The words “different” or “far out” often come to mind when people think about California and in particular Los Angeles. Anything you can (or can’t) imagine? Yep, it exists here. Probably a short trip…er, maybe drive…down the road from where I sit. Truly, every person, place, thing, or idea can live in harmony (most of the time). And it’s one of the reasons I love living here.
Though I embrace this unique California lifestyle and have come to appreciate the unexpected and diverse experiences available to me, there are certainly those only in La La land moments that leave me surprised. The most recent being the V-Steam, the polite code word for a va-jay-jay facial or more directly a vaginal steam bath that is based on Korean chai-yok treatments designed to balance hormones, detoxify your system, improve reproductive health and fertility, and boost immunity and energy.
When I arrived for some much needed me time at Tikkun Holistic Spa in Santa Monica, I didn’t know what owner and mompreneur Niki Han Schwarz had in store for the mom bloggers that had gathered. Sure, I assumed steam would be involved since Korean spas are known for their hot tubs and heated therapeutic rooms. I’d just never heard of it being pointed directly at you-know-where.
Never one to say no to a spa treatment, I eagerly anticipated the pampering my lower half was about to receive (and giggled a little, okay a lot, at the notion that my baby vehicle was going to enjoy a complimentary steam cleaning). During the half-hour V-Steam, I sat above an open-seated stool wearing a pink tent of a dress that trapped the herb-infused steam boiling up from a medicinal blend beneath me. Although this is an ancient healing tradition, I nevertheless felt very futuristic sitting there with the fellow mom bloggers who had joined me for this new experience. Really, it was a reimagined scene out of Star Wars with the editor of Modern Mom perched atop the throne of V-Steam chairs like Queen Amidala and Paula Miranda of Paulaisms, Morgan Shanahan of The 818, and me sitting around her like her sweaty purified ladies in waiting. Seriously, talk about instant bonding among women.
Because I don’t have any immediate health or known fertility concerns, I can’t directly identify or attribute positive changes in my body to the V-Steam. I do know, however, that I’ve felt less stressed, slept better, sweated less (thank god!), and had the most regular period since giving birth. This jibes with what Niki explained to us—that the V-Steam can be used to maintain health and wellness in addition to treating more complex issues. She personally believes the treatments helped her conceive at 45, after seeing a dramatic change in her fertility following the V-Steam. Her clients, too, have shared stories of surgeries avoided when the treatments reduced inflammation and the like. Although the evidence of the V-Steam’s efficacy is anecdotal, I’m a firm believer in Eastern healing modalities and never think it hurts to try a non-traditional approach to health care. And, worse case scenario, you leave relaxed with dewy skin, rejuvenated lady bits, and a funny story to tell.
After my V-Steam, I also enjoyed a fantastic massage (I highly recommend Jessie) and left Tikkun feeling pretty darn awesome. So good, that I thought it would be the perfect “Coming to California” experience for Sarah Stewart Holland.
~ The Other Sarah
"You're going to have a v-steam...I'm not telling you what that is," says The Other Sarah upon my arrival in L.A.
It's a good thing I like surprises.
I arrived at Tikkun Holisitc Spa on Wednesday morning and was greeted by the owner Niki Han Schwarz. She was as revealing as Sarah was secretive.
"You're having a vaginal steam. Are you familiar with the procedure?"
Well... I'm familiar with my vagina and I'm familiar with steam but I sure as hell never thought I'd be putting the two together in the same sentence - much less the same physical space. She politely explained it was an ancient procedure that was performed on Korean royalty and that it would release toxins while increasing hormonal balance. Basically, I pieced together that I would be sitting over a steaming pot of herbs.
She tooks me back to the treatment room and wrapped me in a purple strapless robe that would trap the steam. I sat on a big fancy chair (felt sort of like a throne, which in combo with the purple did feel a bit royal) and she informed me I would sit with the steam for 30 minutes.
Whoa. Thirty minutes!
At this point, I had given her my cell phone to charge during the spa treatments. I smiled. "Is there anyway I can get my cell phone back?"
No way I was going to sit there for a half an hour getting my vagina steamed without telling half the planet...which I proceeded to do once she brought me my phone. I basically texted every girlfriend I had (as well as Nicholas). Seriously. If we've shared so much as a fun coffee date, you probably got this text from me last week.
"FYI. I'm currently having my vagina steamed. Just thought you should know."
Nicholas has still not responded. I can't decide if that's good or bad. Here is a sampling of responses from my nearest and dearest:
"Wtf? What does that even mean?" (Actually I got WTF a couple of times.)
"How does one find out about a vagina steam?"
"With what desired result?"
"California is a strange land!"
One girlfriend has even taken to calling me steamy.
When I wasn't giggling at the steady stream of texts coming my way, the procedure itself was pretty relaxing. The chair itself wasn't super-comfortable but apply heat to an (ahem) substantial part of your body for a long period of time and you start to feel the affects.
Unfortunately, you have to do a series of steams to really feel the long-term benefits and I don't see this procedure coming to Paducah any time soon. However, it was really fun and a unique experience I would recommend it to anyone.
Also, you have no idea how much I've loved dropping this into casual conversation.
"How was your trip to LA?"
"Well! I got my vagina steamed!"
~ Sarah Stewart Holland