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View Full Version : What exactly was the purpose of those jiggle-belt gym machines circa pre-1960s?


stuyguy
03-14-2006, 08:10 PM
We've all seen 'em in old movies and TV shows. Just about every physical comedy performer used them in sketches that were set inside of a gym or spa. Of course I'm talking about those waist-high devices that featured a big loose belt that jiggled like crazy when the machine was turned on. The belt went around the user's butt, or waist, or belly.

Was this thing supposed to make the user lose weight? Or maybe "break up" his/her fat cells? Or was it nothing more than just a feel-good butt massager?

TheLoadedDog
03-14-2006, 08:31 PM
I saw one in a gym circa 1984.

MLS
03-14-2006, 09:24 PM
They were, theoretically, supposed to be a sort of passive exercise, whereby some fat was "broken up" or burned off without a person actually doing any work. Snake oil.

Cunctator
03-14-2006, 09:33 PM
When I was a child our neighbours had one of these. We thought it was the height of sophistication and were always begging to be allowed to play with it. We never did get a chance.

Civil Guy
03-14-2006, 10:40 PM
They were, theoretically, supposed to be a sort of passive exercise, whereby some fat was "broken up" or burned off without a person actually doing any work. Snake oil.
Entirely snake oil? Not really doubting, but I suspect that when we're tossed around, we've got this instinctive reaction to resist the tossing, to set ourselves 'straight'. I know that after I get off a small boat, I feel a lot more tired than when I got on - though admittedly, much of that might be the sun and excitement and whatnot. Still, the belts might have had some good effect (sure, best combined with other regular excercise and diet control) - perhaps?

Guinastasia
03-14-2006, 10:42 PM
Well, it all depends on where you wear the belt, if you know what I mean...
;)

Civil Guy
03-14-2006, 10:50 PM
The possibilities stagger the mind...

panache45
03-14-2006, 11:02 PM
The possibilities stagger the mind...
And the body.

Measure for Measure
03-14-2006, 11:52 PM
Get your own Exercise Belt Massager (http://www.gadgetuniverse.com/product_detail.asp?SKU=TH+453&MENU=GIFTCENTER). Or, for the internet age, try our new computer slimming belt (http://www.tradekey.com/selloffer_view/id/27013.htm)! It's portable! Order now! (http://www.indiaplaza.com/discount/pd.aspx?sku=DIS190220059).

These are not medical devices nor are they prescribed by a licenced doctor. Void where prohibited. Every minute there is a sucker born.

Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
03-15-2006, 12:14 AM
And also remember those "reducing machines," where you were put into (basically) a "sauna box" with just your head sticking out.

Enright3
03-15-2006, 01:08 AM
And also remember those "reducing machines," where you were put into (basically) a "sauna box" with just your head sticking out.
Would that be one of these? (http://www.saunex.com/body_toxin_removal.shtml) or perhaps one of these? (http://www.emediawire.com/releases/2004/9/prweb160680.htm)
e3

Small Clanger
03-15-2006, 03:33 AM
Or, for the internet age, try our new computer slimming belt (http://www.tradekey.com/selloffer_view/id/27013.htm) it uses the infrared ray given off by the over-ma-gnetic wave to permeate to the subcutaneous tissue of the body fat, it can make the fat motion directly and pass through the muscles and skin to 4-7cm deep,8 different frequency vibrations worked directly on your skin with 5 high frequency vibrators.and the particulate grease will be burned out by 8:100 over-powerful magnetic wave in continuous usage. I note that web page has a Report Fraud button, perhaps they should re-think that.

corkboard
03-15-2006, 08:11 AM
Get your own Exercise Belt Massager (http://www.gadgetuniverse.com/product_detail.asp?SKU=TH+453&MENU=GIFTCENTER).
Description of item from linked site, emphasis mine: "It is now known by professional trainers that this activity is a perfect worm up for you mussel and a great blood circulator to start your day or any activity."

Nothing says quality like bad copy.

CookingWithGas
03-15-2006, 08:36 AM
I note that web page has a Report Fraud button, perhaps they should re-think that.They need a Report Engrish button.

LionelHutz405
03-15-2006, 08:50 AM
Would that be one of these? (http://www.saunex.com/body_toxin_removal.shtml) or perhaps one of these? (http://www.emediawire.com/releases/2004/9/prweb160680.htm)
e3

Ah, but we’ve come so far nowadays. Now you can get one of these (http://www.gymform-plus.co.uk/velformbelt.htm)

“sweat away unwanted fat” :rolleyes:

bordelond
03-15-2006, 08:52 AM
Forget toning muscles or burning fat. Could a device like that deliver an effective massage to the lower back? Or maybe the hamstrings?

I ask because it looks like it would feel great to have one of these things around after a long day of sitting.

Hypno-Toad
03-15-2006, 09:17 AM
It seems to me that it would be harmful, shaking your booty that much. Like it would indeed "Break up" fat. Along with all the other tissue that you want to keep intact. If you shook that much, it might [pure speculation here] damage connective tissue and result in that part of your body becoming all droopy and losing tone. A massage device should at least be slower or gentler in order to prevent such damage.

Mindfield
03-15-2006, 11:17 AM
Given the limited range of motion of these machines, and the fleshy (and thus absorbing of impact) bits of the body they were designed to be worn around, I can't see much in the way of connective tissue damage. I can definitely see nerve damage from prolonged use, though.

I've always wondered about these sham devices though. Is there a provision, much like "holistic" and "herbal suppliment" provisions are to legitemate medicine, where these can be sold while still making outrageous claims? Is it simply weasel words like "can," "may" and "up to" that allow them to be marketed as devices that can achieve results that are patently absurd even on the surface? Wouldn't the makers, if legally pressed, be required to show some kind of directly correlated positive results -- however nominal -- that back up one or more of their claims?

NurseCarmen
03-15-2006, 11:18 AM
When I was a kid our family belonged to an athletic club that had a couple. This was the seventies. We had a blast messing around with those things. They were quite strong, and you could set them to different speeds. They did have a little bit of a message quality to them, but I think the biggest weight loss potential to them was that you couldn't eat while using one.

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
03-15-2006, 11:20 AM
I may be wrong, but in the Seinfeld series finale, when we see Newman leaving his apartment on his way to watch the trial in Latham, MA, I believe there is one of these machines standing by the door. At least, it looks like some sort of contraption that stands about high-waist high, and has a big rubber belt hanging loosely off of it.

Can anyone who's seen this episode confirm?

ralph124c
03-15-2006, 11:22 AM
What about "steam cabinets"? They looked like washing machines-you sat inside, with a hole for your head to stick out. What were these intended to do to you?

cher3
03-15-2006, 11:27 AM
Quote:
it uses the infrared ray given off by the over-ma-gnetic wave to permeate to the subcutaneous tissue of the body fat, it can make the fat motion directly and pass through the muscles and skin to 4-7cm deep,8 different frequency vibrations worked directly on your skin with 5 high frequency vibrators.and the particulate grease will be burned out by 8:100 over-powerful magnetic wave in continuous usage.


I wonder if that would violate the rules about not cooking anything smelly at the office.

psychonaut
02-24-2012, 04:11 AM
Sorry for resurrecting this old thread, but I'd like to know what these machines were actually called. Is there maybe a Wikipedia article or some other reference which gives a general overview of their history and use?

MikeS
02-24-2012, 08:00 AM
I dug up a page from the Kansas Historical Society (http://www.kshs.org/p/cool-things-belt-vibrator/15638) that describes them as "belt exercisers", "belt vibrators", and "vibrating exercisers". There may not be a standardized name.