Updated: Nov 16
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.
Also, do not steam after ovulation (ovulation can occur as early as day 10 of your cycle). You may steam anywhere from 6 - 10 times between the end of your period and before ovulation (ensure the blood from your period has stopped). This will moisten the reproductive tissues and prepare them to receive and hold a fertilised egg. Most likely, this means you'll be steaming daily after your period but before ovulation.
You can expect to do this for 3 - 6 consecutive cycles before seeing results.
You can expect to see an increase of old blood and tissue being expelled from your uterus during the first menses. With each cycle, the blood should become smoother (fewer clots) and more brightly coloured.
If you've just given birth (postpartum):
As long as you're no longer bleeding and have no open wounds, steam within the first 9 days of giving birth.
Steam 3 times a week for at least a month- ideally two months- to facilitate postpartum healing and toning of the vagina and uterus.
Note: if you had a c-section, wait approximately 6 weeks before steaming.
If you are peri-menopausal:
Steam on a weekly basis to help relieve peri-menopausal symptoms.
If you're experiencing menopause:
At the very least, in the first couple years of your menopause steam a few times a year (3 - 4 times) to aid the release of debris from the womb (before your menopause, your womb's inner lining used to break down & shed every month. During the first few years of menopause, some women experience some dark blood & clotting, so it's good to help the body rid itself of stored up debris).
Beyond that, you may then steam as often as you feel led to by your body and intuition to remain connected to your feminine essence, the wisdom of the womb space, and the other energies of the womb space (creation, intuition, etc.)
If you've passed menopause:
At the very least, if you have passed menopause you should steam three-four times a year for maintenance (frequent circulation to the womb space) and to remain connected to your feminine essence, the wisdom of the womb space, and the other energies of the womb space (creation, intuition, etc.)
Beyond that, you may steam as often as you feel led to by your body and intuition.
If you have fibroids:
Steam every day of your cycle (apart from the days you are bleeding) or at least twice a week- for 3 - 4 months.
If you've experienced pregnancy loss (abortion, stillbirth, miscarriage):
You may start steaming only if you've stopped bleeding.
Steam for at least 1 month (30 days)- every day
What to expect after my first yoni steam(s)...
It's normal to not notice any physical changes after your first couple of v-steams. Your uterus may not have any excess build-up to release, or you may require more than 1 or 2 yoni steams before the build-up starts to loosen & come out. Keep steaming for a minimum of 2 - 3 cycles and remember that even if you don't notice any physical changes, yoni steaming as a self-love practice will help you feel (and remain) grounded, relaxed, and connected to your yoni and feminine energy overtime.
Note that after your first yoni steam(s), it's normal to feel more emotional than normal, more sensual/aroused, 'different', or even numb. You may fall into a deep sleep that night, lucid dream, cry, or have lots of memories come up for you from your past.
You may also notice less breast tenderness, fewer PMS symptoms, fewer menopausal symptoms, increased physical energy and/or a change in your yoni's sensitivity (enhancing sexual pleasure), improved emotional balance, glowing skin and more.
Yoni steaming is a transformative practice and everyone's experience is different. Don't pressurise yourself by going into the practice with too many expectations on yourself of what you 'should' experience or 'should' feel like afterwards- trust the process, allow yourself to feel whatever comes up, and journal your experience, so that you can look back overtime.
If you do notice any 'negative' physical changes after your first couple of steams...
A few days after your first couple v-steams, you may experience a little more discharge than usual (especially if you're steaming after childbirth), or a change in its consistency or colour (it may be green, brown, thick, clumpy, white etc.). Don't worry- this is a normal side effect of the increased blood flow & oxygen to the pelvic bowl and is also a possible result of pathogenic factors, cellular debris, and tissue overgrowth being drawn out from your system. Any discolouration of discharge should return to 'normal' after approximately two weeks.
You may notice a change in your next period- it may be thicker, darker, longer and/or heavier. This is a sign that the herbs have entered your bloodstream, are doing their work, and your uterine lining is releasing what it has been holding onto from previous menses. Your period after this one will feel more comfortable (less bloating, less pain, and less fatigue) and more 'normal'.
You may notice increased flatulence if you normally suffer from bloating. This will clear after a short period.
You may experience dark spotting- this is a sign that the steam has helped your uterus to loosen & release old, stagnant menses residue.
You may experience light, red-pink spotting- this is a sign that the steam has introduced much needed circulation to your uterus and is helping your menstrual cycle regulate, reset, and return to what is 'normal' for your body's natural rhythm.
You may experience light cramping because the warm steam & herbs encourage your uterus to contract thereby gently loosening old residue from the uterine walls. If you experience cramping this is a sign that old residue is being / has been released. You can help this process along by drinking warm herbal tea after your steam, eating warm, light food (e.g. a vegetable soup), taking a warm shower, or doing gentle hip opening stretches to stimulate blood flow to your yoni.
If you experience an infection after steaming (and/or thick unsightly discharge), the steam is helping your body rid itself of any bacteria, viruses, or yeast. Your body will house the bacteria, virus, or yeast in the dispelled mucus thereby helping to clear up any infection. Let your subsequent v-steams be for no longer than 10 minutes in duration until the infection has completely cleared.
If you experience mild skin irritation after your steam (rash, bumps, itchiness), wear loose fitted 100% cotton underwear and clothing after your steam.
If you experience severe rash, bumps, headaches, itchiness, diarrhea or the onset of fresh spotting or inter-period bleeding, you may have had an allergic reaction or steamed for too long. Please let me know if you experience this.
Note: if you feel headachy or light-headed after yoni steaming, you are dehydrated and need to drink water. If this keeps happening, reduce the duration of your yoni steams until you're able to increase the duration again without feeling headachy or light-headed.
Are there any precautions / contra-indications?
1) Do not sit too close to the steam to avoid burning yourself.
2) Do not yoni steam if you:
are on your period (this it will most likely make your blood flow heavier. Also note that Ayurvedic principles advise against using anything that may interrupt with the downwards flow of energy during your menstruation.)
are experiencing spotting before your period and the blood is fresh and red
have had spontaneous heavy bleeding in between your periods within the last three months (i.e. if you've had two periods in a month within the past 3 months)
have had two periods within the past month (i.e. a period every 2 weeks)
are fighting an illness such as the flu or a fever
are pregnant - because (1) the steam could affect the growing fetus (2) the herbs can cause the uterus to contract resulting in early labour or miscarriage (3) the steam relaxes and opens the cervix, which could result in early labour or miscarriage. Some women do steam if they are already full term (from 38 weeks) to help induce labour, but this should not be done alone- please ensure you are steaming under the supervision of a yoni steaming practitioner.
think you might be pregnant because (1) the steam could affect the growing fetus (2) the herbs can cause the uterus to contract resulting in early labour or miscarriage (3) the steam relaxes and opens the cervix, which could result in early labour or miscarriage (if you are trying to get pregnant, you may steam but avoid steaming during or after ovulation)
are experiencing a miscarriage - wait until your body has completely finished this process as you do not want to experience further heavy bleeding. If the bleeding has turned to brown and the pregnancy matter has cleared out, you may start steaming. Steam for a few cycles post-trauma or miscarriage.
are within a week of having laser hair removal (wait about 2 weeks to steam)
are allergic to any of the herbs
have a piercing down below (remove it first to avoid burns)
have just had a wax (wait about 4 days to steam)
are still waiting for confirmation of whether you are successfully pregnant after artificial insemination from IVF or IUI (if you receive confirmation that pregnancy hasn't occurred, you may resume steaming)
have open cuts, wounds, stitches, blisters, or sores down below and it hurts as you are steaming (if it doesn't hurt, steaming is ok)
have had your fallopian tubes closed through tubal coagulation (and you are not yet menopausal)- unless you're willing to use a back-up form of birth control
have the Nexplanon or Implanon birth control impact (and you are not yet menopausal)- unless you're willing to use a back-up form of birth control
have the NuvaRing (vaginal ring) inserted (remove it before steaming)
have had uterine or abdominal surgeries in the past 6 weeks e.g. cesarean, appendectomy, myomectomy, ovarian cyst removal etc.
3) Do not yoni steam for longer than 10 minutes if you:
have an IUD or coil (steaming can cause the uterus to contract, resulting in your IUD moving out of place or falling out completely. It is also unclear whether longer exposure to steam may affect an IUD's hormone release, so stick to steams of 10 minutes only or less.)
have experienced hot flashes and/or night sweats within the last month (you don't want to worsen them by introducing excessive heat into the body)
have - or are prone to having - an active sexually transmitted infection, cervical or uterine infection, or ovarian inflammation (as steaming for longer than 10 minutes may cause an outbreak if you're already prone to infections and/or make your infection worse, so stick to steams of 10 minutes only or less to shorter steams may help treat the infection)
have a short menstrual cycle (27 days or shorter as longer steams may cause your period to come even earlier)
are prone to having fresh spotting in between your periods (steaming for longer may cause heavier bleeding; remember do not steam at all if you are *currently* experiencing spotting)
have experienced spontaneous bleeding in between periods or two periods per month within the past 6 months (remember, if you've experienced this within the last 3 months, you should not be steaming at all)
4) Stop steaming if you feel any of the following during your steam: light-headed, unwell, dizzy, nauseous, shortness of breath etc.
If you are unsure whether to steam, speak to your General Practitioner first.
Where Do I Get The Herbs?
Not all of us have the luxury of being able to grow our own herbs.
Check out our range of organic herbal blends here.
We also provide fully personalised / custom blends here.
Also, check out our Herb Bible- it suggests which specific blend to choose to help with any issues you may be experiencing.