Yoni (Vaginal) steaming is a powerful ancient remedy that has been used for centuries by women worldwide to support deep wellness. Also known as vaginal steaming, chai-yok, or bajo, it is a holistic health practice in which a woman allows the warmth of herbal steam to gently permeate the exterior of her vagina. Yoni is a Sanskrit word meaning “vagina,” “womb,” “goddess” or “origin of life,” and yoni steaming is intended to support all of these aspects of a woman. Respected by healers around the globe, yoni steaming is an opportunity to reconnect with your body and utilize the wisdom of plant medicine to heal your cycle.
Many reproductive challenges such as menstrual cramps and infertility are caused when there is excess build up of uterine lining that was not shed in previous cycles “encrusted” to the inside of the uterus. Because this material is built up over time, the uterus and the muscles around it work excessively hard to shed it, often causing pain and fatigue. A yoni steam works by applying gentle heat, as well as moisture that carries medicinal plant oils, to the exterior tissues of the vagina (the tissue referred to as the vulva). The warmth and moisture increases circulation to the vuvla, causing it to swell and expose the inner labial mucus membranes. These tissues are very porous and absorbent, allowing the bloodstream to pick up the medicinal oils and and carry them into the inner reproductive system, including the uterus. There, they work to help the uterus cleanse and release what is built up on its lining, ensuring that the next cycle is easy and pain-free, helping an egg to implant, and reducing other uterine abnormalities. The result is a healthier, more pleasant cycle and a more connected woman.
There are a lot of other benefits when it comes to Yoni Steaming, Yoni steams have been found by women throughout history to:
- Significantly reduce pain, bloating and exhaustion associated with menstruation.
- Decrease menstrual flow as well as reduce dark purple or brown blood at the onset or end of menses.
- Regulate irregular or absent menstrual cycles.
- Strengthen and tighten vaginal walls and increase sensitivity during intercourse.
- Increase fertility, especially when combined with ATMAT
- Speed healing and tone the reproductive system after birth.
- Reduce uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, uterine weakness, uterine prolapse & endometriosis.
- Postpartum healing, assist with the repair of a vaginal tear, episiotomy, or C-section scar.
- Assist with the healing of hemorrhoids.
- Relieve chronic vaginal/yeast infections UTI, bacterial vaginosis, and works to maintain healthy odor.
- Ease symptoms of menopause including dryness or pain during intercourse.
- Detoxify the womb and remove toxins from the body.
- Release stored emotions/trauma and tap into the energy that is our creative potential, deepen connection to you Feminine Essence & Gaia.
- Have stronger & more frequent orgasms, Increase libido while you reignite sensual passion
The tissues of the vagina are exceptionally porous and absorbent, and the warmth of the steam works to soften and open them. When the herbs are placed in the hot water, their medicinal properties, including volatile oils, are released and carried to the surface of your skin, and to the inside of the vagina, where they are absorbed into the bloodstream and, ultimately, into to the uterus. The medicinal herbal steam increases circulation, thins mucus, and cleanses the entire reproductive system, allowing it to shed unnecessary membranes and buildup. In doing so, we support the uterus to function at its best, thus reducing the amount of work it has to do, and therefore your discomfort. Vaginal steaming is an age-old remedy that has been tested and approved by generations before us, and its time has come in our modern culture. This ancient treatment for women has stood the test of time, and today it has the incredible potential to significantly improve every woman's experience of her beautiful body. Just as it always has.
Yoni Steam Benefits:
1) Improves the menstrual cycle
The number one reason that many women practice yoni steaming is because of its ability to significantly reduce pain, bloating and exhaustion associated with menstruation, as well as to regulate irregular or absent menstrual cycles. It works like this: after the medicinal herbs release their cleansing and healing oils into hot water, they are carried via steam to the porous skin of the outer labia, where they are absorbed. The ancient wisdom says that from there, the properties of the plants are carried through the bloodstream into the uterus, where they help to dislodge the stuck material that causes discomfort during menstruation.
2) Heals the womb
Perhaps a result of stress and environmental toxins in our world today, many women suffer from challenges such as uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts and endometriosis. In the same way that yoni steaming supports the uterus to shed old blood, it can help the miraculous organ to expel any non-essential tissue or cells, including polyps, cysts or endometrium growing outside the uterus. The result is a healthier womb, inside and out.
3) Creates space for blissful relaxation
To do a yoni steam, a woman sets aside 20-30 minutes of her time to focus on her own well-being and go inward. As she sits with herself, allowing the gentle herbs to permeate her body and release stuck material, she often experiences a powerful release of stored emotions and stress as well. This self-care routine provides an excellent time to reflect, meditate, practice pranayama or write in a journal, bringing a profound sense of relaxation and emotional well-being.
4) Deeply connects a woman with her source of power
Yoni steaming is an opportunity to connect deeply with, celebrate and cherish all aspects of our bodies and their subtle energies, especially that of our yonis. As we learn to enjoy our wombs as the beautiful, sacred centers that they are, we deepen our relationship to the powerful feminine energy that each of us holds within. Using yoni steaming as the entry point, many women have learned to channel the potent energy of their wombs to unlock creative potential that serves their true self and life purpose.
To truly live in balance, we must detoxify our environment, our relationships and, of course, our own bodies. Yoni steaming works similarly to the way a steam room is used to draw toxins out of your body via the skin, or an herbal steam is used to clear congestion from your nasal passages when you have a cold. Likewise, steaming the exterior of your vagina draws out toxins and clears congestion from your womb. The gentle heat and moisture cause physical toxins to be released from cells into the lymphatic fluid, which is expelled from the body as sweat.
6) Makes sex more juicy
On an emotional level, yoni steaming supports us to cultivate a profound sense of self-love and increases our self-confidence (especially as it relates to our yonis!), which helps us to feel more sexy and sensual. On the physical level, yoni steaming increases circulation and increases lubrication, which can help increase libido and makes sex more enjoyable! And, the very act of steaming is slightly arousing, which helps us get turned on!
7) Helps to increase fertility
There may be many reasons for fertility challenges, but one of those reasons is induration (hardened lining) and buildup of old material in the venous lakes (folds) on the uterine walls. By breaking up this excess material and releasing it through menstruation, the uterine walls are prepared for a fertilized egg to attach and thrive. In many cases, this is the missing piece of the preparation for a successful pregnancy.
8) Speeds recovery after birth
A yoni steam is called a “bajo” by Mayan midwives and is the traditional treatment used to heal, cleanse and tone the reproductive system after birth. The ancient remedy is thought to clear any remaining material from the uterus after birth, assist with the repair of a vaginal tear, episiotomy, or C-section scar, and encourage the tissue to tighten. It is best to wait a week after birth before steaming in order to give mama’s body some time to heal on its own before introducing warm steam.
Last but certainly not least, yoni steaming feels great. The warmth increases circulation to the labia and clitoris, and the steam moistens the sensitive tissues, resulting in an ever so slightly tantalizing sensation. Many women experience pleasure from the simple act of treating themselves to this delightful ritual, and that, in and of itself, should be revered.
It is the body’s imperative to be as healthy and efficient as is possible. While it is true that your uterus and vagina are self-cleaning and self-regulating organs, yoni steaming is a natural way to support your body to function optimally. Yet, yoni steaming is about more than uterine health. The practice brings a reconnection to the spiritual aspects of female body and the potent energy that lies within. It is not only an opportunity for women to celebrate and cherish our bodies, it is a tool for taking back ownership of our personal health, and for utilizing the wisdom of our ancestors to support and nourish our well-being today.
When You Should Not Steam:
- Time and circumstance plays an important part in when to yoni steam. And just as their are appropriate times to steam, there are definite yoni steaming contraindications.
- One of the biggest contraindications for yoni steaming is an intrauterine device, or IUD. Vaginal steaming is not recommended if a woman is using an IUD, because the steam softens, warms, and opens the cervix. This is part of the medicine of the practice – if there is pain and trouble with flow of menstruation, the steam invites better flow. But in the case of an IUD, that should not move. If it does, it has the potential to get stuck in a suboptimal position, perhaps rendering it ineffective, or even allow for potential perforation of the uterine muscle or cervical damage.
- Do not do a vaginal steam if there is an active infection, whether vaginal or UTI, bladder or kidney. Do not steam if there is a tender perineal tear or stitches. The heat may hurt and/or aggravate these conditions.
- Vaginal steaming is not to be done during menstruation. Steaming while bleeding can be dangerous because the steam speeds up the blood flow and can cause heavy bleeding. Instead, steaming should be done before and after the period, which will help aid the natural uterine cleanse that occurs during the period. It may be more beneficial at different times of the month, but not during a bleeding time, including immediately postpartum.
- Although very helpful to aid in healthy conception and excellent after giving birth, steaming is contraindicated while pregnant. Steaming while pregnant can be dangerous because the steam relaxes and opens the cervix, which could result in miscarriage or early labor.
- For anyone that is trying to conceive, they can steam during the time period after the period up until the point of ovulation and then they should stop. Steaming after insemination could interfere with the sperm, fertilization or implantation. This is also true for medically assisted insemination. Steam up until the point of the IVF or IUI transfer and then stop until the pregnancy is confirmed. Yoni steam before ovulation or insemination, once, if you’re trying to get pregnant, but not if you suspect you are pregnant. This holds true for most Assisted Reproductive Therapy (ART) treatments as well.
- For anyone that experiences spontaneous heavy bleeding--sometimes referred to as two periods per month--steaming is contraindicated. Because the steam speeds up circulation and opens the cervix, it might cause spontaneous bleeding to occur--which can be dangerous when it’s heavy. Women with spontaneous bleeding who want to steam should go to an acupuncturist first and get herbs to get the spontaneous bleeding under control first.
- Though steaming is very helpful for miscarriage recovery, it is not advised to steam before the pregnancy matter has cleared out. In rare cases this might lead to heavy bleeding and can be dangerous. Start steaming after the pregnancy matter has cleared out and the bleeding has turned to brown. Yoni steam as a ritual cleansing, perhaps a few cycles post trauma or miscarriage. Be sure to keep a journal of your experience, and have a support person to reach out to in case of need.
- Since steaming introduces heat to the body it might trigger hot flashes and should probably be avoided when hot flashes are present. This might not be true in every case, however. Two women, on separate occasions, have informed me that steaming actually helped to alleviate their hot flashes. This is an area where more research is needed, however, it would be best to proceed with caution if prone to hot flashes. Yoni steam post-menopause, seasonally, or as needed for pain or dryness. An important note, due to the heating quality of the steam, this can aggravate hot flashes. It is common to see some blood or discharge a day or two after steaming, even after a woman has entered menopause.
Yoni steaming is magical and powerful but it is not a miracle cure. It can aggravate some conditions and especially if there is a long standing imbalance. It’s important to know when to yoni steam and when not to yoni steam. Working with a qualified health practitioner will ensure it is done safely and effectively.