If you watch television late at night or if you scan the advertisements in any fashion magazine, there are plenty of pills and gadgets that promise you better health. This is not a new phenomenon. Here is an advertisement from 1883 for an electric corset:
You can click on the photo to see the full ad, which reads:
Dr. Scott’s Electric Corset
Owing to the unprecedented success attending the sale and use of our $3 Electric Corset, and the constant demand for Electric Corsets of less price, but of the same therapeutic value, we have decided to place upon the market A HANDSOME LINE OF ELECTRIC CORSETS, ranging in price from $1 to $3, thus bringing them within the reach of all who desire them.
Thanks, so now you can bilk people in all the financial strata.
Their therapeutic value is unquestioned, and they quickly cure in a marvelous manner, Nervous Debility, Spinal Complaints, Rheumatism, Paralysis, Numbness, Dyspepsia, Liver and Kidney troubles, Impaired Circulation, Constipation, and all other diseases peculiar to women, particularly those of sedentary habits. They also become, when constantly worn, equalizing agents in all cases of extreme fatness or leanness, by imparting to the system the required amount of “odic force” which Nature’s law demands.
So they can make me thinner AND fatter. And all those problems CAUSED by corsets, like “spinal complaints, liver and kidney troubles, impaired circulation, constipation, and all other diseases peculiar to women” will be CURED by an electric corset? Sounds like poppycock to me!
It’s really easy to disregard this electric corset, but even now, the same item is being sold. It’s called Slendertone:
Just like the electric corset, they have a Slendertone for every budget:
SLENDERTONE products for every fitness level, body toning need and budget.
They make very similar claims, although they don’t profess to cure paralysis:
Get firmer, stronger abs with FLEX Abdominal Toning Belt. In just a few weeks, you’ll feel more fit and confident as you firm, tone and strengthen your ab muscles. Even if you’re too tired or too busy for a traditional workout, just slip on our toning belt and you’ll get an effective workout that stimulates all the muscles in your abdomen.
According to Chris Woolston at the L.A. Times, however, the Slendertone doesn’t do much more than zap your body, despite the FDA approval:
Claims of “1,500 sit-ups an hour” or “rippling muscles” from EMS are ludicrous, and no EMS device could dramatically flatten a stomach or speed weight loss, he says. A person needs to burn calories to lose weight, and it’s not possible to burn significant calories through contractions alone. “You’d have to do thousands of actual sit-ups to lose any weight,” adds Wayne Miller, an exercise physiologist at George Washington University. “Anyone who can do that many sit-ups probably doesn’t need to.”
It’s easy to make fun of the fantastic claims made by an electric corset back in 1883, but don’t let yourself be fooled by similar claims made today.