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yoni steaming 101 guide

so you're creating an at-home yoni steam ritual. AWESOME!

yoni steaming builds your connection with your own body and Mother Earth, and in deepening this connection can restore balance to your menstrual cycle, fertility, and overall pelvic health.

here are some basic safety guidelines including who is safe to steam, when and how to setup your steam, what to expect from a yoni steaming practice, and the basics of cycle tracking and fertility awareness.

hard contraindications

do not steam when...

- you are currently bleeding/on your period (flow or spotting)

- you've had spontaneous or breakthrough (mid-cycle) bleeding in the last 3 months

- your menstrual cycles are shorter than 20 days

- you are pregnant (before 38 weeks) or might be pregnant

- you've had pelvic or abdominal surgery in the last 6 weeks

- you have a medical issue that contraindicates exposure to heat or increased circulation

*in some of these instances it may be safe/beneficial to steam; guidance from an experienced steam therapist is recommended.

soft contraindications

it is safe to steam, but there are reasons you may not want to when...

- you have a burning itch. adding heat may make the burning sensation more intense. an herbal sitz bath is a nice alternative to receive the plant medicine without adding excess heat.

- you've had a tubal ligation/coagulation to prevent pregnancy. steaming can clear scar tissue and blockages, which may reverse the contraceptive effects of this procedure. want to steam? use another form of birth control if you are not desiring pregnancy at this time.

- you have an Assure birth control coil. steaming can clear scar tissue and blockages, which may reverse the contraceptive effects of this device. want to steam? use another form of birth control if you are not desiring pregnancy at this time.

- you have a birth control patch or arm implant, which thickens the endometrial lining to prevent implantation. steaming can reduce the thickness of the lining. want to steam? use another form of birth control if you are not desiring pregnancy at this time.

- you've had a uterine embolization (intentional scarring of the interior of the uterus) to stop heavy or spontaneous bleeding. steaming can clear scar tissue, potentially reversing the procedure. steam users also report improvement with heavy/spontaneous bleeding.

- you've had a fibroid embolization to restrict blood flow to fibroids. steaming can clear scar tissue and blockages, and increase circulation, potentially reversing the procedure. steam users also report improvement with fibroids.

sensitivities

some additional safety guidelines to follow if...

- you have a bleeding sensitivity such as short cycles (27 days or less), prone to spotting, or spontaneous/breakthrough (mid-cycle) bleeding. steam for no more than 10 minutes with a mild setup (no added heat, cloak ok if desired).

- you have a NuvaRing. remove the ring before steaming.

- you have an IUD. steam for 10 minutes with a mild setup (no added heat, no cloak).

- you have signs of excess heat in the body (night sweats, hot flashes, current or history of infections, sensitivity to heat, or sensation of heat radiating from within). steam for 10 minutes with a mild setup (no added heat, no cloak).

- you are age 12 or understeam for 10 minutes with a mild setup (no added heat, no cloak).

first aid for
heavy bleeding

although uncommon when the above guidelines around contraindications and sensitivities are followed, it's recommended to have Yunnan Baiyao Pills on hand as first aid in case of heavy bleeding.

take pills per the directions on the box and take bed rest. discontinue use once bleeding has subsided (usually 1-2 doses).

yoni steam herbs

life by the moon Vagenius Blend yoni steam herbs are customizable to your cycle.

 

the big pouch includes lemon balm, nettles, roses, red raspberry leaf, lavender, and ashwagandha - herbs to feed your blood, cool and moisturize the kidneys, and support circulation. use 3 tbsp per steam session.

 

cycle 28 days or longer? add a pinch of pink rose petals from the small pouch too.

did you know you can use your herbs twice? place herbs in a tea ball/strainer to steep, remove herbs from the pot of water before steaming, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours to use again.

no herbs? you can steam with…​

- ½ tsp mineral salts (such as Redmond Real Salt) OR

- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar OR

- water only

 

***DO NOT use essential oils for yoni steaming. only fresh or dried whole-plant materials.

when to steam

frequency

you can steam one time each week (e.g. every monday night), skipping the week of your bleed OR

steam one time the day after your bleed ends (no fresh blood for 24 hours), and one time 3 days before you expect your next bleed.

time of day

steaming promotes relaxation, so you may find the best time to steam is before bed. otherwise, pick a time of day that works best for you. set a reminder in your phone or mark your calendar, whatever you find helpful to remember and make sure your steam happens.

how long to steam

first time yoni steaming? 

steam for up to 10 minutes.

love the steam?

if you have any bleeding, heat, age, or medical sensitivities (see "sensitivities" above), stick with no more than 10 minutes. for you, less is more!

no sensitivities? you can steam up to 30 minutes. in order for the steam to last that long, you'll need a setup with added heat (and a steam stool or sauna) or reheat the water halfway through your yoni steam session.

to cloak,
or not to cloak?

a cloak or heavy robe is worn while steaming to keep your body warm, increase circulation, and induce a sweat. this is an additional way to aid the effects of the steam.

 

HOWEVER if you have a heat, age, or medical sensitivity (see "sensitivities" above), use a lightweight wrap while steaming to keep steam localized during your session without creating excess heat or dehydrating your body. a lightweight maxi skirt or dress works too. if a wrap feels too hot or you begin to sweat, ditch the wrap.

mild steam setup (no added heat)

a mild (no added heat) setup is ideal for your first time steaming, as well as anyone with heat, bleeding, age, or medical sensitivities (see "sensitivities" above).

1. prepare your herbs

- in a metal or ceramic-coated pot (no non-stick coatings please!), boil 3 cups of water

- remove from the heat, add 3 tablespoons of life by the moon herbs (or prepare according to package instruction if using different herbs)

- cover and steep off-heat for 10 minutes.

2. prepare your space

create a steam ritual that feels sacred or special in whatever way you choose. make your space cozy and warm, dim the lights, light a candle, play music… or keep it super simple! creating an experience you find pleasurable is womb embodiment.

3. set your intention

what are you offering to your yoni? what do you want to receive from the steam? what are you ready to release? what are you welcoming in or creating? this is your intention.

it is universal law that where attention goes, energy flows, and your attention and intention are powerful catalysts for healing.

4. steam

- place the pot beneath the steam stool/sauna and remove the lid. sit on the stool and use your wrap around you and the steam pot to create a tent.

- no steam throne? no problem. wrap the pot in a towel (no burns please!), then kneel over it on one knee (the "Captain Morgan" pose) or both knees, or on hands/forearms and knees. place towels on the floor to give your knees some padding, then use your wrap to create a steam tent.

- receive steam for 10 minutes

- steam should reach your entire pelvic “undercarriage” and temperature feel pleasant, so adjust your position as needed. steam should feel like a warm bath.

5. cleanup

- empty the steam water outside to return to the earth, or discard into the toilet.

- clean the pot with hot water and soap.

advanced setup (with added heat)

an advanced (with added heat while steaming) setup can be used as long as the heat feels pleasant and you do not have any heat, bleeding, age, or medical sensitivities.

1. prepare your herbs

- in a metal or ceramic-coated pot (no non-stick coatings please!), boil 3 cups of water. this can be done on the stovetop, or for an advanced (with heat while steaming) setup, you can also use a hotplate or small slow cooker to prepare herbs and continue adding heat while steaming.

- add 3 tablespoons of life by the moon herbs (or prepare according to package instruction if using different herbs)

- cover, reduce heat to low, and steep for 10 minutes.

2. prepare your space

create a steam ritual that feels sacred or special in whatever way you choose. make your space cozy and warm, dim the lights, light a candle, play music… incorporating elements you find pleasurable is womb embodiment.

3. set your intention

what are you offering to your yoni? what do you want to receive from the steam? what are you ready to release? what are you welcoming in or creating? this is your intention.

it is universal law that where attention goes, energy flows, and your attention and intention are powerful catalysts for healing.

4. steam

- with the pot beneath your steam stool/sauna and remove the lid. sit on the stool and use your wrap around you and the steam pot to create a tent.

***DO NOT STEAM with added heat if you don't have a steam throne! this is a fire safety/burn safety issue.

- receive steam for up to 30 minutes.

- steam should reach your entire pelvic “undercarriage” and temperature feel pleasant, so adjust your position and the heat as needed. steam should feel like a warm bath.

5. cleanup

- empty the steam water outside to return to the earth, or discard into the toilet.

- clean the pot with hot water and soap.

while you steam...

the loving attention you bring to your yoni steaming ritual deepens your relationship with your body and your cycle. it may be tempting to distract yourself during a steam, particularly if you are used to being busy or are having an emotional response to the practice.

 

here are some ways you can harness your attention and remain present during your steam:

hold your intention

- recall your intention--what do you want to receive from your steam ritual today? what are you bringing to the experience, or offering to your Self?

- hold this intention in your mind and heart while you steam. notice how your body, emotions, and spirit respond.

womb meditation

- bring your hands to your low belly, joining the tips of your thumbs and tips of index fingers together to make a triangle

- close your eyes (or keep them open and soften the focus), inhale for a count of 8 sending the breath to your womb, then exhale for a count of 8

- receive the warmth of your hands and the energy of your breath

- notice any body sensations or emotions arising. if you find it challenging to be with what is happening, take a deep breath. remember you are in a safe place right now, and you can support any physical or emotional releases simply by remaining present. meet your Self where you are right now.

hips to heart breathing

- bring one hand to your heart and one hand to your low belly

- close your eyes, or keep them open and soften the focus

- imagine you can see your breath, as a color or a light. your breath is a conduit for communication throughout your body. 

- inhale for a count of 4, watching your breath travel from your pelvic bowl up to your heart center. hold here for 4, as the breath receives heart energy to bring back to the hips. then exhale for a count of 4, watching the breath travel back down into the pelvis. hold here for 4, hips receiving heart energy and sending pelvic energy back in return. inhale, hold, exhale, hold. repeat.

- notice sensations arising in the body, emotional energy, or thoughts in the mind. breathe and stay with them, let the breath and your attention witness what needs to be witness, feel what needs to be felt, and move what needs to move.

intimate massage

alone or with a partner. let your hands explore your body, and receive the healing benefits of your own touch. belly and breast massage during your steam will facilitate movement in the body and can help alleviate cycle-related pain/soreness.

what to expect after steaming

after your yoni steam session, you may notice...

cleansing effects

- the urge to urinate. go to the bathroom before steaming!

- increased period clots/release of old residue

- increased period cramps as old residue releases. use pads or period panties during your moon cycle, and avoid blocking the vagina with tampons or menstrual cup.

- increased dry cramps (between periods) as old residue released

- increased irregular discharge or odor. steaming softens and releases stagnant mucus. this will subside over time with steaming.

- itching caused by release of mucus or infection

  • rinse with a peri bottle after using the bathroom and throughout the day as needed to remove irritating mucus from skin.

  • use steaming herbs to make a sitz bath to help skin irritation (steep herbs, then add herb water to a warm, shallow bath. sit 10-15 minutes.)

  • “yin care” herbs from an acupuncturist/herbalist to address chronic infection

  • ***if itching is NOT accompanied by discharge, this may be an indication that the herbs/setup you are using are too drying or heating. try switching to herbs that are cooling and moisturizing.

- bumps or rash may be a sign of sensitivity or allergic reaction. try steaming with water only to compare. 

- emotional release

  • emotions are energy in motion. steaming facilitates circulation/movement of physical and emotional energy, and it is common to have an emotional response to steaming.

  • feel your feelings in your body to allow them to digest and release.

  • have a support network (friends, therapist, healers, counselor, etc.) in place to support your deeper, more subtle layers of emotional healing and integration.

 

- earlier periods

  • your cycles may initially shorten or stay the same. if your cycle becomes shorter than 28 days, try:

  1. DO NOT add rose petals (or other cleansing herb) to your steam.

  2. increase steaming to 2x daily on days 19/20/21 and the day after your period ends.

  3. increase proper period care, especially rest, and review any triggers of fatigue (stress).

  • if you periods continue to get shorter or steaming brings the onset of bleeding:

  1. reduce herbs to ½ dose

  2. reduce steam schedule to only day 20 and 1 day after your period ends

  3. reduce steam duration to 5 minutes/session

  4. increase additional recommendations and period care

 

- later periods

  • this is ok as long as your cycle is 28-30 days (or lengthening in that direction)

  • if your cycle becomes longer than 30 days...

  1. rule out pregnancy

  2. re-evaluate herbs used (make sure you are not steaming with hemostatic herbs! these slow/stop bleeding. adjust as needed.)

 

- brown discharge after steaming

 

- abnormal bleeding (onset of fresh spotting or bleeding)

  • stop steaming and get extra rest to help bleeding subside

  • seek a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner or herbalist for herbs to stop bleeding and/or

  • have Yunnan Baiyao Pills on hand as first aid in case of heavy bleeding. take pills per the directions on the box, and discontinue use once bleeding has subsided (usually 1-2 doses).

  • this may be a sign of uterine fatigue, please take note of fatigue or stress triggers and reduce as possible.

 

- bowel movement or gas

  • this is a sign of energetic movement in the pelvis, which is good!

  • diarrhea may be a sign of excess heat or too much downward flowing energy. try using a ½ dose of herbs or water only for your next steam. mild (no heat) setup and no cloak will also reduce heat.

 

- sexual arousal (during or after steaming)

 

- skin raw or stripped

  • reduce heat with a mild setup and no cloak

  • try steaming with water only

positive side benefits

- relaxation

- deep sleep

- increased vaginal nectar (clear, pleasant-smelling fertile mucus)

- heightened libido and sexual sensation

- heightened fertility (ovulation)

- improved circulation

- decreased PMS symptoms

- water retention disbursement

- emotional balance or release

- clear, glowing skin

- tightened and lifted vaginal canal

- scar tissue softening

- may prevent/treat ingrown hairs

cycle tracking & 
fertility awareness basics

- day 1 = the first day of fresh red blood flow of your period. (do not count brown residue before your period as the start of a new cycle; count these as the last days of the previous cycle.)

 

- bleed/period length = days of fresh red blood flow. (do not count brown residue at the beginning or end of your bleed as part of your period.)

 

- moon cycle length = day 1 of your bleed until day 1 of your next bleed

- ovulation = release of an egg from the ovary. 

- in a healthy moon cycle, the period is 4-5 days of medium flow with no clots and minimal/no cramping, ovulation occurs at mid-cycle (between days 14-16), and cycle length is 28-30 days. variations outside this pattern are your body's way of calling your attention to areas in need of care.

 

***it is possible to ovulate and not have a period (e.g. recent postpartum, breastfeeding, or cases of poor circulation/blood nutrient deficiency with missing or extremely long cycles). if any of this applies to you and you are not desiring pregnancy at this time, be sure to use a backup form of birth control.

 

- how to know when you’re ovulating:​

  • basal body temperature - this is your body temperature upon waking first thing in the morning. To track BBT accurately, you should…

1. use an under-the-tongue thermometer (no forehead scans! these are less precise.)

2. take your temperature immediately when you wake up… like before you even get out of bed. keeping a thermometer by your bedside helps make this happen.

3. your temperature will hold steady (within tenths of a degree) each day. just before you ovulate, your BBT will increase/get warmer. the increase is subtle (fractions of a degree! this is why precision is key when using BBT as an indicator of ovulation.)

4. ovulation is happening in the 24 hours or so after your BBT increases. ***PLEASE NOTE that your fertile window aka the time you could potentially get pregnant is longer than the time you are actually ovulating because sperm can live in your body for up to 5 days. this means you could potentially get pregnant up to 5 days before, and about 1 day after you ovulate.

5. if you are avoiding pregnancy, be sure to use another form of contraception during this time, or engage in sexual activity that does not involve potential insemination (such as kissing, sensual massage, solo or mutual masturbation, oral sex, or anal sex... anything that is not penis-in-vagina intercourse!).

6. if you are desiring pregnancy at this time, do not steam after potential insemination/fertilization. and, although the window to get pregnant is 6-7 days long, sperm are healthier when they are fresh… which means sex/insemination as close to ovulation is most likely to result in a healthy, full term pregnancy.

7. your BBT will hold at this warmer temperature for the remainder of your cycle, and will drop down again just before your bleed arrives.

  • fertile vaginal nectar

    1. fertile vaginal nectar will be clear and slippery like a raw egg white during the days around ovulation.

    2. you may notice your vaginal nectar shift in the days leading up to ovulation, going from a thicker clear discharge to something slightly creamy before turning to the fertile egg white consistency.

  • cervical height

    1. your cervix lowers and softens around ovulation as a way to be more welcoming to sperm that might arrive to create a pregnancy.

    2. before you ovulate, your cervix will be high and firm. if you insert a finger into your vagina, you may not even be able to reach and touch it (this will vary based on the length of your fingers and vagina).

    3. in the days leading up to ovulation, you will be able to feel your cervix lower (meaning it will be easier for you to reach and touch with your finger) and soften. it will go from feeling quite firm to more soft/squishy. you may also be able to feel the cervical opening, which will feel like a dimple in the center of your cervix.

 

BBT, vaginal nectar, and cervical height together are the trifecta of ovulation signs, and an incredibly accurate way of being aware of your fertility to either avoid pregnancy or consciously conceive. and of course, getting to know all the parts of your cycle will deepen your relationship with your womb and your entire body.

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