Photo by Charles via Unsplash

The Vagina Spa, also known as ratus vagina in Indonesia and tangas in Malaysia, is a treatment that’s been around for many generations. A known treatment in Southeast Asian countries Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, it was popularised in the West by Chrissy Teigen and Gwyneth Paltrow. The ancient treatment is said to promote or restore the health, cleanliness, youthful vitality, and scent of your genitalia. It’s also said to keep it in optimal shape. In other words, it supposedly tightens your kooch too.

Ratus Vagina is an accepted practice in Indonesia where vaginal hygiene is considered important, and where some believe a youthful, scented, and tight vagina is the key to having better sex and retain a husband.

Disclaimer: This is not a generalisation. Only some parts of society believe this.

There has been a public outcry of its ‘apparent’ health benefits and whether it actually works, so while in Indonesia, I booked a session to try it and see what the fuss was all about.

Photo by Katherine Hanlon via Unsplash

What does it entail?

It’s an unusual (and slightly hilarious) treatment. Your vagina is essentially ‘fogged’ using a mixture of herbs placed in a clay pot filled with coals or steaming hot water.

The herbs are purported to have health benefits and the most common ones used are wormwood, mugwort, and rosemary. Mugwort is specifically suggested to have healing properties for women with menstrual problems or irregular periods.

First, you are dressed in a towel and then you sit on a wooden toilet-like construction that has a steaming ceramic pot placed on a grill below the seat. You’re then expected to just sit over the herbal concoction as it steams your bottom half.

The first 10 minutes feels a bit cheeky. Having your intimate nether regions smoked gives you an unusual and slightly guilty sensation. Then it gets progressively hot and your vagina starts to sweat and drip. The session normally takes around 30 to 45 minutes. Sometimes, after the session, you may be asked to sit in a bath of fragrant water and submerge your vagina to cleanse it further.

Photo by Ava Sol via Unsplash

They may also give you a head and neck massage with essential oils as the steaming takes place. You may also be offered watermelon and lemon tea. Although munching on fruit while your nether regions are smoked is an odd sensation, I happily obliged.

As the popularity of fish spas boom, the pedicure treatment can now be found worldwide from Malaysia to Mexico:
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Health benefits

It is important to add here that these health benefits are not backed by credible scientific research. But this is what people believe the benefits of this traditional spa treatment to be:

● Strengthens the pelvic floor muscles
● Regulates irregular or absent menstrual cycles
● Removes unpleasant odours
● Speeds healing and tones the reproductive system after giving birth
● Cures several vaginal infections and inflammations
● Improves blood circulation
● Decreases vaginal stress
● Aids fertility

Photo by Timothy Meinberg via Unsplash


If you aren’t careful, you can end up over-steaming and burning your vulva. For example, a 62-year-old woman suffered second-degree burns and had to delay reconstructive surgery while she healed.

Where can I get it done?

Certain spas in the USA and UK offer it, but of course, it’s most commonly found around Southeast Asia. It’s also reasonably-priced in Indonesia. Here are some places you can try the treatment for yourself when holidaying in beautiful Bali:

Blue Karma Secrets – Kuta
The Mansion – Ubud
Cleopatra Day Salon & Day Spa – Seminyak

The verdict

Although I am slightly sceptical of the health claims and didn’t have anyone to test the supposed smell and tightening benefits of the treatments on, I walked away feeling more sensitive and relaxed. I believe that anything that relaxes and de-stresses the body is good. So, if you have the treatment at a reputable, clean place I would recommend you give it a go! Just don’t do it too often and be sure to treat your intimate area gently after the treatment.

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