Paltrow posted on her hugely popular lifestyle website, Goop, a piece on the treatment available at the Tikkun Spa in Santa Monica.
Usually Paltrow writes about the health benefits of yoga and detox juice-diets, so this was a bit of a departure for her readers — some of whom were left steaming with rage from the advice from the actress.
“The real golden ticket here is the Mugwort V-Steam,” says Paltrow. “You sit on what is essentially a mini-throne, and a combination of infrared and mugwort steam cleanses your uterus, et al.”
Paltrow said the V-Steam is “an energetic release — not just a steam douche — that balances female hormone levels. If you’re in LA, you have to do it.”
Not so, says Dr Jen Gunter, a certified obstetrician and gynaecologist.
Gunter wrote in her own blog post: “Steam is probably not good for your vagina. Herbal steam is no better and quite possibly worse.
“Mugwort of wormwood or whatever when steamed, either vaginally or on the vulva, can’t possibly balance any reproductive hormones, regulate your menstrual cycle, treat depression, or cure infertility.”
Gunter also objected to claims that the steam “cleanses your uterus”.
She said: “Steam isn’t going to get into your uterus from your vagina unless you are using an attachment with some kind of pressure. Most definitely never, ever do that.”
Dr David L Finke, a Los Angeles gynaecologist, told People magazine: “I don’t think it’s completely crazy to say [it] could be beneficial.
“It could change the circulation patterns for probably 30 minutes to an hour,” he said, but “as far as bold claims that doing this will change hormonal balance or cleanse the uterus, it’s probably bogus.”