Vaginal steaming, sometimes shortened to V-steaming, and also known as yoni steaming, is an alternative health treatment whereby a woman squats or sits over steaming water containing herbs such as mugwort, rosemary, wormwood, and basil. It has been practised in Africa (Mozambique, South Africa and currently in Ghana), Asia (Indonesia, Thailand), and Central America (among the Q’eqchi’ people).
Vaginal steaming is described in spas as an ancient Korean treatment for reproductive organ ailments and is claimed to have other benefits. No empirical evidence supports any of these claims. It gained popularity in 2015 after actress Gwyneth Paltrow hailed its benefits.
Prevalence Of Vaginal Steaming
According to a study on vaginal practices by the World Health Organization published in 2011, one of the ways in which women practice vaginal care is by “Vaginal steaming or smoking: the ‘steaming’ or ‘smoking’ of the vagina, by sitting above a source of heat (fire, coals, hot rocks) on which water, herbs, or oils are placed to create steam or smoke”. For that study, over 4,000 women in Tete (Mozambique), KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa), Yogyakarta (Indonesia), and Chonburi (Thailand) were asked about their vaginal care. When it came to vaginal steaming/smoking, very different results were obtained, and very different reasons were given: in Chonburi, 67% of women reported having performed vaginal steaming or smoking, “which they associated with maintaining wellness and feminine identity”, especially after having given birth (85.5%). In Tete, only 10% of women practised steaming or smoking, “mostly intended to enhance male sexual pleasure by causing vaginal tightening (64.1% of users) and drying (22.9%)”. In the two African locations, 37–38% of women said they practised it to enhance “male sexual pleasure“; in the two Asian ones, 0% gave that answer. Conversely, of the Asian women, 26% reported their “feminine identity” was a reason, compared to 0% of the African women.
Side effect and potential dangers include allergic reactions, second-degree burns if the steam is too close and vaginal infections.
Vaginal steaming is marketed with pseudoscientific notions of “balancing” female hormones and “revitalizing” the uterus or vagina. According to a midwife interviewed by TV3 News Crew in Ghana, she said vaginal steaming helps mothers who have delivered to gain back their pre-pregnancy state by the uterus coming back to its normal state.
It is also claimed to reduce the discomfort, bloating, and tiredness associated with menstruation, regulate irregular menstrual cycles, treat yeast infections, decrease the menstrual blood flow, increase fertility, relieve symptoms of menopause, treat endometriosis, and speed up the after-birth healing process. No evidence supports any of those claims.
It is also marketed as “cleaning” the vagina, which it does not do, and which is not necessary.
The marketing and perception of vaginal steaming
My question for the ladies is , have you ever practiced vaginal steaming, comment with your experience. If you havent, will you give a try considering the claims of benefits enumerated above