What’s All This Talk about Vaginal Steaming?
Vaginal Steaming or V-Steaming as it is often called has been increasingly popular in the United States over the last few years. Women are wondering how it works and why some celebrities have suddenly been doing it.
The truth is that vaginal steaming can be traced back through history to many cultures in Africa, Central America, The Caribbean, Asia and even within the Native American cultures.
In Korea, they call it Chai Yok and in many Spanish speaking cultures, it is called Bajos. Vaginal steaming has been done for many reasons including ceremonial, when a woman may be preparing for her wedding, just after childbirth during her postpartum recovery, before or after a woman’s period or even just for regular maintenance of the reproductive system. Many herbs can be used in the process. In Korea, wormwood is a very popular herb and is used for many ailments there including strengthening the immune system, inflammatory pain and regulating a woman’s menstrual cycle and hormones.
In Belize, they often use combinations of oregano, basil, marigold and rosemary. Many practitioners here in the United States will use those herbs as well as herbs such as lavender for its healing properties, rose petals which help with menstrual disorders and skin ailments and red raspberry leaves which are used to support the women’s reproductive system overall.
Throughout history, women have reported that Vaginal Steaming has helped them with a number of ailments. In Belize, there was a shaman named Don Elijio Panti who would treat women with all kinds of reproductive health issues. Women swore by his methods and the herbs that he used to treat them.
Some of the benefits of vaginal steaming that have been reported are…
-Helps a woman to sweat and detoxify her entire body which relieves fluid retention
-Helps to relieve symptoms of menopause.
-Helps speed the repairing and healing of damaged tissues like hemorrhoids, swollen Bartholin’s glands, tears or episiotomies from childbirth, cesarean scarring and getting everything “tight” down there. You know what I mean.
-Helps with irregular or painful menstruation and cramping.
-Helps with shrinking uterine fibroids, cysts, uterine prolapse and other uterine issues. Yes, your uterus can literally fall out of your vagina.
-Helps to jumpstart detoxifying sensors to kill bacteria that may be an issue in the vagina.
-Helps with fertility and conception
-Helps to rid the body of dark blood either at the beginning or ending of your period.
-Helps to reduce pain associated with menstruation or other vaginal issues.
-Helps to support the lymphatic system.
-Helps to pull toxins out of the body which helps with body and vaginal odor.
-Helps with encouraging healthy sexual desire and drive.
-How are vaginal steams done?
Of course, there are many variations depending on if you do a vaginal steam at home on your own, or if you go to a practitioner trained in a specific technique. Your practitioner should have a specialized pot and seat to serve you. Don’t go throwing random herbs in the toilet with hot water thinking that you are cleansing your vagina. That’s nasty! While some spas will sit you over your steam pot and leave you alone, some practitioners will sit with you to discuss any concerns that you may have about what’s going on in your life and with your physical body. Many practitioners are trained and certified and are knowledgeable about what herbs to use during your steam.
Many incorporate dance, yoga, aromatherapy, women’s empowerment techniques, nutritional guidance and abdominal massage to help with uterine placement or other healing modalities into your treatment. When seeking a practitioner, be sure to ask questions and find services that fit your needs.
What to Expect
You will take your clothes off and be wrapped in blankets. The blankets will help the steam stay in the area of your womb. You can choose whether to take your socks off or not but you definitely don’t want to get cold with a draft. The steam should be comfortably warm. If it gets too warm, adjust the heat or open the wrap that is around you. The womb sauna or vaginal steam session should last no more than an hour on the pot.
There are some contraindications. Your practitioner should give you an intake form that will ask about your health history. Don’t get a vaginal steam if you are pregnant, have an IUD, are actively on your cycle, have active vaginal infections or have a serious prolapse. Oh, and don’t pee in the pot. Men, please don’t try this at home. Your balls are not supposed to get hot. Heat on your testicles can cause fertility issues.
SciHonor Devotion, CD, CPD, CCCE, CMA, CWSP is a contributing writer to the Hood Health Handbook set. She is a Labor Doula, Postpartum Doula, Childbirth Educator, Homebirth Midwife Assistant and Womb Sauna Practitioner who serves women and girls in her community through workshop, ceremony and rites of passage. She is also Co-Owner of Queen’s Quisine: Vegetarian and Vegan Catering Company and can be contacted at www.facebook.com/EarthDoulas / [email protected] / www.facebook.com/QueensQuisine