Updated: Nov 16, 2020
What is yoni steaming?
AKA Vaginal steaming, v-steaming, yoni steaming, womb steaming, bajo, etc.
Steaming your yoni with herbs is an ancient healing tradition originating from African, Asian, and Central American cultures. The ritual has been passed down by women from generation to generation. It's most commonly called 'yoni steaming'.
'Yoni' is a Sanskrit word meaning 'origin of life' or 'sacred space', hence why it's used to refer to the female reproductive area i.e. the womb, vagina, vulva etc.
'Yoni' is also a Hebrew name deriving from 'Yonatan' or 'Yonathan' and means 'Gift of God' or 'Given from God'.
Specific herbs are boiled in water. The properties of these (fresh or dried) herbs infuse in the water and you then sit over water, allowing the steam to rise into your vagina and womb space. Sometimes citrus fruits or Himalayan salt are used as alternatives to herbs.
The vagina is one of the most absorbent tissues of the female body and so this is why womb steaming is used as an effective form of self-healing.
Plants have been used for thousands of years to aid health and well-being. Our ancestral mothers knew that there are certain herbs that are particularly helpful for the female reproductive organs, menstrual cycle, and postpartum care. They drank these herbs, bathed in these herbs, and steamed with these herbs to create a healthy sexual and reproductive environment. Grandmas were known to visit younger women in their homes to perform a steam session after she'd given birth to help their reproductive area heal and re-tighten.
Steam As Medicine...
Steam has been used as medicine for thousands of years. Steam helps clear mucus & the sinuses, it increases blood circulation, steam opens blocked pores and detoxifies the cells, steam disinfects...
Steam and smoke have also been used in shamanic and other traditional cultures to aid with the removal of evil spirits/energies. (A post about yoni smoking is coming soon!)
What are the benefits?
Sitting over the steaming herbs allows the healing properties & essential oils of the herbs to absorb into:
the delicate skin of your labia; and
the pores of the walls of your vagina (the steam encourages the pores to open)
As the steam cools down, the pores close and trap in the healing properties allowing the healing to continue even after your steam session.
Periods- before, during & after:
steaming improves menstrual flow by facilitating the release of clots and old/stagnate blood from the womb (your first period after steaming may therefore be slightly heavier, thicker or darker for the first couple days as everything is detoxed)
steaming lightens your cycle
steaming reduces and prevents painful menstrual cramps
steaming helps alleviate pain before, during, and after your menstrual cycle
steaming reduces menstrual bloating
steaming treats irregular and absent periods by improving blood flow & circulation to the pelvic area
Post-partum & post-miscarriage:
steaming helps the uterine (womb) walls contract back to their pre-pregnancy state
steaming helps to heal and repair sore vaginal tissue
steaming facilitates the release of clots and old/stagnate blood leaving the womb after giving birth
steaming helps the pelvic floor organs to move back to their original position- it helps with uterine prolapse
steaming helps with vaginal dryness by increasing cervical fluid; dryness may be experienced after childbirth
Spiritual / Emotional / Bodily Connection:
steaming connects you to your ancestors and creates space for ancestral womb trauma healing
steaming promotes emotional & spiritual healing from past womb traumas e.g. miscarriage, abortion, sexual abuse etc.
steaming connects you to your divine feminine energy
steaming connects you with nature (fire element, water element, earth element & air element)
steaming helps clear negative energies & blockages from your womb space
steaming connects you to your menstrual cycle
steaming helps you prioritise self-care
steaming leaves you feeling re-energised, rejuvenated, and body-confident
steaming promotes self-reflection and self-development
steaming balances your hormones
steaming is said to help prevent early menopause
steaming is said to clear chronic vaginal irritation & peri-menopausal vaginal symptoms
steaming is said to tighten the opening of the vagina (and so some use it to enhance sexual pleasure)
steaming is said to help with vaginal dryness by increasing cervical fluid (and so some use it to enhance sexual pleasure)
steaming is used to treat & prevent endometriosis, PCOS, yeast infections, and womb cysts
steaming is said to help with infertility (PCOS etc. reduces fertility. Also, each month your womb sheds its inner lining if an egg isn't fertilised. The following month, a fertilised egg will need to attach itself to the inner lining to start developing into an embryo. As steaming helps with the removal of any old dead lining, it's said to help increase the chances of a fertilised egg attaching itself to the womb's fresh lining to start multiplying into cells.)
Although there are no known clinical scientific studies on v-steaming, there is lots of anecdotal evidence supporting the benefits of the practice.
How does it feel?
The steam is warm and so it feels very relaxing and soothing.
It relaxes your entire body (not just your pelvic area) because it stimulates blood flow/circulation.
The sweet aroma of the herbs is also very relaxing and sedative.
How Do I Do It?
Many women today are rediscovering this therapeutic practice. It's a gentle, natural, and non-invasive way to support your feminine wellness.
Go to the bathroom before steaming.
You can do it yourself at home or get it done at a uterus spa. Video guide on yoni steaming.
Boil water in a pot (use spring water to avoid the chemicals in tap water; use about 500ml of water). Turn the heat down after it reaches a boil and place 1 cup of your chosen herbs into the water, allowing them to steep for about 5 mins.
Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool slightly before using (about 5 minutes to avoid burns).
Either transfer the mixture into a bowl (BPA-free if plastic) or place the pot directly under your yoni chair.
Set your intentions for your steam e.g. emotional healing, physical healing, clarity etc.
Undress from the waist down and squat or sit above the herbs allowing the steam to rise to your yoni. Keep the warmth and steam in by wrapping a large blanket around your lower body.
Steam until the water becomes cool (some women should not steam for longer than 10 minutes- please see below section called 'Do not yoni steam for longer than 10 minutes if you'.
During your steam: journal, meditate, drink a cup of herbal tea etc. Avoid flicking through social media or watching mindless TV.
Ending your steam: Thank yourself for the self-care, self-love, and self-healing session. Thank nature for it's provision by returning the herbs to the earth- pour them outside in your garden or other outdoor space.
After your steam: Continue with further intentional relaxation e.g. snuggle under the duvet with a book, lie down, or take a short nap.
You may feel tired or emotional during and after your steam, so make sure you rest and keep warm afterward. Naturally, this makes evenings a great time to do your steam.
Options for your yoni seat:
sanitise your toilet bowl & seat- place your pot into the toilet bowl (I don't personally recommend this method)
buy a special made yoni seat/stool online
buy a portable folding camping toilet and place your bowl/pot under the seat (affiliate link)
do child's pose over your bowl whilst resting your arms on an ottoman (or a stack of large cushions) and resting each leg on a yoga block
How Often Should I Steam?
If you have no issues - no period issues, no uterine issues, etc.:
Steam a week or a few days before your period and then again a week or a few days after your period (this means you'll be steaming two times a month). This helps prepare your womb for her monthly shedding and then helps her heal, cleanse, and restore after your period.
You can, of course, steam more than twice a month- just avoid steaming during your period.
If you suffer from menstrual pain or PMS (nausea, bloating, cramping etc.):
Start steaming a week or two before your period- steam every other day until your period comes (this means you'll be steaming about 3 times a week)
Steam after your bleeding ends to clear out excess debris from your womb-space
If you have endometriosis:
Yoni steam three times a week.
If you're trying to get pregnant and/or experiencing fertility challenges (eg. blocked fallopian tubes etc.):
Background info part 1: our uterus is supposed to completely shed it's lining/endometrium during our period to enable our uterine walls to remain healthy, vibrant/rich/nourished and soft/supple. The blood that we call our 'period' helps the endometrium flow out of our body. When there isn't enough circulation within our womb area, the uterine lining and contents may not shed completely out of our uterus and may end up getting stuck in the uterus and along the uterine wall. This buildup or congestion is called 'old residue' and overtime it can lead to conception/fertility issues. Steaming helps soften up this debris so that the residue dislodges itself from the uterine walls and passes out of your body during your steam and/or next period.
Background info part 2: There are also a plethora of herbs that help our body prepare for pregnancy by helping extend the luteal phase of our cycle, increasing progesterone levels, toning the uterus & pelvic floor muscles, nourishing the ovaries and more (check out a list of herbs on our Online Herb Bible).
Only steam before intercourse/insemination as the steam may interfere with the sperm's journey (steaming opens up the cervix slightly), implantation, and/or fertilisation.