In a Chicago Tribune article published on Sept 5, 1891, the author wrote of corsetry, “It is difficult to imagine a slavery more senseless, cruel or far-reaching in its injurious consequences than that imposed by fashion on civilized womanhood during the last generation….the tight lacing required by the wasp waist [corseted silhouette] has produced generations of invalids and bequeathed to posterity suffering that will not vanish for many decades.”

For centuries, women wore corsets that were so tight they caused some women’s internal organs to be rearranged. Yet in 2013, women are willingly taking to the corset with one aim in mind: easy weight loss. Well, easy if you consider being bound in a nearly suffocating undergarment easy; but hey, at least there’s no counting calories or exercise involved!

Celebrities like Jessica Alba are singing the praises of lacing up to shrink the waste, and a number of doctors are even recommending it. Beverly Hills-based Dr Alexander Sinclair told ABC News that by being strapped into the device for three to five hours a day (before eventually working up to 12 hours a day), some of his patients have lost six inches from their waistline.

“This is a remarkable way to train your waist to be smaller,” says Sinclair.

According to The Corset Diet website, the wearer no longer “craves the feeling of a full stomach as the pressure of the corset literally leaves you with a contented feeling on the eating of a smaller adequate meal. The volume of food eaten during the day is reduced and thus the absorption of food into the body.” Which is to say, the thing is so tight it hurts to eat.

But not everyone thinks it effective, let alone safe. Keri Peterson, M.D., a physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City tells Women's Health magazine. "It's outrageous, and it just absolutely makes no medical sense whatsoever.”

And in fact, she adds, being squeezed into a corset can actually harm you; the pressure on the stomach could potentially cause acid reflux and the pressure on the diaphragm and lungs could cause trouble breathing deeply. "If you can't take a deep breath, you can't be aerated efficiently," says Peterson.

Not to mention the reduction in calorie-burning activity; it’s hard to be active when you can barely move.

ABC's Abbie Boudreau tries it out in the video below: