The fact that our bodies lose collagen as we age isn’t lost on our culture. People plump up their lips with collagen injections, raise their cheeks with dermal fillers, and undergo laser procedures to tighten loose skin.
But the effects of collagen loss go beyond what you can see.
In terms of sexual health, a lack of collagen in the vaginal walls can cause discomfort, pain during sexual intercourse, and make it more difficult to reach orgasm.
According to Rachael Cabreira, a certified Family Nurse Practitioner based in San Fransico, California, the most common reason women experience these symptoms is vaginal dryness.
“That’s uncomfortable, it hurts, and it can be irritating. It can impact not only their intimate life but their overall quality of life in so many ways.”
For nearly 25 years, Cabreira has taken care of women across their lifespans.
She also takes intimate skincare seriously. Cabreira sells her own line of moisturizers for vulvas and offers a regenerative treatment that uses soundwave therapy called Cliovana.
I first learned about the Cliovana treatment a few years ago, and have never tried it myself. Still, its technology intrigues me for its potential to improve sexual function using the body’s own healing response.
I spoke to Cabreira to learn what is Cliovana exactly and unpack claims that it may alleviate vaginal dryness or even boost female orgasms.
Cabreira also explained the difference in how laser and ultrasound technologies are used in vulvovaginal treatments.
What is Cliovana?
“The Cliovana device uses soundwave therapy, so it’s non-invasive,” Cabreira told me on a video call. “It’s used all externally. There’s no downtime; there’s no discomfort.”
Soundwave therapy goes deep into the tissue, penetrating it similar to a vibration, which triggers the body to recruit its natural growth factors and repair itself.
“We’re telling the body there’s this little bit of an injury here, so we’re mandating our own body to come and rejuvenate and fix function,” Cabreira said.
The body’s response also helps build up collagen in the skin of the vaginal walls. The increased blood flow leads to increased lubrication, which may help treat uncomfortable symptoms of vaginal dryness.
“With getting the lubrication, the oxygenation, and blood flow. We’re actually starting to help bring back that collagen into the skin.”
The 3-step Cliovana Treatment
Since each Cliovana treatment lasts between 10 and 15 minutes, Cabreira said some of her patients come in during their lunch breaks.
“Afterward, they go back to whatever they were doing for that day, they can have intercourse and there’s no downtime at all.”
The cupping stage: This first step is intended to increase blood flow and prepare the area for soundwave therapy. A cupping device from the Cliovana machine goes over the clitoral area and creates light suction. Cabreira says these cupping pulses “stimulate the revascularisation and neurogenesis deep within the entire clitoral structure.”
Soundwave therapy stage: A small device delivers soundwaves to the clitoral region as it is lightly “combed” over the external part of the labial and perineal areas
External vibration stage. In this last step, the Cliovana treatment combines soundwaves and vibrations to calm the treatment area and enhance results, explains Cabreira: “It’s helping decongest glands and opening up all the channels that we just created, so those growth factors can really dive into it.”
“This treatment is not only getting just the clitoris; it is doing the work to the whole entire structure,” said Cabreira.
Women have more than 8,000 nerve endings in the clitoris for oxygenation, blood flow, and lubrication that can help overall function.
“Not only for female, orgasm, but lubrication and overall health and the vaginal ecosystem,” said Cabreira
“All those 8000 nerve endings go right into the walls of the vagina,” she added.
“If you’ve ever heard of the G spot, that’s all of those nerves, congregating and embracing the vagina.”
How much does Cliovana cost?
A full course of Cliovana treatments is four sessions over two weeks, at a rate of two sessions a week. A total Cliovana treatment costs $2,500 for four sessions.
Can Cliovana help you orgasm?
Anyone 18 or over can receive a Cliovana treatment, whether it’s to help address a sexual health issue or just for a “freshening up” of the area, said Cabreira.
But if someone is experiencing difficulty reaching orgasm, it’s critical to discover what’s causing the difficulty. Cabreira added that potential factors could be vaginal dryness, reoccurring urinary tract infections, or a hormone-induced issue.
This isn’t magically going to make you get an orgasm,” said Cabreira. “We’re really increasing lubrication, oxygenation.”
“When you have someone who maybe is having more challenges with orgasms, pelvic pain, other issues, there are some stepping stones we might have to go through because we got to fix all the pieces to the puzzle to have an optimal outcome.”
Lasers vs ultrasound vs vibration technologies
In comparison, both laser and ultrasound technologies recruit the body’s growth factors. Yet a significant difference between Cliovana and laser technologies is the laser has to go inside the vagina. The more invasive laser procedure can be uncomfortable, explained Cabreira.
The laser creates micro bleeding in the vaginal tissue and requires some downtime for healing afterward.
On the other hand, soundwave therapy doesn’t break the skin so it does not come with a risk of creating infections. As a reference, a much higher intensity of soundwave therapy called lithotripsy is used to break down kidney stones. Before its invention, kidney stones had to be removed surgically.
As for the potential benefits of vibrators, clinical studies on the 2nd-generation Crescendo vibrator show how such vibrating sex toys can help improve sexual function by increasing blood flow. The pelvic health research focused on vibrator use by people with vaginal atrophy, genito-pelvic pain and penetration disorder, and arousal disorder,
To see this interview and full feature on Cliovana with Rachael Cabreira
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