Gwyneth Wants to “Steam Clean” Your Vagina

We all know that Gwyneth Paltrow’s health and beauty recommendations can be a bit unusual, but this one may just be the most unusual of all.

In the latest edition of her online blog GOOP, Gwyneth touts the benefits of the vagina steam at the holistic Tikkun Spa in Santa Monica, Calif.

“the real golden ticket here is the Mugworth V-Steam: 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 release—not just a steam douche—that balances female hormone levels. If you’re in LA, you have to do it.”

According to the Tikkun Spa website:

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

tikkun_vsteam_webThey also claim the following “medicinal properties of the V Steam™”:

  • Stimulates the production of hormones to maintain uterine health
  • Protects the uterus from ulcers and tumors
  • Soothes while strengthening the nervous system
  • Stimulates menstrual discharges and the production of milk
  • Aids in restarting regular menstrual cycles
  • Eases fatigue, headaches, abdominal discomfort and nausea
  • Lessens the effects of renal calculi, rheumatism, arthritis and gout
  • Helps fight infections
  • Kills intestinal worms
  • Helps correct digestive disorders
  • Warms the body

The treatment costs $50 for a one-half hour session.

Could there be any truth to these claims?

What is Mugwort?

Artemisia_vulgaris mugwortMugwort is an aromatic plants of the genus Artemisia, a member of the daisy family and a cousin to ragweed.  It has been used for centuries in Chinese, Japanese and Korean traditional medicine where it is recommended for intestinal and menstrual disorders as well as a variety of other maladies.

According to the American Cancer Society, there has been little research done to support the use of mugwort as a medical treatment or for cancer treatment or prevention.

Although it is generally safe, mugwort pollen has been known to cause hay fever.

What do doctors say about the treatment?

Hilda Hutchenson, MD Ob/Gyn Columbia University:

 “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.”

Taraneh Shirazian, MD, Ob/Gyn Mount Sinai Hospital, NYC:

“the steam itself can increase moisture in and around your nether regions, making you more susceptible to the growth of yeast and unfriendly bacteria.”

Dr. Jen Gunter, MD and OB/GYN

“Ms. Paltrow and the people who push V-steams also need a little anatomy lesson because unless that steam is under high pressure (like with ejaculation) it’s not getting from the vagina into the uterus. Air (whether hot of cold) does not magically wander from the vagina into the uterus. Heck, even water in the vagina doesn’t get sucked up by the uterus.”

Russell Sanders, MD

“The female reproductive tract does not need to be cleaned at all. In fact, methods of feminine cleansing like douching can do more harm than good. Women should no more steam their vaginas than flush them with Lysol.”

Nuff said?

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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