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The New-Old Practice of Vaginal Steam Baths

Time,  Dec 27, 2010
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Spas offer treatments for just about every body part these days, so it isn't terribly surprising that the Tikkun Holistic Spa in Santa Monica is now offering a $50 V-Steam — literally a steam bath for their female clients' genitalia. What is of interest is the treatment's history.

Tikkun's owners, Niki Han Schwarz and her husband, orthopedic surgeon Charles Schwarz, are using a centuries-old Korean remedy known as chai-yok, that is believed to regulate menstrual cycles and treat infertility. Han Schwartz swears by the treatment and insists that she is in a position to know: she told the Los Angeles Times that it was chai-yok that helped her conceive at the age of 45, after 3 years of trying.

No surprise, many western docs are not sold in the treatment. "It sounds like voodoo medicine that sometimes works," Dr. Vicken Sahakian, medical director of Pacific Fertility Center in Los Angeles, told the Times.

A session of chai-yok involves a pot of boiling water, infused with 14-20 different herbs, often imported from Korea. The primary herbal ingredients are mugwort and wormwood, which both have alleged antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. The mixture is prepared and the pot is then positioned between the legs where the herbs work their putative magic. Simple.

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