I have along with many others, I can only speak specifically to what it’s like to blast with this type of body, so I’m not really giving advice to those with say lupus or RA who blast. However, there is a group on Facebook you can go to for advice with these conditions, called Health Support for FasciaBlasting (Women Only).
I also want to note right up front so it’s clear that I DO NOT RECOMMEND FASCIABLASTING FOR vEDS, cEDS or any form of EDS that carries a high risk of arterial rupture. It is also not recommended for people on blood thinners or who have a history of blood clots (Ashley Black Guru FAQ). That’s because fasciablasting causes extensive bruising and trauma. Before Blasting, it’s also a good idea to speak with your doctor about any possible side effects for your health conditions to ensure your safety.
To get started, here are the 29 fascia blasting zones along with the basic dos and don’ts and a full body tutorial where Ashley Black tells you how to do your treatments. I highly recommend you read through this information to ensure your own safety and proper practice! Below are a few personalized tips for zebras and spoonies I have compiled from my own personal experience:
- If at first you don’t have the strength to blast on your own, have someone do it for you. My husband still helps me with hard to reach areas or if I’m in a bad flare and simply don’t have the spoons. Do what you can, though. It can provide a good work out for little used muscles and will help you build some strength. I started my treatments while I was still bedbound and it really helped get me moving again.
- Your first several treatments will release a lot of knotted fascia, which naturally means your body will have to rid itself of a lot of toxins. Limit these treatments by going fast, but applying only light pressure and only doing your body in sections. Staying light helps you keep from breaking through too many layers at once and not doing your entire body all at once should help with toxic load as well.
- Never work an area of your body that’s still sore and bruised (and if you’re doing it right, you will bruise about every time! Healing time is essential!!
- Give your body ample time to heal. Watch your weight. It will likely go up because of inflammation from the treatment and back down once you have healed. I cannot stress enough to go light, especially if you have EDS, as bruising and reactions can be pretty heavy in our population!
- Avoid dislocations and other injuries by allowing someone to help you with hard to reach areas or try modifying your full-size blaster using 1 in 90 electrical conduction pipes (found at your local hardware store for around $2)
- If you have issues with grip, the Mini2 may be a better option for you and always treat your hands and wrists at the end of your other treatments to relieve them of pain. The FaceBlaster is best for this and can help resolve issues with carpal tunnel, trigger finger, dislocations, etc.
- Be sure your skin is well oiled. I use unrefined coconut oil or grapeseed oil in excess so my skin can’t soak it all up. You can also order oil from the site, but Coconut oil is my preference since it’s healthy, natural and my skin is super-sensitive.
- Rub hard enough to be effective, but don’t hurt yourself. Ashley Black says you should never experience pain over a 7, but for us it should be more like a 3 or 4 with only occasional spikes of higher pain. As people who suffer chronic pain, our pain meters may be a bit off, so don’t go crazy and adjust down a little. If you can feel the pop of the fascia releasing under your skin, you’re pressing hard enough.
- If you don’t have the energy for a warm up and/or you’re heat sensitive, try a heating pad for a few minutes prior to treatment or do it as part of your bath if you can. If you’re so heat intolerant you can’t even bear a heating pad, IT IS ACCEPTABLE TO BLAST WITHOUT HEAT. When starting out, I just laid under my comforter for a while to warm up and I made good progress. I wasn’t even exercising because blasting used all the energy I had. After a few months, heating became more important to moving my progress forward, but by then my heat intolerance had improved enough that I could handle the heating pad and by 7 months I could blast in a hot shower… me, a POTSie!
- Muscle warming and post-activation help make blasting more effective, but you don’t have to do an extensive “workout” to accomplish this goal. Just squeeze the muscle a few times, blast, flush and activate the muscle once or twice by squeezing again. Add on more as you get the energy to do so. Before you know it, you’re doing a whole work out routine.
- Conserve your energy. Work one area of your body a day or every couple of days. For example, starting out I did my calves one day, my thighs 2 days after, my stomach 2 days after that and so on. Sometimes I had to take a few days in between because I just didn’t have the energy. Don’t feel bad about it. It’s a journey and you’re not going to win the war against your fascia in one day or even one month. Frankly, it’s a maintenance thing and we have to be in it for the long haul. Dysfunctional connective tissue means dysfunctional fascia. It’s always going to be a problem, though eventually you have to do it a whole lot less!
- If working on a particular issue, be sure to look for advice and tutorials among Ashley Black’s vast collection. Doing only the affected area is rarely enough, due to the interconnected nature of fascia; it’s one giant network throughout the body (see my fasciablasting resources, linked below).
- Blasting your head can sometimes produce a sensation of nausea, especially if you have a lot of myofascial adhesions on your skull. This passes quickly when you stop blasting. Try moving to another portion of the head to quell the feeling and then going back, working a little at a time as you can tolerate it. As the fascia uncoil and improve, you’ll no longer experience this sensation when blasting. It took me a couple of months before it ceased completely.
- If you’re doing the migraine series, use a FaceBlaster. A blaster with full-sized claws works, but it’s like the difference between a 1 hour massage from an expert (the FaceBlaster) and a 10 minute massage from your spouse. They’re both amazing tools, but they have their specific uses. The migraine series is one area where tiny claws cannot be beat.
- Never fasciablast your carotid artery.
- Always drink lots of water to help release toxins after blasting.
- Take occasional breaks of 3-5 days to allow your body to heal and rest, but not too long. You don’t want to delay your progress!
- Do use your fasciablaster on your fibromyalgia tenderpoints and any CRPS knots or adhesions. It will hurt like hell, but you will find that they become less and less tender and some will even disappear. Most of these tender points are likely fascial adhesions that need to be worked out. I believe they are caused by our lax tendons based on their locations.
- Concentrate on sore spots and muscles that cramp frequently when blasting. This tends to indicate fascia bundles that are particularly resistant and the poke and wiggle technique helps to alleviate cramping and break them up (that’s what the pointy ends of the Mini 2 and the nuggets are for). You can even feel lumpy adhesions shaped like balls and ridges once you begin to break through areas that are beyond bound.
- Be stringent in your practice to begin. Once you’ve established a routine, you’ll find that returning aches and how much better you feel from regular treatments will naturally keep you diligent about your practice. Once you start feeling really good, you may need to work by a calendar to stay that way!
- Read through Ashley Black’s blogs including how to’s, warnings, advice, etc to ensure you use it safely and effectively and consider joining a group of other people with your same condition so you have support and can ask questions.
- To help with post-blasting pain, use ice or an ice bath the day of along with some arnica or another topical analgesic like biofreeze or AloeMD. A day or two later, you can soak in a tub of hot water with some epsom salts, which can help reduce bruising some.
- Protect your joints by strengthening your muscles. Sometimes as we loosen fascia we see fewer subluxations and dislocations. Some of us see more. This all depends on the strength of your muscles and their ability to support your hypermobile joints. We must build strong muscle to support our weak connective tissue so our fascia isn’t work so hard. See my article on EDS and exercise for some tips and styles of safe exercise.
If you decide to take on this therapy, please contact me and let me know how it’s going. I’m excited to hear from you!
For more information, tips, and resources, check out these articles on FasciaBlasting: