Over the last several months I’ve been receiving lots of questions regarding whether I used the Fascia Blaster to heal my diastasis recti, and if I recommend it as a tool to fix the condition.
Ashley Black Guru has been promoting on social media how her tool, the Fascia Blaster, can be used to fix a diastasis recti. This is a claim that is neither researched, nor supported by any medical doctors. There have been no clinical trials to prove this claim, and any and all evidence used is anecdotal.
Above pictures: Screenshots from the Ashley Black Guru Facebook page and YouTube channel.
I would say I have a very good understanding of diastasis recti since it has affected my body for the last 4 years. I have two certifications in personal training, a certification in Experts in Diastasis Recti, and am currently completing an Advanced Diploma in Postnatal Assessment, Core Restore and Functional Exercise Programming. Diastasis recti is the reason I began exercising and the reason I began blogging. It is not a buzz word I have picked up to sell a product, but a passion I have spoken about for the entire existence of Mummy Fitness.
Above photos: my natural results through proper exercise and a nutritious diet, over a 4-year period. A reduction of a 6-7 finger gap to a 2-3 finger gap, and an improvement in core strength, and pelvic floor function.
Diastasis recti (DR) is defined as the separation of the rectus abdominis wall. It is defined in terms of its physical appearance but this name does not explain the complexity of the condition. DR is more than an aesthetic condition; it is symptomatic of core weakness and the body’s inability to manage intra-abdominal pressure. Unmanaged it can lead to hernia’s and pelvic organ prolapse. I would like to take this instance to address another claim Ms. Black has made. She has claimed the FB can fix a hernia. Now, I have had a hernia for 31 years. I was born with an umbilical hernia and have seen many doctors in my lifetime regarding it (degree holding medical professionals). Every single doctor has told me that surgery is the only fix; the solution would be closing it with a mesh. I had an attempt at a non-mesh repair at age 6, which was unsuccessful. Ms. Black, who is not a medical doctor, is the first person to my knowledge that has ever made the claim a hernia can be cured with an external tool. A claim that is un-researched, and unproven.
Diastasis Recti is problematic because it is more than a “mummy tummy”; those with a severe DR demonstrate an inability to generate pre-tension in the transverse abdominis (TvA) causing their bellies to become distended. Women with DR often demonstrate ineffective breathing due to the weakening of the diaphragm, and often have some pelvic muscle dysfunction, as the TvA, diaphragm and pelvic floor work together to manage changes in internal pressure. DR is associated with back pain, and digestive issues. It is worsened by poor posture and improper exercises. While those with DR demonstrate tight muscles that may need stretching or massage, it is also an issue of weakened muscles and damaged tissues that require both exercise and proper nutrition to re-strengthen. Any approach taken to heal DR should be a whole body approach. There is no spot training and no is no one-size fits all solution.
Those who talk only about the proximity of the rectus abdominis while speaking on DR demonstrate a lack of understanding of it. The proximity of the rectus abdominis wall is not the issue, and a DR can be healed without the rectus abdominis wall returning to proximal. Healing is measured in terms of the linea alba being able to demonstrate tension and the TvA demonstrating a pre-tension when not consciously engaged. I currently have a 3 finger separation that may never close, but my fascia demonstrates the ability to without hold tension where is did not always. And I am able to contract my TvA where I could not always.
So , can the Fascia Blaster fix DR? In the way it has been presented by Ms. Black, I would argue, no. Raking fascia will not provide it with the collagen or proteins needed to rebuild it. Raking fascia will not strengthen the transverse abdominis, diaphragm or pelvic floor. Applying pressure to an area already demonstrating weakened fascia does not seem like a sensible thing to do. You cannot spot train. The body functions as a unit and damage caused in one area affects how all areas function.
I urge all women dealing with diastasis recti to seek the help of trained and licensed physical therapist or pelvic floor physiotherapist. Please do not buy into quick fixes. And remember, if product seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Can I just add, the definition of snake oil is an un-researched product that makes claims to cure almost all ailments. A study that is not approved by the IRB, with no control group and using only 35 participants over 90 days, and with no listed medical doctor overseeing, does not demonstrate the research needed to make the many claims made by Ashley Black regarding the Fascia Blaster. I will again add, this product has never been clinically tested for diastasis recti.
Above: Advice given by Ashley Black on how to contract your core when treating diastasis recti
See why you should NEVER inhale on exertion, here: