A few years ago I was fortunate to attend a Womens Holistic Sexiuality Course called the Artemis School in Los Angeles lead by Lara Catone whom the previous summer I stumbled into her informative yoga class on the pelvic floor at the lovely Telluride Yoga Festival. Her school was amazing and timley in my life, it’s goal was to develop leaders in the field of women’s sexual health and wellness so that we could go out and educate people with vulvas about their wholistic bodies including functional anatomy, erotic power and sexual pleasure. Slowly I have been doing just that through my influences at monthly women’s circles, yoga classes, retreats and supporting women through birth and postpartum. One tool that I am frequently suggesting for women is vaginal steaming or yoni steaming. I offer these twice a year at the Big Sur Camping retreats. I am happy to share more thorough information on this ancient and useful way women can empower, heal and befriend their bodies and their sexuality. Enjoy and happy steaming sisters!
Our wombs are at the root of our being, both literally and metaphorically. Many ancient and modern traditions hold that the womb space is the ground of female strength, vitality and wisdom. After all this is the sacred location where all human life gets its start. The heart and the uterus are the two main energy centers in the female body and thus being such need to be taken care of tenderly and with great attention. However many of us have lost the naturally ways to tend to the womb. Through the ritual of vaginal steaming or yoni steaming it is sometimes called, one can recaliam caring for self through using the power of herbs. Steaming consists of placing various medicinal herbs and hot water in a bowl and sitting atop the steam for 20 minutes or so. The hot steam that is produced with the added benefit of specific herbs being used, increases blood flow and oxygen to the pelvic floor, this naturally brings relief to many if not all painful conditions women may face in their life. This ceremonial honoring time becomes a meditation and powerful way to reconnect to self and the power of healing.
Menstruation: Vaginal steaming support issues such as menstrual cramping, stale blood dark/brown/black blood colors, spotting before or after period, excessive mood swings or clotting, endometriosis, fibroids, cysts, polyps, pcos, infertility, and irregular periods.
Postpartum/Miscarriage: Vaginal steaming supports recovery postpartum or loss by, reduces skin swelling, clears out lochia (the vaginal discharge after giving birth containing blood, mucus, and uterine tissue), shrinks hemorrhoids, helps uterus reduce in size, lifts uterus and organs back into place, stimulates breast milk growth, reduces incidences of infection (a reason women return to hospital postpartum), relieves postpartum contractions, helps regain sexual pleasure and feels enjoyable.
Menopause: Suport healthy vaginal microbiome, it gets rid of vaginal dryness, supports phantom period symptoms, clears excess cervical mucus, post-hysterectomy healing, prevents infections, sexual trauma recovery.
In addition to these physical benefits, the 20 minutes you spend grounding into your pelvic floor can be a way to reclaim your connection to your feminine center, which is important post baby, post bleeding, post trauma or at any time when you feel off.
*Don’t steam while pregnant or bleeding and wait 6 week after giving birth or until bleeding has stopped, limit streaming to 10 minutes if you have an IUD. Check with your doctor or medical professional before steaming. If you want to learn more about steaming, take a training on becoming a practitioner or to buy the herbs and kits visit www.steamychick.com
Lavender - relieve stress, treat insomnia, nervous stomach and anxiety. Promotes restful sleep. Soothes stomach bloating. Antibacterial & antimicrobial. Inflame passions as an aphrodisiac.
Holy basil - "Queen of Herbs" is an adaptogen (anti-stress agent) that balances hormones, benefits immune, reproductive & urinary systems, protects organs and tissues from chemical agents/ heavy metals, relieve headaches & muscle tension.
Calendula - Prevent and relax abdominal & PMS cramps, promote ease of menstruation and alleviate hot flashes, anti-inflammatory, heal ulcers, improve skin firmness, anti-microbial & anti-viral, may discourage cancer.
Yarrow - "The Women's Herb" specializes in the reproductive and urinary systems and will both staunch heavy bleeding and stimulate scanty bleeding. Relieves menstrual pain. Assists vaginal infections, discharge and spotting between cycles. Urinary anti-septic & remedy for cystitis and urinary tract infections. Improve blood circulation, tones blood vessels & prevent blood clots, stimulate digestion, move congested blood and support the liver.
Black Cohosh - Traditional Native American remedy. Anti-inflammatory that eases PMS, relieves menstrual cramps & irregularities. Relieves multiple symptoms of menopause including hot flashes, irritability, mood swings and sleep disturbances. Studies show black cohosh produces positive results when compared to benefits of traditional estrogen replacement therapy during menopause.
Motherwort - Healer of the Heart. Cardio tonic which calms palpitations, high blood pressure and anxiety, traditionally given to young pregnant mothers. Nervine tonic which relaxes nervous system, resulting in an elevated mood. Anti-spasmodic muscle relaxant (relieves cramps), decrease blood clotting, brings balance to hyperthyroidism. Assists sleep cycles.
Mugwort - NEVER to be used by pregnant women. Nervine which relaxes the uterus will ease and stimulate (late) menstruation, helping to restore a natural cycle. Expel parasites, relax nervous system.
Rosemary - Longevity. Lower cortisol levels and reduce anxiety when used aromatically (not topically in an oil). Treat muscle pain. May prevent cancer cells from replicating, halting tumors from growing. Stop hair loss. Antioxidant that protects cells from damage by free radicals and toxins.
Mexican Oregano - Not to be confused with traditional Oregano. Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-microbial. Support late and irregular menstrual cycles. Anti-spasmodic will sooth PMS pain.
Lemon Balm - Soothe menstrual cramps, relieve PMS symptoms including nausea, gas/bloating and will relax bladder and uterus spasms. Anti-viral.
Marshmallow - Treat urinary infections and bladder infections. Induces phagocytosis, a process that supports cells to engulf bacteria & dead cell tissues to speed up the healing process.
Dong Quai - "Female ginseng" & Protector of Feminine Health. Balances estrogen levels and regulates menstrual cycles. Increase libido levels and fertility. Anti-spasmodic which relieves symptoms of PMS including cramping, mood swings & discomfort. Increase circulation & detoxify the blood - boosting energy levels after menstruation and relieving headaches and muscle pain. Lessen anxiety & stress associated with menopause. Heart tonic and skin purifier, assisting with psoriasis, rosacea & more. *not to be used for pregnant women
Red Clover - Reduces hot flashes in menopausal women, slow bone loss and increase bone density in pre/peri- menopausal women. Contains isoflavones (plant-derived estrogen) which relieve PMS symptoms. May block enzymes that promote endometrial cancer.
Cornsilk - Medicine of the Goddess Ixchel. Anti-inflammatory for urinary tract infections (UTI), coating the urinary tract lining and thwarting infection. Reduces the risk of bacteria build up by creating the urge to urinate and flushing out the urinary tract.
Damiana - Ancient and erotic Aztec remedy for sexual health. Aphrodesiac which improves blood circulation to sex organs, increases libido, potency and frequency of vaginal orgasms. Reduces vaginal dryness. Balance menopause symptoms.
Rose Petals - Worldwide symbol of Love & Sensuality. Boosts the immune system and is anti-infective, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant for UTI prevention and treatment. Cleanses blood. Raises our vibration and enhances positivity of the mind. Reduces menstrual pain. Calms nerves and eases stress & tension.
Uva Ursi - Healing humans since the 2nd century. Aids UTI’s and bladder infections. Is a diuretic, astringent and muscle-relaxant. Anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which fight kidney infections. Anti-septic which protects the mucous membrane of the urinary tract. Anti-fungal. Soothes stomach cramping.
Pau D’Arco Bark - Native to the Amazon Rainforest, has been used for 1000’s of years as an immune system stimulant. Reduces inflammation. Powerful anti oxidant & destroyer of free radicals. Slows down the aging process. Anti-viral & anti-fungal.
Dandelion Leaf - Herbal cure-all wonder that is making her comeback. Liver detox which eliminates harmful toxins. Diuretic which assists the kidneys in clearing out urinary system while replacing lost potassium. Antioxidant which prevents free radical damage to cells and DNA.