Vaginal steaming, V-Steaming or V-Steam
What’s vaginal steaming and should you do it? Vaginal steaming also known as v-steaming, v-steam or traditionally as yoni steaming. It’s is a technique “…whereby a woman squats or sits over steaming water containing herbs such as mugwort, rosemary, wormwood and basil.” (1) This process is widespread and has been practiced throughout history by many cultures.
Why would someone steam or smoke their vagina? Would you hover your vulva over a steaming hot pot of water and herbs? The details may surprise you.
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Why steam your vagina?
First, when I heard about this practice, I thought it might be relaxing. Maybe even helpful at opening up the pores and cleansing the skin of your vulva, especially after menstruation. However, the list of reasons women practice vaginal steaming, and in some cultures smoking, is far more extensive.
Women across the globe claim vaginal steaming helps dry and tighten the vagina for sexual pleasure, balances hormones and cleanses and revitalizes the uterus, reduces symptoms associated with menstruation, treats yeast infections, decreases blood flow during menstruation, regulate menstrual cycle, increase fertility, treat endometriosis, speed up healing after giving birth, helps with toning and is thought to increase sexual arousal by increasing blood flow to the vagina and vulva. (1)
How does one V-Steam?
Vaginal steaming has been practiced extensively and while the details vary, the concept is generally the same. First, the herbs and steaming water are combined often in a large pot that looks it would also be great for cooking spaghetti. Next, the vagina owner squats over the steam or sits on a seat with a hole. This allows the mixture of steam and herbs wash over your vulva and vagina. In some cases, there is a blanket or garment that acts as a canopy and prevents the steam from escaping.
Checking temperature is important because you don’t want to burn your vulva. Ouch.
Where do the herbs come from?
While the traditional herbs I listed above are common, there are many different mixes and options based on want or need. You can find mixtures of herbs made just for steaming on etsy, and even handmade chairs designed just for steaming.
Where can you go for a steam?
Vaginal steaming is available at some spas, but more commonly practiced at home and in some cultures in a designated location.
To me, the chair is very helpful. I can’t imagine squatting for a half hour. My thighs just don’t have the endurance! However, the special chairs for v-steaming, many a wooden square with a hole in the top, can be pricey. You can then either make your own, or I have seen women turning to shower chairs.
While not as traditional or earthy as a wooden seat, adaptive shower chairs and commodes can serve the same purpose without requiring any handy work. In addition, a plastic or synthetic seat is more easily disinfected and maintained in Western homes. However, a concern I have is that the plastic may heat up and I suspect that the metal legs can also get hot to the touch too.
Does vaginal steaming work?
While herbs and oils are widely used for vaginal issues including essential oils for menstruation, there is no empirical evidence supporting any of the claims associated with vaginal steaming. (1)
I particularly am skeptical about the claims associated with cleansing the uterus. How exactly does the steam make it to your uterus? I’ve looked at my vulva and vagina with a mirror ASAP after giving birth to 9+ lb babies. I thought I would see a tunnel directly to my uterus. To my surprise, it was all closed back up in a fairly normal manner considering what it all had gone through maybe an hour before inspection. To me, logically, no tunnel = no steam reaching my uterus.
I think it should be renamed Vulva Steaming. Just my two cents.
I’m not alone in my skepticism. In fact, some critics claim that vagina steaming is harmful. The Guardian, (retrieved 8/13/2017) stated that the heat could increase the growth of bacteria, the process could disrupt an otherwise perfectly operating system and lead to dryness as the result of removing naturally occurring lubricants. In addition, they note the fact that hormones are produced in your brain and ovaries, steaming your vulva and vagina couldn’t possibly balance hormones. (2)
The uterus, vagina, and vulva are self-cleaning. In fact, The Cleveland Clinic recommends washing only with warm water. That’s right, not even soap. (3)
I do believe the claims that vaginal steaming increases blood flow and possibly, as a result, arousal. Just like using a warm pack on a sore muscle, warming up your vulva would certainly increase blood flow, as long as it’s at the right temperature and doesn’t burn or scald the area…that would be seriously terrible.
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Would I try and recommend vaginal steaming?
I am 100% going to try v-steaming. Probably at home because I live in a small town and have made several unsuccessful phone calls to local spas. The seat is my biggest obstacle.
When? Those two or so days after my cycle ends when I’m often wondering if I’ve brought home roadkill on my shoe… That to me is the perfect time to do a little steaming.
Do I recommend it? That’s up to you. I’m not here to offer medical advice, that’s between you and your doctor, midwive or other vaginal health provessional but if you try it please let me know!
Have you tried steaming? I’d love to hear your experiences!