Vaginal Steams

Jamie Mantey, Certified Herbalist

Vaginal steaming is a traditional women’s home healthcare treatment and self-care ritual. This practice nourishes connection with the power of the womb and menstrual cycles, supports female reproductive wellness, and aids uterine complaints and pathologies. It is important to know the ins and outs of how to do this practice in order to perform it properly and maximize your benefit. Learning this affordable, enjoyable, and effective feminine health practice is deeply empowering for women.

Similar in principle to facial steams, this technique is a form of botanical hydrotherapy. A pot of herb-infused boiling hot water is placed under the base of a woman’s body, which is then enclosed by blankets. The rising heat and medicinal volatile oil vapors work their magic on the highly absorbent vaginal tissues, permeating and spreading their healing throughout the organs and tissues of the pelvis.

Vaginal steaming is helpful in easing a wide array of female reproductive health issues such as painful menstruation, irregular cycles, infertility, endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cysts, low libido, pelvic pain, pelvic floor tension, and post-miscarriage and postpartum healing. A lack of pelvic circulation underlies many female reproductive issues, which creates pelvic stagnation and a cold womb. Vaginal steaming counters this by bringing warmth, energy, and flow to the vagina, cervix, and uterus.

Depending on the herbs used, this technique can cleanse, tone, nourish, and aid in repairing these areas. This class will discuss Materia Medica for vaginal steaming, as well as provide formulation inspiration for different types of steams. Vaginal steams are also a contemplative, pleasurable way to emotionally and energetically heal, honor, bless, and attune to these areas of the body.

Vaginal steaming has been gaining in popularity in recent years, but it is an ancient practice. Interestingly, vaginal steaming has been devised and used in traditional cultures around the world. In Korea it is called chai-yok, which means “no chair,” and in Spanish it is called bajos, or “down low.”

In Mayan traditional healing, where this practice is commonly found, women are considered to be two-hearted beings, the uterus being a woman’s second heart. These two hearts are deeply interconnected with each other. The womb is a suspensory, detoxifying organ that can be displaced from its optimal positioning, and, when the womb shifts, it may tug on the ovaries and interfere with their hormonal communications with the pituitary. Vaginal steaming is one of many Maya healing practices used to help center and nourish the vitality of this second heart.


© 2020 Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism | Lafayette, Colorado