So, I am guessing by now you must have seen the latest news on Gwyneth Paltrow going for a Womb Spa or Womb Cleanse, and wondering what on earth that is, and what is the benefit. I have even had a few journalists on the phone asking me about womb steams, how they work and what my thoughts are.
Whilst my steams are a lot more simple, no infra red lasers, I’m afraid, just good old fashioned steam, I thought I would share my experience of this wonderful yet simple therapy with you.
Where Do Yoni Steams Come From?
A few years ago, we were on a tour at a beautiful privately owned country estate and in one of the rooms, the tour guide pointed to these tall Chinese Vases and explained that the Victoria lady residents used to put hot coals inside and sit on them, with the comment “the mind boggles”. And I explained it was a form of womb steaming, I had no idea that it arrived in the UK so long ago from China, but they were pleased to get a potential explanation for the use of the vases.
More recently, they experienced a renaissance in women’s health after Rosita Arvigo started training her practitioners in how to do them and herbalists have started adding them to their repertoire of recommended self care treatments. It was even included as a part of my Fertility & Womb Massage training.
There are still traditional medicine practitioners that practice them today, especially in Asia, Africa South and Central America. But since Gwyneth announced having one, they seem to have really taken off.
You may hear them being called womb steams, vaginal steams, v steams or even yoni steams (Sanskrit for all the female genitalia).
Tell Me More About V Steams!
Womb steams are simply the use of steam to increase blood flow and circulation to the pelvic organs, similar to a warm bath. There are thought to be several benefits:
- Helping to remove impacted endometrium that didn’t come out during the period.
- The warmth and flow helps the soft tissues such as ligaments to get proper blood flow and movement which should help with womb position and alignment.
- Help to energetically clear the womb and vagina from the energetic presence of previous partners, negative thoughts and experiences held in the area.
Any improvement in womb position is meant to help improve with period problems and cramps.
Sometimes when we have that icky dark sludgy stuff in our bleed, this is old endometrium coming out of a mal-positioned womb, where instead of the bleed coming, down, it has to go up and back down again. See my video here. The result is the endometrium remains in the womb, pools and condenses into darker, old blood, which becomes impacted. The heat from the steam can help to draw this out, like it does to draw out a boil.
It is also great to help the day after your period to ensure that you have removed all remaining endometrium from that cycle, so that fresh oxygenated, nutrient rich blood is there, available ready to nourish any potential egg, rather than beneath a layer of old lining.
So, as you can see, it isn’t really so out there, and quite a logical treatment. It is also lovely and relaxing like a hot bath, which helps relax and release any pelvic tension.
I will point out that there is no studies done on vaginal steaming for womb health, vaginal health or better periods, so it is true when people say “there are no studies backing up their use”.
However, anecdotally, a large number of women who have come through my clinic have found them a great way to relax, practice uninterrupted self care and swear that they have had a positive effect on their bleeds.
Remember, it is up to you to decide if this is something you want to try and decide whether it is having a positive effect on your period and pelvic health or not.
But, I Thought I Shouldn’t Wash My Lady Parts?
This is true, any soap, especially anti-bacterial can disturb the natural flora of the vagina which is very sensitive to changes and is a self cleaning organ anyway. It is also correct you shouldn’t use any kind of douche as it often uses water out of a tap that can carry bacteria which is harmless for regular washing but issues for the vaginal flora. However, steam by its nature will kill off any bacterium in the water and is not propelled up, it will rise up and in.
Some women who do get thrush easily from hot baths, should avoid this, but you will know if this is an issue for you.
You don’t have to use herbs, but if you do, I recommend fresh ones that you know you can eat or seeing an herbalist. Do not use essential oils as they are super concentrated and will more likely cause an irritation. I often use hot water with nothing added.
Can Anyone Do Womb Steams?
In short, no. You cannot do them:
• if you are pregnant
• on your bleed
• after ovulation if you are trying to conceive
• have an active infection
• have any suspected but as of yet undiagnosed infection
• have any unexplained bleeding
• are very sensitive to heat (ie hot baths give you thrush)
There are several main reasons for these cautions. One, the heat is thought to cause the womb to contract. Whilst this contraction is different to labour contraction, it is not tested or studied. The safest thing to do is not risk them at that time. This also means avoiding if you have any implanted device such as an IUD or mesh.
OK, I’m In, How Do I Do My Womb Steam?
Go to this page to get your basic free printable instructions sent to your inbox. If you want more detail, and more menstrual practices to make your period something you look forward to and even learn to love, check out my Love Your Period course.