Vaginal Steaming 101
So you want to give vaginal steaming (aka pelvic or yoni steaming) a try! Why not right? It’s accessible and very low risk with many potential benefits. This post is meant to give you the basic information you need to get started. It’s a good idea to work with a practitioner who has training in this modality if you’re not sure about how it could help you or what herbs to use.
What is it?
Vaginal steaming is a heat therapy that has roots in many ancestral medicine traditions, Chinese Medicine included. It is the application of indirect steam with (or even without!) medicinal plants to the vulva and pelvic tissues. Since steam can penetrate into the layers of tissue, it affects inner pelvic anatomy as well. Men can also benefit from steaming but that is not what this post is about.
I studied the practice and facilitation of vaginal steaming with Keli Garza of Steamy Chick and Kris González LAc. As a trained Chinese Medicine Herbalist, I incorporate that knowledge into crafting blends and recommending protocols for those that work with me. Personally, I started the practice myself after having my first baby to help relieve discomfort around perineal sutures. It provided a lot of relief and helped soften scar tissue. It’s now become a regular self love ritual for my womb and pelvic health.
Here are some of the many potential benefits:
- Reduce menstrual cramping
- Decrease PMS symptoms
- Adjust bleeding time and length of cycle
- Reduce pelvic inflammatory conditions and pain
- Accelerate postpartum healing
- Increase vaginal lubrication
- Prevent recurring infections
- Support healthy vaginal microbiome
- Nourish vulva and vaginal tissues
- Soften scar tissue
- Heal hemorrhoids
- Ease constipation
- Breakdown stagnant, old blood in the womb
- Provide deep relaxation
- Provide a positive, reparative experience when healing trauma
This list is not exhaustive so please reach out to me if you’re still not sure if vaginal steaming is for you.
Vaginal Steaming Simple Setup
There are many beautifully hand-crafted steam chairs available to purchase online; however, if you want to get started right away and give it a try first this is a simple setup that you can easily put together with items you have at home.
You'll need a medium sized pot with a lid, your herbal steam blend, a light sheet, some pillows and possibly a towel.
- Fill the pot with clean water about 2/3rds full and add 3-4 Tbsp of the herbal blend.
- Bring water to a boil and reduce to simmer for 10 minutes with lid on.
- Setup where you'll be steaming either using a couch or bed. The pot will go on the floor when ready and you'll be kneeling over the pot while leaning forward with your upper body resting on the couch or bed. Have pillows available for your head and arms. Grab a sheet or a light blanket to wrap around your waist and place a towel on the floor if it's not carpeted (don't burn your floor!).
- Carefully move the pot with cooked herbs to your steam location, keeping the lid on. Place it on the towel (carpet is fine too).
- Undress from waist down.
- Check steam temperature by removing the lid and using the palm of your hand over the steam.
- If it feels too hot, wait 15-30 seconds and check again.
- When the temperature feels good (warm but not too hot), carefully place your knees to each side of the pot. Again if it feels too hot, take a short break and return.
- Wrap the sheet or light blanket around you from the waist down to keep the steam in.
- Lean forward and rest for 10-15 minutes. Enjoy!
You can steam without herbs, as mentioned above but adding medicinal plants can really get you the results you may be seeking (and side note: it makes your home smell wonderful). A good starting point can be checking out plants native to your environment or herbs you already have available in your kitchen or garden (peppermint, parsley, rosemary, etc).
Plants with aromatic leaves or flowers tend to be good for steaming but if you’re not sure it’s good to work with a practitioner (like myself!). You can steam with fresh plant material or dried. You can also find many steam blends available for purchase in my Herbal Shop. I truly enjoy crafting custom steam blends, so please reach out to me if you’re interested!
Some pro tips
- Pee before you steam! Trust me on this one.
- Steaming before bed (or sex!) can be very relaxing.
- Hydrate while steaming. Be sure to have some water or tea close by.
- Be sure you dry off fully before getting dressed after steaming.
- Steaming once before your bleeding time and once after is a holistic way to tend to long term womb and pelvic vitality.
- Use your steam time to meditate, read, consciously release emotions, talk to someone you love, have a nourishing snack or watch tv. I’ve done it all.
- If you like the practice, invest in a chair! It’s worth it and many steam chairs are functional in other ways too.
Cautions and Contraindications
While steaming is relatively safe and effective, it’s a good idea to check in with myself or a steam facilitator to be sure this practice is right for you. I can’t cover all scenarios and situations here but here are a few contraindications for vaginal steaming:
- Any form of excessive bleeding
- Active infection (yeast, bacterial vaginosis, STIs, UTIs)
- Open sores or wounds
- Bleeding between periods
- Trying to conceive (don’t steam after ovulation!)
- Excessive spotting
- IUD use (steam practice needs to be modified)
Alright, we made it! That’s your introduction to Vaginal Steaming. If you have questions or you’re ready to get your own custom formula, email me at [email protected].
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