It’s called Bajos in Central and South America, Yoni in South Asia, Chai yok in Korea, or just V-Steam, all are names for the practice of sitting over a steaming bowl of herb-infused water to let the vapors flow up around your vagina. It definitely has its advocates and detractors. On the pro side are many herbalists, midwives, and healers who swear by this ancient practice.
I try to keep an open mind, so the more I thought about this, the more I thought, well, this is kind of like the “sitz baths” that we recommend after childbirth. Sitz baths may incorporate some salts, where a woman is advised to sit in a nice warm, not hot, not steaming, tub of water. The warm water increases blood flow to tender tissue promoting healing. Maybe steaming the vagina is a more extreme version of a sitz bath.
The proponents of vaginal steaming claim that the moisture, heat, and herbs, (often basil, mugwort, rosemary, and wormwood) nourish vaginal tissues and the perineum, promoting healing of many reproductive organ ailments. Along with increased blood flow from the heat some practitioners claim the healing steam can penetrate up into the cervix and uterus, also addressing trauma and giving us emotional support.
Some of the benefits, healing properties, and conditions treated are said to include the following:
- Increases circulation, relaxation, balances hormones
- Clears cervical fluids
- Nourishes and tonifies the uterine lining- Reproductive Adhesion: I don’t even know what this means!
- Restores and balances Irregular Menstrual Cycles and PCOS
- Reduces cramping
- Eases fatigue, headaches, abdominal discomfort and nausea
- Cleanses the uterine lining of old blood
- Speeds healing and tone of the internal reproductive system after childbirth
- Heals the womb and emotional body after miscarriage
- Episiotomy scar healing
- Improves perineal tone preventing prolapse
- Provides a space for emotional release
- Vaginitis treatment
- Vaginismus treatment
- Fungal and bacterial infections
- Symptoms related to candida
- Itching and irritation
- Vaginal dryness and painful intercourse
- Relief for hemorrhoids and rectal inflammation
- Reduces Endometriosis, treats uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, uterine weakness & uterine prolapse
- Prevents infections
Wow, that is a lot, and a lot of it is cray cray for the Va Jay Jay!
Healthcare Professionals Say Don’t
Once celebrity mags get a hold of a trend, it does become a thing. Gwyneth Paltrow and Chrissy Teigen are doing it! Physicians have weighed in. It’s a big NO. OB/GYN and infectious disease specialist Jen Gunter MD says, “Steam isn’t going to get into your uterus from your vagina unless you are using an attachment with some kind of pressure and most definitely never ever do that. Mugwort or wormwood or whatever, when steamed, either vaginally or on the vulva, can’t possibly balance any reproductive hormones, regulate your menstrual cycle, treat depression, or cure infertility. Even steamed estrogen couldn’t do that.”
An obvious danger is burns from people doing this on their own, also the herbs used could be allergens to some. Another argument against is that the vagina is kept naturally well lubricated with oily substances and water vapor can wash away these natural oils leaving it more open to irritation. A healthy vagina has bacteria that helps keep the vaginal pH at the right level, with no help from us.
STI testing advocate Naomi Sutton, Consultant Physician in Integrated Sexual Health at The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, sent this message via Tweet: “How anyone can promote vaginal steaming is beyond belief…… another case of #vaginalshaming by the beauty industry to make money from creating fear and stigma that vaginas need “treatment.”
But Wait, a Testimonial!
A member of our staff here at NurseBarb.com who was feeling some peri-menopausal dryness coming on, decided to give it a try. She went to a high-quality Korean spa for the treatment and found the experience relaxing and felt it did have a positive moisturizing effect.
A word to the wise, I wish that I had a magic wand or a vaginal steamer that would erase and fix all of the conditions you don’t want to deal with. I really wish it were that easy. I mean who wouldn’t want a quick cure? But, please don’t expect vaginal steaming to cure hormonal imbalances or vaginal infections. What vaginal steaming does is help you feel better for a day or two. So, as with anything new, do your research, and find a well-respected practitioner if you are going to give this a try and keep your expectations realistic.