An electrical belt worn around your waist for toning is known as a slimming belt, sauna belt or weight loss belt. These fitness tools claim to use electric muscle stimulation (EMS) or heat for weight loss and toning. While the concept of the belt may seem appealing, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) electrical muscle stimulation is not sufficient to burn calories.
The Slim Truth
You can lose weight and trim your body through a combination of diet and exercise. You lose weight when you create a calorie deficit, or eat fewer calories than you burn. Slimming belts are passive exercise machines. You do not burn calories if you sit and watch television while wearing a slimming belt. If the belt uses heat, you may sweat, but the weight you lose is water. If the belt uses electricity to contract the muscles, you still will not use enough calories to change your shape, according to the FDA.
Some slimming belts that use electronic stimulation have a purpose, when you use them under the supervision of a health-care professional. According to the FDA, an EMS belt can be effective to relieve muscle spasms, promote muscle re-education, increase range of motion, prevent muscle shrinkage, or recover from reduced muscle function due to episodes such as a stroke. The electricity contracts the muscle tissue, but not at a strength high enough to increase muscle size.
Wear With Caution
If you choose to wear a slimming belt, use caution to protect your body, inside and out. According to the FDA, consumers using EMS belts have reported shocks, burns, skin irritations, bruising and discomfort. Also, if you have a pacemaker, the electrical current may interfere with your pacemaker's signal. One of the main concerns while using a heat-regulated belt is that the high temperature may burn your skin or create skin sensitivity. Check with your doctor before you use these products, especially if you have a heart condition or high blood pressure.
Belt It Out
The different types of slimming belts can be found online, on television, at physical therapy centers or other types of fitness centers. To reduce your injury risk, use only those products that are FDA approved, or use one under the supervision of a trained health professional. Do not expect to develop "six pack" abdominals as a result of using a slimming belt. To achieve weight loss and changes in your body's appearance, try exercises such as walking, jogging, swimming and strength-training, combined with healthy eating.