Vaginal steams or yoni steams is a practice in which a woman allows the warmth of herbal steam to permeate her vulva. Respected by healers around the globe, steaming is an opportunity to reconnect with your body and utilize the wisdom of plant medicine to heal your womb. It’s a powerful ally for women’s vitality in nourishing the uterus and supporting spiritual and emotional health by reconnecting a woman with her feminine centre.
Vaginal steams have been found to work as a uterine lavage to soften and cleanse the uterine wall of accumulated debris. Many reproductive challenges such as menstrual cramps and infertility are caused when there is excess build up of uterine lining that was not shed in previous cycles “encrusted” to the inside of the uterus. Because this material is built up over time, the uterus and the muscles around it work excessively hard to shed it, often causing pain and fatigue. A yoni steam works by applying gentle heat, as well as moisture that carries medicinal plant oils, to the vulva. The warmth and moisture increases circulation to the vulva, causing it to swell and expose the inner labial mucus membranes. These tissues are very porous and absorbent, allowing the bloodstream to pick up the medicinal oils and carry them into the inner reproductive system, including the uterus. There, they work to help the uterus cleanse and release what is built up on its lining. The result is a healthier, more pleasant cycle and a more connected woman.
In the first few months of doing steams in combination with the Arvigo® massage, women have reported that their menstrual blood is different. Some women have reported blood that resembles coffee grounds (old dried blood) or even the passing of fleshy tissue. Usually by the third month women see bright red oxygenated blood. Even women who haven’t bled in years because they’ve been through menopause, have reported a “cleansing” of old indurated blood. Improved blood and lymph flow increases the health of the tissue on a cellular level. Vaginal steams also have a healing effect on our energetic and emotional body. Many women use the steams as an energetic cleansing to help clear the energy of abortion, sexual abuse, rape, past sexual partner, miscarriage etc.
Steams have been used for centuries to treat many conditions including:
· Significantly reduce pain, bloating and exhaustion associated with menstruation.
· Reduce dark purple or brown blood at the onset or end of menses.
· Regulate irregular or absent menstrual cycles.
· Increase fertility, especially when combined with Arvigo® Therapy
· Speed healing and tone the reproductive system after birth.
· Treat uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, uterine weakness, uterine prolapse & endometriosis.
· Assist with the repair of a vaginal tear, episiotomy, or C-section scar.
· Assist with the healing of hemorrhoids.
· Treat chronic vaginal/yeast infections (do not steam during an infection).
· Relieve symptoms of menopause including dryness or pain during intercourse.
· Detoxify the womb and remove toxins from the body.
· Release stored emotions and tap into the energy that is our creative potential.
When NOT to do the Steams:
· Never do a vaginal steam when you’re pregnant or think you may be pregnant, except for full term women under supervision of a professional.
· When an infection is present.
· If you have genital piercings, you must remove the jewelry first, otherwise, the metal would heat up and may cause burns.
· Avoid steams with a herpes outbreak (or other open sores)
· With hormonal rings or an IUD present.
How women are using steams:
· Three-month fertility protocol (ATMAT)-right before your period.
· One month fertility protocol-first day of your period or at the tail end of your period.
· Hormonal migraines- up to three times in the week before your period
· Dysmenorrhea or painful periods – up to three times in the week prior to your period, or the first day of your period if you are spotting
· Menopause- as needed or four times a year at seasonal changes, for instance. Sometimes women who haven’t bled in years will report having what seems like another period, but it is actually a cleansing of old debris from the uterus.
· Postpartum- Timing of the steams or whether they are done at all depends on birth complications and other factors. Timing can vary between 3 days and 6 weeks postpartum. Traditionally oregano, marigolds, and basil are used at this time. Consult your midwife before doing a steam.
*Not to be used in pregnancy or acute infections.
· Collect organic plants with prayer and intention or use dried herbs (1 quart fresh or 1 cup dried)
· Crush the herbs into a large pot with a gallon of water as you give thanks to the herbs and infuse them with your intentions. The Maya tradition is to offer prayers nine times to whatever spirit offers you guidance.
· Bring the water to a soft boil; turn off heat and steep for 10 minutes with the lid on.
· Place the pot under the chair you will use to steam.
· Test the steam on your wrist before sitting down! The membranes of your labia are sensitive, so you don’t want it to feel too hot, steam burns are very serious. Get undressed from the waist down (keep your warm socks on) and sit on the chair with a blanket wrapped around you to keep the steam in.
· Sit comfortably for at least 20 minutes, meditate or read a book. It should feel pleasant. I usually feel the warmth rise all the way up to my heart. If it feels too warm, remove the pot to let it cool a bit.
· Rest afterward stay warm and do something nurturing for yourself like drink a warm herbal tea of raspberry leaf, nettles, oat straw and rose petals, or take a warm bath. Protect yourself from drafts.
Here’s a short list of herbs that have been used for steams:
*Note-herbs used externally for steams don’t necessarily have the same effect when used orally. Consult an experienced herbalist.
· Basil-uterine stimulant, antibacterial, spiritual cleansing
· Blue Malva- soothing, dry vagina
· Calendula- skin healing, vaginal fungus, decreases inflammation, spiritual healing
· Chamomile – soothing to vaginal tissues
· Comfrey – healing and soothing
· Eucalyptus- cooling, wound healing, anti-fungal
· Lavender- antiseptic, antispasmodic, sedative, nerve relaxer
· Lemon Balm-reduces itchiness
· Marshmallow- soothing, dry vagina
· Motherwort- for suppressed menstruation, uterine fatigue and cramps
· Mugwort – promotes suppressed menses
· Oregano-antiseptic, uterine stimulant, increases circulation
· Raspberry leaf – strengthens and tones uterine tissue
· Red Clover-promotes healing (skin)
· Rose petals- gentle and astringent to tissues of the genitals
· Rosemary- antiseptic, increases circulation
· Sage- moves blood and chi through physical and emotional obstructions
· Yarrow – astringent, cleansing, antibacterial
Never use essential oils for a steam, they’re too concentrated.