VSpot Medispa professional Tina Shala was about to boldly go where few have gone before.
Well not too few—I'm not a complete prude and pay regular visits to my doctor, but in the beauty realm, my vagina-focused treatments have been limited to a single wax, which ended with very mixed results. A V-Steam, on the other hand, sounded far more zen. Consider it the equivalent of giving your vagina a sauna treatment. While a Vajacial, or vagina facial, would entail a wax (nope) followed by extractions of ingrown hairs, the V-Steam is a holistic way to release toxins, relieve cramps, and ease muscle pain from the pelvic floor. "People are learning about V-Steams right now and are assuming it's brand-new, but it's actually an ancient holistic approach that has been around for thousands of years. The steam is the same as what would be used to give you a facial," Shala explained to me. "You sweat to release the toxins, and in the vagina, there are a lot, which is why people are prone to things like yeast infections. The steam also dilates the blood vessels, so you have increased circulation, and you're calming the muscles of the pelvic floor. If people experience pain during intercourse, a lot of times, it's because their pelvic floor muscles are inflamed, or there isn't healthy blood flow to the area." Even if you don't, the increased blood flow can also make your libido rise. Score.
So, what's the difference between a V-Steam and simply squatting over a bowl of hot water? A lot, actually. For one, it's a lot more comfortable, and secondly, the steam from the treatment is infused with a handful of herbs meant to help detox any odor-causing elements, and alleviate cramps. "The herbs are placed into the machine, and infuse the steam as it comes out," she told me. "The key herb that we use in our blend is mugwort." It sounds kind of like an ingredient used in Harry Potter's potions class, but has been used for medicinal purposes including, but not limited to, regulating an irregular period, and keeping menstrual cramps in check.
After explaining the process to me, Tina left the room so I could strip from the waist down, and I laid back on the treatment table and waited. I felt a little like Natalie Imbruglia a la "Torn" (you know, cold, shamed, lying naked but not necessarily on the floor) for a second, but once Tina returned, she applied wet towels over both of my legs, then draped a sheet over my lower half. I spread my legs accordingly, and once the steam was directed into the right area, she began giving me an abdominal massage with the most glorious lemongrass-scented oil. "This helps to keep the blood flowing, as well as the absorption of the herbs," Shala said.
I felt really zen, which was nice, because the morning leading up to the treatment was a stressful one, but not necessarily because of anything in my life. Mainly, I just had no idea what to do to prepare for this, other than cleaning in the shower, obviously. In a panic, I took my Venus razor to my nether regions as I normally did, hoping no exfoliants would be involved after the fact. Shala ensured me I was fine in doing that. "You can either shave, wax, or trim before," she said. "You just don't want anything blocking your vagina because if you're too outgrown, it can be a physical barrier between you and the steam." Makes sense. You get the best results when you do a V-Steam once a month a few days after your period ends, and as far as what you can and can't do afterwards, there aren't a ton of restrictions. You'll want to hydrate appropriately before and after since you'll be sweating, but don't hit up a hot yoga class immediately after your appointment since your pores are still open. She also advises having yogurt afterwards to take advantage of the good bacteria it provides, but really, we should probably be eating more yogurt anyway. It's good for you. The only people who wouldn't be a good candidate for the treatment are pregnant women, as the herbs can sometimes induce contractions.
The V-Steam took probably 20 minutes in full, and after a layer of the VMagic Balm ($27; vmagicnow.com), I was good to go. I felt cleaner than I ever had in my life, and the lemongrass fragrance that lingered for the rest of the night was an especially nice touch. According to Shala, many issues can be resolved after a few treatments, and since I get terrible cramps for roughly 5 to 7 days each month, you best believe I'll be getting another once shark week comes to a close.