Vaginal Steams

The following information is for educational purposes only.

*Herbal vaginal steams, also known as yoni steam baths, or bajos, as they are known in Spanish, or  chai-yok in Korean have been are used for centuries to treat many conditions including painful or irregular periods, endometriosis, infertility, fibroids, cysts, cervical stenosis, vaginal dryness and hemorrhoids.  The bajos can be used in conjunction with the Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy (ATMAT) to achieve reproductive health.

How vaginal steams work:

Because of the abundance of blood vessels and mucus membranes, the essence of the essential oils are more easily absorbed through the walls of the vagina.  Because of this permeability, doctors often prescribe vaginal suppositories to fight infections or balance hormones. The vaginal steams also work as a uterine lavage to cleanse the uterine wall of  accumulated debris and to nourish the womb on a physical and energetic level.  Have you ever smudged your house with sage or copal to do an energy clearing?  In my Women’s Health Ayurveda training we actually squatted over smoldering herbs to clear past energetic patterns.  I think of vaginal steams in a similar way, but you also get the benefits of the uterine lavage.

When to do the steams:

*Never do a vaginal steam when you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, unless you are full term and in labor.  Do not do a vaginal steam if you have an IUD.  Some practitioners recommend anti-fungal steams for yeast infections, however I don’t recommend steams when an infection is present since yeast likes warm damp environments.  Use your intuition to see what works for you.  I also would avoid steams with a herpes outbreak since herpes is a damp heat condition.

  • Three month fertility protocol (ATMAT)-right before your period (this is if you are using protection and know for sure you aren’t pregnant)
  • One month fertility protocol-first day of your period or at the tail end of your period
  • Hormonal migraines- up to three times the week before your period
  • Dysmenorrhea or painful periods – up to three times the week prior to your period, or the first day of your period if you are spotting
  • Fibroids- same as with painful periods.  Fibroids are related to coldness in the womb, and steams add warmth to the pelvis.
  • Menopause- as needed or four times a year at seasonal changes, for instance.  Sometimes women who haven’t bled in years will report having what seems like another period, but it is actually a cleansing of old debris from the uterus.
  • Hemorrhoids- as needed with astringent herbs
  • Full Term Labor- oregano steams (oregano stimulates the uterus) . *consult your midwife.
  • Postpartum-with normal pregnancy (not with heavy bleeding or perineal tears) use oregano in the steam (and drink oregano tea)-three vaginal steams within the first week of birth.  Traditionally oregano, marigolds and basil are used at this time. *always consult your midwife before doing a steam right after delivery and avoid drafts.
  • For IUI and IVF I’ve quoted from the CNY Fertility Centersince they laid it out so thoroughly (thank you CNF):
    1. If you are in a natural cycle, steam once within a few days after your period, and then once just before ovulation but before intercourse (we don’t want to heat up the sperm).
    2. If you are taking Clomid, steam once when you first start your Clomid medication, and then once just before ovulation but before intercourse/IUI. A side effect of Clomid may be a decrease in cervical mucous. The steam will help increase this mucous.
    3. If you are doing an injectable IUI cycle, steam once when you first begin your stimulation drugs, and then once in the morning before your IUI procedure. Steaming before your IUI procedure helps to liquefy the cervical mucous and creates a lubricated path for the insertion of the catheter through the cervix.
    4. If you are doing an IVF cycle, steam once when you first begin your stimulation drugs, and then once in the morning before your transfer. Steaming before your transfer procedure helps to create a lubricated path for the insertion of the catheter through the cervix.
    5. If you are doing a donor egg cycle, steam once while your donor is stimulating and then once in the morning before your transfer.

Vaginal steams were featured in Whole Living magazine and the Los Angeles Times and are a pricey service option offered in some health spas (usually between $20-$75).  DIY vaginal steam at home is convenient and inexpensive.  Doing the steam at home shouldn’t cost more than a couple of  dollars for the herbs, or free if you collect your own herbs.  And it is nice to stay in the comfort of your own home and not have to drive or go out in the cold after a treatment.  But then again, maybe you need to go to a spa for some peace and quiet if you can’t make it happen at home.  Go for it- pamper yourself, I’m sure the experience is divine and it’s also nice to have someone take care of the details.  You may also look up Korean spas in your area for affordable steaming options.

If you’re going to steam at home, you have a few options on what to use for a steaming chair.  I have this one: . It’s not as pretty as the chairs that are designed to be vaginal steam chairs, but it’s convenient with the adjustable legs (I lower the legs to the lowest setting).  I love mine.  The back is removable, which is convenient for wrapping the blanket all the way around the chair to keep the steam in.  You can also put hand towels on the seat for extra comfort.

My perfect set up includes using a small crock-pot with the U shaped shower chair.  The crock pot is a nice way to control the heat.  When I’ve used a regular bowl, the water tends to cool off too quickly.

I lowered the stool to the lowest height. If you need the crock pot closer, use a couple of thick books to raise the crock pot up.

Keep the lid on until you are ready to steam. No more rushing around before the water cools.

…if you forget your wine (or tea), no worries. Take your time getting set up just right. The crock pot will keep the herbs warm. Ideally you won’t be on your computer while you steam, but hey it’s your vagina you can do as you please.

Below you will find a chair an ATMAT practitioner, Sarah Wylie made using a regular chair and a wooden toilet seat.  The downside is that you will have to put books or blocks along side the support bar underneath to make a flat surface for the steaming bowl of herbs to sit on.   But if you are handy and trying to save money, it’s a good option.

You can also use your toilet, but you must clean it out really, really, REALY well and then flush it and then turn off the water shut off  valve while the water is still out of the bowl.  Once your toilet is clean and empty, wrap the steaming bowl of herbs in a cloth to protect the porcelain and place the whole thing in the toilet bowl.  The downside here is that you need to clean your toilet before your steam, and make sure no one will need to use the bathroom for the next 30-40 minutes.  And once you sit on the toilet your body may respond by wanting to empty the bladder.  You can always get up and squat in the bathtub if you need to pee.

image source:

And finally, if you have a little money to spend you may want to try a chair specifically made for vaginal steams.  This stool costs $98 and can be ordered by calling Phil : 303-249-8839

Hardwood Steaming Stool by Phil Reddick

Now that you have your stool, you need to collect or buy herbs.  Make sure they are organic!  Always collect herbs with prayer and gratitude as ATMAT practitioner Tricia Weber is doing here.

Here is a short list of herbs:

Basil-antibacterial, spiritual cleansing
Oregano-antiseptic, uterine stimulant
Red Clover-promotes healing (skin)
Rosemary- antiseptic, stimulates circulation

Yarrow- encourages menstruation
Motherwort- for suppressed menstruation
Horsetail- helps flush bacteria out of bladder
Lemon Balm-reduces itchiness

Calendula- skin healing, vaginal fungus, lymph, spiritual healing

Mugwort – popular in Korean spas balance hormones, antibiotic, antifungal, protects the uterus from ulcers and tumors, stimulates menstrual discharge

Eucalyptus- cooling, wound healing, anti-fungal

Rose petals- gentle and astringent to tissues of the genitals

Lavender- calms the mind and body and is antiseptic to the vaginal tissues, it also has phytoestrogens that plump the tissue and a cooling effect on inflammation

Blue Malva- soothing, dry vagina

Marshmallow- soothing, dry vagina

Sage- moves blood and chi through physical and emotional obstructions

Chamomile- soothing, contains chemicals that are anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral and anti parasitic

*Chamomile is in the Ragweed family and may react with those who have extreme sensitivities to the Ragweed family.

Fibroid Formula: oregano, basil, calendula, sage

For fibroids, steam three times the week prior to your period altering the days with castor oil packs.

Endometriosis Formula: oregano, roses, yarrow and calendula

I have the following Bajos formulas available: Menopause or Dry Vagina Formula- organic blue malva flowers, organic chamomile flowers and wild marshmallow leaf. Also available without chamomile flowers. Fibroid Formula-organic oregano, organic calendula, organic sage, organic basil. Traditional Formula- organic basil, organic oregano, organic calendula, organic yarrow and organic lemon balm. Traditional formula may change depending on herb availability. Endometriosis Formula- oregano, roses, yarrow, and calendula.
Order Here.

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.  Consult a qualified health care professional if you think you may have a medical condition.


Not to be used in pregnancy or acute infections.

  • Collect organic plants with prayer and intention or use dried herbs (1 quart fresh or 1 cup dried)
  • Crush the herbs into a large pot with a gallon of water as you give thanks to the herbs and infuse them with your intentions.  The Maya tradition is to offer prayers nine times to whatever spirit offers you guidance.
  • Bring the water to a soft boil for 5 minutes; then steep for 10 minutes with the lid on.
  • Place the pot under the chair you will use to steam.
  • Test the steam on your wrist before sitting down.  The membranes of your vagina are sensitive, so you don’t want it to feel too hot.  Get undressed from the waist down (keep your warm socks on) and sit on the chair with a blanket wrapped around you to keep the steam in.
  • Sit comfortably for at least 20 minutes, meditate or read a book. It should feel pleasant.  I usually feel the warmth rise all the way up to my heart. If it feels too warm, remove the pot to let it cool a bit.
  • Rest afterwards stay warm and do something nurturing for yourself like drink a warm herbal tea of raspberry leaf, nettles, oat straw and rose petals, or take a warm bath.  Protect yourself from drafts.

Click Here to Reserve the Uterine Self-Care ebook

I get many emails daily asking for medical advice.  This is not a medical advice blog and I’m not a physician.  And the human body is too complex to answer specific questions regarding your health in a comments box or email.  If you are in the Portland, Oregon area you may make an appointment with me by clicking here.   If you aren’t in the Portland area, I offer Skype appointments.
Dr Rosita Arvigo recounts a story about how vaginal steams helped a young girl suffering from menstrual cramps.  Vaginal Steams: Forgotten Ancient Wisdom For Women’s Health  



29 Responses to “Vaginal Steams”

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  1. Great Article! Am a recent ATMAT practitioner….loved your chair options and your visuals.

  2. A huge thanks for posting this information to your blog. I was trying to find this piece of info for 4-5 months but was unsuccessful in finding any knowledge on this anywhere else!

  3. Nitzanayah says:

    What does this do for fibroids?

    • The steams help with hemodynamics in the pelvis, so the body can maintain homeostasis. Fibroids are a cold condition, so the steam combined with the herbs help to soften, and warm the tissues so there is better flow of fluids and energy.

  4. Amazing web site. And so lots of wisdom to receive. I’m positive you are doing a very superb job.

  5. olga says:

    What herbs would I need to use in order to get pregnant?

  6. Rachel says:

    Fantastic article. Why can’t it be done if one were to have an IUD?

  7. Elle says:

    I suffer from a too much discharge, this is so embarrassing, both my husband and I are a bit concern. How can I tighten my linings aswell.

  8. Nazarell Williams says:

    Question: I’m learning to trust nature for healing. How effective iss this practice? I have continued discharge, stinky odor especially after cycle or during ovulation. Ive been to doctor& paps come n back normal, I just found out I have a fibroid but, I’m doubtful it’s causing this smell? I’m starting to have pelvicpain& would do almost anything to get rid of this smell& discharge. It’s embarrassing!

    • mrs muhau says:

      Its really a full info artical im planning to do vagi-steam for the 1st time n was confused .i had miscarriage in 2013 (12weeks) after that i dont had pregnancy even though me n my husband are perfect..i hate medication.thats why i want to try steam.after my periods my husband finds it struggling to enter his penis .i want the pregnency..kindly suggest formula and time for you.

  9. Thanks for this post.. I especially like the 1st chair option. gonna consider getting it to do at home v-steams.

  10. Jane says:

    Hi Barbara,
    Just a question about anatomy really, how can the steam reach up, because the muscular walls of the vagina sort of fold inwards blocking off the passage of steam upwards.
    Is it necessary to squat? Sorry just a bit confused, want to steam my vagina and not labia!
    Thanks :-)

    • Yes, it’s important to squat, or sit on a low chair positioned in a way that you feel most open. Even if the steam doesn’t get past the labia, you will still feel the whole pelvis and lower belly fill with a comforting, softening warmth.

  11. Mariea says:

    I always have pain from having sex with my husband and usually the pain will go away the next day but after I gave birth to our 6month old having sex hurts even more and it takes a couple days for the pain to go away, I think something could be tore. I heard that the v steam heals the vaginal area when it’s sore. What herbs do I need for my V to get back to normal?

  12. Emily says:

    I suffered a 16w2d pregnancy loss only 4 days ago. I am still bleeding, passing endometrial tissue, blood, etc.. I had vaginal steaming on my post-partum to-do list, but I feel this might be beneficial and comforting to me now. Can you suggest a formula for me? Many thanks.

    • I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m not comfortable suggesting steams in your situation or postpartum bleeding in general. I would consult a midwife. I know women who have done steams after miscarriage when the bleeding has stopped as a way to help energetically cleanse the trauma of loss. Oregano is traditionally used postpartum, but not with heavy bleeding or without the consent of the midwife. Basil and calendula are also traditionally used in spiritual cleansing. But I would add what calls out to me as long as you know it’s safe to use.

      • Emily says:

        Thank you, apprecate your quick response. I have many herbs in my garden, I’ll investigate more in a while.

  13. Marie Ahmar says:

    I’m seeing everywhere that you can’t do the steam while pregnant or if you think you’re pregnant. What is the reason behind that?

  14. Lolovivi Josephina Paz says:

    Thanks very much for answering the IUD question! Sad I won’t be able to get one anytime soon, but have no interest in surprise pregnancies right now either. So, I’ll wait until mine expires. Peace & blessings!

  15. Kelly says:

    Is it okay to use essential oils of the herbs you have mentioned…if the freshly picked herbs are not available or not an option? Just want to make sure if it’s okay to use EO’s instead of the fresh/dried herbs.

  16. This is totally awesome.Although variety of article on this topic,this article contains some of the precious points which can never be read in other articles.

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