In 2009, Deanna Dahlsad (aka Pop-Tart) of Kitsch-Slapped wrote this refreshing corset-positive (or in the very least, neutral) article series in 3-parts.
In part 1, she discusses the “so-called medical evidence” against corsets – why their studies were restricted to subjects of lower social class. (Even though working-class corseted women were seen as more “robust”, they also had less access to healthcare and more exposure to infectious diseases due to their professions.) On top of all this, medical evidence against corsets still may well have been cherry-picked.
In part 3, she gives an overview of the suffrage movement and how many of these feminists kept their corsets on by choice. Why? Because they had more important things to think about, and appearances still matter in society. The “Shrieking Sisters” were ridiculed as being loud, masculine, obnoxious activists and many of the more peaceful suffragists were concerned that this radical behavior would hurt their stance more than help. If you saw someone dressed oddly and screaming in the streets, you’d probably think they’re crazy. Dressing well (including the use of corsets) was still a symbol of being a rational, respectable member of society.
All three of those articles have lots of links and citations, so you can get lost in a jolly time-warp about corset history. I suggest you read these when you have time to spare! The conclusion left me a bit unsatisfied – if one delves deeper, corsets have more uses than just leading to copulation, but the articles are still extremely well-written overall, and worth a read!
I happily stumbled across this fantastic publication today. Published quite recently (early 2012), it is a study on the use of corsets (in conjunction with wearing weighted backpacks and regular physiotherapy/ exercise) to considerably improve the scoliosis in this adult patient.
NB: these results may not be typical (especially since there’s a variation in the severity of scoliosis from the start) and the use of corsets (either standard sized or custom) may not work miracles. But as the author mentioned, corsets or “textile braces” may provide a method of reshaping the ribs (and through this offer some secondary effects such as improved breathing) to a point, which is not normally possible through surgery.
Depending on one’s personal situation, a scoliosis patient may find wearing a corset more discreet, more comfortable and more affordable than wearing a rigid brace of hard plastic or steel plates. However, effectiveness in treatment may vary. A skilled corset maker should be able to take measurements of each side of the body and create a special asymmetric corset made to stabilize (and in some cases, as you can read in the article, even possibly correct) the curvature of the spine.
Edit: a number of scoliosis patients have confirmed that some medical braces are very similar in shape and form to a corset (medical corset or otherwise). Do click the picture on the right to see more examples of back braces, some of which give up to 5″ reduction in the waist in order to keep the spine immobile.
*Please note that this article is strictly for information purposes and not intended to replace the advice of a licensed medical professional. Please talk to your doctor if you’d like to start wearing a corset for any reason.*