Model and TV host Chrissy Teigen isn’t afraid of putting all her business out there — and that includes some of her more, ahem, private beauty rituals. Her latest? Vaginal steaming.
"Face mask / heat pad / vagina steam no I don’t know if any of this works but it can’t hurt right?" Teigen captioned on an Instagram posts that shows her squatting over something with a towel over her lap.
Is vaginal steaming something you should integrate into your self-care routine?
What is vaginal steaming?
Vaginal steaming first gained attention after Gwyneth Paltrow recommended it on her website, Goop.
"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,” she wrote in a now-deleted Goop article.
The actual process involves sitting or squatting over a container that directs herbal-infused steam up into the nether regions. Herbs often used for vaginal steaming include mugwort, wormwood, basil, calendula, chamomile, rosemary and oregano.
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Some spas offer the service, though some people (like Teigen) opt for home treatments.
Vaginal steaming benefits
Like many beauty treatments, vaginal steaming originated in ancient Korea — also known as "chai-yok."
It’s said to help clean the entire vagina and uterus while reducing stress, improving infertility, hormone imbalances, hemorrhoids, depression, infections, headaches, fatigue and digestive issues.
One HuffPo writer said that her experience with vaginal steaming left her both sexually aroused and "made down-there moisturized without slathering on any weird or heavy creams."
Is vaginal steaming healthy?
Though supporters claim vaginal steaming can help cure almost every problem down there, it’s not too popular with gynecologists.
"Claims that it can somehow impact vaginal or uterine health are not biologically plausible," San Francisco-based OB/GYN Jennifer Gunter told HuffPo. "A vagina does not need to be detoxed. Ever. The vagina is a self-cleaning oven. That is why we have good bacteria."
She added on her website that celebrities like Paltrow need an anatomy lesson because the vaginal steaming process isn’t forceful enough to push it into the uterus.
Plus, it could be dangerous.
"We don’t know the effect of steam on the lower reproductive tract, but the 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," she wrote. "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.
So while a good sweat session can help your health in a multitude of ways, vaginal steaming is one wellness trend you should keep far away from your privates.