Vaginal Steaming

Therbs in steamhanks to Liz Henke   of Talking Drum Herbals for the following article.

Vaginal steaming has been all over social media (well, at least in the herbal world). For many people, this was the first time they were hearing of this generations-old practice, but still for others the tradition of vaginal steaming was passed down through the women in their family. My journey in v-steams began several years ago during my herbal apprenticeship when my mentor shared with us the healing mists and showed us their potential. I was instantly captivated and returned home, ready to incorporate this healing practice into my life. I prepared my own blend, poured the water, sat down and that’s all it took to hook me forever. I knew in that moment that I needed to do whatever I could to help bring this tradition back into the mainstream among women. I set out on a path to create a beautiful line of vaginal steams, I reverently named, Goddess Steams. So, when steaming started making a buzz recently, I cheered!

The art of vaginal steaming has been a celebrated, and well-used practice in many cultures around the globe for generations. Dr. Rosita Arvigo, creator of Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy, studied directly with a Mayan shaman, and has done a most-fabulous job of bringing the Mayan rendition of the art, known as bajos, into the minds of the many women and men that she shares and works with. The Korean culture knows this tradition as chai-yok, and their native healers use it to help aid in fertility, organ and muscle maintenance, as well as the many issues affecting our reproductive organs.

Steaming potNow lets talk the how-to’s of steaming…

Begin by finding a heat-tolerant container (I use a 5 gallon bucket from Home Depot, but a cooking pot would work just fine. You can also find steaming stools and chairs, however those are a bit more costly).

Once you have decided on a container, place roughly a half-cup of herbal blend in your pot (I say roughly a half-cup because different blends may call for different amounts, and may also vary depending on whether the herbs are fresh or dried).

Next, pour approximately one quart of boiling water over the herbs and let it begin to steep and steam.

During this time you want to make sure that the rim of your container is well-cushioned, because you are going to sit above the steam for 15-25 minutes. In addition to the comfort the cushioning provides, it also acts as a buffer to keep from burning yourself on the potentially hot pot. I use a padded toilet seat that I got from Home Depot.

After you’ve let the herb blend steep for 5-7 minutes, you are ready to position yourself directly above the steam. You should wrap a towel or a sheet around the lower half of your body in order to keep the steam in (much like with the towel over your head during a facial). The steam should be pleasantly warm, but NEVER burning or painful to be above. If the steam is still too warm after five to seven minutes, you should get up and fan it to cool it down continuing to check for a comfortable temperature.

Once it is the correct temperature, you are ready to start steaming and enjoying.
This a great time to journal, draw, meditate, or employ other techniques that keep you calm and present in the healing that is occurring.

After you have steamed for 15-25 minutes, you can get up from the pot, but need to finish up by wrapping up in a warm blanket and either laying down and/or remaining calm for another 45-60 minutes. This promotes further relaxation, healing, and self care, continuing what you have just undergone.

You will want to discard the herbs and the water, as neither are reusable.
Vaginal steaming works by heating up and expanding the capillaries and bringing fresh blood to the area being steamed. This fresh and coursing blood will invite the healing components of the herbs into your body. With that in mind, there are certain times when you shouldn’t use a vaginal steam. You should not steam during the main portion of your menstruation, or if you already experience excessively bleeding during this time. You should also not steam during pregnancy, or after ovulation if pregnancy is possible. You should stay away from steaming if you have any of the following health issues: UTIs, cystitis, STDs that have caused blisters or that are caused from a fungal infection, or genital lice. You should also be aware that steaming while you have an IUD or genital piercing is NOT advised, as the metal will heat up and could be a burn hazard.

Here are some of the benefits of vaginal steaming

†¢ Promotes relaxation
†¢ Aides in easing irregular and/or painful menstrual cycles
†¢ Helps relieve uterine scars or adhesions
†¢ Addresses menopausal concerns
†¢ Works as an aphrodisiac.

This is a beginning look into the world that is vaginal steaming. Thank you so much for taking the time to learn. I hope this encourages you to give it a try, or even learn more about these healing mists. If you are interested in discovering more about steams, please join me at the end of November for my workshop, The Art & Practice of Vaginal Steaming hosted by The Elderberry.

Green Blessings,
Liz Henke of Talking Drum Herbals
*The above information provided is in no way intended to be medical advice or to replace the advice of a medical professional. If you have any questions regarding the use or appropriateness of a vaginal steam for you specific needs please contact your herbalist, midwife, naturopathic physician or other medical professional.