Newest spa splurge: vaginal steaming
US media outlets and bloggers are aflutter after a December 20th The Los Angeles Times report on the newest trend to hit the California coast: vaginal steam bathing.
An ancient Korean tradition and widely available in spas in Korea and Japan, it's being touted as a cure for everything from low energy to infertility. Problem is, there is no evidence it actually works.
Western spas have long been heavily influenced by Asia, both in the style of their treatments and décor, with Thai massage, acupuncture, and Ayurvedic medicine popular trends in spas around the globe. But now Western spa-goers are willing to pay around €38 to squat over a pot of steaming mugwort tea (blended with wormwood and other herbs) in a treatment known as chai-yok. The woman is usually seated above the pot over an open bench that allows the steam to rise and make contact with the vaginal area.
According to Korean medicine, the steam baths help treat stress, fight infections, clear hemorrhoids, regulate menstrual cycles, and aid infertility. Niki Han Schwartz, owner of Tikkun Holistic Spa in Santa Monica, California, told The Los Angeles Times that vaginal steam baths helped her get pregnant at the age of 45 after only five steams (she'd been trying to conceive for three years).
Dr. Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Women's Care of Beverly Hills Medical Group in the US, says the idea of vaginal steaming the pelvic area is "not insane," and can increase circulation to the region, which can trigger an immune response.
Where can you get one? The treatment is still hard to find, especially outside of Japan, Korea, and major American cities such as New York and Los Angeles, but it is available at a growing number of holistic spas. Tikkun Holistic Spa in Santa Monica, California, offers a 30-minute V-Steam treatment for $50 . (The identical treatment is available for men, to steam the perineal area). Also Daengki Spa in Los Angeles offers a 45-minute V-Herbal Therapy treatment for $20. New Yorkers can steam their privates for $75 for a 30-minute session.
Want to try it at home? A complete setup, including an open-seated stool, boiler, and herbs, can be purchased online at Rakuten.com for R1,203.24 .