Vaginal Steaming, also known as Yoni or Pelvic steaming- is an amazing, empowering and healing feminine ritual. It combines the healing properties of herbs and the warming+beneficial properties of heat and steam to access this deep, sensitive area of a womens’ body. It is a beautiful and introspective experience which can help improve health in the spiritual, mental, and physical realms. This is a great time to disconnect from social media, turn off your phone, and turn up the introspection.
Vaginal/Yoni herbal steaming has been used for thousands of years all around the world. It is also know as “bajos” from Latin American cultures and is widely esteemed in combination with Mayan Abdominal Massage.
Vaginal Steaming is a gentle way to help treat a wide range of gynecological, such as endometriosis/ ammenorhea/ dysmennorhea, as well as deep rooted emotional conditions. Selecting the correct combination of herbs is important as the steam interacts with the sensitive tissue of the vaginal canal and allows the medicinal properties of the herbs to be easily assimilated into the body. Choosing herbs to fit your intentions and needs is a very important aspects of steaming and will be discussed more below. It is beneficial in the beginning to consult with an herbalist or pelvic floor specialist to find the right combination to fit your needs.
This article with discuss uses and benefits of herbal pelvic steaming, contraindications, and a few simple tips to get started. I will also list a bunch of resources for you to look into so you can dive deeper into this amazing modality.
What is Vaginal Steaming?
Pelvic/Vaginal herbal steaming is a great way to help increase circulation and bring a healing warmth infused with herbal medicine to the body. Essentially a woman sits above a bowl of streaming water infused with a specific herbal “tea” chosen uniquely for their medicinal properties and what that individual needs to help heal. The steam comes into direct contact with the uncovered pelvic region and acts as a warm “steam bath” that helps activate the vaginal canal and reproductive organs. The volatile oils from the herbs are extremely therapeutic and have amazing health benefits. It can also help to access deep rooted emotional states. It is important that the body is kept warm, wrapped in a blanket or basking in the warm sunshine.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) stagnation and cold especially in the reproductive organs can have detrimental impacts on a women’s health. When blood, Qi, or lymph circulation is impaired, reproductive organs may not function properly and condition such as pain, irregular cycles, cysts, or infertility may arise. Bringing warmth and the healing benefits of herbal medicine can help to rectify these issues. Within TCM, and herb called Moxa is often used to help increase circulation, reduce pain and being warmth to certain areas of the body, organ systems or meridians.
Uses and Benefits of Pelvic Steaming
Boost Fertility- Herbal steaming can help increasing fertility due to the warming and circulatory impact of the process. A warm uterus is a happy one :) This can also be a time to help manifest your intentions about creating a family and releasing worry and stress around the process. Know that this process can be done by men as well to help with reproductive/ prostate health, as well as emotional support!
Regulate/ Balance Hormones and Menstrual Cycle- Vaginal steaming can help to balance an irregular cycle
Reduction of PMS symptoms- The herbs combined with the heat can help to remove stagnation and pain associated with pre menstruation such as cramps and bloating. Herbal steaming can help improve blood circulation and remove stagnation and cramps from the endometrial lining, ensuring an easier and smoother flow.
Improve Gynecological Disorder- Issues such as Endometriosis, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, uterine prolapse can all benefit from regular herbal steam sessions.
Prolapse of Reproductive Organs- Often used in conjunction with Maya Abdominal Massage specific herbal blends can help to rectify prolapsed or tilted reproductive organs.
Postpartum and Post-Missariage Vaginal Care-These steam session are known to help quicken the bodies ability to repair the vaginal canal and tone the reproductive organs after childbirth.
Emotional healing and release- Unfortunately many women have experienced emotional and sexual trauma, The herbs can help to move through these deep rooted issues and make space for healing.
Increase self-awareness, femininity and self worth- This experience can help to facilitate a deeper connection with oneself and allow space for healing and growth to occur.
Peri-menopause and Menopause- Side effects of this stage of a women life, such as dryness and hot flashes, are not necessary and can be mediated with things such as herbal steaming and Acupuncture!
Contraindications and Safety
-Our vaginal tissue is very sensitive so it is important to remember a few things when embarking upon this journey. The steam is very hot so you want to be mindful during this experience and adjust you position or the lid upon the pot to manage the temperature.
-As this practice can be very beneficial for many condtions and stages of life, it is to be avoided during pregnancy. It is an amazing ally for postapatum, but DO NOT STEAM during pregnancy, or even if you think you are pregnant but are not fully sure it is best to take caution. If you are actively trying to conceive, do not steam after ovulation during the second half (luteal phase) of your cycle.
-Do not steam while you are menstruating. It is best to wait until you are finished actively bleeding, or right before your cycle begins. If your cycle is pretty irregular you can look into seed cycling to help balance your hormones and regulate your monthly cycle. Steaming at then end of a cycle can help the body remove any lingering built up blood while steaming the week before you bleed can help with a wide range of premenstrual symptoms.
-I do not recommend using essential oils in combination with the bulk herbs as they can be a bit to harsh and can burn the sensitive tissue of the vaginal canal. The bulk herbal blends are strong, effective and safe enough.
-Remember to keep warm during the steam session, cover your feet with warm slippers or sisal and wrap your body in a robe or comfy blanket. If you are located in a tropical area, the warm sun may suffice, but i do still suggest keeping the body covered and away frrom drafts.
-Steaming should be avoided in conditions such as active infections or with a current diagnosis of cancer. Please contact your medical provider to learn more. Do not steam if you are presenting with any signs of damp heat disorders, or active infections. These can manifest as conditions such as material vaginosis, candida, bacterial infections, yeast infections or herpes outbreak. .
-Often women experience changes within the their vaginal discharge or menstruation after steaming, such a increased leukorrhea or discharge of brown blood. These are signs that the body is cleansing impurities or old stagnation. It is very rare but if you notice excessive bleeding or pain discontinue use.
Things You Need to Get Started
In the beginning there are a few things to gather and learn about, but once you have this established you can settle into this healing and nourishing routine.
Steaming bench- This is a unique stool made to help facilities ease during your herbal steam sessions if you do not have access or means to acquire a bench such as this there are a few other options. The way I started was by finding an old wooden chair from the goodwill and literally cutting an oval hole in the middle of the seat, sanding the edges and chopping the legs nice and short. DIY at its finest. If this isn’t your thing then you can always squat/kneel over the bowl of herbs. This is just as effective but might lead to shorter steam session and might not be as relaxing. Also you can use the toilet as the stem bench- for this method you need to find a bowl that fits perfectly into the seat and will place your steaming herbs into this bowl. This method will allow less space between your body and the steam so take caution and allow the water to cool down a bit before sitting. You want to make sure you are feeling comfortable, warm and supported in what ever position you choose.
Herbal mixture+ Fresh Water- The herbal blend used should be specific to what your body-mind are needing to help facilitate healing. Fresh or dried herbs can be used, but I suggest picking one type for each individual session. About 5 quarts of water can be used for a session and this is equivalent to 1 cup of dried herbs or 4 cups of fresh herbs. The herbs should be organic and of high quality. I will list some herbal blends below and some suggestions for sourcing.
Cooking Pot with Lid- This pot is used to hold your herbs during the steam. You can also place the pot upon an electric hot plate to extend the steam sessions.
-Set up your bench in a comfortable location. I think that setting up sacred space is an integral part of this process. It doesn’t need to be fancy and ornate, but comfortable, safe and quiet. You can spend a little time setting intentions, or decorating with a few crystal and flowers if you feel called. Same goes if you are not using a bench, grab your yoga mat or a bunch of blankets, a journal and make yourself comfortable!
-Boil about 5 quarts of water and place all your herbs into your lidded pot. Slowly pour the boiling water into the herbal blend. Cover and let the herbs steep and infuse for about 5- 10 minutes before transferring the bowl under your bench. Take caution as the steam can be very hot in the beginning, allow it to cool until a comfortable temperature before taking a seat. You can use the lid to help with the amount of steam releases and temperature regulation. (If you are choosing to use an electric hot plate, set it to the lowest temperature.)
-Undress from the waist down and make sure you will stay warm enough. This is a great time to grab your cozy socks, slippers and favorite blanket or robe to stay warm. Take a set upon your bench and wrap up.
-Slowly remove the lid from the pot adjusting your position and the amount of steam being released from the pot. The heat should be comforting and not at all intense or burning. Proceed cautiously and know that the steam will be hottest at first and will cool down over the course of the herbal steam session.
-The steam session can last around 15-30 minutes long. Allow this time to be introspective, and quiet. You can practice meditation, do a body scan, read something inspirational, or listen to some music.
The art of combining herbs for various conditions allows this method to be so effective. Herbs are potent health allies and each herb has unique medicinal properties, as well as a synergy with other herbs. Herbs may be used fresh or dried, just note the various ratio for each preparation (5quarts water: 1 cup dried, 5 quarts water: 4 cups fresh) Within traditional Mayan practices, herbs used for steaming were common plants like Lemon Balm, Oregano, Chamomile, Basil, Rosemary, Motherwort, Damiana, Dandelion, Horsetail, Yellow Dock and Calendula.
When dealing with specific conditions or needs it is important to pick and herbal blend that will support the body. There are many amazing herbalists combining herbs for specific conditions, it is best to consult an herbalist to pick a blend that is right for you.
The Mahina Cup website offers various herbals blends for Fertility, Postpartum, Cleansing, Menopause support, Endometriosis, and Emotional support. This is a great place to start collecting herbs!
A simple blend that I like to use combines a bunch of healing flowers such as lavender, calendula, motherwort, and rose. It is a beautiful herbal blend to help improve circulation and boost self-love and healing. This is a great all around combination for women not dealing with any specific conditions other than wanting to improve overall reproductive wellness. ( 1/4 cup of each dried herb used)
I love to incorporate roses into my steam sessions not only for the intoxicating aroma, and skin healing capacity, but for its connection to self love and growth.
Other empowering Feminine Rituals
-Jade/Rose quartz rolling
-Womens Moon circles
-Red Tent Ceremonies
Mahina - An amazing website for powerful feminine products and empowering information. The creatrix and owner of this company is my dear friend Alila and her “vision is that it inspires you to try something new, and remember who You are.”
Steamy Chick- Another great resource to learn more about vaginal steaming and purchase high quality products and herbal steam blends.
Mountain Rose Herbs- This herbal distributor carries some of the most potent and well nourished herbs, spices and teas. I highly recommend their products.
Wild Feminine- This book written by Tammy Kent is an empowering and amazing resource. It is not specifically focused on vaginal steaming but pelvic floor health. It’s a must read!
*Please consult a well-versed healthcare practitioner to see if this is right for you, and feel free to reach out for additional information. Please do not that all information upon this website is used only for educational and informational information and is not to take place of any professional medical advice.