Women were once thrilled to be released from the confines of corsets, but a recent movement called waist training is putting the centuries-old garment back into style.
Championed by a small group of celebrities–Kim Kardashian included–waist training uses a corset or corset-like device to cinch the abdomen in the hopes that over time the chronic pressure will force the body to remain in that form. Some companies claim an individual can adjust their waist size by as much as seven inches.
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While enough people are buying into the fad to keep corset companies busy, most experts agree there is no real mechanism behind waist training that suggests it might actually work.
“Medically, it doesn’t make sense that cinching your waist tightly will make it permanently smaller,” Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, clinical professor of ob-gyn at Yale School of Medicine, told Fox News. “Once you take the garment off, your body will return to its usual shape. It’s also uncomfortable, restricts your movements, and if you wear it really tight, it can even make it difficult to breathe and theoretically could cause rib damage.”
Minkin’s views are shared by Stephen Ball, an associate professor in the department of nutrition and exercise physiology at the University of Missouri. Ball told Today Health, “Its going to make you look slimmer when you have it on, but I dont know any physiology that would explain that youre going to lose body fat by wearing this device. People want a quick fix. They dont want to put in the effort that it actually takes and so Im sure lots of women will see these pictures and go out and spend their money on these types of devices when they should be focusing on exercise and healthy eating.
Waist training is considered not only ineffective for weight loss, it is potentially harmful. Also known as tightlacing, this practice can cause internal damage.
All organs within the corset are affected, according to experts, even though much of the changes go unnoticed by the women practicing this form of body modification. The diaphragm, for example, is pushed upwards and becomes useless in the process of breathing. The liver can become severely malformed, resulting in what are known as corset lobes, stretched sections of liver which protrude down into the abdomen, often requiring surgical removal. Digestion also suffers as the intestines are compressed and the large bowel becomes dislodged
And the ill-effects of this practice have been noted for centuries. The National Library of Medicine notes the first major insight in corset health issues was written in 1793. “Von Sömmerring, a physician and well-known anatomist, argued that the back-laced corset, as worn by fashionable ladies of the time, constituted a heath hazard by compressing the ribs and other internal organs and leadinghe claimedto tuberculosis, cancer, and scoliosis, or curvature of the spine.”
So ladies, if you must wear a corset, only wear it for a few hours under clothing for a special occasion. It is not a weight loss tool or an effective body modification device. A corset can’t replace exercise and proper nutrition.