How many people have damaged their bodies and their health so others would consider them to have beauty in one way or another? Many women have dyed, plucked or shaved the hair of their head, squeezed their feet into uncomfortable high heels or even surgically enhanced parts of their anatomy for moments of beauty.
The temporary fashion of five-inch pumps has returned and many women are not considering the long-term health risks, as long as it makes the wearer beautiful in the eye of the beholder. Wearing high heels can strain the knees, push the hips and spine out of alignment, shorten calf muscles, lead to joint pain and hammertoes, etc. But, in the name of beauty, many choose to endanger health for a moment’s gratification because somebody is looking. Would you still wear them if you knew the harm they may cause to the body temple that God has given to you?
Until the early 20th century, millions of Chinese women bound their feet to prevent them from growing longer than three and one-half inches. Many of these women paid the ultimate price for what was considered beauty and their feet were disfigured to guarantee their own future for an upper class marriage, etc., but the price was high and they suffered terribly with many unable to walk without agonizing pain.
The ancient practice of foot binding began in the Sung dynasty (960-976 B.C.), reportedly to imitate an imperial concubine who was required to dance with her feet bound. By the 12th century, the practice was widespread and more severe—girls’ feet were bound so tightly and early in life that they were unable to dance and had difficulty walking.
Young bones are soft and break easily and by the time a girl had turned three years old, all of her toes except the first were broken, and her feet were bound tightly with cloth strips to keep her feet from growing larger than about 3.9 inches. The practice caused the soles of the feet to bend in extreme concavity.
Many women today are not only disfiguring their feet, but also their whole bodies, inside and out, and are suffering terribly as a result of their desire to be noticed and considered beautiful.
We are fearfully and wonderfully made, unique and precious in God’s eyes. Oh, if only we could be contented and happy the way God has made each one of us, there would not be so much pain just to be noticed.
Dr. John H. Kellogg said, “We should not wear our clothing so tight as to press hard upon any part of the body. It will cause the muscles of that part of the body to become weak.
“If the clothing is worn tight about the waist, the lungs cannot expand properly, the stomach and liver are pressed out of shape and the internal organs are crowded out of their proper places.
“People are often made crippled from wearing tight shoes. Their muscles cannot act properly and their feet grow out of shape.
“In China, it was fashionable for rich ladies to have small feet, they tied them up in cloths so that they could not grow. The foot was squeezed out of shape. A woman who had such feet found it so difficult to walk that she had to be carried about much of the time. Do you not think it is very wrong and foolish to treat the feet so badly?” First Book in Physiology and Hygiene, 110, 111.
We have been warned about the dangers to our bodies when wearing clothing too tightly.
Women need to watch those undergarments. When you remove any of your undergarments and the skin around the area is itching, that is a good sign that they are too tight and that makes you a good candidate for breast cancer, etc. Many women are being stricken with breast cancer and other female problems because of the binding. That binding causes lack of blood circulation and affects the lymphatic system.
Some lymphatic diseases range from mild congestion to malignant lymphoma. The most common disorder is lymphatic insufficiency, or lymph edema, which is a swelling that occurs when damaged lymph vessels can’t drain fluid. The lymphatic system is important because it picks up fluid that is lost from the circulatory system and returns it. It is the first line of defense against disease and infection. Wearing tight clothing blocks this most important system of the body and can cause disease in many women.
“Woman’s dress should be arranged so loosely upon the person, about the waist, that she can breathe without the least obstruction. Her arms should be left perfectly free, that she may raise them above her head with ease. … The compression of the waist by tight lacing prevents the waste matter from being thrown off through its natural channels. The most important of these is the lungs. … If the lungs are cramped, they cannot develop; but their capacity will be diminished, making it impossible to take a sufficient inspiration of air. … The compression of the waist weakens the muscles of the respiratory organs. It hinders the process of digestion. The heart, liver, lungs, spleen, and stomach are crowded into a small compass, not allowing room for the healthful action of these organs.” Healthful Living, 122.
Some men seem to think that this does not apply to them and they can wear tight clothing with no injury. That thinking is all wrong, especially when you read the following: “Our Creator made no mistake in fashioning the human body. He gave appropriate space for the free action of every organ, and formed us in such a way that every muscle could come into play without trespassing upon the function of any other muscle.” Ibid.
Men and women have bodies that are fearfully and wonderfully made and need proper care to continue in good health. The health risks are growing for men and women who wear their clothing too tight. Many times clothing is bought too tight and people squeeze into them regardless of the pain it causes while wearing them. Men and women love to follow the fashion world rather than preserve health.
There have been some medical studies done on tight fitting clothing and its effects on women’s health. It was found that the body can develop a nerve condition called paresthesia, which is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition causes a burning sensation under the hip bone and can cause numbness and tingling in the legs.
Just as the Chinese women went through much suffering to be accepted, many people are following in their ways, only through other health damaging practices.
Apart from not looking good or healthful, too tight clothing puts the person who wears them at the risk of damaging his/her health. Some of the health problems resulting from wearing clothes that are too tight are:
Tingling Thigh Syndrome: Individuals who wear their jeans too tight can experience nerve problems called meralgia paresthetica in which the thigh tingles with no explanation.
Back Pain: When pants are too tight, and are low riding, it can cause nerve compression in the back (similar to the thigh problem above) and numbness and tingling in the legs and possible stress on the back.
Acid Reflux/Heartburn: Tight pressure against the stomach can increase abdominal pressure, causing acid to go back into the esophagus, resulting in heartburn and acid reflux. A burning sensation in the stomach, chest and throat and a bitter, acidic taste in the mouth may be experienced.
Abdominal Pain/Constipation: The digestive process can be slowed down by being bound tightly around the waist.
“The compression of the waist hinders the process of digestion. The heart, liver, lungs, spleen, and stomach are crowded into a small compass, not allowing room for the healthful action of these organs.” Healthful Living, 168.
“The compression of the waist by tight lacing prevents the waste matter from being thrown off through its natural channels. The most important of these is the lungs. In order for the lungs to do the work designed, they must be left free, without the slightest compression. If the lungs are cramped, they cannot develop; but their capacity will be diminished, making it impossible to take a sufficient inspiration of air. The abdominal muscles were designed to aid the lungs in their action. Where there is no compression of the lungs, the motion in full breathing will be observed to be mostly of the abdomen. … When tight lacing is practiced, the lower part of the chest has not sufficient room for action. The breathing, therefore, is confined to the upper portion of the lungs, where there is not sufficient room to carry on the work. But the lower part of the lungs should have the greatest freedom possible. The compression of the waist will not allow free action of the muscles of the respiratory organs.” Ibid, 171.
Headaches/Blurred Vision: Wearing button down shirts that are too tight in the collar or ties that are tied too tightly can decrease proper circulation to the brain and head.
Observe yourself as you dress. Take note if you are binding yourself so tight that it may cause itching now, but may turn into major health issues later on.
It would be advisable to prevent the pain and suffering and wear clothing that is well-fitting and comfortable, considering the internal organs that need space to work efficiently. Dressing properly provides protection and development of every part of the body.
“Many have become lifelong invalids through their compliance with the demands of fashion. Displacements and deformities, cancers and other terrible diseases, are among the evils resulting from fashionable dress.” Ibid., 123.
Our wise creator God has given much instruction on how to take care of this most wonderful piece of machinery—the human body. It would be well for each of us to heed that advice and live in good health. Is it really worth causing damage to your body just for a passing glance of approbation from another human being?