As if things “down there” weren’t steamy enough, there are those who praise the benefits of a procedure called, vaginal steaming. Yes, you read that right. No matter the name: vaginal steaming, V-steaming, vaginal detox, vaginal smoking, or yoni steaming — there is such a special procedure for our very special place — The Vajayjay!
Let’s be honest, the vagina could easily be called one of the hardest working body parts there is. Forty years of menstruation, sexual intercourse (lots of it if you’re lucky), pushing out babies, and the effects of aging, are enough to keep a healthy woman’s vagina busy over a lifetime. When you add health-related illnesses such as pelvic floor issues, womb worries and infections that can cause smelly discharge, specific care seems warranted.
But what is vaginal steaming?
What is it good for? Does it really help? Basically, vaginal steaming simply involves a cup of specific herbs and hot (but not too hot) water. Over the years, the process has been modified somewhat and is offered as a spa treatment in posh salons. The process is done by either squatting over a pot holding the herbs and hot water, or by lying face up on a gynecological exam table with the herbal pack placed in the tube of a vagina steam machine.
In both types of steaming, a towel is draped over the legs to trap the steam. Contingent upon how hot the water is, the entire process can last anywhere from 20–45 minutes. Like that of a facial, the ideal is that the vapors would cleanse the vaginal area. There are those who report that not only does steaming remove any unhealthy discharge, it also helps to relieve menstrual cramps.
Modern spas tout that vaginal detoxing, once called chai-yok, was first used in Korea as a method to heal female reproductive matters. While there is no real proof that supports that claim, the practice has been said to have roots in some African countries, Indonesia, Thailand, and Central America.
Some of the herbs that can be included in a vaginal steam are:
- Mugwort (corrects irregular periods)
- Wormwood (anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial)
- Chamomile (antioxidant)
- Calendula (anti-viral, anti-cancer)
- Basil (promotes healthy skin)
- Oregano (anti-bacterial)
- Marshmallow Root (relieves pain)
- Rosemary (improve circulation, reduce muscle pain)
When used in combination, each herb, with its set of specific properties, is thought to improve or correct the health of the vagina. Determining the advantages of vaginal steaming, largely depends on who you listen to. Those who promote vaginal steaming not only list the pluses already mentioned; some even claim the procedure helps corrects infertility issues, stress incontinence, ease symptoms associated with menopause, tighten vaginal walls and increase sexual energy. There is also praise for its contribution to emotional health issues such as relief from depression and stress.
The nay-sayers, many who are practitioners in traditional medicine, speak of the lack of research that backs the health claims of vaginal detoxing. To be fair, there’s no research to negate the claims either. Yet, given a healthy vagina’s ability to self-clean, there are those who argue that steaming may in fact cause an unhealthy imbalance by eliminating good bacteria. Another concern stems from the possibility of an allergic reaction to the herbs used.
On both sides of the issue is the concern with the possibility of burning “down there.” While some warn that women should avoid the practice all together because of the dangers involved, others speak of the need to take necessary precautions to avoid any burning. Those in traditional and alternative medicines alike, speak of the importance of vaginal health. Prices for a vaginal steam treatment can range from $10-$200, depending on whether you employ a DIY method and visit a salon.
It is noted that vaginal detox is a long-held practice, but much of the recent hub-bub is due to a few celebrities making public their experiences. The debate as to whether vaginal steaming will do all it’s said to do, continues and depends on who is speaking. Yet, v-steaming seems to be a viable addition to the arsenal of those interested in natural practices that not only avoid using harmful chemicals, but also empower women to take an active part in their health and well-being.