Since the dawn of humanity, there have always been healers in every community. These healers were revered as important members of society, because they possessed extensive knowledge of the plants and their healing powers. Traditional healers spent countless hours, formulating and experimenting with ways to use these plants, to heal the members of their communities. They also taught the peoples the importance of using the plants to maintain vitality, which today is known as preventative medicine. Maya healers and midwives used bajos, an ancient healing practice. Bajos (ba-hoes) is a Spanish word that translates to Vaginal Steam Bath. Traditional Korean healers used this healing method as well, they call it chai-yok. Healers use the vagi-steam (vagina steam) to aid women with chronic fertility issues, as well as to maintain healthy fertility. A vagi-steam is a great way to support many fertility programs, especially while performing a fertility cleanse.
Benefits of Vaginal Steam Baths
Vagina Steam baths bring heat to the womb. The use of specific herbs adds layers of different healing benefits, depending on the fertility-related health condition being treated. Different herbs have different healing actions. Typically, more than one herb was chosen and formulated in a blend, specific to the woman’s unique fertility needs.
- The combination of herbs works to nourish, tone, heal, bring in fresh oxygenated blood, promote cleansing, and make supple the vaginal and uterine tissues.
- The moist heat opens the pores of the the tissues it comes into contact with. The water vapor carries the medicinal benefits of the plants, including volatile oils. This is absorbed into the tissues and enters the bloodstream, having a direct healing effect on the reproductive system. Vaginal tissue is one of the most absorbent of the entire female body.
The combination of some or all of these herbs, used for traditional bajos, had specific healing intention. I am not aware of the traditional herbs used by other cultures for vagi-steam; because of this I will share with you herbs used for Maya bajos, with the exception of two herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The purpose of the vagi-steam is to aid as an internal cleanser of the membranes of the vaginal tissues and the uterus. This is considered especially important for stagnant fertility conditions, and/or incomplete emptying of menses each cycle, signs of which are:
Women who may benefit from a vagi-steam would be those with the following conditions: uterine fibroids, painful menstruation, uterine weakness, uterine prolapse, irregular menstrual cycles, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, reproductive adhesion/scar tissue, previous vaginal tear or episiotomy, and dark purple or brown blood at the onset or end of menses.
Naprapathic physician, herbalist, director of The Arvigo Institute and teacher of Maya medicine, Rosita Arvigo, DN, says, “There may be many reasons for infertility, but one of those reasons is induration of the uterine wall. When we combine vaginal steaming with abdominal therapy – the deep external massage on the uterus – we have a very dynamic approach with great results (if that happens to be that issue that is causing the infertility, which it may not be).”
In some cases, a woman should not do vagi-steam, these are: extremely heavy menstrual cycles (do not do during your period) or if you have a vaginal infection, open wounds, sores, or blisters; do not do if you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant. If you have genital piercings, take them out, the heat will cause the piercing to burn you.
Note: Do not use essential oils in your vagi-steam bath, this is because they may burn the delicate tissues of the genitals.
Traditional Herbs Used for Vagi-Steam
Rosemary: Increases circulation to the reproductive organs, aids in clearing out of old fluids, is also antiseptic and purifying.
Lavender: One of the most relaxing herbs, calms the mind and body. Nourishing to the nervous system. Lavender is antiseptic to the vaginal tissues. It is also an antispasmodic, aiding in healthy uterine function.
Oregano: Used to bring on menses. Increases scanty flow. This herb is used for its antiseptic, stimulating, and strengthening qualities. Oregano is a wonderful herb for aiding in prevention of infection.
Marigold: Tagetes erecta is used to induce perspiration and cleansing of the vaginal tissues. It is also healing to wounds. Calendula officinalis aids in the healing of tight scarred tissues of the labia and perineum due to episiotomy or vaginal tear. Note: Do not steam an open wound, this could cause pain and swelling.
Basil: May reduce painful menstruation. Helps to bring on menstruation.
Rose petals: Rose petals are gentle and astringent to tissues of the genitals. Rose is a relaxing and uplifting herb.
Other herbs used in combination with above herbs: Burdock leaf, Motherwort, St. John’s Wort, Yarrow, Red Clover, Damiana, Chamomile, Dandelion, Yellow Dock, and Squaw Vine. Traditional Chinese Medicine herbs often used are Mugwort and Wormwood.
Healing Steam Rises Again
Many of you who are reading this may be in shock. Steam yourself? You mean down there? Yep, that’s right! In fact, spas across the U.S. are offering traditional vaginal steam baths. This therapeutic treatment goes for a pretty penny. An average cost of a 30-minute vagina steam session is between $50-$75. Vagi-steam baths are simple, so simple you can make your own at home for very little cost. You can do this by using household items. The only thing you may need to pick up would be herbs. You can find these at your local health food store.
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How to Make a Vaginal Steam Bath
What You Will Need
- A slatted chair or modified stool/chair to let steam through. Preferably made of natural materials such as wood, canvas, or bamboo.
- 2 large natural fiber blankets. Wool or cotton are preferred.
- A large stainless-steel stock pot, large enough to boil a gallon of water. You may also want a large ceramic or Pyrex bowl to pour the hot water and herbs into. Do not use a cracked bowl, the hot water may split the bowl more.
- Herbs of choice. A cup of dried herb, or a quart mason jar loosely filled with fresh herbs.
1. Place your chair, blanket, and whatever else you may want in a location that will be comfortable. Place a cutting board under the chair, or place chair on a tile floor. Have a glass of water, music and/or reading material set up in advance. Be sure you are wearing a long skirt, no underwear, and a warm natural fiber top.
2. Boil 1 gallon of water with 1 cup herb mixture for 10 minutes. Continue to steep off of the stove for an additional 5 minutes. If transferring to a ceramic bowl, do so now. Place pot or bowl under the chair/stool.
3. Test how hot the steam is. Put the inside of your forearm over the steam to test. Remember your genitals are very sensitive to heat, you do not want to burn them! Do not sit down until the steam is comfortable for you.
4. Sit down. Be sure you are not wearing underwear and none of your clothing is hanging in the pot.
5. Cover your entire lower half, all the way to the ground with the first blanket. Make a tent all around the chair, to keep the steam in.
6. Wrap the second blanket around the upper half of your body. Keep it wrapped around you, stay warm.
7. Steam for 20-30 minutes.
8. Keep warm, go to bed for 1 hour.
Vagi-steam is best done every two weeks when used for treating a fertility issue. For general fertile vitality (preventative maintenance), Vagi-steam baths are best done twice a year, and can be timed to be done bi-annually in conjunction with a fertility cleanse. Give your yoni some love, treat her to a Vagi-Steam!
- Enlivening the Core of a Wombmyn: Vagi-Steams” (S. Ford, personal communication, Northern California Women’s Herbal Symposium, Session 1 • May 19-22, 2006)
- Brashear, S. (n.d.). Rosita Arvigo on Yoni Steams. Retrieved from https://www.soulvibrance.com/vibrant-living/yoni-steam
- Jardim, N. (2018, September 24). Should you steam your vagina? Retrieved from: https://nicolejardim.com/steam-vagina/