As many of my readers will know, I have scoliosis (curvature of the spine).
READ MORE: * Here's what wearing a corset for 23 hours a day will do to you * Corsets stage a comeback * Kim Kardashian helps designer Alex Perry score first Vogue Australia cover I first came to view corsets as more than attractive additions to my wardrobe last year.
You see, headaches and back pain have been regular companions to my career as a novelist and writer for the past 20 years, in part because of scoliosis (curvature of the spine).
After two full decades of wearing corsets for pleasure and fashion, and collecting no less than 12 of them, I experienced yet another of my "writing aches" and laced myself into an old underbust one afternoon.
Perhaps I had medical corsets in mind that day (they are often structurally similar) and I unconsciously craved the stiff posture support.
Whatever the reason, by the end of that day, I discovered something curious - my neck and upper back felt "lighter." Despite long hours at the keyboard, I was without a discernible headache or neck tension. And so finally the penny dropped: the corsets I had loved the look of for as long as I can remember could do far more for me than I'd given them credit for.
Why had it taken me so long to make this obvious connection?I soon began reading everything I could on the topic, from blogs and news articles to W. Lord's The Corset and The Crinoline, Ann Grogan's Corset Magic, the work of Dr Valerie Steele, and Lucy's many informative web posts.Reading the bulk of the literature on corsetry, it was easy to see that the terms "corset" and "medical benefit" were rarely found in the same sentence - not since some questionable Edwardian advertisements for the S-curve, anyway.Search for "corset" and "pain" and the dominant story becomes quite clear, with the mainstream narrative being one of corsets causing, never relieving pain.Though I had not taken as fact the more outrageous claims about corsets causing frequent broken ribs and more (I would guess they have caused somewhat fewer broken bones than the far more accepted fashionable women's heels) it was good to read many of these hyperbolic claims forensically debunked step by step in the work of Steele, Grogan, and on the website of the author of this book, among others.Yes, it is possible to wear an ill-fitting corset and hurt yourself by making it bruisingly tight, just as you could with another piece of rigid clothing—again, shoes spring to mind—but the question is, why would you?