Corsets and health ©

BanfieldPortrait

The liars, cheats, and copyright thieves of Wikipedia

My research into health involved decades of study where I was able to draw the conclusion that poor posture compressed the internal anatomy from above, and produced health problems which were the same as those caused in nineteenth century women who wore tight waisted corsets which  compressed  the internal anatomy from the side. Essentially I had discovered that no-one else in modern times had noticed or was discussing. When I saw that Wikipedia invited members of the public to join and add useful information I eventually did so, and added those facts. However 2 editors ridiculed me and deleted all of my contributions for a year by arguing that they were nonsense, rubbish, and cruft, which was based on old references which were out-of-date, and obsolete. They managed to get me banned in January 2009 by using the “ignore all rules” policy, and then less than four months later another editor set up a brand new page at 17:42 on 15th May 2009, called “Corset controversy” which contains the same sort of information here. Those liars, cheats, and copyright thieves are stealing my ideas, and hence also stole my Google search engine rankings on those topics and belong in jail for their blatant and disgusting internet crimes. See more about their disgraceful copyright thieving behaviour here. The simple fact is that the research which I did was very accurate, which is why they were reading it and copying it, but they don’t want anyone to know about me, so they allow someone else to reword the information, and use other sources of the same information, and fill it with padding to make it look like they weren’t copying me.

When they said that my research was nonsense they were liars, because the same sort of information is in Wikipedia now, and if it was nonsense when I wrote it, then  it would still be unnacceptable nonsense. Of course, if Wikipedia wants to have the best information, and the sum of all knowledge they have to steal it from me, because I produced it first.

 Introduction

As I have mentioned on other pages, when I was 25 years old I had many health problems which were not evident on blood tests or x-rays, where my doctor was unable to explain the cause, and where none of the medications were relieving the symptoms, so I began to study those problems myself to determine the cause and develop effective methods of treatment.

The Posture Theory Diagram colouredWithin a few years I was able to determine that they were the result of a curvature in my upper spine which resulted in poor posture, which meant that my head and shoulders were projected forward, so that the weight was putting pressure on my chest and abdomen, and in the long term, causing chest pains, breathlessness, faintness, fatigue and stomach pains etc.

The internal anatomy was crushed and displaced  by nineteenth century whalebone corsets

The internal anatomy was crushed and displaced by nineteenth century whalebone corsets

Another decade went by when I walked into an antique shop and saw a book on a desk, which had the pages open to show a picture of the internal anatomy of a nineteenth century woman who had worn a tight waisted whalebone corset. The lungs and stomach, and everything else were crushed, and distorted, and displaced, so I knew immediately, that those women would have the same type adn range of health problems that I had attributed to poor posture.

The only significant difference would be that  poor posture would be compressing the internal anatomy downwards, whereas the tight lacing would be compressing them inwards.

I then began reading literature on that topic and was soon able to confirm that my assumption was 100% correct. In particular those women would become breathless, faint, and easily exhausted from the slightest exertion, and would typically unlace their corsets, and lay down to gain relief from their symptoms. In other words they were removing the cause, in much the same way as I was removing the cause by sitting upright, and avoiding tasks which involved leaning forwards.

"I'm no artist, but I drew this diagram to explain how leaning forward and wearing tight belts was restricting he expansion of my lungs and causing breathlessness. (from an essay published in The Australasian Nurses Journal in May 1978 p.6, fifteen years before I saw how tight corsets caused the same problem in nineteenth century women.

“I’m no artist, but I drew this diagram to explain how leaning forward and wearing tight belts was restricting the upward and downward expansion of my lungs and causing breathlessness. (from an essay published in The Australasian Nurses Journal in May 1978 p.6, fifteen years before I saw how tight corsets caused the same problem in nineteenth century women).

I then became interested in the history of the subject, and traced it back to ancient societies where some people placed metal belts around the waist of seven year old children and welded them in place until adulthood. They were considered to be old men and women in their twenties, and had a life expectancy of 27 years, but no-one knew why. However, the damage done by those belts would have been the cause.

Throughout history women have wanted to achieve the attractive appearance of having a narrow waist, so corsets of one sort or another have been a prominent feature in many countries, but the harmful effects were hidden behind a layer of skin, and took so long to occur that women didn’t recognise the cause, even if they were told.

In the earlier centuries corsets were very expensive to make, so only wealthy people could afford them, and they became a status symbol, but by the early nineteenth century the world’s first practical sewing machine was invented, and the mass production of the garment began.

By the end of that century millions of women in the civilised world were wearing corsets, in particular in England and Europe.

Women and child wearing corsets - from The Englishwomans Domestic Magazine 1866

Women and child wearing corsets – from The Englishwomans Domestic Magazine 1866

Countess of Leicester and her children 1596

Countess of Leicester and her children 1596

One form of garment was called the “training corset” which was designed to be placed on children as young as four years old, and kept in place 24 hours per day until they were teenagers, in order to “train” their bodies to take on the shape of the corset permanently, even after it was removed.

There were many different styles of corset which were designed to have different effects. For example some were designed to make the back straight, and others to exaggerate the upper curve to give prominence to the breasts, or the lower curve, to give prominence to the buttocks.

Corsets worn consistently caused permanent changes to the shape of the skeleton and internal anatomy

Corsets worn consistently caused permanent changes to the shape of the skeleton and internal anatomy

The S-bend corset

The S-bend corset

Others were designed to give a V-shaped appearance of the chest when viewed from the front, with the most widely known type being the hour-glass shape, and the most extremes being the “wasp-waisted” corset which were very tight at the waist, and  the S-bend corset which threw the chest forward, and the lower spine backwards.

At one stage there were more than 40 shops in London alone, which sold corsets, where waist circumferences as small as 14 inches were available as a standard size.

Some women were reported as having their lower ribs surgically removed to fit into 10 inch diameter corsets.

However, by the start of the 20th century the harmful effects which corsets had on health was becoming more widely known, particularly amongst anatomists who cut open the dead bodies of women who had worn those garments, and could see the crushed, twisted, and displaced internal anatomy.

For example, the ribs were deformed from an open shape at the base, to a V-shape, so the lungs couldn’t descend or expand properly, and therefore didn’t fill during the breathing process, so the corseted women were known for their ‘shallow’ breathing. Those women also became breathless very easily, especially during exertion, when the bodies demand for oxygen increased. Also, the lower lobes of the lungs were not getting ventilated properly, so the air and flesh in them became stagnant and sickly, and a breeding ground for infection, so those women tended to have rotten lungs and were more likely than others to get pneumonias and tubersculosis.

Similarly the stomach, liver, and kidneys were crushed and pushed out of shape and out of position, and could not function properly so there were many cases of very severe indigestion and related diseases.

In the tightest of corsets the spinal bones, major arteries, veins, lymph vessels and nerves, and the kidneys and colon were crushed, and part of the stomach was pushed up into the chest, and the liver was permanently indented with the shape of the ribs, or split into two.

CrossBirth

Cross birth – diagram adapted from Combined textbook of obstetrics and gynaecology (1944) p.475

In some cases the women knew that wearing a corset would induce an abortion so they wore them for that purpose, but in other cases they didn’t know, and after they died and autopsies were completed to determine the cause of death, it was found that the tight corset had crushed the arteries supplying the womb, and the womb and fetus were found to be a horrendous mess of bloody puss, rotting flesh, and gangrene.

In other cases the compression of the waist forced the fetus into the sideways position in the lower abdomen, where it’s confined space was so small that it couldn’t move or turn. Consequently it was sometimes born arm first instead of head first and the woman and baby often died because of the resulting pain and complications which occurred during childbirth.

However, the women who lived in the country farms and towns where corsets were not available, wore loose garments, and didn’t suffer from such problems, and nor did the native tribespeople of such places as South Africa, who wore loose clothes, or very little clothing, so their waists were not compressed and their internal anatomy was not restricted.

Books had been published which described the harmful effects corsets had on health, and explained why, and included diagrams which showed the deformity of internal anatomy which had not been seen before by the women who wore them, and they were distributed internationally.

Statistic also showed that in 1866 there had been 3.5 million corset wearers in England, and that the women who wore the tightest corsets on a regular basis died the youngest. For example the life-expectancy of the average 13 inch corset wearer was only 35 years.

There were also reports in 1893 that 80% of German women were ill because of their corsets.

Eventually there were public debates about whether corsets were harmful to health or not, where the corset industry, which had a conflict of interest in the discussion, promoted the S-bend corset as a “health corset” to offset any criticism.

However, the evidence of the harmful effects was too strong, and corsets began going out of fashion.

During World War 1 the men went off to war, and women were required to work in munitions factories where they became easily exhausted by the effort involved, so by the end of the war they virtually stopped wearing them completely.

LooseClothing1925

Loose clothing from 1925-28

Those women would have advised their daughters of the disadvantages of wearing corsets, and the harm being done, and the new era of loose clothing, called the Charleston era, began.

When I was researching those events I had purchased the relevant books from every decade in the twentieth century, so I could trace the sequence of events, where the frequent mention of corsets and the effects of displacement of anatomy became  less and less.

Medical books of the 1930’s began referring to the problem of women who were always fainting, as a “relic” of the “Victorian era”. The older doctors would have forgotten much of what had happened in the nineteenth century because their patienis weren’t fainting all the time any more, and most of the younger doctors would have been educated and trained after the war, and would not have seen those problems.

Since then the knowledge of the effects of corsets had almost declined to zero, except for the occasional mention of women fainting  being a part of novels written about that period, where there is a focus, almost exclusively, on the emotional aspects, with virtually no appreciation of the real physical cause.

The plain fact from a proper study of that period is that corseted women who became anxious or excited would get breathless and exhausted, and often faint, but the country women who wore loose garments didn’t.

In fact in the larger cities of the nineteenth century some of the entertainment venues had specific areas called “fainting rooms” where women could go to unlace their corset and lay down on chaise lounges to relieve their fainting spells.

Nowadays that rarely happens, so such rooms don’t exist.

My response to criticism

Because of the prejudices related to these ailments I have remained largely anonymous, and rarely discuss them with the people I meet. However, when I do there are three main  comments. The first is that it is the ideas are logical and make sense. the second is that I am the most creative person they have met, and the third is that they admire my perseverance.

However, with respect to the topic of corsets and health there have been criticism in the literature, or in other places, where the people have never actually met me, or discussed my ideas in any detail. For example . . .

1. They say that wearing tight corsets doesn’t harm a persons health

I have observed and described how leaning forwards once is not going to cause any symptoms or ailments, because the human body is adapted to a wide range of daily activities. The problems occur when the person sits in the same position and is involved in the same activity for years or decades, when permanent changes occur gradually. I have then been told that a person can bend forwards once doesn’t get pain, so therefore bending forwards is not the cause of pain, so I am wrong?

The same thing applies to corsets, where wearing an ordinary corset once is not going to cause any problems at all. Neverthless, many modern movie stars who have to wear very tight corsets to play the role of nineteenth century women, will report that by the end of the day they are feeling breathless, faint, and weak, and are glad to take them off and get back into more sensible modern, loose, and less restrictive clothes, so that their lungs can function properly again.

2. They argue that the internal anatomy can adapt to being constantly crushed and pushed out of place

I have drawn diagrams to explain that the waist area of the human body contains the spinal bones, arteries, veins, lymph vessels, and nerves, and the stomach, kidneys, spleen, colon, liver, gall bladder and lower ribs, and when you crush them all into corsets which have waist circumferences of 12 inches they are crushed, twisted, and kinked, and pushed up or down and out of place so that they can’t and don’t function properly, and fluids can’t flow through the tubular structures smoothly to cause stagnation, gangrene, disease, and statistically  lower life-expectancy.

However, my critics have argued that the human body is remarkably adaptable and can easily accommodate such changes, as if they are just minor effects.

3. They say that information from history  is unreliable because it is old, out of date and from before most people were born

When I became interested in these subjects i couldn’t find the information in modern literature, so I became interested in history and began reading books which were written decades, or centuries ago, where I did find the clues to solving a lot of problems. However I have had people say that my ideas are unreliable nonsense which is based on references that are “old”, “out-of-date”, or “from before most people were born”, and they insisted that the only place to get reliable information is from journals or books which have been published in the most recent five years.

4. They argue that the topic of nineteenth century corsets and health occurred too long ago to study and will always remain a mystery

When I found some very valuable clues to the nature of health problems from nineteenth century books, I began studying that era more closely, and went further back to the seventeenth century, and then back to earlier times, but I also broadened my interest to cover the health of primitive tribal societies, and other countries.

However I have had critics argue that the health problems of nineteenth century women were not due to the anatomy crushing effects of tight corsets, but were due to very complicated social, emotional, and cultural factors which are too complicated to understand, and occurred so long ago that they are beyond investigation and likely to remain a permanent mystery.

A final comment

I have noticed that people who criticise are not always objective, but are sometimes quite hostile, and that they have obvious or unrevealed conflicts of interests.

They will typically deny that anything I say has any merit, and put spin on everything to make it look as if they are correct and I am wrong.

Visceroptosis

The displacement of many internal organs is called Visceroptosis, whereas the displacement of the stomach only is called gastroptosis, and the movability of the kidneys is called mobile kidneys or nephroptosis. Poor posture and tight corsets are not generally recognised nowadays as a cause, but Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is associated with excessive movability of the internal anatomy, and a well recognised cause of symptoms and diseasee which severely affect the quality of life of the individuals. Surgery is sometimes performed to replace the stomach or the kidneys etc to their normal position, but there is a high rate of relapse. See Am J Med Genet A. 2013 May;161A(5):1143-7. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.a.35825. Epub 2013 Mar 26. here 

The Carlton corset for men, and the Rejane corset for obese women - from an advert in Society (magazine), October 21st, 1899

The Carlton corset for men, and the Rejane corset for obese women – from an advert in Society (magazine), October 21st, 1899

Prevention

I have been recommending that children should be educated to know the importance of good posture, and wearing loose clothing, as a means of preventing the problems of visceoptosis from developing and eventually affecting their quality of life as adults.

Publications

My book called The Posture Theory covers the health effects of poor posture and nineteenth century corsets thoroughly and is now available as an eBook for only $9.95.

It has 1005 pages in which I provide more than 300 illustrations to make the information visibly clear, and is supported by 130 references. It also has a large table of contents, and an extensive alphabetical index to make it easy to access specific facts which I used as clues to draw my conclusions.

 

 

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