Hello Beautiful! Have you experienced a yoni steam?
Today we’ll explore the restorative practice of yoni steams. There is a lot you need to know about them. Yoni steams offer us the to restore the disconnect from our female body, yoni/uterus, whether that be from birth, unsatisfying intimate experiences, trauma, abuse, surgeries, or just cultural disconnect.
Yoni steaming as a self-health practice to restore health and balance your physical feminine cycles, ease the transition through life phases, unlock the intimate magic of your womb, and release toxic emotions such as stress, tension, and stagnation.
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Yoni steaming is a powerful ancient self-care practice used by women worldwide to support deep wellness, women's wisdom, herbal medicine, and feminine power. Yoni steams, also referred to as V steams, vaginal steams, pelvic steams, chai-yok, or bajo's, are a part of ancient womanly healing arts that are becoming popular again. Yoni steams are holistic self-care practices in which a woman allows the warmth of herbal steam to permeate the exterior of her vagina gently.
Yoni steams are part of the Maya healing lineage and used mainly to cleanse the uterus when there are menstrual difficulties, after birth, and with menopause to completely clean the womb when finished bleeding. They are popular in Central America, India, eastern Europe, and in Korea, where women commonly incorporate them as part of their self-care routines.
Let's start by talking about the word yoni
How do you refer to your vagina, to the depth of your body's wisdom and intelligence and most "sacred place"?
Studies show that we can improve our heart health by merely being kinder, more gentle, and loving to ourselves. We can change our physiology based on our level of self-love. I believe that this is true for our entire body, especially our female and reproductive organs. We can improve our vaginal health based on how we love and respect our bodies.
Yoni is the Sanskrit word for the female genitalia, the womb, and the vagina. It means "sacred place" and symbolizes our divine nature and its sacred portal to life.
In ancient, Taoist tradition it is referred to as "golden lotus," "gates of paradise," "precious pearl," "treasure."
In medical terms, the vagina is referred to as the muscular tube leading from the external genitals to the cervix of the uterus in women and most female mammals.
The word "vagina" is a Latin word meaning "a sheath or scabbard", a scabbard into which one might slide and sheath a sword. The "sword" in the case of the anatomic vagina was the penis.
Other definitions that come up when Googled are:
- The reason life exists
- "p*ssy", "down there", 'kitty"," goodness" a portal, and so on.
- A source of addiction for even the most tough-minded men
- A tool used by women to control men and force them to submit to their insane demands
- The only place a man truly feels at home
- The only thing that makes life worth living
Did you notice how you felt in your body as you read the descriptions? Some of them made you smile, some of them made you close off. This is an example of what I'm trying to communicate. How we refer to our body, influences how we feel. How we feel and how we talk about our body influences how our body functions!
What is a yoni steam?
Yoni steams are a holistic health practice in which a woman allows the warmth of herbal steam to gently permeate the exterior of her vagina. Between menstruation, sexual intercourse, and childbirth, the vagina withstands a lot. When you add changing hormones and pelvic floor issues to the mix, sometimes the vaginal area is anything but comfortable. That's why the ancient practice of yoni steaming is coming back. Essentially, herbs are brewed in a steam pot, and the container is placed under you or under your open seated chair. Blankets and sheets are wrapped around your torso to create a kind of sweat lodge for your lower torso. You sit and receive the moist warmth of the healing steam. It enters your body directly through your yoni and penetrates to your uterus, pelvis, and even up through a deep central channel connecting to your heart so you can feel better in your body and your life.
Potential benefits of yoni steams
There are many possible benefits to yoni steams. Here I will list them out and will elaborate on a few that I think are important.
- Regulate irregular menstrual cycles, reduce painful periods, bloating and exhaustion associated with menstruation
- Decrease menstrual flow as well as reduce dark purple or brown blood at the onset of menses
- May promote fertility
- Postpartum recovery by aiding in the repair of vaginal tears, episiotomy, or C-section scars
- Pain with intercourse
- Heal from emotional or sexual trauma
- Reduce uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts PCOS, uterine weakness and prolapse, & endometriosis.
- Assist with the healing of hemorrhoids
- Relieve chronic yeast infections and UTI's
- Ease menopausal symptoms including dryness or pain during intercourse
- Detoxify the womb and remove toxins from the body
- Release stored emotions
- Stronger & more frequent orgasms
- Tap into our creative potential, art, projects, service and soul work
- Increase libido & reignite sensual passion
- Deepen connection to your feminine essence
- An act of self-love and self-care
Let's go a little deeper into some of these topics and how often you should steam.
- Regular cycles- For those who have healthy, pain-free periods, I suggest a seasonal vaginal steam once every three-four months with the changing of the seasons just before menses. The solstices and equinoxes are the perfect time to reconnect with yourself as you leave one season and enter the next.
- Cramps- The herbal steam soothes and relaxes the pelvic muscles and loosens the endometrial lining. One reason yoni steams are so helpful for women suffering from endometriosis. Women who suffer from pain, bloating, or exhaustion during menstruation can steam once a week a week or two before menstruation to aid shedding of the uterine lining. After, you will likely see a change in the fluid you pass when your period begins. You may also steam once after your cycle ends, to clear out any excess materials. To learn more about how to enjoy your menstrual cycle, We also have an herbal tincture blended especially for cramps.
- For fertility: If you are actively trying to conceive, you can yoni steam during your pre-ovulation phase up until ovulation. Yoni steam helps moisten uterine membranes so they are more receptive and may improve the conditions for conception to occur. Women who are experiencing fertility challenges may steam once per week, and twice during pre-ovulation, to make sure that the tissue is moist and that the cervical fluids are clear and copious. Expect to steam for at least three months before seeing results. Do not steam after possible conception or if you think you are pregnant. To support your fertility journey, check out our herbal blend and see if it is right for you.
- After miscarriage: Experiencing a miscarriage is a big deal, and having a healing experience where you pamper your body and womb is essential to full healing. Creating a yoni steam ceremony is a beautiful way to support your body and emotions. It is best to prepare your yoni steam once your bleeding has stopped. The healing process after a miscarriage is an important and emotionally charged journey. I've written more about the path to recovery in this article.
- Postpartum: Yoni steams after birth brings nourishing heat, supports the body to release fluids, and aids the womb in shrinking back to pre-pregnancy size. Postpartum herbal steams help all the fluids of birth have flowed out of the body. Mayan midwives recommend steams to postpartum mothers within the first nine days after childbirth. A healthy woman with a natural birth would have three steams within the first nine days postpartum. Maya midwives use the number 9 as a spiritual tradition. They usually do three vaginal steams during the first 9 days postpartum to facilitate healing and toning of the uterus and vagina.
In my practice, I offered yoni steams for women with caesarian births as well. In these cases, I was personally attending to the mother during the steam. During the first few days, postpartum, the new mother should not attempt to perform the steams by themselves or unattended.
- Peri-menopause, menopause, and post-menopause: The yoni steam can revitalize vaginal tissue, moisten vaginal dryness, and offer emotional support. For those going through menopause, a yoni steam is recommended a few times a year in the first couple of years of menopause to ensure that the uterine membrane is very clean when it stops menstruating. -Some menopausal women report passing clots and dark, thick blood even a year after menses have ceased.
- After Hysterectomy: The heat and warmth is a soothing therapy for scar tissue and can be a fantastic way to connect with your femininity after the surgery.
- After a sexual trauma, Anytime your body feels violated a yoni steam can be a gentle way to recover. The yoni steam offers you a quiet time to meditate and send love to your body and to feel like you are being taken care of.
- After a breakup or separation If you are separated from your sexual partner, and you feel like clearing the old or toxic energy that no longer serves you a yoni steam is a beautiful way to close and cleanse that chapter of your life. It helps clear and opens you for your next chapter.
When is the best time for a yoni steam?
Mainly, you can steam at any time of the month, as long as you are not menstruating. It is nice to do your steam later in the evening so that you can go lay down in bed shortly after finishing the steam.
When shouldn't you do a yoni steam?
Yoni steams are not always recommended! There are reasons and seasons of our lives that we should not do the steam. Please do NOT do a yoni steam if you are:
- Don't steam during ovulation if you are trying to conceive
- Pregnant or if you think you may be pregnant
- If you have an Intrauterine Device (IUD) (some say you can for only 5-10 minutes
- Have an active internal infection (cervical, uterine or ovarian inflammation) with a fever
- Have any open herpes sores or blisters present- Soak infected area AFTER the blisters have burst, until the infected area has healed
Best herbs for yoni steams
A yoni steam is sort of like a facial for your uterus. It is a steam cleaning for your uterine wall. So pick herbs that are delicate enough for your eyes and mouth.
- Lavender is a sweet-smelling antiseptic and anti-bacterial herb with soothing and powerful cleansing properties for a healthy vaginal environment.
- Rosemary is also antiseptic and helps with circulating out old fluids and blood. It purifies and stimulates the yoni and reclaim or remember lost parts of your self.
- Lemon Balm is an antiviral herb that helps with relieving itchiness and smells delightful.
- Dandelion helps improve endocrine and reproductive health. It helps rid excess estrogen, sugars, and toxins of the body
- Calendula bright golden blossoms are antiseptic and soothing to irritated tissues. It also helps ease and treat cramping and heaviness.
- Peppermint helps energize, stimulate, and restore of the yoni.
- Chamomile is known as the grandmother herb. It helps with relieving cramping, tension, and pain. It smells amazing.
- Yarrow is a powerful infection fighter, great for wound repair, tender, bruised, stitched tissues.
- Uva Ursi is an alkalinizing herb that is specific for UTI and reproductive infections.
Herbs that support the urinary and reproductive organs:
Raspberry Leaf, Motherwort, Peony, Damiana, Oregano, and Basil
Herbs that are tonifying, tightening, and drying:
Witch Hazel, Yarrow, Rose and Juniper
Herbs that soothe moisturize:
Comfrey, Marshmallow, Plantain, and seaweeds such as kombu and bladderwrack are added for their mucilaginous quality, which can aid in softening and cleansing, as well as their rich mineral content. Yoni steams can bring deep healing, moisturizing, and warmth to your pelvis.
How to do a yoni steam
It seems like a lot of setting up the first time you do it! After you've done it a few times, you will see how easy it is to set up.
- Set your self up in a safe, private, and pleasant area— the bathroom, your bedroom, or a meditation space; you may want to be looking at an altar or out a window. Place your steam bowl where you'll have room and be comfortable. Be sure to wear socks or place the chair on carpeting for warmth.
- Start a pot of 3–4 quarts of water to boil with a lid. Once you have a rolling boil, turn the heat down, add one cup of well packed dry herbs and seaweed (one quart of fresh herbs) to the water and simmer for 5–10 minutes. Turn off heat and let steep for another 10 minutes with the lid on always. You want to keep the volatile oils of the herbs in the steam and not let them escape.
- Meanwhile, gather a sheet, towels, and wool blanket to drape around you while you sit. They should be wrapped around you once you sit down to form a sort of sweat lodge for the lower half of your body. Use pillows behind you, and towels on top of the seat, if desired.
- Once you are ready to sit and steam, transfer the herb pot to under the open seat of the chair. Sit down, get comfortable, get your draping around you, and then open the lid of steam. Adjust to the heat and use the draping to allow in fresh air if needed while you get settled; otherwise, close the steam tent up so that no cold air comes in. Then, settle into your yoni steam.
- Relax, meditate, read something inspiring, have music playing, connect with your womb, your vagina, your pelvis, and receive what your body has to communicate.
- It's best to steam for about 20–30 minutes. Listen to your body. Repeat as desired. Use the steams throughout your cycle, focusing on the week before bleeding. Do not use it during bleeding or pregnancy. Postpartum and newly post menopause are ideal times to steam to facilitate cleansing of the uterus.
What to expect after steaming
Immediately after steaming, you might feel extremely relaxed, emotional, or tired. Afterward, remain wrapped in warm blankets and rest in a warm bed for the night. The yoni bath herbs will continue to work on your reproductive system as you sleep, and you will wake up feeling pampered, nurtured, and loved.
In the days following, there are several things you might experience; changes in your cycle, lighter period, the release of dark blood, clots, and heightened feminine awareness. You might notice changes right away or more subtly.
It's a bit troubling to see that yoni steaming appears to be blanketly disregarded by the medical community, not because of its harmfulness, but because it's an area of practice of which doctors lack accurate knowledge. It raises the question, could healthcare professionals be missing something by blindly suppressing this universal health practice rather than researching its potential benefits? I find this is unfortunate because if you are having concerning symptoms, it is reasonable to try steaming with herbs and water before you resort to the medical model. When you talk about it, they make it sound silly and dangerous and prescribe NAIDS when most of the time, the steam is a perfectly healthy, reasonable way to take care of your self.
Yet the neigh sayers do have a few valid concerns that I want to bring up.
- One concern I have about too much yoni steaming is that it might disrupt the microbiome and flora found in your vaginal canal. Your vagina is fully capable of cleansing herself, and most of the time does not need to be cleansed. A healthy vagina has bacteria that help keep the vaginal pH at the right level, but disrupting this environment (through steaming, douching, etc.) can increase the risk of infection.
- Another concern I have about the marketing about yoni steams is that you are somehow dirty and your natural odor needs to be covered, your discharge is gross. There are countless products out there selling you all this expensive stuff that you don't need. Perpetuating a damaging myth: that women, and particularly women's sexual organs, are dirty and in need of fixing.
- Vaginal steaming could be dangerous and increase the risk of vulvovaginal burns.
- Please note, if you are having recurring infections or have concerns seek care from a holistic care provider such as a midwife, naturopath, herbalist or acupuncturist.
In closing, yoni steams offer potential for us to restore the disconnect from our yoni/uterus, whether that be from trauma, violations, abuse, surgeries, or just cultural disconnect. Yoni steaming as a self-health practice to restore health and balance your menstrual cycles, ease the transition through life phases, unlock the intimate magic of your womb, and release toxic emotions such as stress, tension, and stagnation.
Until next time my beautiful friend, watch more apothecary wisdom videos, drink deep, and always walk in beauty.