The News on the Bruise
by Ashley Black
The FasciaBlaster®, just like many soft tissue treatments, can cause bruising after use due to increased blood flow being drawn to the surface of the skin in response to the tissue remodeling process.
If you’re familiar with modalities like cupping, Graston, Gua Sha, and soft tissue mobilization (STM), it’s no surprise that manipulating the soft tissue and separating adhesions in the fascia can cause soft tissue bruising. However, it’s important to note that FasciaBlaster bruises are the opposite of the bruises you get from a blunt force impact that causes internal bleeding.
Why does the FasciaBlaster® cause bruises?
There are two types of trauma: macrotrauma (large) and microtrauma (small).
• Macrotrauma occurs from harsh impact or a blunt force, such as banging your leg on the coffee table, falling off a bicycle, or sustaining a blow to the head.
• Microtrauma is the general term for small-scale, temporary trauma that can occur from exercise and overuse, and results in a healing and remodeling of the tissue. For examples, intense exercise and resistance training can cause small tears in the muscle fibers, which then signals the body to send more blood supply and nutrients to the site to repair and rebuild the tissue. This acute trauma and remodeling process is how muscles grow.
When soft tissue therapies such as cupping and FasciaBlasting leave bruises, this is a sign that the body’s natural healing and repair process is taking place. Blood is drawn to the surface of the skin bringing the nutrients required for healing and soft tissue repair and promotes new blood vessel formation (angiogenesis) in the tissue. Fibroblasts and white blood cells also rush to the area to help stimulate healing. You can expect a regeneration and repair (proliferation) of the capillary system and a controlled degree of acute inflammation, which is the body’s way of remodeling the tissue, improving mobility and circulatory health, and relieving muscle tension and pain.
When combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle, stretching, exercise, muscle activation, and posture correction, you can expect to feel more range of motion, better circulation, decreased pain and tension, and upgraded performance. The temporary bruises are a small price to pay for healthier tissues and a more pain-free you!
How does the tissue remodeling process work?
The body’s natural healing process can happen in 3 phases with varying time frames:
• Inflammation phase: typically lasts for up to 72 hours. During this phase, blood flow is rushing to the area bringing nutrients to clean up the site and prepare for tissue repair.
• Proliferation phase: when the tissue repair and regeneration begins. Newly formed collagen (fascia tissue) arrives at the site, and more capillaries are made in order to keep up with the increase in blood flow (known as angiogenesis).
• Maturation phase: your newly generated collagen tissue increases in strength and quality.
These 3 phases can occur simultaneously and need time to play out. If the body is stuck in the inflammation phase, the proliferation and maturation phase won’t be able to effectively heal and repair. That’s why it’s so important to allow time for ample recovery so your body has time to heal itself. After these 3 phases occur, you can resume your FasciaBlasting routine.
How long will the bruising last?
There’s no exact timeframe, and it greatly depends on your health, the health of your fascia, your diet, and your lifestyle. If you have any autoimmune issues or preexisting health conditions, your body may need more time to recover. For most healthy individuals, if you follow the FasciaBlaster best practices and ease into treatment, the bruises shouldn’t last longer than 3-6 days. If your bruises remain, ease up on the pressure and duration of your FasciaBlaster treatments, allow for more recovery time, and follow these nutrition and hydration guidelines.
Will I keep bruising every time I use the FasciaBlaster?
In general, you can expect less bruising after the first few months of consistent FasciaBlasting as you restore and smooth out the adhesions in the fascia down to the deeper layers.
It’s important to note that bruising is NOT required. You’re in control of the pressure and frequency, and you can minimize bruising by easing into treatment and staying light and brisk at the surface layer.
Tips for reducing FasciaBlaster bruises:
• After Blaster Cream™
The After Blaster Cream was designed to improve recovery time, minimize bruising and inflammation, and optimize your FasciaBlasting results. It contains high-quality arnica extract that helps soothe aches and soreness, accelerate the body’s healing process, hydrate and replenish the skin, protect the immune system, and improve skin health. It’s perfect for both flushing and massage and as an everyday moisturizer, and its subtle coconut and lavender notes smell amazing!
Massage a few droplets onto your skin throughout the day as needed, or apply it on bruises and any sore or inflamed areas. The anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antiseptic ingredients can also provide beneficial antioxidants, skin conditioning, and pain relief.
Flushing helps stimulate blood and lymphatic flow for improved circulation and recovery and reduced inflammation. This video explains the importance of flushing and demonstrates the techniques.
Stretching helps release tension and restriction along the fascial lines, decrease inflammation, and improve flexibility and circulation. Perform the fascia line stretches demonstrated in The Cellulite Myth to stretch and open the lines of fascia and help you identify impingements and restrictions.
• Cold Therapy
Applying cold therapy such as cold showers, ice packs, cryotherapy, and ice baths may not sound like a walk in the park, but you’ll love the effects! Cold treatments help reduce swelling and soreness, boost the immune system, and provide an excellent environment for healing.
Be sure to start with a tolerable exposure to cold treatment, like turning the water to cold for the last 30-90 seconds of your shower and then increasing the duration. It’s important that you safely and gradually increase your exposure, as “too much too soon” can overwhelm your body and backfire.
Note: If you’re swollen or bruised, excess heat exposure is not recommended. Wait until the bruising and inflammation have subsided.
Aside from a healthy diet and proper hydration, certain vitamins and minerals can assist with the healing and recovery process. Whether you’re experiencing bruising or just want to improve your immune response, ask your healthcare provider about adding some of all of these supplements:
– Calcium promotes strong joint and bones, immune response, and healing.
– Collagen promotes healthy skin, connective tissues, bones, joints, and hair, and helps improve sleep, flexibility, and recovery.
– Vitamin C helps with collagen and connective tissue formation and promotes immune function.
– Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium which enhances the transmission of nerve impulses and strengthens bones.
– Vitamin K helps with clotting, cognitive function, bone health, blood flow, and reducing inflammation.
– Magnesium promotes bone growth and soft tissue repair.
Can I FasciaBlast over bruises?
Do NOT FasciaBlast over bruises or any areas that are sore, swollen, or inflamed. The bruises are a sign of tissue restoration, and you need to give your body time to properly recover and remodel the tissue. Stretching, flushing, cardio, and other recovery modalities can help speed up the healing process.
Why can’t I FasciaBlast if I’m on blood thinners or have a history of blood clots?
Most people who are on blood thinners are usually post-op or have a history of heart issues. If your blood is thin, there are not as many platelets, and therefore the body cannot repair and limit the initial inflammation as efficiently. We strongly recommend that you consult your doctor if you are taking blood thinners and aspirins daily, and advise you not to use the FasciaBlaster without your doctor’s approval.
Does the FasciaBlaster cause blood clots, internal bleeding, or damage?
No, the FasciaBlaster has not shown to cause blood clots, thrombus, or deep vein thrombosis (DVT). In a 2017 controlled study, 35 women used the FasciaBlaster 5 times a week for 90 days, and data taken from blood measurements, DEXA scans, and ultrasounds showed no indication that damage was occurring or of any blood clot formation.
Ultrasound imaging showed the fascia was safely and effectively smoothed out, there was a reduction in subcutaneous fat, cellulite, and inflammation. There were no markers showing tissue damage or distress, and no stressors on vital organ systems.
I have a bruise that isn’t going away! What is happening?
If you experience a lingering bruise, you may have been applying too much pressure or FasciaBlasting the area too often and not allowing enough time for recovery.
• Apply the After Blaster Cream and ice the area. Continue reapplying as needed for the duration of the swelling.
• Stretching, flushing, cardio, proper hydration, and staying active will help to flush out toxins.
• Use the FasciaBlaster lightly and briskly at the surface layer to flush the area and facilitate Venous return.
• Perform these isometric muscle activation exercises.
Why do bruises sometimes appear in a different area than the one I FasciaBlasted?
This can be experienced mostly in the lower extremities due to gravity. For example, you may blast your quad and find that your knee swells. When you FasciaBlast an area, blood rushes to it. Gravity can prevent efficient blood flow, which may cause swelling to be restricted to an area. Flushing, elevating, and staying active are all important in this process because movement serves as a natural “pump” to help increase circulation and lymphatic drainage. Swelling can move in the body, and sometimes that fluid will move up. We wrap swollen joints for this exact reason! If your bruising is moving up, it’s the swelling working its way through the circulatory system, so it can actually be a good thing!
What if I’m not bruising?
While bruising is a sign of restoration, it’s also not required in order to get results from FasciaBlasting. Everyone’s body will react a little differently, and some people will bruise more or less than others. Bruising can also be a choice depending on the amount of depth and pressure you use. For beginners, easing into treatment is a process, so go lightly until your tissue is ready for deeper treatment.
Sometimes you won’t bruise for the first few treatments because the fascia is so recoiled and tight and is restricting blood flow to the area. Once you loosen the fascia and decompress the blood vessels, more blood flow will be allowed to reach the area.
During warmer months when more skin will be exposed, you may choose to stick to lighter treatments to minimize bruising. Or maybe your significant other isn’t comfortable with the bruising, or you have a big event coming up. Whether you crawl, walk, or run, you’ll still complete the marathon, so listen to your body, give yourself plenty of time for recovery, and be sure to use the recovery tips in this article!
Why do some areas of the body bruise and not others?
Bruises can appear where the body is showing repair. The body will send the blood flow, inflammation, and nutrients where they’re most needed. If you blast 2 areas and only get bruising in 1, that is where the body decided you needed the nutrients most.
Why do some bruises show up a few days later?
This is because the inflammation phase can spread out over the course of 0-72 hrs. At any point during that period, a bruise can appear, and it’s not something to worry or be concerned about. The 3 phases of the inflammation process can carry on for up to a week. Don’t be alarmed; this is perfectly normal!
• FasciaBlaster bruises are a sign of tissue healing and remodeling.
• Adequate recovery time is essential for the body to complete the healing process.
• Cold therapy, flushing, stretching, keeping active, and incorporating proper nutrition in your diet help accelerate your recovery.
I hope this information was helpful and allows you to understand what’s going on in your body and feel more comfortable with the post-FasciaBlasting bruising. So stay calm and blast on!