There is a serious lack of discussion about proper vaginal health care, let alone wellness practices. The vagina, for too long, has been treated as a taboo topic and I’d like to change that and create an educated dialogue on vaginal health, and intimate wellness.
If you have a vagina, you should know what is normal and what is considered abnormal. So that you can take control of the health of one of the most sacred parts of your body. I have recently learned that vaginal wellness is a growing sector within the esthetics industry. This news is very encouraging!
I know Vag-acials are becoming a service offered at more places and becoming popular, while Brazilian and bikini waxes have been a big staple for a long time. Today, I want to discuss the possible benefits of a traditional wellness practice called V-steaming/Vagina steaming or Yoni steaming.
Contribution by Dr. Kalli Prater
Dr. Kalli Prater from Sage Healing Collective, started her professional career at the National University of Health Sciences where she earned a Doctorate of Chiropractic Medicine and Acupuncture Certificate in 2012. During her education, she discovered the Internal Medicine Diplomate from the Council on Diagnosis and Internal Disorders through the American Board of Chiropractic Internists. In addition to traditional Chiropractic Care, Dr. Kalli specializes in internal medicine diagnosis and treatment through lifestyle modifications & nutritional therapies. She is proficient at laboratory testing and analysis to seek out the root cause of dysfunction in order to correct or support the body’s natural ability to heal.
Yoni Steaming For Vaginal Health and Intimate Wellness
If you go to look up the benefits of Yoni steaming, you’re more often met with the retort that while this practice could carry risks, there is no clinical evidence of benefits. I’ll hop up on my soapbox for a moment by saying that I’m not surprised that there isn’t clinical evidence on this wellness practice, in my experience, there’s not been much that is well done when it comes to vaginal wellness.
So let’s discuss this for a moment, shall we? I want to break down what a Yoni Steam is, and its possible benefits. I’d also like to highlight traditional naturopathic medical treatments that have been used for years that have shown wellness benefits, all to highlight how Yoni Steam is likely beneficial when done correctly!
What is a Yoni Steam
Yoni or V-Steams are an ancient self-care or wellness practice that have been present in many cultures throughout the world. Yoni steaming starts with choosing herbs for specific benefits, letting the herbs be steeped in hot water (think loose herbal tea but with herbs and flowers) this is placed under an open seated chair. The woman is typically in a gown to keep the steam from escaping all around her, this is almost like an herbal steam sauna from the waist down.
If you want to read about the experience of a Yoni Steam, L+A’s Jenni Nagle had a full day at a Korean Spa where she had the Yoni Steam. You can read about her treatment here.
Contraindications to a Yoni Steam
Now there are certainly times of the month we don’t want to steam, during your menstrual cycle is not recommended, let the lining of your uterus shed without enhancing blood flow to the pelvis please! Pregnancy, actively trying to become pregnant, having an active vaginal infection or open wounds/blisters are also not things that are safe for steaming. Also, one more important factor- it’s generally not recommended to steam the vagina with an IUD in place, there are a lot of burn risks possible. Speaking of that, it’s certainly important that you go to a facility where the therapist providing the service has proper training. It’s important that they are monitoring the temperature, so burns don’t happen.
I am also aware that there are Yoni / V-Steam home care kits on the market. I’ve not really had any experience with those and don’t recommend your first experience be an at-home kit.
Benefits of A Yoni Steam
The potential benefits are dependent upon the herbs selected for the Yoni V-Steam. There is a wide range of benefits to this practice.
Menstrual cycle support, including helping with cramps.
Painful intercourse (steam increased blood flow to the area, which can also help with internal lubrication).
Helping with PMS.
Perimenopause and menopausal symptoms.
Helping with released stored emotions or traumas.
One of the “questionable” benefits is supporting detoxification of the vagina and uterus. Let’s discuss this one for a minute. It is true, the vagina is a self-cleaning organ, and I won’t disagree with that point.
Toxins In The Vagina
How would we get toxins in our vagina anyway?
Conventional menstrual products are firstly considered a “medical device” and do NOT fall under any FDA guidelines for starters.
Secondly, conventional products are made from cotton, a few issues that arise from the use of cotton are: how cotton is a top GMO crop in this country, meaning it is also sprayed with more herbicides and pesticides.
Next, we bleach it because if the cotton isn’t picture-perfect white (that’s not its color in nature btw) we won’t use it.
Next, there is more processing of the cotton and scents added to these products, aka chemicals and fragrances, which are known endocrine disruptors.
Next, women are then placing the cotton items right next to, or directly in, one of the most absorptive areas of their bodies.
I remember being a VERY actively engaged student in health class, and I promise you I didn’t learn about how these products were treated until WAY after graduate school where I became a doctor. Where I learned how to do pap smears and who offers women’s health services in my practice.
As a woman, I felt ultra-betrayed when I learned about these things, no wonder so many women have so many issues with PMS and pelvic floor issues! Ok, so you can maybe see why we might need to take a little better care of our precious lady bits right?
Naturopathic / Natural Medicine Practices for Vaginal Health
While there are no specific clinical studies on Yoni Steams, Naturopathic and natural medicine practices have performed and recommended topical and internal vaginal treatments for years for things like pelvic inflammatory disease, HPV, and pre-cancerous cells found on pap smears. Looking at a Naturopathic treatment called a Vaginal Depletion Pack; herbs are used typically in the form of a suppository and inserted directly into the vagina. Many of the herbs recommended for Yoni Steaming are used in these packs.
Yoni steams increase circulation, as well as bring the healing qualities of herbs to the pelvis. Many discomforts and conditions of the pelvis can be treated with yoni steams and abdominal-pelvic massage. You can read more about Pelvic (Yoni, Vaginal ) Steam Herbs here.
Herbs for Vaginal Health
Calendula can help with irritated tissues and help with cramping, Uva Ursi can help with pH balance, and Lavender can help with balancing the vaginal environment, while also soothing and calming emotions. In my opinion, steaming is a gentle way to support overall health and support by diluting the herbs and enhancing blood flow to the pelvis which brings nutrients to the pelvic floor and will also help clear out toxins.
While this wellness practice might not be for all women, I find it a relaxing experience to share with my close friends while celebrating the glory of being a woman. Our bodies are magnificent things, and I hope more women connect deeper to their divine feminine energy and celebrate it!