Since the practice of waist training has become popular over the past several years, so have a lot of a myths and rumors about its safety. In particular, there’s a persistent rumor we sometimes get questions about: "Do waist trainers move your organs?"
So let’s dispel rumors and myths and get to the bottom of what waist training actually does to your body.
What Happens to Your Body When You Wear a Waist Trainer
When you put on a waist trainer, the first thing you’ll notice is that it feels very tight. And it should. The high compression materials like latex and steel boning are supposed to hug your figure and create an hourglass shape.
You’re going to feel the effects of the compression around your whole midsection. Waist training stimulates heat in your core and causes you to sweat, which is why it can intensify your workouts.
But do your organs move? Nah, at least not beyond how your body naturally moves anytime you move around or, for example, do physical activities.
In other words, no, you’re not going to find a kidney where your heart should be or anything like that. However, your whole midsection, organs included, is going to be under compression. But this is not as alarming as the rumor mill might make it out to be.
Soft tissue can shift and be compressed. The body is built to be flexible in that way. Anyone who has been pregnant can assure you that their internal organs can actually shift quite dramatically and be perfectly fine.
"A corset is not going to harm anything," says Manhattan-based gastroenterologist Dr. Burton Korelitz in an interview with Racked.com. "You have my reassurance that in almost sixty years of practice it has never come up as a problem."
Women have been corseting for hundreds of years. As with many practices that affect your body, a key to comfort and safety in waist training is common sense. And that starts with fit.
The Importance of Fit
Correct fit is a huge factor in the waist training experience. Some people make the mistake of carelessly ordering a waist trainer in their typical pant size or in the size they wish they were.
But if you wear a waist trainer that is too small, you’re going to feel uncomfortable from the start, if you can even get it on. It will pinch and cause discomfort constantly – and that's not what you want. At all.
What’s more, it won’t even give you the most flattering results. Instead of slimming your figure, you might find that it produces a “spillover” effect.
If wearing a waist trainer causes pinching, shortness of breath or internal discomfort, then that is your cue to take it off. Don’t power through the pain; listen to your body and re-check your size.
To get the correct size for your waist trainer, it’s important to take accurate waist measurements whenever you order a new garment. Take vinyl or fabric measuring tape and wrap it around your natural waist, about two inches above the belly button or where you notice a bend when you lean to the side. The tape should lie flat but not be pulled so tight that you can’t fit a finger underneath.
Don’t use your dress size or pant size when ordering a garment. Our size charts are customized to each garment, so be sure you follow them precisely. They can even vary between brands.
When you try on your waist trainer it should be firm and snug without pinching.
Other Waist Training Health and Safety Tips
Aside from proper fit, there are a few other best practices that will improve your waist training experience.
If you want to practice an ongoing waist training regimen, ease your way into it. The feeling of firm compression on your midsection is going to feel strange at first. In addition to being tight, it can also make you feel pretty warm and sweaty. And since many of us are perpetual slouchers, being forced to hold the torso straight can also feel strange or uncomfortable after a couple of hours.
We recommend wearing a waist trainer no more than about an hour the first day and then gradually adding a half hour to an hour a day. In this way you’ll grow accustomed to the way it feels.
During this process, it’s important to listen to your body for cues. If you feel discomfort, take the waist trainer off immediately. Don’t push yourself faster than your body wants to go. If it helps, try breaking up your wear into two shorter sessions instead of one longer one.
After a few weeks, you should feel comfortable wearing your waist trainer at least eight hours a day for the best results. But don’t wear one more than our maximum recommendation of twelve hours a day. Your body does need time to relax and rejuvenate without constant compression. There are stories of women who have practiced “extreme” waist training—wearing corsets around the clock in order to get an unnatural waist shape. We discourage this practice and again implore that you use common sense.
It’s also vital to make sure you’re staying hydrated. This is not only a healthy lifestyle choice in general, but is something you’ll want to be aware of since waist training makes you sweat more around the midsection. You should plan to consume half an ounce to an ounce of your body weight in plain or fruit-infused water daily. Limit or eliminate diuretics like caffeine and alcohol. Staying hydrated will keep you energized, your organs happy and your skin healthy while you’re waist training.
Finally, it’s very important to work out regularly and do core-strengthening exercises while practicing a waist training regimen. There are a variety of workouts that engage your core that you can do while wearing a workout band, which you can see in our favorite workout videos.
To sum it up, waist training has been practiced comfortably around the globe for hundreds of years, and there is no need to fear outlandish rumor and speculation. With the right approach, waist training should be a fun and fulfilling experience that complements other aspects of a healthy lifestyle.