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Ooh! Aah! We Tried It: Vaginal Steaming
Admittedly, however crazy Gwyneth Paltrow sounds at times, such as saying things like "conscious uncoupling" or that working mothers have it easier than moms who don't work (the answer is that it's never easy!), I still listen to whatever she says about her beauty and wellness routine. I mean, that glow, that body! Most recently, I made her detox roasted kabocha soup. Delish. So when she (over)shared about her love for vaginal steaming, immediate investigation was called for.
First, we asked our resident expert on all things down under, Dr. David Shobin, Assistant Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the State University of New York, on whether there was any scientific evidence to suggest the purported benefits of steaming your fine china, such as increased energy, balancing hormones, and alleviating cramps.
"Here's the deal: When I first read the articles about V-jay steaming, I wasn't sure if they were discussing a feel-good technique, a novel treatment for the crabs, or a new venue for cooking your dumplings. But after managing to suspend my disbelief, I finally gathered that this is pure kitsch—a fad touted by uninformed celebs. I checked the medical literature as thoroughly as I could and found no credible evidence of any GYN health benefit from steaming one's junk. Positive health claims appear nothing more than anecdotal," Dr. Shobin told us.
Second, we tracked down a Charlotte's Book reader, Jenn C., 36 years old, who recently tried vaginal steaming for her first-hand review of the experience:
CB: Why did you want to try vaginal steaming? JC: At the spa, it is actually referred to as "hip therapy." My friends and I walked by the room, and it looked intriguing. It reminded me of a nail salon with women sitting next to each other chatting. Except the room was filled with "potties" and the women were wearing large pink plastic tents from under their armpits to the floor (covering the potties). CB: Do you feel that it provided any health benefits? JC: While I was getting steamed, I read the purported benefits posted on the wall. One of them was to relieve menstrual cramping. I could see that since heat always helps. CB: Did you feel comfortable doing it or in an awkward position? JC: You're basically on the potty but with your legs spread pretty widely. It was fine since my legs weren't dangling. CB: Did it feel good? Like how good? JC: Yes it felt good. It makes your whole body sweat and you forget how ridiculous you look. It's so relaxing. CB: How long did the service last? JC: About 30-40 minutes. You could probably sit longer if you wanted to, but at that point, you just want to cool off. CB: Will you do it again? JC: YES. I've especially been craving it since it's been so cold out!
So what's the bottom line? "Whereas, as some articles posit, certain Eastern cultures have been championing vaginal steaming for centuries, verifiable reports of curing infertility, hormonal disorders, sexual dysfunction, etc., are lacking. I have no doubt it feels good. And I'm sure some skin conditions can be improved with humidification, but these are not strictly gynecological," says Dr. Shobin. So basically, it' s a bunch of vaginal sorcery. But hey, if it makes you feel good...
P.S. Have you seen this hilarious video of Ricky Gervais, in the bathtub, channeling his inner GP getting a V-Steam?