Starting from a young age with the beginning of menstruation, your vagina or ‘Yoni’ goes through a lot. The average woman will experience monthly hormonal changes and menstruation, for the majority of their adult life, making no mention of sexual intercourse, pregnancy, and childbirth. Thankfully, your Yoni is pretty resilient and fully capable of handling all of life’s experiences, but that doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from some self-care in the form of a Yoni steam!
Yoni steams, also known as Vaginal Steams, Chai-yok, or Bajos are an accessible natural remedy for many feminine difficulties that appeal to the growing number of people choosing holistic and alternative medical treatments. It is used to improve and restore wellness to the vagina and womb, though it offers many other health benefits.
The practice of vaginal steaming is an ancient one that has been a part of nearly every indigenous culture around the world. It is still practiced in African, Mexican, Greek, Native American, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, and South American cultures and has been seeing a rise in popularity in the west over the past few years. You might recall seeing headlines about it as far back as 2015 thanks to promotion from Actress Gwyneth Paltrow and her wellness brand Goop.
Regular Yoni steams can be used for everything from regulating menstrual cycles, reducing pre-menstrual and menopause symptoms, and improving vaginal lubrication, to aiding in postpartum healing, reducing UTIs, and cleansing the vagina and uterus.
In addition to the physical benefits, Yoni steams are also used to reconnect with your body and feminine energy. Many cultures, including the Mayan healing lineage, perform Yoni steams following major events, such as childbirth and the end of menopause to cleanse the womb. These rituals aid in healing and transition, and honor important times in a woman’s life.
If you are familiar with herbal medicine, you might not be surprised to learn how Yoni steaming works. It’s not all that different from other natural remedies, such as aromatherapy. Herbs selected for their medicinal properties are placed into a vessel of purified boiled water, creating healing steam.
This steam is exceptionally effective in relieving many issues related to the vagina and womb as the internal tissues are extremely absorbent, taking in the medicinal plant oils released through the steam and allowing them to be easily absorbed into the bloodstream and your inner reproductive system. After these oils have been absorbed, they have been said to improve fertility, regulate menstrual cycles, and improve overall wellbeing by helping the womb to release built-up uterine lining and increasing blood flow.
The steam provides additional benefits, acting as a muscle relaxer due to its deep radiating heat. This moist warmth can provide relief from cramps, help you to shed uterine lining faster, and improve the natural lubrication of your vagina.
A major factor in the widespread use of Yoni steaming treatments is accessibility. Anyone can set up a Yoni steam with just a few items and a little preparation, and you already have most of the supplies laying around the house.
For the treatment, you will need a heat-proof vessel that can hold a few cups of liquid, a towel or blanket, the herbs of your choice, distilled water, and somewhere to sit or kneel while you steam. You’ll also need a pot in which to boil your selected herbs in the distilled water to create the healing steam.
Before you start preparing your water, take some time to find a good place for your steam. Some choose to use their bathrooms, placing the steam bowl into the toilet and using it as a seat, but others prefer to sit somewhere more comfortable, near a window, or in a quiet area to avoid being disturbed. Where you steam is ultimately up to you, but the mental and spiritual aspect of a peaceful practice can be just as healing as the physical treatment.
Once you’ve chosen your space, set up your chair or kneeling pillow and put your towel or blanket nearby. You will place it over your lap and legs while you sit, trapping the healing steam from the bowl and creating a sauna for your lower half.
In a clean pot, bring at least two cups of purified water to a gentle boil. Once the water is bubbling, remove it from the heat and transfer it to the heatproof container you selected earlier. Take care not to burn yourself with the water or the steam as you make the transition. Add the herbs you’ve selected for your steam to the container of hot water and leave it to sit for a few minutes to cool and infuse with the oils of the added herbs.
Check the temperature of the water by holding your wrist or forearm over the mixture for a few minutes. If it’s too warm or unpleasant on your arm, give it more time to cool. Your vaginal tissues are very delicate and can be burned by the steam if you aren’t careful in your preparations.
When the steam has reached a comfortable temperature, take your container to the steaming area you set up earlier. Undress from the waist down and find a comfortable position to sit or squat in for an extended period. When you are positioned with your uncovered vagina over the steaming bowl, take the towel and cover your lap and legs, containing the steam within.
It’s recommended that you steam for no more than 30 minutes at a time. While you sit, the steam is said to carry the fresh essential oils deep into your womb and even as far as your
heart through the passage of your vagina. The warm steam increases circulation relaxes muscles and provides soothing heat while you sit.
You can steam regularly throughout your menstrual cycle, though you should abstain during your period. If you are steaming for the premenstrual benefits and pain relief, concentrate your practices on the week leading up to your period for the biggest benefits.
You should also refrain from steaming if you are pregnant, trying to conceive, or using an IUD. Speak to your doctor for advice for your specific situation if you are concerned about potential complications from steaming.
If you’re ready to get started with Yoni steaming but need a little direction on what herbs to use, here are a few go-to choices to point you in the right direction.
Mugwort is one of the most frequently used herbs in Yoni Steams, and for good reason. It is said to be an effective immune booster for your reproductive system, cleansing unhealthy bacteria and improving overall reproductive health.
Sage is another of the most popular used herbs in Yoni steaming. It pairs well with the scent of most other herbs and can be added to your mixture to improve your mood and rebalance your energies.
Especially popular in streaming practices throughout Asia, Dong Qui is a must-have herb for anyone dealing with premenstrual symptoms, including more severe cases like PCOS. Don Qui is effective in relieving cramps, reducing bloating, and even relieves vaginal dryness.
If you’ve just given birth, Calendula is going to be your best friend! The herb offers a combination of antiseptic and soothing properties to relieve tissue irritation and swelling. Regular use of Calendula following childbirth can also facilitate healthy scarring.
Forget diamonds, Yarrow is a girl’s best friend! Yarrow can help you with irregular periods and promotes health and healing after childbirth. The herb helps with wound healing and reduces swelling, in addition to helping you fight off potential infections.
Maintaining a healthy pH is essential, and tricky when it comes to your vagina. Himalayan Salt is a great natural option for you to use to maintain a healthy pH balance.
No matter what herbs you choose for your Yoni steam, you’re sure to enjoy a relaxing experience that reconnects you to your feminine energies.