After reading media reports a few months back about Gwyneth Paltrow copping flack for steaming her uterus (Yes, seriously. Read about it here and here), I was intrigued by the concept of internal steaming. While I was doing a health and beauty tour of the Santa Monica, I simply had to check out Tikkun Spa. The wholistic Korean spa offers a host of steam rooms and treatments, and of course the famous V-Steam (think of it as a facial - but for your lady bits.)
The owner Pam gives me a quick tour and describes how you sit on a kind of bidet/throne and allow the steam to fill your nether regions. Based on the ancient Korean ritual of chai-yok, the steam and herbs are meant to cleanse and detoxify the area which apparently in turn can help with infertility, sort out irregular periods, soothe haemorroids and fix digestive issues. Big claims indeed. Experts have since damned the practice, saying that the vagina is perfectly capable of cleaning itself and hovering over a glorified kettle may disrupt the delicate balance down there.
Unfortunately (fortunately?) it’s my time of the month so I can’t experience it firsthand, but I do chat to a fellow customer in the change rooms for another perspective. Tara - who has been coming regularly - believes that the treatment helped get rid of a polyp on her uterus.
“The gynecologist said that if the next period didn't 'flush' it out, it would require surgery. I did three V-steams over ten days and that seemed to do the trick,” she says. “It could be coincidental but I really do think that it helped and no further intervention was required.”
She explains that the V-steam is quite relaxing and because you're wearing a strapless gown that envelops you over the throne, your whole midsection gets a really good, localized sweat.
“When you've finished, you feel cleansed and refreshed. Just be careful not to let it get too hot or you'll burn!”
On that terrifying note, I thank heavens for my euphemistic ‘visitor’ and head in to meet Solla, who will be giving me a deep tissue massage. She expertly unkinks my neck from the evil plane ride, before sending me to relax in the heat rooms.
The salt room is impressive: the floor is covered in huge hunks of Himalayan salt crystals, and the walls are built with bricks of salt. You lie on a Tatami matt on top of all these crystallised chunks with your head on a wooden block and breathe in the dry, salty heat. Somehow the salt tempers the heat and I’m able to comfortably lie in there for ten minutes –almost falling asleep! (note to self – heat rooms are dangerous after long haul flights).
Next up - the clay room, which is similar – a tatami matt on the floor and clay walls. I head through to the ladies wing (the other dry rooms are in a public part of the spa and unisex) where you’re able to “go natural” as Pam had described it. After a very quick nude dip (when in Rome… or America/Korea) in the spa I have to make haste to get to dinner on time.
V-Steam or not, Tikkun is worth a visit. They have a vast range of treatments, very good therapists and the bonus of being able to swan around in all the various saunas and hot tubs (“natural” – if that’s your thing). Teaming a steam with a massage has got to be one of the best ways to reach that epic level of relaxation we all crave. And hey, if it’s good enough for Gwyneth…
Story by Sigourney.