What is a vaginal steam? (and why YOU should consider doing one)
Alright friends, since we are going to be talking about vaginal steaming today I figured it is okay to call y’all friends since I wouldn’t talk about this to just anyone. So sit back and hear me out before you rule anything out by just hearing the words ‘vaginal steaming’.
(And to make it official, I am not a doctor, you should make sure to do your own research before attempting a vaginal steam. This should not be done while pregnant or nursing.)
What is now becoming a new, popular tread, vaginal steaming is actually an age-old tradition meant to cleanse and detox the uterus.
So, let’s get the facts straight.
What is a vaginal steam?
A vaginal steam is basically a steam ‘facial’ only it is for your vagina and uterus. (See? Aren’t you glad I said ‘friends’ because we are talking about personal stuff here!)
What makes the vaginal steam beneficial is what is used in the steam. Typically herbs are chosen that can help increase circulation to the uterus or to aid in cleansing.
Stagnation is not a good thing when it comes to any organ system, but when it comes to the uterus it can cause a myriad of issues with menstruation and fertility.
Herbs can be picked for the individual to help with specific issues and health conditions. Some herbs that are typically used are oregano, motherwort, mugwort or rosemary. (all available at Mountain Rose Herbs)
How does this work?
When doing a vaginal steam, you are basically making a ‘tea’ out of herbs and allowing the herbal steam to travel to your vagina and uterus. This sounds kind of hooky, but really the tissues of the vaginal area are very porous and absorb things quite easily.
The steam carries the volatile oils from the herbs to the tissues where it is absorbed into the body. (Our bodies are so amazing!)
The herbs can help improve circulation and blood flow to the area. The vaginal steams are also said to thin mucus and help the uterus detox and cleanse.
In the past, these steams were used to help with irregular periods, fertility issues, and even anxiety. The idea being that the herbal steam goes right where it is needed to aid the reproductive area.
How do you do a vaginal steam?
The hardest part about doing a vaginal steam, in my opinion, is finding some quiet time to do it. (You do not want people banging on the bathroom door when you are trying to relax!)
You need to decide what herbs you would like to use and make a big pot of “tea”.
1 cup of herbs*
2 quarts of water
You’ll also need a chair or stool with either slats or a hole in the middle (available on Amazon), a couple of chairs next to each other (a cheek on each!), or a clean toilet (turn off the water and flush so it empties the bowl).
- Bring the water to a boil and let settle for few minutes, add the herbs and stir.
- You will then want to find a quiet place, which I recommend setting up BEFORE you get your steam ready, to set the basin of water that you will be able to sit over. (If you use a basin that fits into the bottom of your clean toilet, this works well)
- Once you get the steam ready, sit above it making sure the steam is not too hot. You do not want to burn the area, the vaginal tissue is sensitive.
- Wrap blankets around your waist to keep the steam trapped in.
- Typically steams last 20-40 minutes. This is a good time to read, journal, or pray to pass the time.
Once you are done it is a good idea to lay down for a while to allow your body to relax and the herbs to do their work. (This is good to do before bed because then you can just go to sleep and stay resting)
*What herbs do I use?
While it really is something that personal and should be picked on what issues you are trying to work on, these are a few that I found to be beneficial.
- Rosemary – has been used to help fight infection (steaming should not be done during an active infection)
- Yarrow – an herb used for cleansing and toning
- Motherwort – a long-standing herb used for woman’s issues can help with toning the uterus as well as used for anxiety brought on by your period
- Calendula – a mild, soothing herb that can be beneficial for scarring
- Lavender – a typically relaxing herb which also has antibacterial properties
When should you do a vaginal steam?
From what I read there really is no set time to do a steam. Traditionally, a safe time to do it is right after your period and before ovulation, this allows any lingering tissue and cells to be cleansed before ovulation.
Some say if you have a lot of menstruation issues that the week before your period is a good time.
I have also read that if you are struggling with fertility to do it right before ovulation.
However, if pregnancy is suspected, do not do a vaginal steam.
A long-standing tradition, vaginal steaming does seem to have its place in the world of herbal remedies. I know that isn’t the most fun thing to talk about, but knowing how herbs work, this practice seems like a great therapy to aid in uterine and vaginal health.
If you are comfortable sharing, I would love to hear from you, what benefits have you seen from doing vaginal steams?
Yup, I’m gonna talk about vaginal steam baths by Stephanie Brandt Cornais
Should you steam your vagina? by Nicole Jardim
Traditional Vaginal Steam for Healthy Fertility by Dalene Barton-Schuster