Though it’s literally ages old, a treatment called the “V-steam” is rather new to the United States, and has recently become fairly popular — in addition to receiving a good amount of media coverage.
Basically, women sit or hover over a pot of boiling water and oils for about a half hour. The steam is said to be able to help with infertility, vaginal thrush, menstrual pain, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, uterine weakness, uterine prolapse, endometriosis, vaginal tears, episiotomy, chronic yeast infections, and even hemorrhoids.
According to an article from FastCompany, the V-steam is an Americanized version of the centuries-old Korean tradition chai-yok, and incorporates wormwood and mugwort, herbs said to have antibiotic and antifungal properties. However, Health24 reports that there’s also the yoni steam bath, an age old practice used by Mayan midwives and traditional healers in Central and South America.
Both are essentially the same, but whether or not they deliver the intended results is another story.
According to Isla Herrera, clinical director of Renew Physical Therapy Center in New York city, its benefits go beyond good health, saying the V-steam is “a wonderful way to nurture the soul, spirit and body all at the same time.”
However, according to Dr. Siri Chand Kaur Khalsa of One Medical Group, none of the V-steam’s detoxifying effects have been substantiated in research.
“The premise that the body needs spa treatments to remove toxins has no clear basis in human biology,” says Dr. Khalsa. “However, these treatments can be beneficial in reducing mental, emotional and physical stress.”
There isn’t any scientific evidence, though, to support the effectiveness of absorbing herbs via the V-steam’s methods, Dr. Khalsa explains.
So while the V-steam could be therapeutic, the sheer lack of scientific study suggests that it’s literally and figuratively a bunch of hot air, or, as Dr. Vicken Sahakian, medical director of Pacific Fertility Center in Los Angeles, put it, “like voodoo medicine that sometimes works.”