Barbara Poczyniak, R.Ac, Registered Acupuncturist
"Everything old is new again" – as the saying goes. Pelvic Steaming – also known as vaginal steaming, yoni steams or “bajos” in the Latin American cultural tradition – has recently been featured in magazines and celebrity blog posts. While some are quick to critique the value of this only as a 'bizarre' beauty treatment, the healing history of pelvic steaming is embedded in traditional women's medicine of a number of cultures worldwide. What are the potential health benefits and how to decide if this is for you?
What is Vaginal Steaming?
Pelvic or Vaginal steaming is a gentle way to bring the healing warmth of steam to the pelvic region, and increase blood circulation. Typically, a woman sits over a bowl of steaming water that has been infused with specific herbs chosen for their medicinal benefits. It can be compared to sitting over a large pot of steaming herbal tea. She is exposed directly to the steam rising up to uncovered genital area. The rest of her body is covered warmly, usually wrapped in a blanket. The steam essentially acts as a warm steam bath for the vagina, as well as deeply warming the reproductive organs and increasing circulation to this area.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, as well as in various other traditional medicine cultures it is thought that stagnation and cold in the pelvic area can negatively affect women's health. Stagnation of blood, lymph and energy circulation in this area may manifest as painful or irregular periods or contribute to issues such as ovarian cysts, fibroids, endometriosis or infertility. These are health concerns that traditional healers and midwives have been treating with simple steam bathing for centuries.
In Arvigo® Therapy, many of the symptoms related to a displaced uterus are also addressed by pelvic steaming. When a uterus is leaning forward, backward or to one side it is less efficiently shedding its lining and cleansing itself in the form of a monthly menstrual period. Brown, thick blood and/or clots at the beginning or end of a period may mean the uterine contents are not shedding completely, stuck along with the residual menstrual blood that is left over from previous cycles. Women with these signs may often benefit from pelvic steaming. The healthiest period is one with a flow of fresh red blood - without cramps, clots or brown blood.
When Steaming may be recommended
When not to Steam
Cautions and what to expect
Although pelvic steaming is a very gentle "DIY" healing approach, there are some common sense tips to remember:
Herbs used in Pelvic Steaming
In Mayan healing practices, the herbs traditionally used for steaming are easy to find plants such as Oregano, Chamomile, Basil, Marigold (calendula) and Lemon Balm. The herbs may be fresh or dried. Specific needs may require particular herbs with stimulating, warming or moistening properties. Pelvic steaming is a modality that may be used in conjunction with an Acupuncture or Arvigo® Therapy protocol and customized according to your needs.
If you are interested in more information on Pelvic/Vaginal Steaming please contact me for a complimentary 20 minute consultation here.
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Hi, I'm Barbara Poczyniak. Registered Acupuncturist practicing in Toronto.