When it comes to bizarre beauty treatments, Hollywood’s elite are our guinea pigs ready to try it to love it or hate it. And we're ready to follow the herd shortly after, especially when it comes to improving sex life. The popular down under treatment, vaginal steaming, commonly known as v-steam, is an ancient Korean treatment that provides a steam facial for the vagina to release toxins. Although there is no clinical evidence to support the benefits of v-steams, there is a surplus of anecdotal evidence that supports its healing powers, from soothing menstrual cramps to boosting fertility in women, but should we all flock together for this trend?
V-Steam: How does vaginal steaming work?
Detoxifying your vagina is exactly how it sounds: While wearing a big tent from the waist down, the woman squats down without underwear over a steaming pot of water infused with therapeutic herbs like mugwort, basil, calendula, oregano, marshmallow root, wormwood, and rosemary, but the two predominant herbs in the steam bath include mugwort and wormwood. During the process, which should last for about 20 to 45 minutes, the v-steam supposedly dilates the blood vessels, increasing blood circulation, providing oxygen, and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles.
Mugwort, according to the American Cancer Society, helps treat stomach and intestinal disorders, including cramps, but it has also been used for menopausal and menstrual complaints, along with infertility. The herb stimulates the production of hormones in order to maintain uterine health, and protects the uterus from ulcers and tumors.
Wormwood, similar to mugwort, has been used to aid digestive disorders and immune system strength, while regulating a woman’s menstrual cycle and hormones. The herb is also considered to be antimicrobial and a sedative that can detoxify the uterus.
The combination of these herbs accompanied with some steam, cleanses, tones and nourishes the cervix, uterus, and vaginal tissues. However, using any kind of fresh herbs can provide different medicinal properties for women.
V-Steam: The Evidence
While this may seem like voodoo medicine to some of you, v-steam supporters have rallied up to highlight its health benefits. Celebrity twin sisters Tia and Tamara Mowry are among many in Hollywood who have tried the beauty treatment, known in Korean as chai-yok. The Mowry sisters were intrigued by the idea of reviving their lady parts when they heard it can improve your sex life. “It feels like someone is doing this on your vajay-jay,” they said in an episode on Tia&Tamara, holding their hands up to their faces to blow their hot breath onto them.
Celebrities aren’t the only ones to try the trend. Niki Han Schwartz, owner of Tikkun Holistic Spa in Santa Monica, told the Los Angeles Times vaginal steam baths helped her get pregnant at the age of 45 after only five steams, after Schwartz has been trying to conceive for three years. Schwartz and her husband, orthopedic surgeon Charles Schwartz, are set to introduce vaginal steam baths to Southern California women to share the success of their v-steam story.
However, other doctors, like Dr. Camilo Gonima, a practicing obstetrician and gynecologist in San Antonio, Texas, has doubts about the claims vaginal detoxes, or steam baths, claim to fulfill. “Herbal steams could have some relaxing effects and some beneficial superficial effects on the skin, just like a sauna or a facial steam would, he told Medical Daily. “Other than any possible involvement stress might have on these issues, I don't see any basis for any significant effects on fertility or menstrual cycles.”
V-Steam: Should every woman get a vaginal detox?
While there still doesn’t exist scientific evidence to support or deny v-steam claims, can it help when it comes to vaginal cleanliness or health? Since the steam remains external during a v-steam, it does not have any effect on vaginal cleanliness, especially when the vagina is a self-cleaning organ. Gonima believes since the vagina maintains “a healthy environment by maintaining a mix of beneficial bacteria,” v-steams are unnecessary. However, if women have a specific infection and require necessary treatment, he suggests the use of probiotics.
If you choose to do a v-steam or have done it on numerous occasions, Gonima says women can do them as often as they desire, but he does suggest women to proceed with caution. “[I] would emphasize that this should be entirely external, and I'd be cautious about safety to avoid the risk of scalding,” he told Medical Daily.
A detoxing facial for your vagina is mostly harmless, possibly soothing, but is comparable to the effects of aromatherapy, steam baths, and even a relaxing hot shower. Women should be cautious about mishaps with hot water, especially if they intend to do vaginal detoxes within the comfort of their home. One session of v-steam treatments at spas and holistic health centers range from $20 to $75 and typically last anywhere between 30 to 45 minutes. Those who are too shy to visit a spa can purchase a do-it-yourself kit for $150 on EarthDancerWellness.com.
If you’re curious, try v-steaming and see if it provides any physiological benefits for you.