What is vaginal steaming?
Monday, August 05, 2013 by: Lisa S. Lawless, Ph.D.
A popular, new trend in the United States is vaginal steaming and it is being offered through spas and holistic health centers from southern California to New York in order to address a variety of health issues. While it is technically not new as it has been used in ancient medicine for centuries, it is a re-emerging trend to those in the United States and is also known as ‘chai-yok’ in Korea and ‘bajos’ in Central and South America. For those not familiar with what vaginal steaming is, think of it like a medicinal, herbal, steam facial for the vagina.
Typically, they are done a day or two after a woman has had her period in order to detox and heal any imbalances in the vagina, cervix and uterus. Vaginal steaming has also been known to ease anxiety in women as well as tackle several other health issues-
• Irregular and painful periods
• Vaginal cysts
• Bladder and yeast infections
• Uterine fibroids
• Scarring from childbirth, hysterectomies and laparoscopies
How does vaginal steaming work?
Vaginal steaming in Chinese medicine is used to relieve stagnation and coldness in the body, and in Eastern medicine in general it is used to dilate the blood vessels, increase blood circulation, provide oxygenation and relax the pelvic floor muscles. Other ways it improves health depends on the herbs that are used and the healing properties each herb brings to the table. The most commonly used herbs for vaginal steaming are mugwort, basil, calendula, oregano, marshmallow root, wormwood and rosemary.
What to know about vaginal steaming
The best time to do vaginal steaming is after your period and it is discouraged during it. You should also avoid vaginal steaming if you believe you may be pregnant. Typically vaginal steaming lasts for about twenty to forty-five minutes and care should be taken to avoid using steam too close or too hot so as not to burn or irritate the sensitive vaginal tissue.
The most important thing regarding the herbs you use is to make sure you are knowledgeable about them and avoid those that you may be allergic to or those that would interfere with a health condition or medication you may be taking. Consulting an herbalist, physician or pharmacist may be a good idea if you are unsure. Also, make sure that the herbs you use are organic to avoid any exposure to pesticides and avoid essential oils as they can be overly potent and it can be difficult to discern the quality of them.
How to do vaginal steaming
After you have determined the best herbs to use for your personal health needs and are ready for the vaginal steam, you can boil as little or as much filtered water as you like; typically, women use about 8 cups and then once the water has boiled and has cooled enough where it is no longer boiling, add about 2/3rd of a cup of your fresh and/or dried herbs. Do not add them while the water is still boiling as this can lessen the potency of the herbs. After the herbs have steeped for about 10 minutes, pour half of the contents in a bowl and proceed to squat over it or sit on a vagi-stool (a stool with an opening in it). To maximize the steam, have a large towel or blanket that wraps around your waist, making a tent around the bowl and allowing the steam to go up into the vaginal opening.
To increase the absorption and effects of the herbs, you can do a self-massage on your abdomen using your hands or a vibrator.
For recommendations and more specific information on vaginal steaming, see this helpful article: http://www.holisticwisdom.com/