Corset training, a new trend brought into the spotlight by celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Jessica Alba, appears to be safe as long as the corset is worn in moderation. However, for patients looking for an easy fix, corset training is unlikely to change the contours of one’s body, nor should it be considered an effective method for weight loss.
No specific clinical trials have been conducted on the use of corsets as a weight loss aid. One study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care had patients who were put on very low calorie diets wear corsets to see if the treatment would help maintain the weight reduction. Because of poor compliance (only 20% wore it after 3 months), patients could not be evaluated to see if the corset had any effect on weight maintenance.
While tightening the corset strings may help with portion control, since the stomach won’t be able to expand as much during mealtime, Dr. Andrew Miller, a plastic surgeon, notes that the same effect can be had from exercising self-control at the dinner table. Dr. Caroline Apovian, a professor of medicine at Boston University, also worries that if patients eat too much while wearing the corset, they may end up vomiting, which could potentially lead to eating disorders such as bulimia (although no such risk has been proven). Beyond that unpleasant side effect, patients may also struggle with acid reflux since the corset puts extra pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter. Also, if the corset is too tight and restricts breathing, this could put the patient at risk for pneumonia or other lung infections.
Patients who express an interest in corset training should be made aware of the potential side effects and the lack of evidence behind the practice with regards to weight management. As with any celebrity fad, what works for a few may not work for all.
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