In this article, we'll be debunking some of the common myths and misunderstandings around waist training, both the misconceptions as well as the risks associated with the practice when waist trainers are used improperly.
Over recent years, many popular shows on TV and videos on YouTube have discussed the supposed dangers of waist training, including extremely well-known talk shows such as Dr. Oz and Doctors. While I personally love both of these shows, this article will bring up some points they commonly address and discuss them more in-depth.
Of course, an important disclaimer to make here is that I’m not a doctor and am not writing to provide any kind of medical advice. However, what I can do is speak from direct experience – I myself have been waist training for three years now, and am qualified to speak on behalf of Luxx Health Waist Trainers and the Luxx Curves Waist Training Dolls Community.
Waist training: The concept
The goals of waist trainers and shapewear are quickly summarised as:
• To give you a more shapely figure
• and help you to lose weight
Waist training is an age-old concept that has taken many forms. From corset in the 16th century to women wrapping their waists with a cotton cloth to assist in tightening their waist postpartum, to the more technologically advanced modern waist trainers we sell here at Luxx Curves – this trend is a long-lasting one, and there’s a good reason behind this.
So why are so many people skeptical of it?
Why Waist Trainers Don’t Deserve To Be In The Same Category As Corsets
One of the very first things to understand is that on many videos, the title includes the words ‘waist trainers’ even when in the videos themselves, the speakers seem more preoccupied with corsets, which are not at all the same thing. For instance, in one Dr. Oz video, the hosts discuss claims made by waist training manufactures about their products’ ability to shrink waist size: “We have a woman…who wants to literally be like a cartoon character…and she walks out with her waist really squeezed in…I mean, she squeezed it to all kinds of places.”
The speakers then go on to talk about corsets as antiquated Victorian torture devices, and the aforementioned woman featured in the episode, Pixie, who claims to have shrunk her waist down to 16 inches by wearing a corset for several hours every day for seven years. Only eventually does the video mention the difference between waist trainers and corsets: “A shaper that has some flexibility is very different than a rigid corset where you literally cannot move.” However, even then, the video does not emphasize this difference, instead continuing to use the words more or less interchangeably.
In the same video, the hosts continue to discuss the damage that waist trainers can supposedly do to your body: “You're supposed to have bones protecting your key internal organs, right? The reason your ribcage goes so low is to protect kidneys, your liver, your spleen, organs that if they're injured can be life-threatening…these waist trainers bend your ribs, crush them so they stay in a new place forever.” Of course, the issue here is that the speakers are showing how corsets can shift your organs over time, whereas waist trainers simply do not have the capacity to do so, given their relative lack of strength and rigidity.
The difference between a corset and a waist trainer can easily be seen by a simple examination of the two products. Regular steel-boned corsets have boning that cannot really be bent, meaning that when wearing one, it’s very hard for the person to bend as well. Moreover, because corsets are so strong, they’re able to be laced extremely tightly, which allows their wearers, over time, to achieve that tiny 23-inch to 16-inch waist.
A lack of understanding of the difference between corsets and waist trainers plays a big part in the perceived danger.
Corsets are a much more extreme approach to waist cinching. The rigid boning of a corset, whether that’s one from the 16th century or from the modern day, is made from wooden or metal boning. These materials have very little give, thus, if the garment is over-tightened they can cause some real damage. Broken ribs would not have been unusual to obtain as a woman when daily corset usage was the height of fashion.
Some very extreme images exist of women with waists cinched to ridiculously small sizes. Many of these might actually be edited; even old photos could be painted over!
Conversely, waist trainers are made using flexi-steel bones – they’re still steel, but are bendable, meaning they provide enough support for the wearer to keep their back aligned and make an impact on their body shape, but not so much that they have the strength to literally shift bones or move ribs and organs around. At Luxx Health, we sell only waist trainers, not corsets. Having said that, one interesting note to make here is that organs are naturally designed to be slippery so that they can move around somewhat – for example, when a woman is pregnant and the organs shift to make room for her growing baby. This means that waist trainers, while not necessarily comfortable to wear while pregnant, are still completely safe to use even then if worn properly.
Wearing Waist Trainers For Unsafe Period Of Time
Another issue with videos purporting to be about waist training is that they often talk about people wearing them for unsafe periods of time – for example, “They say when you first get your waist trainer, you should be wearing it for 10 hours a day,” or “They'll wear them 24 hours a day frequently. They'll wear them all night long, and they wear them for weeks and months on end.”
The generalization here is that every woman wears a waist trainer 24/7. At Luxx Health, we simply do not recommend that anyone wear their waist trainer for such a length of time. On the contrary, we recommend a maximum of eight hours per day, which people definitely shouldn’t be doing right off the bat. Instead, inexperienced users should build up slowly, initially wearing their waist trainer for up to an hour, then gradually increasing this period of time as it becomes more comfortable, until eventually hitting that eight-hour mark if that’s the intended goal. Sleeping with a waist trainer (especially a corset) over extended periods of time can additionally cause side effects like acid reflux.
Extreme Body Contouring
Not only do talk show doctors frequently exaggerate the timeframe that most women wear their waist trainers for, but they also talk about the extreme side of body contouring by showing examples of women who either want to or have already had their ribs removed: “Some women have gone to the extent of having ribs removed to create that coke bottle figure…obviously she's doing this 'cause she feels inadequate the way she already looks…so it's not necessarily to get that womanly figure, it's to just make it as small as possible, that's the ultimate goal here.”
The obvious issue here is that these talk show hosts aren’t depicting your average waist trainee – they're showing a very small percentage of women who take waist training to the absolute extreme. In contrast, the waist trainees who I know, and who buy Luxx Health Waist Trainers, are average people. They're not looking to achieve unrealistic results, but rather want to achieve realistic and healthy results, whether this is to shed their mom pooch, help with their diastasis recti, reduce their back pain, or simply to obtain a shapelier figure. Everyone has a different reason for waist training, but in any event, it's not fair to assume that all women who waist train want to take it to an extreme or unhealthy level.
Pixie, the example used on the Dr. Oz show, is a beautiful young woman who, in my opinion, takes corset training too far. The hosts therefore use her as an example on their show, which unfortunately doesn’t reflect the majority of people who do waist training. The true argument here isn't that waist training in itself is dangerous – it's that a small percentage of people take waist training and corset training to an extreme level, when it then does become unhealthy. The fact of the matter is that both corset training and waist training have been around for ages – since at least the Victorian era in the 1800s – and the scientific studies proving how dangerous these practices are simply don't exist.
Wearing Waist Trainers At The Gym
The Dr. Oz video goes on to comment about other unrecommended waist training practices, such as wearing waist trainers while at the gym: “I see women, they put these things on and they go to the gym and think that you're gonna work out. Well, as we saw, you can't even take a deep breath in these.” In fact, this is not a recommended practice in general, but rather just another example of people who take waist training a step too far.
At Luxx, we actually have a special fitness belt specifically designed for those people who love to work out. You can find some of the latest discounts for our fitness belt at WeThrift. This belt can be worn at the gym in place of a waist trainer. It’s not made from plexi-steel bones and is a lot more flexible, and the hooks and eyes of a traditional waist trainer are replaced with velcro. The purpose behind this is that in the event of an emergency, the fitness belt can be very quickly and easily ripped off. In more general terms, the belt is designed to help with body form when wearers do their workouts. With a waist trainer, it’s hard to work out because you don't get a full range of motion.
However, with the fitness belt, you have much more range of movement and are able to inhale and exhale deeply, ensuring that you get enough oxygen at all times. A great trainer for core strength and improving abdominal muscles.
Long-Term Health Effects Of Waist Trainers
Yet another argument used in many videos is that waist trainers do nothing long-term to help users actually lose weight. However, this argument is simply not true, and can be disproven easily enough by looking at the many pictures and posts in the Luxx Curves Waist Training Dolls Facebook group. These testimonials are from real women who have been waist training for as little as a month to up to several years, and who have seen real results as a consequence.
Waist Training As A Marketing Ploy (What The Celebs Promote)
Of course, all this begs the question: Why do people make entire episodes of TV shows and YouTube videos dedicated to the apparent dangers of waist training? Well, have you ever noticed that in all these videos, the speakers mention celebs (celebrities) like Kim Kardashian, who once posted a picture of her and her waist trainer? “Kim Kardashian recently posted a pic of herself on Instagram announcing that she's really obsessed with corset training (corsetry)…Jessica Alba had pictures of her in a waist trainer.”
The bottom line is that videos showcase these celebrities because it’s a great marketing technique for them – if something is all over the news, if it’s buzz-worthy, it becomes the latest hot topic. Unsurprisingly, people quickly become aware that if they create a TV show or YouTube video about it, it will elicit curiosity and controversy – meaning more views and marketing that basically sells itself.
I believe this is exactly why Dr. Oz had this as the episode topic in the video discussed in this article. Of course, there are extremes frequently mentioned in such videos, but in general, waist (midsection) training is safe, and so many people have been doing it for so many years now. Needless to say, when a topic is exaggerated, or when you see waist training for the first time and don’t yet know anything about it, the practice can look dangerous or intimidating.
However, as someone who does marketing for a living, I know that two years ago, when the Kardashians first posted pictures in their waist trainers, followed by Jessica Alba, followed by Naomi Campbell and whoever else was posting about it, this was a great opportunity for news outlets, talk shows, press releases, and websites to start publishing content around waist training – and in particular, portraying waist training as dangerous despite this not being the case.
Speaking From Experience
I'd like to conclude this article by sharing my own experience of waistline training. I've been waist training for the last three years now and have noticed no negative side-effects, only positive ones. For instance, my spine has straightened out so that I have better posture. Sitting down at my desk all day while wearing my waist trainer also helps decrease my back pain, which was related to having such poor posture for such a long time.
In terms of more physically obvious results, I've lost much of my lower belly fat, which was always a big struggle for me, and have developed more of a shapely hourglass figure. This is in large part because, when eating with my waist trainer on, due to the compression, I'm much more aware of when my stomach is growing when I eat a lot of food. This means that instead of overeating, I tend to only eat until I'm full.
In short, I recommend that people become students rather than mere followers. Just because someone on Dr. Oz says something in a video, don't take it as fact – always do your own research. That includes trying out things for yourself! Try out waist training for one to two weeks, and if you don't like it, simply discontinue the practice. On the other hand, if you do like it, you’re in for some amazing results! Like almost anything else in this world, it’s important to actually try something before judging it.
On that note, if you’d like to join our community of Waist Training Dolls, you can do so on Facebook. We have a private Facebook community called Luxx Curves Waist Training Dolls. Better yet, if you want to try a waist trainer for 10% off, you can with our Luxx Health Waist Trainers. Simply go to luxxhealth.com/waist and your coupon code will be emailed to you.
I hope this article was informative for you and that you enjoyed it. If you did, feel free to share it with someone who you think might also benefit from it – here at Luxx Health, we welcome all people from all walks of life, so don’t hesitate to share the love and become part of our Luxx Curves Dolls community! Good luck on your weight loss journey! In addition to wearing a trainer, be sure to also exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet.
Our final word on this topic is:
“Waist trainers do not have the structural integrity to move and damage organs or ribs.”
Still questioning that safety of these products? Take a minute to think about how much our organs move around during pregnancy. Our bodies are adaptable, this is why none of our organs are in a ‘fixed’ position to begin with.
This said, while waist trainers are generally harmless when used as they are meant to be, it is possible for them to become dangerous if they’re abused. Cinching your waist for excessive lengths of time, or cinching it too tight has the potential to cause damage. So be sensible and buy the right size for you.
It’s important to maintain a healthy relationship with waist training. If you feel unwell, or don’t fancy wearing your waist trainer for a few of days, don’t worry about it! Becoming obsessive about waist training (like becoming obsessive about diet is unhealthy.