Let’s talk about V-steams.
They have become controversial, but at the heart of it, a steam is just a really nice, enjoyable way to relax and bring mindfulness to our pelvic organs wherever you lie on the continuum of hormonal health.
While Vaginal steam baths are a part of many traditional cultures, here we’ll be describing Bajos (ba-hoes) as they are traditionally known in Maya culture. These steams are used in conjunction with Arvigo® techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapies to assist in the opening of the pelvis and aiding uterine health. A formula of aromatic and cleansing herbs, such as basil, calendula, lavender, oregano, yarrow and rosemary is used to enhance circulation and travel into the pelvis and act on the uterine lining. The warmth and increased circulation nourish the inner membranes and promote softening and opening. The herbs also have an anti bacterial and anti yeast action, helping to decongest the pelvis and promote healthy tissues. This vintage ad from 1952 shows that women in the fifties also knew about the benefits of home steam baths!
Steaming can be a wonderful addition to your self-care routine, either as a preventative method, or as a time for cleansing, setting intentions, and nourishing your body. Consider adding vaginal steam baths to your self care routine if you experience painful periods, dark blood at the beginning or ending of your cycle, irregular periods, fibroids, cysts, endometriosis, cervical stenosis, vaginal dryness or painful intercourse. While its always great come in and do a steam with your Arvigo practitioner, you can do a v-steam from the comfort of your own home!
You can obtain vaginal steam bath herbs from your Arvigo Practitioner, or blend together a mix of aromatic herbs at home. Often a jar of organic Italian Seasoning will do the trick. In addition to the Basil, Rosemary, Oregano and Thyme, I like Motherwort, St. Johns. Wort, Calendula, Rose, Comfrey, Squaw Vine Chamomile, and Dandelion as variations for the steam. A practitioner can also design a blend for you that’s specific to your needs.
- In a medium pot containing 1-2 quarts of water, place the herbs. Bring to a soft boil for 5 minutes then steep for 10 minutes with the lid on. As you prepare the herbs, it’s a great time to offer prayer and your intention for the steam.
- Place the pot of water and herbs under a stool if you have one, or better yet, in your toilet. Sit over the pot without underwear. Be careful to make sure the steam has cooled enough so that you do not burn yourself! I sometimes use yoga blocks to adjust the height and then remove them as the steam cools. (See “Resources” on information on where to purchase stools and supplies.)
- Drape yourself with a blanket from your waist down to the floor so that no cold air gets in. Be sure to keep your feet warm with slippers or thick socks, cold feet will draw the circulation away from the pelvis which is not what you want.
- Sit over your pot of herbal steam for approximately 20-30 minutes or until the steam as decreased. This is a perfect time to meditate, offer prayer, or just be in silence.
WHEN TO STEAM
Vaginal steam baths are contraindicated during pregnancy. Do not steam during acute infections or if you have a fever. If you have an IUD you may want to use caution, so consult your Arvigo® practitioner first.
For general maintenance, steam once just after your period, and then again just before your menses start.
If you have a yeast infection, use the steam 2-3 days in a row until symptoms go away in conjunction with self-care massage.
For other specific concerns, follow the guidelines of your practitioner.
Post Partum beginning six weeks postpartum, or as soon as your midwife or doctor indicates that you can for a vaginal birth.
To enhance fertility, steam once a few days after your period, and then again once just before ovulation [but before intercourse, we don’t want to heat up the sperm].
To enhance fertility in conjunction assisted reproductive technologies follow these guidelines:
Clomid: steam once when you first start your Clomid medication, and then once just before ovulation but before intercourse/IUI. A side effect of Clomid may be a decrease in cervical mucous. The steam will help increase this mucous.
Injectible IUI cycle: steam once when you first begin your stimulation drugs, and then once in the morning before your IUI procedure.
IVF cycle: steam once when you first begin your stimulation drugs, and then once in the morning before your transfer.
Donor egg cycle: steam once while your donor is stimulating and then once in the morning before your transfer.
Steaming before your transfer procedure helps to create a lubricated path for the insertion of the catheter through the cervix.
Note: The effects of a steam may include a temporary increase in menstrual flow (more dark fluids, debris), menses may start earlier than usual due to a cleansing effect. If you have any questions contact your Arvigo® Practitioner.
For more information, to find a practitioner, and to order steam baths go to www.arvigotherapy.com
Handcrafted stools available from Phil, contact him at 303-249-8839 or firstname.lastname@example.org
To order bulk herbs you can blend yourself try www.zackwoodsherbs.com, www.healingspiritsherbfarm.com, or www.mountainroseherbs.com.