Gwyneth Paltrow recently waxed lyrical on her Goop website about her new favorite thing: Mugworth vaginal steaming.
The 42-year-old actress urged her fans and followers to try out the Mugworth V-steam at Tikkun, a vaginal spa in Santa Monica, claiming that the sauna therapy procedure "cleanses your uterus" and "balances female hormone levels."
"Tikkun is the next level when it comes to Korean spas, combining high-tech far infrared heat with traditional Korean sauna therapies," she began in her blog post.
The "Mortdecai" star then enumerated the various amenities the spa offers, including their Himalayan salt brick tiled sauna, Hwangto clay room and "long menu of massages and kick-a** body scrubs."
"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," she continued.
"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," she added."
However, Dr. Jen Gunter, a board certified OB/GYN and expert in vulvovaginal disorders, begs to differ.
"Steam is probably not good for your vagina. Herbal steam is no better and quite possibly worse," she wrote on her website following Paltrow's post, via Daily Mail.
Mugwort is a herb commonly used to treat stomach and intestinal illness, including cramps. It also has a history of being used for menopausal, menstrual complaints and infertility as it stimulates hormone production and prevents ulcers and tumors from forming in the uterus, according to the American Cancer Society.
Similarly, wormwood has been used to terat digestive disorders and regulate menstrual cycles and female hormones.
However, there has been no solid evidence that these two substances, along with the other herbs used in the cleanse, actually aid in hormone imbalance and uterus detox when used in vaginal steam baths.
Practicing OB/GYN Dr. Camilo Gonima also shares Gunter's doubts over the benefits vaginal steaming claims to have.
“Herbal steams could have some relaxing effects and some beneficial superficial effects on the skin, just like a sauna or a facial steam would," he told Medical Daily. “Other than any possible involvement stress might have on these issues, I don't see any basis for any significant effects on fertility or menstrual cycles.”
Gonima also debunked the idea that V-steam actually helps in maintaining vaginal cleanliness and health, since the vagina is a self-cleaning organ and the steam remains external during the therapy procedure.
According to the expert, the vagina maintains "a healthy environment by maintaining a mix of beneficial bacteria," thus rendering vaginal steaming unnecessary.
Gunter also strongly warned against exposing one's uterus to steam.
"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," she wrote.
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