When I first heard about vaginal steaming, my initial reaction was, “whaaaat!?”
However, as someone who has suffered from nausea, migraines, debilitating cramps, and the wildest of wild PMS over the years, I was willing to give anything a try.
Yoni or vaginal steaming is the term used to describe steam treatments, not just to the vagina area, but the entire “yoni.”
The word “yoni” is Sanskrit in origin, and is the symbol of the Hindu divine mother, goddess Devi or Shakti. Ancient cultures believe that the womb and the yoni are the seat of all well-being and health in a woman, and that we could remedy most ailments by coming back to the womb and realigning. This philosophy has been re-embraced in recent years, with women moving back toward more traditional remedies to solve issues, where modern medicine may have failed them.
Yoni steaming is practised across the world, and, I found out, it has many names, including:
>> In the West, it is generally known as a “Vaginal Steam” or “V Steam.”
>> Mayans called it “Bajo,” which means low in Spanish and refers to the crouching position often taken to steam.
>> In Korea it is called “Chai-Yok.” It’s especially popular here, with chains of franchised “v-steam” stores on every street corner. Many Korean women choose to steam daily!
In cultures worldwide and throughout history, yoni steaming has remained a well-respected ritual for supporting all aspects of women’s general health and wellness—not just related to vaginal or womb health. Purported benefits range from the physical to the emotional and even the spiritual. Yoni steaming is an ancient and established remedy that has crossed borders and timelines and, frankly, it frickin’ rocks.
Why the hell should I steam my vagina?
This practice can help treat painful periods, dysmenorrhea, irregular menses, yeast infections, UTIs, perineal or vaginal tears, fibroids; it can enhance fertility and can improve ovarian or vaginal cysts, scarring from C-sections, or even hemorrhoids. It can also assist in easing pain from painful intercourse, vaginal dryness caused by menopause or contraception, and much, much more. For me, it helped regulate irregular menses, heavy bleeding, and cramps that I suffered from after several miscarriages.
The specific herbs we choose in yoni steaming encourage the shedding of excess buildup in the uterine lining every month and, for women struggling with infertility, yoni steaming helps to nourish and tone the uterine lining. It helps to relax the cervix and the vaginal canal and, in turn, increases cervical fluid and reduces dryness. Bonus!
What can you expect after steaming?
Often, after you begin practising yoni steaming, you will notice your menstrual cycle will change. The practice will often expel a great deal of encrusted material from your womb. The chosen herbs will dislodge anything stuck in the uterine passage, including this old residue. Your menses may be unusually dark, heavy, and thick for a couple of days, and the length of your period could extend or reduce, depending on the blend used. Ultimately, your next period should be much lighter, and life will become much more pleasant.
Want to try basic yoni steaming at home?
You will need the following:
> A slatted or modified bamboo, canvas, or wood chair or stool to let the steam through. Alternatively, you can just use your toilet bowl.
>> Two large natural cotton or wool blankets.
>> A large stainless steel stock pot to hold and boil one gallon of water.
>> A large Pyrex, ceramic bowl, or sitz bath to hold the steaming liquid (the liquid with the herbs).
>> A cup of your dried herbs or premade yoni steam blend of choice or one-quart mason jar filled with fresh herbs.
Choosing your herbs
Since experiencing the benefits of yoni steaming firsthand, I then went on to train professionally as a yoni steam facilitator. I strongly recommend you purchase some pre-blended herbs from a professional blender or make a basic “general” steam, as recommended below. However, if you are looking to remedy specific ailments, it is best to work with a yoni steam facilitator to make sure you get the correct schedule and blends. You can use one to five steaming herbs or vaginal herbs for your steam:
> Traditional herbs: yarrow, plantain, damiana, chamomile, rosemary, marigold, basil, and oregano
>> Herbs with affinity to the reproductive and urinary organs: dong quai, peony, motherwort, juniper, and red raspberry leaf
>> Herbs containing volatile oils: lemon balm, peppermint, garden sage, marigold, rosemary, lavender, oregano, and basil
>> Tonifying or astringent herbs: juniper, rose, cedar berries, yarrow, and witch hazel
How to do it
> Put the blanket near the chair or toilet bowl.
>> If using a chair or stool, find a comfortable area for your chair.
>> Boil the herbs in water for about 15 to 30 minutes.
>> If using a chair or stool, pour the steaming liquid into pot or bowl. Place under the chair or stool.
>> If using the toilet bowl, pour the steaming liquid into a large bowl. Put the bowl into the toilet bowl. (Note: the easiest, least expensive, and best item to use for your yoni steaming is a sitz bath.) Pour one to two cups of the steaming liquid in the sitz bath.
>> Let the steaming liquid sit for about 30 to 60 seconds to let it cool slightly. Test the steam. The genitals are very sensitive to heat, so you need hot steam—not scalding. Hover the inside of your forearm over the steam to test if the heat is comfortable.
>> Remove your clothes from the waist down, including your underwear. You need to be half naked for this.
>> Sit on the chair or toilet bowl. Cover the entire lower half of your body with the blanket; cover all the way to the ground, making a tent, to keep the steam inside.
>> Steam for 20 to 30 minutes. You can read a book, listen to music, or write while steaming.
>> After steaming, rest in a warm room, without air conditioning, without open windows, and free of drafts, for at least 20 minutes.
>> Dress in clothes that will keep you warm and protect you from sudden temperature changes or cold drafts for 24 hours.
How often should I steam?
Treatment schedules will vary (see your yoni steam professional!), but for general wellness, yoni steams one week before your menstruation are great for preventative care. For endometriosis, fibroids, pelvic pain, prolapse, and cysts, do yoni steaming two to four times weekly. After a miscarriage or D&C procedure, wait at least three weeks and make sure you have no infection before yoni steaming. After giving birth, wait for about six to eight weeks and make sure you are no longer bleeding and have no infection before steaming.
Don’t steam during menstruation or pregnancy, if you have open wounds or infections, if you have an IUD, or if you have symptoms of moist or damp heat in the vagina, pelvis, or colon, which could mean a herpes outbreak, bacterial infection, yeast infection, or vaginal infection.
Please give yoni steaming a try.
It’s relaxing, cleansing, invigorating, and therapeutic all at once, and it has truly changed my menstrual cycle for the better.