Guide to Yoni Steaming
Yoni steaming, also known as vaginal steaming or v-steam, is a sacred self-care practice that has been used by women for centuries to heal and tone the vagina. By applying gentle heat and moisture, herbal steam permeates the external vagina and carries medicinal plant properties to the tissues, increasing circulation. The plant medicines are absorbed into the bloodstream and circulated into the reproductive system where they help to stimulate healing.
This powerful ritual helps nourish the vagina while healing and restoring divine femininity. Steaming helps improve stagnation and cleanses old residue in the vaginal canal and womb space. If blood from the previous menstrual cycle has not been properly cleared, the body identifies it as a foreign substance. This activates muscles in the abdomen to attempt to push it out of the body. This muscle contracting action often results in painful cramps. Doing vaginal steams assists the body with cleansing and improves circulation, which enhances the body’s own healing mechanisms. On an emotional level, steaming activates a connection to femininity and is a powerful act of self-love.
For many women, this is a self-care practice that can be done 1-2 x per month (though never during your period or ovulation) unless there are deeper issues you are working on healing, such as infertility and hormone-related imbalances. In these cases, and postpartum, It’s best to work with or consult a practitioner for support or work with your midwife or doula. There are also many (Korean) spas offering v-steam that can prepare a unique blend for your specific needs and body. Many offer the combination of v-steam and womb massage, which when combined, work to clear stagnation and promote circulation to the area.
The Benefits of Yoni Steaming
There are several benefits to the sacred practice of yoni steaming, varying from emotional and spiritual healing to physical cleansing. Different women steam for different reasons. It’s essential that you know what you are doing, what herbs you are using & why, and that you don’t over steam. The frequency of yoni-steaming rituals varies from woman to woman; pay attention to your body’s signals and find a pattern that works for you.
A healthy period is generally 3-4 days of moderate bright red blood flow without clots.
Doing vaginal steams 1x the week before your period and 1x the week after your period can assist in relieving menstrual pain & reducing brown blood, thereby balancing menstrual issues over time.
The importance of proper circulation and full clearance of each menstrual cycle is especially important in achieving optimal fertility. If there’s a build-up of past menses, tissues, cysts, etc., then there’s a chance that a fertilized egg will be unable to complete the implantation process. Yoni-steaming supports proper blood flow to the pelvic area and therefore helps prepare the womb for a possible pregnancy.
*never steam when pregnant or if you think you might be!
Yoni steaming has been utilized as a standard postpartum ritual for women around the world. This is often done under the care and advice of a midwife to promote healing from the birthing process and support postpartum recovery. In addition to physical healing of the delicate tissue, the new mom also benefits from emotional and spiritual healing as she lovingly takes care of her womb that has just brought a beautiful new life into the world.
Benefits and uses of yoni steaming
Heals and tones the tissues of the vagina
Regulates menstrual cycle and flow - such as decreasing flow or restoring an absent cycle; it can also help to clear blood clots
Reduces symptoms of bloating, cramping, and pain during menstruation *when done prior to menstruation, it helps reduce the severity of symptoms
Helps to clear uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, and endometriosis
Helpful for pelvic pain, pain during intercourse, vaginal dryness, or tightness
Trauma & emotional healing + a reconnection to femininity
Postpartum healing, healing from a miscarriage or an abortion
Helps to heal hemorrhoids
Supports complete cycles pre-menopause
Helps relieve vaginal dryness during menopause
Precautions / Contraindications
Do not steam if you’re pregnant or if you are trying to conceive; speak with a practitioner
Do not steam during your period
Do not steam if you have an IUD
Do not steam if there is excess heat in the body due to fever, hot flashes, or night sweats
Do not use essential oils, they are too harsh for the vagina. stick with dried or fresh herbs.
Do not steam if you have any type of internal or external infection
Speak with a midwife about steaming postpartum
Speak with an herbalist or holistic practitioner if you are working to heal severe hormonal issues or infertility
Herbs to use
Perhaps the most important consideration of yoni steaming is the herbs you choose to use.
You can find many brands and companies that have pre-packaged herbal blends that are specific to yoni steaming. ‘Steamy chick’ sells custom blends that are reasonably priced - you may also be able to email for a custom blend and stools (though they are quite pricey), or you can buy your own herbs from mountain rose herbs & create your own blends.
Beneficial herbs include: lavender, rose, chamomile, motherwort, and calendula.
Nourishing herbs include: Red Raspberry Leaf & Nettles
Create a balanced blend with the herbs above & use 1 cup each time you steam.
The herbs above are common and safe for yoni steaming and are a great way to get started.
If you are dealing with specific issues, it’s best to consult with a practitioner.
More potent herbs include Juniper, Mugwort, Sage, Peppermint, Shatavari, Neem, Pau D’arco, and Yarrow. Many of these herbs work to stimulate menstruation, ease cramping, fight infections, clear scar tissue, plus tone and strengthen the vagina.
*These herbs are quite powerful and work specifically for hormonal disorders and imbalances, it’s helpful to work with a practitioner or midwife for specific guidance or order a custom blend for yourself.
How to Steam
Turn on some calming music, burn some copal, palo santo, or incense, and grab a book -
plus anything else you’d like to add to make your experience enjoyable.
Ideally, you have a steaming stool (available on steamy chick, etsy, amazon). Alternatively, an incredibly clean toilet will do or a place where you can squat over the herbs without burning yourself. *be very cautious not to touch the pot with your body.
It’s often best to steep the herbs on the stove in 1 pot and then transfer them to another (cooled pot) for steaming.
Start by boiling about 3 quarts of filtered water. Once boiling, add 1 cup of dried herbs, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat & let the mixture cool for 5 minutes. From there, you can transfer the herbs to a cool pot, place below your steam stool (or your super clean toilet) and get undressed from the waist down.
Sit on your stool or toilet over the steam for 15-30 minutes. The steam should not feel too hot or aggressive. If it does, wait another 5 minutes & then try again. Use a towel to cover yourself and lock the steam in. Use this time for meditation, reading, or whatever feels right. When finished, discard the water and herbs in the garden or add them to your compost.
Adjuncts to steaming
Increasing blood flow and circulation throughout the whole body supports balanced hormones, fertility, and overall wellbeing. Integrate the following rituals into your routine on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
Exercise increases blood flow through the whole body which increases circulation, stimulates lymphatic drainage and clears stagnation. It is truly the fastest way to achieve overall physical and mental wellbeing. Anything that gets your heart rate up will pump more blood to your womb as well, such as walking, dancing, hiking, swimming, yoga, jogging, and resistance training. Long walks are a helpful and easy way to clear stagnation. Find an activity that you enjoy and you’re more likely to do regularly. Any form of movement, no matter how insignificant it may seem, is better than no movement at all.
Hydration If we aren’t hydrated properly, our blood will lack the water it needs to function optimally. Drink half your body weight (in pounds) in ounces of water daily. Keep in mind that alcohol and caffeine are diuretics, which flush fluids out of your body. So, for every drink or cup, consume an additional glass of water to replenish what you’ve lost.
Drink female supportive herbal infusions or blends throughout the month Herbs such as red raspberry leaf, nettle leaf, oat straw (and milky oat tops), plus rose all support the female system (helpful throughout the month) + burdock, dandelion support liver cleansing (especially helpful 1 week before your menstrual cycle).
Deep Breathing When our stress levels are low, the body can focus on its other functions, which are sometimes put on the backburner as our bodies deal with the acute stressors of everyday life in a fast-paced society. Take 5-10 minutes a day to honor yourself and focus on deep breathing.
Womb Massage Massaging the uterine area is especially helpful for those with hormonal imbalances or those trying to conceive. It can help to regulate the menstrual cycle, support reproductive health, and increase fertility. Create a massage oil with your favorite essential oil + an almond and apricot oil base. Massage the womb area for around 15 minutes on days when you are not ovulating or menstruating. Send yourself loving and healing thoughts during this nurturing practice.