Right now, any mention of Gwyneth Paltrow’s name is immediately followed by a reference to the “v-steam,” a treatment she recommended on her site. This sounds innocent enough until you realize that this endorsement is actually for something called vaginal steaming. What the heck is that? And should you schedule your own steaming session?
A History of Vaginal Steaming
Although it might sound like the latest new-fangled craze, vaginal steaming isn’t actually a new concept in genital rejuvenation. This centuries-old treatment, known as chai-yok in Korea and bajos in South America, has long been held as a remedy for relieving menstrual cramps, improving cycle regularity, and helping with infertility problems. Other anecdotal benefits include healing hemorrhoids, uterine fibroids and alleviating pelvic pain.
The treatment itself consists of mixing some herbs with water, and heating until steam is released. The herb-infused steam, administered with the help of a specially designed chair, is supposed to tone and tighten vaginal tissues.
Does V-Steaming Work?
The idea behind vaginal steaming is that the warmth helps open and soften the vaginal tissues, allowing the medicinal properties of the herbs to fully penetrate, passing through into the bloodstream and uterus. Circulation supposedly increases, promoting detoxification and encouraging healing. The practice sounds like a promise of non-surgical vaginal rejuvenation or alternative to vaginoplasty.
Of course, there’s absolutely zero scientific evidence that any of this is true.
The main problem with the idea of the “v-steam” is that the treatment perpetuates the myth that women need to take extra precautions to keep themselves clean. The truth is, your vaginal region is self-maintaining, and tampering with a system that’s designed to work perfectly can end up doing more harm than good.
Otto J. Placik, M.D. received his medical degree from Northwestern University where he also completed residencies in general and plastic and reconstructive surgery. He completed a fellowship in the aesthetic reconstruction of complex nasal and facial deformities at St. Joseph Hospital in Chicago and an additional fellowship in microvascular and hand surgery at Davies Medical Center, an affiliate of the University of California, San Francisco.
Dr. Placik is certified as a diplomate by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is an active member of The American Society of Plastic Surgeons. He is an active member of several local and national professional organizations. Dr. Placik is a member of the Northwestern University Division of Plastic Surgery Teaching Staff. He holds an academic appointment as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery (Plastic) at Northwestern University Medical School.