I first heard about yoni/vaginal/pelvic steaming at Spirit Weavers Gathering a couple years ago. It wasn’t until this last year that I become more curious and interested in it. My wonderful friend, Jeevan Singh, facilitaes steams and offers abdominal massage (post on that coming soon!) and other bodywork out of her practice here in Portland. She was kind enough to come over to my haus and facilitate an in-home steam for me, as well as teach me about this beautiful practice so I could write this blog post for all of you. Jeevan is a gifted healer and a warm and loving friend.
The practice of yoni steaming is a beautiful, introspective ritual that you can incorporate as part of your monthly or bi-monthly (2x a month) self-care routine. Like our noses, the sensitive vaginal tissue is very absorbent and rich in blood supply, so the medicinal properties of the herbs used in a steam can directly enter the bloodstream. For this reason, you want to select the herbs used for your steam with caution and correct knowledge. The herbal recipe featured in this post is considered safe for most women. If you are dealing with any conditions or sensitivities (and even if you aren’t), it’s always best to research what herbs to work with or better yet, work with a trained herbalist. This post is intended as a starter guide to yoni steaming. If you’re interested in learning more, Jeevan has a great printed guide to at-home steaming. Jeevan also recommended Steamy Chick as a resource.
Some Benefits of Yoni Steaming
+ Reduced pain and bloating around menstruation
+ Decreased menstrual flow
+ Regulates menstrual cycle, or helps to bring back an absent cycle
+ Increased fertility, especially when combined with Mayan abdominal massage
+ Heals and tones the reproductive system after giving birth
+ Reduces uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, uterine weakness, uterine prolapse and endometriosis
+ Emotional healing from past pain and trauma
Precautions + Contraindications
+ Steam is HOT! Be very, very careful, as you don’t want to burn the sensitive skin of your vagina. NEVER take the lid all the way off your pot. Read the instructions for at-home-steaming thoroughly and be slow and mindful in the process.
+ Pregnancy. While steams can be beneficial for conception and after birth in the postpartum period, steaming during any stage of pregnancy is absolutely contraindicated. Do NOT steam if you are pregnant or even if you think you might be pregnant. If you are actively trying to conceive, do not steam after ovulation during the luteal (2nd half) of your cycle.
+ Do NOT use essential oils for vaginal steams, as they are much too harsh for vaginal tissue.
+ Do NOT steam if cancer is present anywhere in the body.
+ IUDs. There’s much debate about whether women with IUDs should steam or not. The main concern is that the medicinal herbs could cause the uterus to contract, which could potentially cause problems with the placement of the IUD. That being said, some people with IUDs still steam and find it to be beneficial. Talk to a trained practitioner to learn more and see if steaming would be a good option for you.
+ Do NOT steam when you are actively bleeding. You can however steam the day after the last day of your period to help move out any remaining blood. Steaming in the week leading up to your period can help with cramps and other menstrual complaints. But never steam when you’re actively menstruating. If you are prone to heavy bleeding, it is recommended to wait to steam until your cycle is more regulated, as steaming increases circulation to the pelvis, which could result in more bleeding.
+ It is NOT recommended to steam with any active infection.
What You Need to Steam At Home
+ Steam stool – Jeevan’s stools are beautiful, handmade here in Portland and reasonably priced. Perfect if you are looking to invest and make this a regular practice. Otherwise, you have a few options. You can lie in child’s pose with your pelvis positioned over the bowl. You could use the squat or kneeling method. Basically any way that you can position your body over the pot and feel supported and comfortable. You could also try sitting on the edge of your bath tub. Whatever method you choose, you want to be sure you are as warm and comfortable as possible, so don’t be afraid to use props and extra blankets to get set up. If you do a quick Google search for DIY yoni steam seat, there’s a bunch of different options and ideas.
+ Lidded pot and electric hot plate OR a small 3-4 quart crock pot (that you would dedicate to using only for yoni steaming aka don’t cook soup in it afterwards) – Either of these work well. If you don’t have a crock pot, you can get a single electric burner for about $15 and use that with a large lidded pot. If you don’t have a way to keep your pot of water heated while you’re steaming, you can use a pot of boiled water, just be aware that the steam may not last the full 20-30 minutes of the steam.
+ Water and herbs (herbal recipe below) – You’ll need about a cup of dried herbs or a quart of fresh herbs, and about 3 quarts filtered water. You can source your dried herbs locally, from Mountain Rose Herbs online or Steamy Chick makes a variety of blends for vaginal steaming.
+ Cozy socks and/or slippers – SO important to keep your feet super warm and cozy.
+ Bedsheet and a heavy blanket (wool works well!) – This will wrap around your lower body creating a cloak to trap in the steam. Wrap the bedsheet first then the blanket on top.
+ Journal, pen, tarot cards, crystals or any other talisman of choice, sage or palo santo for clearing – It’s nice to clear the area with palo santo or sage before you begin to move out any old energy. You can create a small altar space if desired. Keep a journal and pen nearby if you’d like to write while you steam. If you have a tarot deck, you can pull a card before you start and use this card to meditate on during your steam.
The Steaming Process
1.) Set up your stool or whatever you are using in a comfortable, quiet place with your journal and pen, a glass of water and any altar items nearby. You can use palo santo or sage to clear out any old energy in the space.
2.) Place your herbs in your lidded pot or crock pot and then pour boiling water over them. The heat will help extract the volatile oils of the herbs. Set your crockpot to low, or your electric burner to low if you’re using that method. You can turn it up later if it’s not warm enough. Place the lidded pot or crockpot under your stool with the lid fully on, so the steam doesn’t escape.
3.) If you want to draw a tarot card, this would be a great time to do so. If there’s any other ritual you want to include in this practice, please do. You can read a passage from an inspiring book, repeat a mantra a few times, say a prayer, whatever resonates with you.
4.) Get undressed from the waist down. You can use a towel as padding for your butt on your stool or whatever you are sitting on. Put your socks and/or slippers on. Wrap a sheet around your lower body then wrap at least one more blanket around you. The blankets should reach all the way to the ground so they create a tent around your body. Keep in mind that the heavier and thicker the blankets you use, the hotter the steam will be. I like to use a flannel sheet and one thick wool blanket.
5.) Once you are all set up, release the steam very slowly. Start by removing the lid about a half inch. The heat should not feel intense, but light at first and will slowly build over the course of the steam. If you think it’s not warm enough though, you can remove the lid another half an inch. Just proceed with caution, as you do not want to burn your precious vaginal tissues!
5.) Steam for 20-30 minutes. You can use this time to meditate, go inward, write in your journal, be contemplative, read poetry, listen to music or a guided meditation, whatever you feel you need in the moment. Once you are done steaming, you can offer the steeped water with herbs to any plants in your yard that you’d like to give special attention to.
Flower Steam Bath Recipe by Jeevan Singh
[A blend for self-love and renewal]
1⁄4 cup organic calendula
[Herbal sunshine. Inner warmth. Empathy. Healing inner woundedness.]
[Skin-healing and soothing. Anti-inflammatory. Moistening. Tones uterus.]
1⁄4 cup organic lavender
[Calming. Clarifying. Clearing.]
[Relaxant. Antispasmodic (eases cramps). Stimulates flow (good for scanty periods).]
1⁄4 cup organic motherwort
[Resonance with physical heart and uterus – the two hearts. For those needing mothering. Mothering ourselves.]
[Strengthens and relaxes uterine muscles, eases cramps, stimulates flow, balances hormones.]
1⁄4 cup organic rose petals
[Heart medicine. Love vibration. Uplifting. Soothing.]
[Eases menstrual pain. Astringes heavy bleeding. Anti-inflammatory.]