Snake Oil Alert: Why Gwyneth Paltrow Gets Her Vagina Steam-Cleaned, and Why You Probably Shouldn’t

If you have a vagina, and it could break into a monologue (thank you, Eve Ensler), it would probably ask you to keep it away from vagina steam baths.

And that’s despite what actress Gwyneth Paltrow tells you to do.

Ms. Paltrow loves to get a V-steam. In her lifestyle newsletter GOOP, she swoons:

“You sit on what is essentially a mini-throne, and a combination of infrared and mugwort steam cleanses your uterus, et al. It is an energetic releasenot just a steam douche — that balances female hormone levels. If you’re in L.A., you have to do it.”

(Of course: L.A., the lala-land of butthole bleaching. Big surprise. I remember being there years ago and seeing ads for something called “laser vaginal rejuvenation.” But I digress.)

From Laura Hooper Beck at Fast Company, we learn that

Tikkun Holistic Spa in Santa Monica offers the V-steam in many forms to cure whatever ails your aching vag. Suffering from postpartum depression? TIKKUN POST PARTUM V STEAM™. Want to get pregnant? TIKKUN INFERTILITY V STEAM™. Or simply looking to shed a few pounds? TIKKUN SLIMMING V STEAM™. They even offer the V-steam for men, which is more of an A-steam, if you catch my drift. (It’s for your butt.)

wewew

Just like this, but totally different. We think.

However (I didn’t want to use but), the wisdom of steam-smoking one’s nether regions is debatable. For instance, Jen Gunter, a board-certified OB-GYN who is a fan of evidence-based medicine and who likes to wield what she quips is her “lasso of truth,” insists it’s all snake oil and woo:

The vagina (and uterus and vulva for that matter) should be viewed as self-cleaning ovens. … The upper and lower reproductive tracts have very intricate mechanisms for regulating local health and they are very easy to mess with. It’s a delicate garden, if you will. So one needs to be thoughtful, nay conscious about what one uses in said garden. …

[T]he lactobacilli strains that keep vaginas healthy are very finicky about their environment and raising the temperature with steam and whatever infrared nonsense Paltrow means is likely not beneficial and is potentially harmful. Some strains of lactobacilli are so hard to cultivate outside of this the very specific vaginal environment that growing them in a lab is next to impossible. There is also the possibility that the “steam” from these plants could contain volatile substances that are harmful to lactobacilli or other aspects of the vaginal ecosystem.

If you want to ladle love on your lady passage without incurring the $50 expense, says Beck (who tried the V-steam and kinda liked it), you could always

… microwave a glass of lemon water and just squat over it for 10 minutes.

But perhaps Gunter has a better alternative.

Steam is probably not good for your vagina. Herbal steam is no better and quite possibly worse. It is most definitely more expensive. Steam isn’t going to get into your uterus from your vagina unless you are using an attachment with some kind of pressure and MOST DEFINITELY NEVER EVER DO THAT.

Mugwort or wormwood or whatever when steamed, either vaginally or on the vulva, can’t possibly balance any reproductive hormones, regulate your menstrual cycle, treat depression, or cure infertility. Even steamed estrogen couldn’t do that.

If you want to feel relaxed, get a good massage.

If you want to relax your vagina, have an orgasm.

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P.S. Hollywood denizen Kelsey Gunn V-steams her vajayjay in this YouTube video. You’re welcome.

And if anyone needs me, I’ll be digitally steam-cleaning my browser history.

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder of Moral Compass, a now dormant site that poked fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards. He joined Friendly Atheist in 2013.


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