Ever since beautiful Gwyneth Paltrow recommended vaginal steaming last year on her goop website, America has not been able to stop talking about it. Part of this, is being able to use amusing terms to substitute for the punanay (see what I did there?). Another part of this, is good ole' fashioned poking fun at Paltrow for bringing up such an intimate (and taboo) topic. But mostly, it's for a reason that might go a little deeper. Is it possible that the idea of a deep perineal cleanse resonates with women as something they might want, or maybe even need?
You see, despite countless articles discouraging vaginal steaming, women all across the country have been racing around to find the closest spa where they can get their cookies steamed. The few small businesses that sell v-steam kits and herbs have seen a ten-fold increase in demand. Many would argue women are doing it because they want to follow the latest beauty trend in Hollywood--which might be true in some of the cases--but new research shows that it might be more than that.
According to an informal review of the practice of vaginal steaming, it shows steaming is being used by women in South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, China, India, Sweden, Germany, Turkey, Eritrea, Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Mexico, Guatemala, Suriname, Hawaii, Palau and Papua New Guinea. That's, basically, everywhere in the world. Whether discovered organically in each location, or whether it was spread by intercommunication from travel routes, it appears that all the women of the world--at some point or another--decided that steaming their vagina was a good idea.
America is no exception to this rule. At a time when women aren't always happy with the options they get in the gynecologist office - artificial hormones, antibiotics and surgery being top of the list - the idea of a natural option that offers a level of self-care for their own body has caught on like wildfire. It turns out Paltrow revealed a lot more than just the latest Hollywood trend. She revealed a universal women's practice - a rite of womanhood. And as the positive stories continue to add up - cramps going away, fibroids falling out, conception after years of trying, bacterial vaginosis clearing up - more and more American women are going to steam their flower.
Keli Garza is an independent women's health researcher and the creator of Steamy Chick (www.steamychick.com), the largest manufacturer of vaginal steam kits in the United States. She is on Instagram @steamychick.