BY SIMONE GRAHAM
A new trend among celebrities has women across the nation strapping on a corset-like garment called a ‘waist trainer’. If you are one of the 51.4 million people who follow celebrity Kim Kardashian on Instagram, or the other Kardashian sisters like Khloe and step sister Kylie Jenner, than you have probably seen the waist cinching product they have been promoting.
Tight body lacing, modernly known as “waste training,” traces back to the early Victorian era in the 1840’s. It is the practice of wearing a tightly laced corset, to achieve cosmetic modifications to the figure and straightening up of ones posture.
The theory behind “waist training” is to slim down the waist and abdomen. Overtime the body will presumably maintain a curvy hourglass-like figure. The corset is also supposed to remove inches from the waistline, creating a leaner and slimmer appearance.
Earlier this year, Dr. Mehmet Oz investigated the possible health complications woman may experience while wearing a waist corset on his daytime show. As Dr. Oz weighs in on waist training, he believes that the corset is squeezing the stomach into a smaller shape, causing less hunger and less calorie intake, resulting in weight loss.
“The pressure on the internal organs is a serious health concern, if the lungs are prevented from properly expanding reducing the flow of oxygen, it can increase risk of pneumonia,” said Dr. Oz.
As the corset squeezes the abdomen, it prevents the stomach and colon from moving its contents which may result in some instances of heartburn and chronic constipation. The waist-training corset can also prevent the blood flow to the heart affecting ones blood pressure, resulting in dizziness and sometimes fainting.
York College English major, Shanel Stewart, agrees with Doctor Oz’s analysis on waist trainer health risks.
“I don’t think its conducive to your health, I was watching Dr. Oz one day and he said that [waist corsets] shift your organs, so I think exercising would be the best bet in loosing weight for that desired shape,” said Stewart. She also adds, “ I assume that woman use the waist trainer to get the coke a cola bottle shape basically giving them an unnatural look. I know a lot of people that use it, even in my family but I personally don’t desire to use it.
The Wall Street Journal reports, sales of waist trainers sky-rocketing on the retail site HourglassAngel.com. The sales have grown from $4.7 million in 2013 to $8.1 million within this past year. The retail prices of waist trainers range from $50 to $75.
Hour-glass-angel’s Senior Integrated Marketing Manager, Ciara Spevacek was able to set the record straight on the safety of waist trainers and its capabilities. “Waist training is safe, when done properly. Meaning you should always wear the right sized waist trainer suited for your body while combining waist training with a healthy diet and exercise regimen,” said Spevacek .
Spevacek believes waist training is not a short cut or substitution for working out and healthy dieting, it is simply an aid. “Waist training is not a short cut, because you are training your waist, which implies time. We at Hourglass Angel always promote waist training with a healthy diet and exercise in order to get sustained results,” said Spevacek.
York College Junior, and Health Promotions major, Rosa Villafranca says purchasing a waist trainer corset is a great investment and she has seen a great deal of results throughout continuous usage. “ In the summer when I was training religiously, I’d wear it for about 3 hours a day. I would wear it while working out and lost about 5 pounds within the first two weeks,” said Villafranca. “I absolutely do not think it is a waste of money because it really works! You just have to exercise and diet properly, it’s really up to the individual to make it work.
To further prove her point, Spevacek refers back to a safety report issued by the Mayo Clinic. The report claims that waist trainer corsets and any other body-contouring product are not in any way shape or form harmful to women’s bodies.
“The Mayo Clinic has issued a report [which] claims that waist training is safe as long as you train responsibly. We highly recommend using a waist trainer that is sized for you. Waist training should not cause pain or trouble breathing and if it does, you should take the trainer off immediately and get a different size, said. Hour-glass-angles experts urge existing and future clients to consult their physicians prior to any waist-training regimen.