Thank you, Eastern wellness.

Hey y'all! I'm Essence, beauty editor here at BuzzFeed, and I recently got my vagina steamed.

In case you're wondering what prompted my curiosity around warm steam being released into my vag, two words: Gwyneth. Paltrow. On her lifestyle site Goop, Paltrow reveals that the "golden ticket" treatment at Santa Monica spa Tikkun is the Mugwort V-Steam.

"Mugwort leaves and flower buds are boiled and steamed and applied to a specific area of the body (perineum) for detoxification," according to Tikkun's website. "The steam from the Mugwort is then absorbed into the body through the pores of the skin, most strongly effecting the site of absorption."

DeLisa Shannon / BuzzFeed / Via youtube.com

V-steams have actually been apart of Eastern wellness for hundreds of years and are said to have a lot of benefits, like detoxing vaginal infections and easing menstrual cramps. My period cramps seem to get worse with age, so any possible natural remedy automatically peaks my interest. And I know birth control is a popular treatment for them here in the U.S., but several women in my life have suffered everything from mood swings to fibroids because of their B.C. so I've never wanted to try it.

V-steams have actually been apart of Eastern wellness for hundreds of years and are said to have a lot of benefits, like detoxing vaginal infections and easing menstrual cramps. My period cramps seem to get worse with age, so any possible natural remedy automatically peaks my interest. And I know birth control is a popular treatment for them here in the U.S., but several women in my life have suffered everything from mood swings to fibroids because of their B.C. so I've never wanted to try it.

I of course did a lot of research before committing to steam being released into my body, and I found that many Western doctors advise against it because there hasn't been much research in Western medicine around its safety or effectiveness. Some doctors, like Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., clinical professor of ob-gyn at Yale School of Medicine, have brought up infections and burning from the steam as potential risks. According to Women's Health, Minkin thinks "[vaginal steaming is] complete bull" despite its centuries-long practice in other cultures. "My first concern is that someone would burn themselves because steam is hot," she told the mag.

There are, however, some western doctors and wellness practitioners who are advocates of v-steaming. In another article on The Guardian, Katinka Locascio, founder of Earth & Sky Healing Arts in New York, wrote that "just because you haven’t heard of something in Western culture before doesn’t make it automatically suspect." She said that there are a lot of misconceptions around the practice, and that "v-steams are not a form of douching" and that steam is not "super-heated" or "forced" into the uterus. In the same article, Dr. Rebecca Cohen, who practices family medicine and obstetrics, said she also includes v-steaming to treat patients for varying concerns, like fertility support, vaginal dryness, and menstrual irregularities. Cohen said, "I believe that they are safe when used correctly and can be a helpful adjunct to conventional medical therapies."

DeLisa Shannon / BuzzFeed / Via youtube.com

I was pumped to give the holistic Korean treatment, originally called chai-yok, a try! I booked an appointment at Bloomfield Wax and Skin Care Center in Bloomfield, NJ, because the reviews were great and the spa looked super clean. The treatment is 20 - 45 minutes, depending on your consultation, and costs $45.

I was pumped to give the holistic Korean treatment, originally called chai-yok, a try! I booked an appointment at Bloomfield Wax and Skin Care Center in Bloomfield, NJ, because the reviews were great and the spa looked super clean. The treatment is 20 - 45 minutes, depending on your consultation, and costs $45.

This is the owner Mel and me!

Before starting my treatment, I chatted with a regular client in the waiting area to get the unbiased thoughts of someone who wasn't a doctor or wellness professional. She was also there for a steam and said that her menstrual cycles used to be so painful, that she'd often vomit and have to call out of work. Ever since she discovered the treatment, though, her menstrual pain had significantly declined. She swore by it and said it changed her life.

@theessenceof_ / Via instagram.com

The spa owner Mel took me back to the private room to administer my v-steam. She first gave me a consultation to determine which herbs would best suit menstrual cramping, as my period would be coming on in about two weeks. She mixed mugwort, camomile, calendula, and rosemary into the steam pot.

The spa owner Mel took me back to the private room to administer my v-steam. She first gave me a consultation to determine which herbs would best suit menstrual cramping, as my period would be coming on in about two weeks. She mixed mugwort, camomile, calendula, and rosemary into the steam pot.

That blue thing is a sanitary cover so my bare derriere wasn't on the actual seat.

DeLisa Shannon / BuzzFeed / Via youtube.com


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