The path that leads someone to embracing a practice of vaginal steaming as a way of resolving infections is varied. For me, it was an infection in the form of a cyst that led me to my practice of steaming. For you it may be a recurring yeast infection, a UTI, fibroids, bacterial vaginosis, HPV, endometriosis or cancer. Perhaps you have reached the end of the road with repeat prescriptions of antibiotics or the prospect of going under the knife may be staring you in the face. Infections can arrive at any point in a woman’s life, even after a complete hysterectomy or during menopause so this knowledge is valid to us all.
In my case, the doctors had recommended laparoscopic surgery to remove a 5cm unilocular cyst on my left ovary and I wanted to explore my options. With a history of cancer on my maternal side (read more about it here on the About page) I was very concerned, yet I knew surgery to remove the cyst didn’t guarantee the end of cysts forming in my body or poor womb health. On a mind, body, spirit level I believed there to be other factors at play. I wanted to explore the emotional side of things, but at the same time I needed a physical practice that would assist my body’s natural ability to clear my womb space if this indeed was a possibility.
I read this blog post on the Steamy Chick website and I knew I had my answer – I wanted a piece of that!
My husband built me a sauna, I ordered a big bag of herbs and began my steaming journey. If you would like to find out how to steam I have a fantastic video here that will show you the ropes.
My first steam was such a powerful experience and I knew I had discovered an ancient wisdom that had the key to unlocking so many mysteries. I felt called to become an expert on the practice and empower women with it. I enrolled on the Vaginal Steam Facilitator course and the journey continues to unfold for me.
The answer lies in monitoring the period and the symptoms throughout the month
When I first started training as a Vaginal Steam Facilitator I realised how many of my symptoms I was ignoring throughout the month. After all, when my period first began really painfully when I was 13, I came to the conclusion that it was simply a curse that had to be endured. So my coping mechanism was to numb to what was happening.
I have discovered that the path to healing infections, and pretty much any imbalance, begins with acknowledging all that is happening in your body each single month. So looking at the clots in the menstrual blood and getting to know how big they are? How many days do you bleed for and what is the flow like? Notice how often and what colour the discharge is in your underwear throughout the month (either side of the period) and whether or not it is malodourous? Pay attention to the colour of the menstrual blood, whether it’s fresh red blood or if there is brown or any other colour there? Do you get cramping or sore boobs or any other PMS symptoms? Is there itchiness and if so, when? Do you have hot flashes or vaginal dryness? All these things tell us a picture of what is going on inside your body. It’s like a magical troubleshooting instruction manual uniquely for you.
When it comes to infections they will present themselves as either damp natured or dry natured and the main determining difference lies in whether or not there is a discharge (outside of the healthy vaginal clear nectar that builds up around ovulation).
In the case of a damp natured infection there is excess mucus in the body which is creating a breeding ground for unwanted pathogens to accumulate. The aim with steaming is to clear this dampness and make it hard for any infection to return. In the case of a dry natured infection there is dehydration and excess heat in the body (particularly around the reproductive organs) which we want to address by cooling and hydrating.
How does vaginal steaming clear infections?
The heat from the steam increases circulation, which improves uterine function and cleanse efficiency. As the herbs in the steam enter the vaginal canal and travel up into the uterus, fallopian tubes and through to the ovaries they can get into the bloodstream and go to the source of the problem. A very important meridian point (cv1) which is responsible for the circuit of qi through the body is stimulated and this movement helps to clear phlegm.
Think of the last time you had a really blocked nose from a cold and you were in a hot shower or did one of those steams with your head under a towel and over a bowl of steaming water. Within a short amount of time, the phlegm loosens up and after a good blow of your nose your breathing passages are clear again. It’s the same thing that is happening with vaginal steaming, except we are adding herbs that contain powerful properties such as anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, nourishing and hydrating.
Herbs to correct the imbalance
Various herbs are used with the steam to correct the imbalances existing in the body. With a damp natured infection the herbs are helping to dry up the excess fluid/mucus in the body and removing the breeding ground where any unwanted pathogens could grow. The herbs help to dry and we also look to the diet to remove any mucus building or stagnation creating foods and beverages. Movement of the body also plays an important role in helping to move things along and clear out.
With a dry natured infection the herbs are helping to cool and hydrate the body. Food therapy also brings an important element of hydration and cooling.
What happened to my cyst?
I’m yet to have a scan to discover if the cyst has gone, but what I do know is that it is a work in progress, as is often the case with healing. Along that journey there are up hills, down hills and a few pot holes. Each month the quality and experience of my period has altered significantly. I’ve gone from having 9 day heavy periods to 5-6 days and a massive reduction in both clots and PMS symptoms. Ultimately I’m working towards a healthy period, which is 4 days long, with only fresh red blood, a clean medium continuous flow and no symptoms. When I get there, I’ll feel confident that the environment in my womb space is healthy and certainly not inviting anything in there that shouldn’t be 🙂
Working with an experience practitioner
The road to resolving an infection can be short and it can also require more commitment in the form of a dedicated steam practice for 6-12 months. In my opinion, if surgery is on the cards, taking time out of your day to sit on a pot of steam and breath is well worth the effort, not to mention the mental health benefits that this will bring. Women have been knows to have fibroids slide out and cysts drain and come out in the menses (period blood). In some cases it can be short and sweet with a few days of continuous steaming and that annoying recurring yeast infection is a thing of the past. No more pessaries!
Steaming can also help to release any blocked emotions or memories, so if there is an emotion connected to an imbalance in the body it is incredibly beneficial to find resolution with these feelings by working with a therapist or spiritual healer.
In more severe cases, for example where surgery is on the cards, it is highly recommended to work with an experienced practitioner that can put together a steam plan along with additional recommendations. As the period and/or symptoms change throughout the month, monthly appointments to check this progress and tailor the steam plan accordingly are essential to an efficient and effective recovery. If this is something you are considering, I would be happy to work with you along your journey and you can take the first step by booking a Vaginal Steaming Health Consultation.
Please help me to spread the word ladies. Please share this blog with just one girlfriend. Thank you 🙂