There's been quite a bit of controversy surrounding jade egg practices since Gwyneth Paltrow began promoting them on her website. Many people are claiming that these practices are not only ineffective but quite dangerous.
Most of these protesters, though, have never tried it themselves and therefore don't fully understand the methods or benefits of using jade eggs to strengthen the pelvic floor. Fortunately, mindbodygreen tapped several holistic health experts to discuss the pros and cons of using jade eggs. Leave no stone (or egg, in this case) unturned, as they say!
Having been practitioners of jade egg and jade ball exercises for nearly a decade, our perspective is rooted in an awareness of holistic principles and a respect for the human body. We believe the jade egg practices can be done safely. And we know they provide myriad sexual and health benefits.
First, for those of you who don't know what we're talking about, let us explain:
Jade egg practices are part of ancient Taoist sexual yoga methodology designed to help strengthen and tone the vaginal and pelvic floor muscles.
The pelvic floor is a hammock-shaped muscle structure at the base of the pelvis. The pelvic floor supports our organs, helps us control retention and excretion through our lower end, and is intricately participative in our sexual pleasure and orgasms.
Just like any other striated musculature, it is important to exercise the pelvic floor to maintain optimum health and function. Weight-lifting exercises can be applied to any striated musculature to improve its strength. The most commonly recognized way of exercising the pelvic floor muscles is through Kegels or vaginal weight lifting. But those aren't the only options.
Unlike Kegels, practicing with a jade egg addresses the interplay of the breath and the pranas (energies) of the pelvic region.
Our pelvic floor musculature lifts or contracts against added resistance each time we sneeze, jump, cough, and laugh because our abdominal pressure increases during these activities. If we leak urine during any of these activities, it's a sign that our pelvic floor is not able to contract fast enough and strongly enough to withstand the increased abdominal pressure. This condition is called stress urinary incontinence and affects one in three women. And the aging process weakens the pelvic floor musculature, just like any other musculature, unless we do regular strength training.
So, why use a jade egg?
Using a jade egg can greatly enhance the efficacy of Kegel exercises by giving the muscles an object to grip and tense around. The movement of the jade egg inside also has the effect of stimulating reflexology points for all the major organs of the body.
Vaginal weight-lifting practices are especially recommended to redevelop the muscular tone of the vagina and pelvic floor and before giving birth to ease labor and to create a solid foundation to regain strength after the strain of pregnancy and labor.
Many women have found that these exercises help relieve vaginal pain and dryness, and many menopausal women find that the exercises have helped them to naturally increase lubrication.
So, why does using natural stone matter?
According to traditional Taoist practice, using jade is important because of its energy. In energy medicine, jade is believed to help balance, regenerate, and heal the physical body.
This is what makes the practice holistic—meaning that it benefits both the physical body and the energetic body.
Holistic healing is common in Eastern traditions and is very much in alignment with the theory behind acupuncture, reflexology, Tibetan medicine, and Ayurveda.
So, why do people think it's dangerous?
As with many other precious teachings from ancient cultures, this practice can fail to produce the results and even be downright dangerous if they're implemented without proper instruction. According to some Western medical professionals there is concern about how to clean the jade stone, how people use it, and how to retrieve the stone once it is in place. These are all valid concerns, but as stated above, if you learn the traditional jade egg practices from a qualified practitioner, these issues will be addressed as part of your instruction.
Here's how to use the jade egg properly:
Different practitioners suggest different techniques. Some recommend leaving the egg in all day or night. This recommendation could understandably cause some concern for pelvic floor specialists.
But these practices were traditionally taught as a specific style of yoga, and qualified practitioners usually recommend using them for anywhere between 20 minutes and an hour. During this time, you should be doing specific pelvic floor practices in conjunction with the jade egg. The traditional approach is similar to vaginal weight-lifting exercises currently recommended by pelvic floor specialists today.
How do you safely remove the jade egg?
For most women, it will come out quite easily and naturally. You just have to squat down and push, like you are having a bowel movement. In fact, one of the reasons we don't recommend using a jade egg all day is that if you do, they'll come out in the toilet. And who wants to fish something out of the toilet bowl?
Depending on the size of your jade egg, there can be an issue with retrieving them if you have a retroflexed cervix, simply because the egg can get trapped between the cervix and the posterior wall of the vagina.
To avoid this issue, we recommend using jade eggs that are drilled at one end, so you can tie a thread or string through them to pull them out when you are done.
How do you clean a jade egg?
There are number of methods for cleaning a jade egg once it had been removed:
- Wash it with warm, soapy water and dry it with a clean, dry cloth. Make sure to wash it with whatever cleanser you use on your most sensitive skin—something natural, organic, and nonabrasive.
- If the egg is drilled, after you wash it, soak it in one cup of water and 3 to 4 drops of food-grade hydrogen peroxide to sterilize.
- Dip it in almost-boiled or just-boiled water to sterilize.
- Spray some colloidal silver on them, paying special attention to the drilled hole.
In summary, jade egg practices, when done with proper instruction, are very similar to the Western practice of vaginal weight-lifting, just done with a natural, energetically charged stone.