Have you heard?! Women are coming out of the wood works and talking all about Vaginal Steams! I like to call them V-Steams for short, because I get tired of saying vaginal all the time. I mean, there's nothing wrong with the word vagina, but sometimes I loose people the moment I say V-A-G. Yep, lost them, bye. But I haven't lost you, have I? Nope, because you're still reading.
So, since you're sticking around long enough, lets talk about what the heck a V-Steam is, and why on earth anyone would choose to do this!
First, lets make it clear that a V-Steam doesn't "clean" your vagina. That is not why women are steaming, trust me.
Second, a steam bath for your vagina is not a mid-evil torture device. We are not scorching the vagina with extremely hot steam. No No No. Ouch and NO.
Women are flocking to fancy high class holistic spas because V-Steams have healing properties. This theory of healing with herbs and heat is an ancient form of Chinese Medicine. Western Medicine and Chinese Medicine differ in several ways, one being that pharmaceuticals are replaced with herbs - Mother Nature's medicine cabinet or God's gift before Big Pharma erupted and took over the West.
Why? As women we may encounter some issues with our monthly cycle, hormone imbalance, low libido, vaginal dryness, stress, fertility issues, pain from uterine scaring, fibroids, cysts, menopausal side effect and so much more. (wow I just made womanhood sound fab didn't I) Instead of taking pharmaceuticals to help with the above, women are choosing a V-Steam with specific herbs to treat all of these ailments.
How does it work? Specific herbs are steeped in warm water for 15 minutes. The warm water is them placed in a glass or stainless steal bowl. The bowl is then put in an empty and clean toilet (water is turned off then toilet is flushed). Or, if you have a birthing stool, the bowl is placed under the stool. The woman then removes her pants and underwear, and sits over the steam/bowl. A towel is used to cover the legs to ensure the steam isn't escaping. It's important that this steam isn't burning the vagina or anus. If it's uncomfortable, then it's too hot. The woman sits over the steam for 15-30 minutes, relaxing, reading a book, meditating, NOT catching up on emails or FaceBook.
What happened during the V-Steam??? The herbal steam entered the vagina, that's what. The vaginal tissue is the most absorbent tissue in the female body, the herbal steam is absorbed by the vaginal wall and brought through the blood stream. Heat is also entering the body - a very specific part of the body. The heat warms the womb. Remember heat is vital to healing according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. Think about when you're ill - you drink tea, eat soup, take a hot bath, and cuddle under the blankets. When you have menstrual cramps, heat is used to relax the muscles and make those cramps bearable. It seems like a completely understandable and true concept. Heat heals.
When are V-Steams done? 1-2 times per month. Some women choose to preform a V-Steam right before menstruation to alleviate cramping and PMS, then once after their menses to cleanse the uterus of stagnant blood and ensure a healthy cycle. Others will choose a V-Steam for conception, in which case the V-Steam would be done right before ovulation. Others may use the V-Steam to increase libido and decrease vaginal dryness, which could be done 2-3 times per month- or once a week, minus the week you're on your menses.
I encourage ALL women to try a V-Steam before they completely pass it off as a crazy or gross thing. We live in a society where we are not encouraged to learn more about our reproductive health. We are given birth control without really understanding how the reproductive cycle works. We think of our period as a taboo subject. Sex isn't even talked about with openness. Female issues, like low libido and vaginal dryness for months and months postpartum isn't mentioned. A V-Steam will make you more aware of YOUR body. It's relaxing self care that can be done in the comfort of your own bathroom!
Stay tuned next week where I'll discuss some of the herbs used in a V-Steam!
As always, consult with a Naturopath, Herbal Practitioner or Midwife before preforming a V-Steam.
The V-Steam Lady, Rachel
Rachel hosts a New Moon and Full Moon V-Steam each month. She does private V-Steams in the comfort of your home and provides you with the herbs needed. Check out the CALENDAR for upcoming gatherings.
DISCLAIMER: Rachel is NOT a care provider. This information has not been approved by the FDA. This information is not to be considered medical advise. Rachel is not prescribing herbs or treating medical conditions.