Explore the Risks and Benefits of This Cleansing Technique
In recent years, an old treatment has made a new comeback in the realm of feminine hygiene. Vaginal steaming has become a common service in holistic health spas nationwide. Accompanied by celebrity endorsements and public intrigue, vaginal steaming is a trending topic for treating your vagina.
In a time when the feminine hygiene market is valued at over 19 billion and is expected to see rapid growth over the next five years, it’s not surprising methods like vaginal steaming are becoming more prevalent.
Combine the monetary power of the feminine hygiene industry with an increased awareness of how women’s healthcare has a direct correlation to women’s rights, along with more and more stigma and taboo surrounding the vagina and reproductive organs being eliminated, and we’ve got a lot more attention being paid to our private parts.
So, where does vaginal steaming fit in all this? What is there to know about this intriguing treatment?
Well, What Is It?
The process of vaginal steaming, also known as yoni steaming or V-steaming, involves the use of hot water and, most often, the addition of herbs that are steeped in the water. The hot water is vaporized, creating steam that is said to permeate the vaginal area.
Typically the water is set up beneath a seat with an opening, and then a towel or blanket is wrapped from the waist down to help contain the maximum amount of steam.
The average session is anywhere between 20-60 minutes, depending on how quickly it takes the steam to cool.
Some holistic spas offer the service, and you can even try the treatment at home. There are at-home kits on the market that contain everything you need to complete your own DIY steaming in the comfort of your own home.
How Does It Work?
The idea is that by squatting or sitting above the steam, whether plain or herbal-infused, it is directed into the vagina, and that area, as well as the overall body, mind, and spirit, can reap the purported benefits.
In a case where plain water is used to make the steam, it’s believed that the steam itself provides the cleansing power. However, when herbs are added, there is a potential for added benefits.
Medicinal herbs have been around for centuries. They have many uses and are typically considered safe when used in small amounts and prepared properly.
Herbs often used in a vaginal steaming treatment:
- Mugwort-known to increase energy
- Wormwood-for improved digestion and pain management
- Chamomile-often used for treating menstrual pain
- Calendula-prevents infection and heals injuries
- Basil-has anti-inflammatory properties
- Oregano-rich in antioxidants and can help fight bacteria
They can each be used alone or in combination. Some spas may even have their own proprietary blend.
It Has a History
The term yoni steaming has an interesting word origin. Yoni is the Sanskrit word for female genitalia, the womb, and the vagina. It translates to “sacred place,” and it’s said to symbolize divine nature and the sacred portal to life.
Although the specific origin is difficult to pinpoint, most sources agree that nearly every indigenous culture has used the practice. African, Mayan, Greek, Native American, Japanese, Filipino, and many other Asian cultures are said to have used the process throughout history.
Apart from seeking physical health improvements, the process has long been considered a way to reconnect with feminine energy. It’s considered a mental and spiritual way to honor the magic of the womb and restore balance within the body.
The process embraces physical, mental, and spiritual aspects-a true holistic mindset.
Making Its Way to Mainstream
Perhaps the most significant catalyst for the practice of vaginal steaming gaining popularity in the West lies in Gwenyth Paltrow’s endorsement of the procedure.
As owner and creator of the beauty and wellness company Goop, Paltrow used that platform to tout the process stating, “It’s an energetic release…that balances female hormone levels.” She frequently encouraged others to visit various holistic spas in Los Angeles that were offering the procedure.
Many were introduced to the idea through her speaking about it during interviews and on various social media platforms. Her star power would prove to make the treatment a popular choice and promote the expansion of spas that offer the service.
Paltrow has successfully brought other alternative and unconventional treatments into the public eye in recent years. From meditation to colonics to vaginal eggs, she has put out some thought-provoking messages pertaining to health and wellness.
The Goop wellness empire is worth $250 million, so it seems there are plenty listening to their suggestions.
What You Need to Know
First off, it’s very important to understand that a vaginal steaming procedure is not recommended when pregnant. Some herbs are known to cause miscarriage. It’s also not advisable in other instances.
Reconsider steaming if you’re:
- Ovulating and want to become pregnant
- Using an IUD for birth control
- Experiencing an active infection of inflammation
- Experiencing a Herpes breakout or have any type of open sores
It’s also very important to understand, like any new health regimen or treatment you choose to undergo, you should be well-informed and consider expert opinions.
Along with potential benefits, there are also cautions to take into consideration if you’re interested in booking a steaming session.
Potential Gains From a Steaming Experience
Vaginal steaming is considered a natural remedy to clean the vagina, uterus, and entire reproductive tract. There are also other positive effects believed to be derived from a steaming experience.
Some women report experiencing:
- Stress relief
- Help with depression symptoms
- Relief from hemorrhoids
- Fewer instances of infection
- A boost in energy
- Pain relief
A few vaginal steaming customers have even linked the solution to their infertility issues to their vaginal steaming regimen. Others have felt that it brought them comfort and proved to detoxify the womb after a miscarriage or during the postpartum period.
The bottom line with the benefits is that each individual experiences relief and benefits from vaginal steaming in different ways. There aren’t any scientific results that prove those outcomes, so it’s really based on how you feel and what you personally gained after the experience.
Cons That Could Make You Reconsider
The vagina is physiologically made up as a self-cleaning organ. Many female health experts caution against using anything but water and mild soap. This is largely due to the microbiome that exists naturally in the vagina.
The human microbiome consists of all microbes, such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses, that exist naturally in our bodies. Microbiomes play a significant role in the health and wellness of all humans.
The vagina has a dynamic microbiome with unique characteristics and specific microbial species. It’s actually its own ecosystem, and most doctors and specialists agree that good hygiene is all that’s needed to keep your vaginal microbiome healthy and clean.
Good feminine hygiene doesn’t require any special products or routines. Some experts will even caution against the use of special scrubs, soaps, and douches.
It is truly as easy as washing your vulvular area daily with mild soap and warm water. It’s also preferable to clean using your own hands rather than with a washcloth.
Another aspect some have cautioned against is the possibility of burns. The skin of your labia and vagina is extremely delicate and sensitive and certainly vulnerable to hot temperatures.
Risk Versus Reward
Overall, vaginal steaming is a holistic treatment that comes with potential benefits but should be regarded with caution. The risks are relatively low, but it’s likely you don’t need the procedure at all. However, it may be you’ll benefit and discover it’s the necessary aid to one of your ailments!
The best advice is to speak with a trusted healthcare provider and get their opinion on the procedure.