By Tricia Wise, Holistic Aesthetician, Herbalist
Yoni; meaning sacred space, vulva, womb, and vagina.
Yoni steaming, otherwise known as vaginal steaming is an ancient holistic practice that has helped women and their reproductive systems for thousands of years. Not only are the benefits great, but it can also be a wonderful, meditative, self-care ritual.
In short, yoni steaming is squatting over a steaming pot of herb-infused water in order to nourish, heal, and support your yoni, as well as connecting to the feminine self. As an aesthetician, I like to think of this practice as a facial massage for the vagina - it detoxes, increases circulation, and heals. Yoni steams carry the medicinal benefits from the herbs to the vaginal tissue, allowing the bloodstream and inner reproductive organ to absorb the benefits, heal, as well as cleanse the area.
This supportive practice is not only a ritual that connects female energies and wisdom to the womb, but also can help reduce pain, exhaustion, and cramps during menstruation, as well as regulate irregular or absent periods. Oftentimes, a buildup of the uterine lining that was not shed in a previous cycle can provoke menstrual cramps and infertility - causing the muscles around the uterine wall to work harder, causing pain and fatigue. This buildup can decrease overall flow during menstrual cycles and can even tone the reproductive system after giving birth. Steaming also assists with hemorrhoids, menopause, dryness, cysts and detoxes the womb and removes toxins from the body. My personal favourite benefit, it releases stored emotions and can tap into our creative energies!
Unfortunately, not everyone can do vaginal steaming. Some contraindications are if you:
Have an IUD (some women still steam with an IUD--in this case, reach out to your doctor)
Have any type of cancer
Are currently menstruating or spotting
Have an active infection, such as a yeast infection or UTI
Are currently pregnant
Are healing from a recent miscarriage
Are trying to conceive
Are currently experiencing heat flashes
There are various herbs you can use when steaming, such as Comfrey (healing and soothing), Lavender (antispasmodic and antiseptic), and Rose Petals (a gentle astringent to vaginal tissues).
I make my own herbal blend for WiseCraft Herbals; my favourite herbs to use are:
Mugwort, artemisia vulgaris - named after the Greek goddess of the moon, mugwort is a witch’s favorite herb that works as a uterine stimulant, supports the womb and fertility, is great for menstruation and menopause, and relaxes the nervous system.
Motherwort, leonurus cardiaca - known as the healer of the heart, is great for fatigue, cramps, and relaxation, decreases blood clots, and relaxes the nervous system.
Calendula, calendula officianalis - cleansing, healing, decreasing inflammation, alleviating cramps and hot flashes, and toning the uterus.
I like to do a yoni steam once or twice a month (my favourite time to yoni is on or around the new moon!). I begin by boiling a small-sized pot of water (if you have some full moon-charged water, that’s great!). While the water comes to a boil, I lay out my yoga mat, pick out a cozy blanket, and light a bunch of candles. Once the water comes to a boil, I add in my herbal blend, (a few pinches is perfect), cover and simmer on low for a few minutes. The heat of the water helps to extract the volatile oils the herbs. Be sure not to use essential oils during this process as they are far too harsh for vaginal tissues - use the dried (or fresh) herbs only. Many women use a yoni stool, but I just sit in child’s pose on my yoga mat.
I place the pot in the middle of my mat, light a bit of palo santo, undress from the waist down, set an intention, and get into position. Make sure the steam is not too hot or too close to your body, keep in mind how sensitive vaginal tissue is. Once it feels right, wrap your blanket completely around you, just to make sure the steam does not get out. If you will be sitting in child’s pose, as opposed to a stool, I recommend being extremely careful not to touch the pot-- it’ll be super hot! Using yoga blocks can be a helpful trick!
Once you find a comfortable position, let the steam enter your body and clear your mind. Feel free to meditate, journal, do some tarot, or simply just sit, notice how you feel, and take some breaths.
It is recommended to steam for about twenty to thirty minutes. After, it is suggested to get right into a warm bed and go to sleep - this helps allow the benefits of the herbs to travel into the pelvic tissue and cervix.
You will start to notice the benefits after regularly steaming, monthly or bi-monthly after about three months.
Tricia Wise is a holistic aesthetician, herbalist, and makeup artist in Boston, MA. She makes her own skincare and women’s health potions, called WiseCraft Herbals. Tricia is very passionate about self-care, wellness, female empowerment, and non-toxic, plant-based beauty. In her free time, Tricia enjoys spending time in the woods near her home and crafting her own teas and tinctures. You can find Tricia on Instagram at @trashwise and @wisecraft.herbals.