Talk about being full of hot air.
By Kaleb Quast
It truly is a brave new world we live in when douching is going the way of dinosaurs and being replaced by steam cleaning. According to one of those cookie cutter actresses, Gwyneth Paltrow, steaming her vagina (or a “V-Steam”) provides an “energetic release” that also “balances female hormones.”
Personally, I think this is taking the whole drapes and carpet thing a bit too seriously, but V-Steams are a legitimate thing that money can buy in L.A. The Tikkun Holistic Spa that Paltrow frequents offers five different types of steam treatments, one of which is available for men! So don’t feel left out of this energetic and invigorating experience, fellows.
But, really, what is a V-Steam (and can we call it something else, please)?
Vaginal steam baths are actually an ancient Korean treatment called “chai-yok” and all it is a pot of boiling water infused with a selection of herbs, the primary two being mugwort and wormwood. Once the herbs are in the pot and the steam’s alive and floating, you just have to sit (nude, of course) on a special stool with a (large) hole in it, and let the magic steam go to work on your nether regions. Mugwort oil contains thujone and wormwood, and is mostly used as a spice in food. Wormwood is one of the main and unique ingredients of abstinthe, which also contains thujone. In large amounts, thujone is toxic, and thus is regulated in most countries.
So, basically, chai-yok is an abstinthe shot for your crotch. Is there any validity to this costly procedure? (On average it runs about $50 a procedure, and just to compare, you can get a gram of blow with that instead.) One of the owners, Han Schwartz, swears that it helped her to conceive after three years of attempting. Then again, why wouldn’t the owner swear by her own procedure? Other benefits include reduced stress, relieved menstrual cramps and regulated menstrual cycle, an ability to fight infections, and on top of it all, help reduce hemorrhoids.
Health.com has a couple OB/GYN’s comment on this whole mess.
Hilda Hutcherson, MD, an ob/gyn at Columbia University Medical Center says: “It probably feels good because the heat increases blood flow to the whole vaginal area, including the clitoris, which could turn some women on, but if you got too close to the steam, you could end up with second degree burns down there.”
Yeah, no kidding. Common sense could have told us that, but thankfully, this common sense comes from someone with a medical degree.
Taraneh Shirazian, MD, an ob/gyn at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City also adds that “the steam itself can increase moisture in and around your nether regions, making you more susceptible to the growth of yeast and unfriendly bacteria.”
Grody. Absolutely grody. Anyone silly enough to try this procedure obviously has no idea that the vagina is pretty pro at maintaining its own PH balance and cleansing itself. Also, there’s this crazy new invention called soapy water that does a damn wonderful job of keeping any part of the body clean.
Kaleb is a senior in the Creative Writing & Journalism program at the University of Central Florida. Quast previously served as an editing intern and writer for the Orlando Weekly in 2014 before joining the East Orlando Post. Kaleb also serves as an editor for UCF’s literary magazine and worked as a staffer for the Florida Democratic Party in the 2014 election cycle. In his spare time, he makes black out astrology and is growing an avocado tree.