Vaginal Steam

Steaming Pot

Unattended Pot by Amy Riddle, (Creative Commons)

by Rachel Snow, CCH

There is a new trend on the rise among Southern California spas, offered as a “V-Steam”- an herbal-infused vaginal steam session designed to relieve a range of feminine issues. Needless to say, they are all the rage. For just $50 – $75 for a 30 minute session, your vajayjay can have her very own spa treatment, too! For that price tag, there has got to be something special about this new fad. So what’s all the hype about?

It turns out this idea of directing infused steam at your lady parts has been around for a while. In fact, the practice has been employed for thousands of years, existing in cultures across the globe. It is most commonly known by its Korean name chai-yok, though evidence of the v-steam’s existence can be found in ancient cultures such as the Mayans. Egypt, India, and many indigenous cultures of Asia have similar folk practices that have been in use for centuries. Unfortunately there is little information to be found on the internet aside from the hype around Los Angeles’ latest trend, and from skeptics with intent to discredit the tradition. Because of this, there is much controversy on the topic, and it is often dismissed as ‘woo-woo,’ or just the latest Hollywood trend.

It is my goal to clear up the controversy, and provide a comprehensive how-to-guide accessible for any woman, anywhere. You can support and nourish yourself in the privacy of your own home, and you don’t have to spend a small fortune in the process.

How does it work?

When choosing herbs for your steam, you want to pick plants that have volatile oils.

Volatile oils are the aromatic essential oils of a plant. When the steam rises, so do the essential oils, which carry the medicinal essence of the plant.

To get more technical:

For example, Lavender contains several constituents found to display biological activities such as anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant actions.

Sounds like a good plant to use for vulvovaginosis…

Who are vaginal steams for?

A steam is a wonderful tool for

  • fertility enhancement (trying to conceive)
  • regulating the menstrual cycle (scanty bleeding, irregular periods, menstrual cramps, absence of menstruation)
  • pre/post-menopausal symptoms (vaginal dryness, discomfort, pain with intercourse)
  • supportive therapy for bacterial infections (yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, cervicitis, Trichomoniasis)
  • increasing circulation and eliminating odor … and many other female health concerns.

A vaginal steam is a practice which I find very relaxing and meditative. It feels wonderful! You can do them even when nothing is “upset,” as they can offer nourishment and tonification to uterus. However, most practitioners suggest 1-2/x per month, right after you finish your menses and then again after you ovulate.

*Vaginal steams should not be performed if you are pregnant, in full menstrual flow, or have open sores or blisters.

Directions:

  1. Pour 1-2 liters of purified water in a pot with a lid.
  2. Place one large handful of herb into water. (I do a double handful because my hands are small) A nice blend of equal parts – Lavender, Rose petals, and Rosemary- is anti-inflammatory, tonifying, and antiseptic.
  3. Cover with lid (to prevent volatile oils from escaping) and bring to a simmer/soft boil for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes (lid stays on).
  5. BE CAREFUL not to burn yourself – experiment cautiously at first.
  6. Remove underwear and sit directly over steam. Drape towels around yourself to trap in the steam.
  7. Relax for 20-30 minutes, or until the steam is finished.
  8. Stay warm by wearing socks and proper clothing, you want to keep your body warm.
  9. Now Relax and Enjoy!