Renowned OB/GYN Specializing in Empowered Relationships
Vaginal Steaming Insights from an OBGYN Perspective

Video Transcript

Jessica: [00:00:02] Hi everyone. Thanks for joining in this for a special interview today with OBGYN Dr. Tosha Rogers. I’m Jessica, co-founder of Leiamoon, and I must say that living 36 years in a female body I’m still constantly learning new things about it every day. So part of the reason why we founded Leiamoon and why we’re here today is to create a space for women to share more information and empower each other to lead more aware, fuller lives. So today I’m here to pick the brain of Dr. Tosha “Truth” Rogers with you. Dr. Rogers is an OBGYN and founder of Atlanta Premiere OBGYN Associates. Her private practice is based in Atlanta, Georgia, and she too is committed to advocating for women’s health within her own community and far beyond as both a writer, speaker, and special guest on several TV programs. Now she’s here with us today. So Dr. Tosha thanks for joining us. We really appreciate it.

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:00:59] Oh no it is my pleasure. I’m so excited to be here.

[00:01:03] Thank you. And so just to jump right in: Can you tell us more about your own story–where you’re from and what led you to become an OBGYN and open your own women’s health boutique?

[00:01:15] I’m originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I was completely educated in Philadelphia as a child. I went to Drexel for undergrad, I went to PCOM for med school, and then ultimately, I did my residency in Philadelphia as well. When I initially started medical school, I wanted to be a cardiologist, strangely enough. [Being an OBGYN] was the last thing I wanted to do– it was really a calling. And I’ll say that because, when I did my rotation–we have to do rotations–I said to the head resident, “I don’t want to do this… so tell me what I need to do the pass because I’m sure you don’t want to spend your time teaching somebody who doesn’t really want to do this.” And she’s like, “You’re absolutely correct. But what you do need to do is deliver a baby, and one is ready to be delivered now so let’s go!” So I went into the room and it completely changed my life. I don’t mean to sound corny, but it really did. It’s like the energy when a baby is coming into the world, the energy in the room changes. Something changes. It’s almost unspeakable and you can’t understand it. From that second on, it had me. I was there six o’clock in the morning, I wouldn’t leave until 11:00p.m. And for it to be the last thing I thought I would ever do, it just completely captivated me, and I’ve been completely captivated from that day.

Jessica: [00:02:35] Wow.

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:02:41] So I trained in Philadelphia. You know, I love my city… But there’s a big world out there and I did not want to just limit myself to Philadelphia. So I moved to North Carolina and I worked for a while and it was very interesting. I wasn’t a fan so much. It wasn’t very progressive–they were very 1960’s with their care and how they thought about women’s health and it didn’t jive so much with me. So I moved to Atlanta, and after working in a couple of practices in Atlanta that were just very factor-like, very “in-and-out, 50 patients a day. Get the PAP done. We don’t care who sees the patient. Let the nurse practitioner see them, let the midwife see them. Who cares. They’ll be fine. Oh, they’re bleeding? Who has time to patch them up?” And was just like, wait a minute this is not a third world country. What are we doing?

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:03:31] So I branched off from there and I decided to start the Atlanta Premiere OBGYN. The principles of the practice are very different than most practices in that the biggest thing for me is that I listen to my patients. Patients will generally tell you what’s wrong with them–you just have to take the time to listen. They don’t know what it is, but they can verbalize so that you can figure out what it is. So we give them kind care, we give them good care. We listen to them and we’re respectful to them. We ask for that same thing back from our patients that we don’t have any issues, but that is something that I’m big on providing in my practice. My patients are very clear, and if they’re not getting what, they want they let me know we change things immediately. As women we are not all the same. You have some women who are great with western medicine: give them as many prescriptions as you can and they’re happy. And then you have other women who are like, “there has to be a better way. I don’t want to take a bunch of medicine. I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to do, you know the ‘traditional way.’ I know there are other ways and I don’t want to keep coming at a hundred times. What can you do to fix me?” And I realize that that is not just a straightforward thing. You know sometimes you may have to go more holistic. You may do some Chinese medicine you may have to do some herbal medicine. And then there are times when Western medicine is the only fix. So with integrating all of those things into the practice, I’ve found that I’ve gotten the best results for my patients and with patients are.

Jessica: [00:05:08] Do you feel that having this foundation in the way you speak to your patients– like even being nicknamed “Dr. Truth”– is a helpful way that you create more of an open forum for the people that come to see you to feel more comfortable sharing more personal information about their health?

Jessica: [00:08:53] And I guess I’m curious where you got this nickname–or is it an addition to your name: “Truth.” Or maybe that is your middle name??

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:09:01] Well no it’s not a middle name. But you know, one of my spiels to my patients is “This is a no judgment zone,” and that’s the first thing I say to them. “There’s not an ounce of judgment in my body, but I am going to tell you the truth. And I’ll make you think, but I’m going to tell you the truth.” And patients really like that about me. They’re like, “At least you told me, at least they know the truth, at least they understand.” So patients will say “Doctor Truth, Doctor Truth!” And that’s where it came from.

Jessica: [00:09:33] I think being more of a straight shooter like that must really allow your patients to open up more…. And share more than just their physical ailments are symptoms. What I learned about women’s health issues and my own health is like there’s just so much more loaded into it that we don’t always talk about: Like the psycho-spiritual-emotional health of a person… and that seems to really–especially women’s health specifically–have an effect on the proper functioning of our bodies. So I imagine it’s important to be coming from that place of nonjudgment and truth.

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:10:11] Absolutely. And the thing is the thing that helps is that I can kind of read people very well, so in the first two or three minutes I kind of know how to communicate with you. Very important. Everything is intimately connected. You might say “I have a low libido.” “No, your problems in your relationship. Let’s talk about it!” And we talk about boyfriends and sex and parents and what’s holding you back…. So everything is encompassed. And it takes some time, but I’d rather spend the proper amount of time and get where I need to be than kind of just play around with you and never fully help you.

Jessica: [00:10:48] Yeah. That makes so much sense. So, in helping women what issues come up most frequently that you feel most called to address and make more people aware of?

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:11:15] Across the board, what I’ve noticed with women is they are afraid to rock the boat in relationships even in marriages. [For example] in conversing, one of my questions is “Are you sexually active?” And most people obviously say yes. “Protected or unprotected?” …and then when I say, “When’s the last time you saw his STD testing with your own eyes?” “Ninety percent of women will say, “Never.” Outside of the fact that this is terribly dangerous. It gets to another root of it: I’ll say, “So you’re doing this, and you didn’t even make him prove to you that he didn’t have HIV. How you feel about that?”

[00:11:56] And they’re like, “I don’t know.” And I’m like, “Well is the problem him or you? What is it that’s happening that you feel that you cannot express to somebody who you’re performing a very intimate act with, like, ‘hey, are you okay? Do you have a chronic disease that you can give me?'”

[00:12:15] Women don’t feel as though we can converse. We feel as though we’ll lose our partners, we feel as though we’ll make our relationships less stable. And it’s very scary if we’re in situations where you cannot communicate with the people who we are intimate with. And it’s across the board. And women feel very depressed because of that. They’ll come in a hundred times, “can you check me for this?” “Can you check me for that?” You want me to check you a zillion times in a month –and I’m okay with it–but it’s because you refuse to ask any questions that could potentially save your life. It’s scary.

Jessica: [00:12:48] Yeah that’s a huge deal too–if women don’t feel like they can be in open communication with their doctor that’s one problem. But If they can’t do that with their partner–or even with themselves on some level–that too is affecting their health and their inner world in a way that you can’t necessarily fix. But you can at least try to empower them to ask the right people those questions.

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:13:12] And you’d be surprised. A lot of times some of my patients are like, “I’m going to ask!” And maybe they’ll feel the strength because they’re there [in my office], and they’ll text they’re partner right there, and the partner will be like “She’s absolutely correct. I’ll go get tested this week.” So It’s not the males. It’s the mindset and the self-esteem of the women.

Jessica: [00:13:31] In a lot of your videos you do speak about your goal to educate women about safe sex in getting tested. Even If you’re in a super committed monogamous relationship, you still both are responsible for your own health and in checking up on each other and on yourself. So what are some of the key women’s health issues or aspects of our bodies that many don’t know about or pay attention to–or don’t even know to get tested for?

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:14:00] Well first of all, vaginitis and sexually transmitted diseases–women are kind of up on those things. But when it comes to paps, women will say, “Well I haven’t been to the doctor since I had a baby. I haven’t had any problems.” No, we need to take a look! “Do your ovaries look okay? Is your uterus enlarged? Do you have discharge or an odor which you perceive at this point is normal but it’s not? Have you had a breast exam? Do you have a family history of breast cancer? Because if you do, then you need to be tested and you may need to be tested to see if you carry the gene…” And different things like that for all-around health. I think we’ve gotten to a place of, “I only need to see a gynecologist if I think he’s cheating… or if I think he’s had sex with somebody else, then I’m going to go to the gynecologist.” No, no! This is something standard that you do no matter what type of relationship you’re in. And I think women are starting to get that but will shy away if they can.

Jessica: [00:14:56] Yeah and it seems like a lot of women won’t come in unless they have a problem, like what you’re saying. Or they look at the gynecologist as a sort of specialized secondary kind of doctor… But really [gynecology is related] to the foundation of the whole health of a woman because it [meaning the vaginal area] is our center, literally.

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:15:17] But I think a lot of it is more emotional than physical. Because, understand that I’m the person who can make the reality of something not okay in your relationship hit you right in the face! People are not ready sometimes to accept what they may know. So they stay away.

Jessica: [00:15:35] Yes, and we do get signals every month, that is if we have a regular menstrual cycle. Many adult women still don’t seem to know what is happening or why that happens, what it means, or where their uterus even is and how to take care of themselves! So even that lack of understanding of what is what’s normal for you personally–why do you think that is? What do you think about that, that some women don’t really even know [these things about their own bodies]?

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:16:10] I think a lot of it is how you were raised and how you were trained. And some mothers are just like, “It’s fine. It doesn’t matter as long as you’re not having a problem. You don’t bother it. You don’t touch it. You don’t need to deal with it at all.” And I think a lot of women did not grow up in an open home, so they don’t talk about it much. If you do not trust your mom… or whoever you grew up with doesn’t have a relationship that’s open enough with you for you to say, “Hey, I have a bump here. I have an odor,” or “something is in my panties,” then you are going to be terribly uncomfortable saying it to a stranger. And so those are the women who completely stay away, and they shy away, and they are not receptive to learning because they’ve never learned.

Jessica: [00:16:58] Yes, so I wondered too. If we are unable to learn a lot of our normal body functions from our family, I would hope that in the community—or even in what you do with private practice—that we could have community outreach programs or other public/social forums where you speak to women more about, “Hey what’s going on in your body? How are you feeling? What’s going on with you?” A lot of women don’t have that luxury of being asked that by their own family members. So I think it’s really great as a health practitioner that you are reaching out, outside of the office, where people think that’s just where they go when something’s wrong.

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:17:36] Right. I think that the key is making medicine fun, making people not so afraid of it. I mean, making people not feel like, “Oh my God, I am going to get an awful diagnosis, some awful news.” And some people really feel like that and they’ll tell me. So, I make the conversation fun, I’m funny. We have a great time, we laugh, we joke. It gets loud, it gets quiet, I get tearful and I just want to make it relatable. And if people will relate, then they’ll inquire. But if it’s something they can’t relate to, they’re going to be hands off. And so that’s what I’m trying to change.

Jessica: [00:18:10] I know and it’s huge. So, speaking of trying to change things, I notice on your website that you also offer herbal vaginal steam treatments, as well as customized vaginal cleansing treatment. Can you tell us what those are? Because I’m sure that takes a lot to coax people into that world of treatment.

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:18:27] Well believe it or not people are more interested than not, and I think that the vaginal steam is picking up a lot of “steam” and a lot of interest. But I’m a little bit afraid because when it comes to the vaginal steam, it is very important that you know which herbs you’re using and why. You have people that will grab three or four herbs and they’re packing them together and they’re selling them and saying, “Here is your vaginal steam on the go.” The way that the vaginal steam functions… herbs are not without consequence. So I would implore anyone, if you’re going to have a vaginal steam, one of the most important things that you need to do is make sure you go somewhere where you know which herbs they’re using, and you need to make sure that these people are very well versed in this.

[00:19:22] When I first started with the vaginal steaming, I had to learn a little bit about it: “What is that? Why is that important?” I actually went to have one. There is a Korean bath house here in Atlanta, and I am like “What is this you people speak of?” And people are like, “Oh it’s amazing, you have to go.” And I am like, “Okay.” So I went and I’m like, “Okay, this is pretty cool.” Because I was interested, I [asked], “What herbs are here?” I got the list of herbs that were there, and I started to do research, and thank God, at the time, my assistant was Asian, and she was actually able to read a lot of the information for me. I picked out the 19 herbs and I looked at why we use those herbs and I found that there were four others that we needed to use. So, with the vaginal steam in my office, we used 23 different herbs…. And people think, “Oh well, when you sit on steam, it gets to the vulva or the labia and it gets to the inside of the vagina as well.” ….Now you say, “Well how does it affect the uterus?” The vagina is very porous and so if something is absorbed into the vagina, it’s absorbed directly into the bloodstream. And that is how it has its effect on the uterus because those herbs are absorbed into the bloodstream and then they have their effect on the uterus. So that is why it is very important to know what herbs are being used in the vaginal steam because you don’t want to have an uptake of herbs that are one, not going to work in your favor or two, not work at all.

Jessica: [00:21:01] So do you then customize which herbs you use with which patients or what their needs are? Or do you do the same 21 herbs blend for each patient?

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:21:12] For the most part the blend is the same except for two specific herbs depending on [why they are steaming]. So one herb is specifically for vaginal tightening and it’s really interesting because it works very well, so you can only use it for the last 10 or 15 minutes of the steam or the patient will have a really tight vagina. And so a lot of women like that, but I am like, “We can’t go overboard.” But it’s really fun to say, “Okay well, what are we doing? What are we dealing with?” And I always tell patients, “Call me back, let me know how it went. Tell me what you think.” Nobody has been displeased yet.

Jessica: [00:21:53] How long have you been offering this as a service?

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:21:57] Probably about six months after I started to practice. We’ve probably been doing it about five or six years now. And a lot of patients who have recurrences, I let them know, “Listen, if you have a recurrence, if you have vaginitis, if you have an infection and we have to treat that, we can go into prevention mode and we can help you in that way.” Herbs in general, in my opinion, are not for treatment of a problem. They are for maintenance and prevention, not necessarily for treatment. Once the problem has developed you have to treat the problem but then we can maintain and hopefully prevent it from having to keep [coming] back. Patients are like, “I get treated for vaginitis every month, I just have a standing prescription.” I’m like, “That is crazy. That is ridiculous. That is a failure of care. That’s not a good thing.” 

Jessica: [00:22:57] So… when would you do the vaginal steam protocol with them?

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:23:08] It can be almost anything….  I use [vaginal steaming] for most patients unless you come in and say, “No, I’m good, I’m great. Life is good. I need my pill” or “not so much… I just want to get checked, make sure my cancer screen is good and I am out of here.” Then fine. Sometimes even those patients are like, “I want to experience it, I want a deep cleansing or vaginal tightening.”… It’s not harmful for most patients.

Jessica: [00:23:51] Do you have a separate treating room that you usually do this with your patients or do you have a group treatment room? What does that look like?

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:24:07] Interestingly enough, I have a room in the practice, it has a half wall up. So if you and a friend were to come or if another patient were to have [the vaginal steam], there’s a half wall so you can’t see anything. Obviously, we have special equipment for it. It can get pretty warm, so we make sure we give you a nice cold alkaline water while you’re having your steam and in the room the lights are low; we have jazz playing, and we just don’t want you to focus on anything else but you, just for that hour, focus on you. That’s the environment, we have like a spa area where we do it in the practice.

Jessica: [00:24:42] And how long are the [stem sessions] for?

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:24:45] Generally about 40 to 45 minutes and then if you’re a candidate for the vaginal tightening, we’ll sprinkle that on for the last 15 minutes. So, we’ll give about 15 minutes of that alone. So, anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.

Jessica: [00:25:07] Have you had good feedback on these herbs that are used for tightness? I’ve never heard of that before.

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:25:14] Yes, it’s really interesting. It’s called maca powder. Yes, the patients tend to love it. They’re like, “Oh my gosh Doc.” It is really interesting because I’m like, “Are they just saying this because they don’t want to hurt my feelings.” But one of my closest friends, she’s a cynic about everything. She’s like, “Yeah.” So she has a little bit of a low sex drive and she did a steam. Before the steam was over, she was literally calling her husband, “Where are you? I need to see you. I need you to be on lunch right now.” And I thought it was so funny. I am like, “Are you serious?” And she is like, “Yes.” So, I’ve gotten all good results.

Jessica: [00:25:50] Well it’s true and I mean, we were talking before about the mental disconnect between women and their womb space and their vagina, just anything going on down there, people are just like, “I don’t want to hear about it”, until something starts screaming at me and then I go to the doctor and get it fixed. From my experience with steaming which I have done at home not in a spa setting and sometimes not with any herbs at all, just the experience of the steam itself, it just helps make that connection immediately. Kind of what you’re saying too, just having the vagina being very porous and being very absorbed too, when you introduce steam to that area there is this natural opening that happens. So I imagine too, even just for your friend, there is this switch that’s flips, where people are like, “Oh this is the space in my body that needs attention.”

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:26:39] Right. Absolutely. And it’s so interesting. Like I said, for various reasons we’re very detached from it, be it purposeful or just because we’re just not noticing that everyday life is happening. And we’re only using it for a few things. If I should need it for sex, if I should need it for tampons, if I should need it during the restroom hours, but the rest of the time it is covered up, it’s pulled together, it’s tightly wound and it’s what makes us vulnerable. So we ignore it and the world, and we can’t. I think we’ll remain so much healthier when we accept it, we take care of it and take care of ourselves as a whole in association with it.

Jessica: [00:27:20] And you were saying too that the steam, it is up for debate [as to] whether or not it enters the uterus and you’re saying, it does not. But what happens is the properties of the herbs enter through the vagina… in a subtler way…

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:27:57] Exactly, and that’s really it. In order for it to actually reach the uterus, it would have to be forced air and that doesn’t happen. But actually… it’s really interesting. In the 1960s, what people would do in order not to fail the breathalyzer, they would dip tampons in vodka and then insert a tampon, so they would be inebriated, but all of their testing would be negative. So, we’ve learned that the vagina is extremely porous, so when things are taken in through the vagina it’s almost an immediate effect.

Jessica: [00:28:36] So would you recommend steaming before your menstrual cycle and after, or is there an ideal time that you would steam?

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:28:55] The only time that I would say, “Do not steam”, is during your actual cycle. Even leading up to, it would be good for settling down the uterus. You have to understand, even with the cervix opening a little bit, just like things are coming out things can also go up. So I think it’s an absolutely fine thing to do. Once a week is even fine, I believe.

Jessica: [00:29:24] What do you think it is about steaming that is helpful?

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:29:31] Certain herbs that we use during the steaming can actually help the lining pull off easier…

Jessica: [00:29:58] Right, the uterus [is] contracting to help move any stagnation or lining that hasn’t been moving your menstrual cycle out…. So, I imagine the herbal properties plus even just bringing heat to that area itself. I think of when I’m doing a facial steam, your nasal passage is also a mucous membrane and that’s a really great way to break down mucous. So, I imagine it works the same way in the vagina, if there’s stagnant matter in there, just introducing heat to that area can help the natural process of sloughing it off and out.

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:30:44] And that’s actually one of the major properties of the vaginal steam, is that it just helps the body do what it normally does. In Chinese medicine they [sometimes] say there’s cold in the area and there is stagnation there. What they will do is use warming herbs or they’ll do warming treatments to warm that area, so that, like you said, there is no more stagnation.  We know that calories heat and bring on motion and it’s the same thing. So, it’s just basic science concepts, and yet people say, “Oh this doesn’t work.” We’ve known for centuries that this is the science but we’re just applying it to a different method.

Jessica: [00:31:27] What do you think? I know a lot of gynecologists that are anti-vaginal steaming and will say, “Oh, it messes with the PH of the vagina or it messes with the microbiome, the natural cycle of what the vagina already does on its own and we shouldn’t mess with it in this way or that it’s very invasive.”

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:31:45] Well, this is not a shot at anybody because if you get 50 doctors in a room, you get 51 opinions. The reality of the situation is we are not topically doing anything, we’re not directly affecting anything. And to be perfectly honest, if you have the right assortment of herbs it doesn’t bother the PH of anything. So I disagree with that. But, if it were a topical treatment, if it were a cream, if it were something oral, then that’s something different and we can negatively affect certain situations if we do things that we’re not supposed to do. But with the steam, I don’t believe that’s the case and I haven’t seen that. And like I said vaginitis is my [specialization], so I don’t treat it the way most doctors treat it. I treat it in a different way. We kill the infection and we get it taken care of and then we maintain and prevent. So, I don’t see that. I disagree.

Jessica: [00:32:45] Yes, I know. I feel the same way, but I also agree that we’re all learning together, and people’s opinions are deserving of a platform and we’re here to talk about it. We try to unpack it and figure it out. Definitely. And I think a part of what also seems to come up or what you talk about too with vaginitis, is that we use all these off the shelf products like body washes and soaps that are ridden with chemicals that really only make that bad bacteria thrive and reproduce. Or even douching, for example, which seems like a much more aggressive way to try to clean out the vagina and this doesn’t seem to be at all in that same category.

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:33:35] No, not in any way, shape or form. First of all when we have douching, it drives me absolutely bananas, because when we douche, oftentimes women are looking to get rid of things. They’re getting rid of odor, they’re getting rid of discharge. With the vagina, you have to be very careful because unless you are trained and skilled, you don’t necessarily know which discharge is bad versus which is normal. If it smells bad, it’s bad. If it feels bad, it’s bad. If there’s a lot of it, that’s bad as well. But again, a trained eye needs to be able to tell you because the discharge is the vagina cleansing itself. It’s a self-cleansing mechanism. But if there is an issue that means there’s an infection. I don’t care if you douche, I don’t care what you do, you can perfume it away for 24 hours, but it’s coming back because there’s an infection. So you have to understand the underlying cause in order to truly fix it. And I’m not a fan of anything fragrant, no bubble bath, no body wash, I don’t care who made it! No perfume soap, no deodorant soap. I can’t say any names, so I will say no feminine washes, no wipes, none of that. Just your basic white conditioning soap, that is it. So, as few chemicals as we can get. Some people will say, “Well the black soaps are natural, this soap is natural.” Yes, but bad things are natural too. So you have to be very careful [with] what you use and how you use it because how the rest of your body responds is different from how your vagina responds.

Jessica: [00:35:05] Yes, I know. That makes a lot of sense and again too introducing steam or some of these herbs that are literally coming straight off the plant to the steam bath. That feels a little bit like something we can wrap our heads around versus going to Walgreens and seeing all these words that we can’t pronounce and putting that near one of our most coveted parts of our body, just seems like counterintuitive for sure.

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:35:31] Very much so. I always [say to] my patients, “If you have an eye infection, can you fix that over the counter at Target?” No. “If you have an ear infection can you…?” No.”If you have a skin infection?” No.  So why do you think if you have a vaginal infection, there’s something on aisle five that can fix you? No, it doesn’t work that way. I think it’s just a matter of women having to understand that this is a very intimate and delicate area, with a very delicate balance. And once you understand the do’s and don’ts, it’s pretty easy.

Jessica: [00:35:59] I need to ask you too about IUDs. I don’t have one personally so I’m not even totally clear on how they work. But I get a lot of questions about steaming and IUDs and if that’s safe and I know there’s a lot of different kinds of IUDs, plastic versus copper or other metals and if that could have a negative effect with steaming?

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:36:22] Well that’s a great question. So when it comes to IUDs actually, they’re all plastic and so eventually the copper one has some copper wires infused into it but they’re all plastic. No, you’re not going to get electrocuted. The IUD is not going to heat up and hurt you, it doesn’t work that way. Again, the steam doesn’t reach the level of where the IUD is because it’s not in the vagina, it’s in the uterus. The way the IUD actually works, I think it’s an amazing method of birth control too. It’s very popular in Europe, not so much here because we kind of have the “one thing bad happened to my friend and now it’s an awful thing to do” mentality. And I always correct patients with it. I actually like it because there’s no circulating hormone in your body at all. Even if there are hormones in the IUD it actually works on the inside of the womb. It does not circulate throughout the body if placed properly. Now, people have a lot of problems with IUDs because when they’re placed, the doctor, the midwife, the nurse practitioner, whoever pops it in, they pop it in and they are like, “You are good.” Nobody ever checks the location of it. So what I try to make a point to do is when I put it in, I get an ultrasound to make sure that it’s placed properly—because if it is placed properly your likelihood of having a problem is very slim. So IUDs, I believe, are amazing and I think most people should have them. They have their audience and some people are like, “No, not you.” But for the most part they’re absolutely wonderful and they’re absolutely safe to steam.

Jessica: [00:37:53] Right. So you’re saying that because the steam doesn’t actually go through the cervix and into the womb space, that the temperature from that activity wouldn’t in any way affect the IUD.

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:38:06] In order to affect the uterus the temperature would have to be way higher. It would burn the vagina and the vulva way faster than it would the uterus. So that’s not an issue at all.

Jessica: [00:38:18] From your own personal experience with vaginal steaming, because you’re saying the first time you did this you were taken to a Korean spa, what was that like? Were you with a group of people? And what was the practitioner like there?

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:38:30] It was very interesting. It was a little odd to be perfectly honest because it was in a group. It was in a room and I think it was maybe about five or six women and we all had the gowns or the robes on and we were sitting on the steam pots and it was really interesting. I guess everyone was like, “Oh okay, I feel that. Okay. That was strange.” And the practitioner, there was no way to really ask her questions that you felt she could understand, which I felt was a little bit of a disadvantage, but it was pretty cool.

Jessica: [00:39:05] And so even for you on a personal level, how did you feel?

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:39:10] To be perfectly honest you feel fresh. When it’s happening you just feel very fresh, you feel rejuvenated. Interestingly enough, it’s not just the physical feeling, you actually feel “in touch” again. You feel like maybe this was something that you were ignoring. Now you feel like, “okay this was awesome and now I feel like I’m at my best and feel like I’m living at my optimal being.” It’s very difficult to explain but you feel whole, you feel clean, you feel fresh, and you feel revived.

Jessica: [00:39:46] And I think it’s so great what you are saying. Just finding this out at a Korean spa and from my research of how far it dates back in some of these ancient cultures, not even just in Korea but other parts of Africa, South America, Mexico. It’s very interesting as a tradition. So many different groups of women around the world have practiced this. Some for post-partum, some for very specific moments along the trajectory of womanhood, but I think foundationally it’s like what you’re describing. It is like, “Oh I feel fresh and rejuvenated and back in my power, connected to one of the most powerful parts of my body that can bring new life onto the planet.” Like your first experience as a student, just seeing that and knowing I want to be a part of that thing. It’s really powerful.

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:40:41] It’s very interesting. Anyone who hasn’t had it done they should absolutely do, just as an experience. But it is a very empowering thing, you’re right. For Mayan cultures, African cultures, Indian cultures, Asian cultures, it’s a very common procedure that we generally don’t do here in our country or on this continent in general. But it’s very well studied and women all over the world definitely participate.

Jessica: [00:41:16] I think it’s so great too that you are technically a western doctor but you’re very open to starting to cross pollinate with these more ancient, ritualistic, holistic health practices. I think that’s really great because a lot of people might shy away from them because they seem so alternative. But I think as medical practitioners to be able to just have more of an open mind to other ways of caring for ourselves is really important. Even what you were saying [about] cultivating that awareness between a woman and that part of her body, I’m sure from all the women that you work with over the course of your career, you realize that that foundational connection is really important, and steaming is a quick and easy conduit to [say], “Hey, remember you have a vagina. This is what it feels like.”

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:42:08] Absolutely and it’s important to people. And so, if what is important to your patients is not important to you then they won’t respect you. Part of being respectful of my patients is experiencing what they’re curious about. I want to be able to talk to you and explain and have a conversation with and basically guide you in something that is either curious to you or important to you. And you can’t do that being close minded.

Jessica: [00:42:38] That’s awesome. Thank you Dr. Tosha. Those are all the questions I have. I really appreciate your time and expertise and again openness and realness about all of these things that we’re constantly learning more about. How do people stay in touch with you? I found your YouTube channel but I’m sure you have others.

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:43:02] I do. I have a YouTube channel, you found that, it’s Real Deal with Dr. Tosha. I have a podcast that we do, and that’s Dr. Tosha After Dark. My Instagram handle is @blackdocruth and my Twitter is @askdrtosha. You can join me on any of those, send me messages. We definitely do reply, and we’d love to hear from you.

Jessica: [00:43:24] Awesome thank you again. And yes, we’ll continue to stay in touch and do this work together.

Dr. Tosha Rogers: [00:43:30] Awesome, we sure will. It was great talking to you. Nice to finally meet you. Bye.