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 have been used in conjunction with the Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy® (ATMAT).
How vaginal steams are believed to work:
Because of the abundance of blood vessels and mucus membranes, it is believed the essence of the plant compounds 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 have been thought to work as a uterine lavage to soften and cleanse the uterine wall of accumulated debris. The steam does not directly enter the womb, but the warmth of the steam softens the tissues and relaxes the belly and pelvic floor and increases blood and lymph flow. In the first few months of doing bajos in combination with the Arvigo massage, women have reported that their menstrual blood looks different. Some women have reported blood that resembles coffee grounds (old dried blood) or even the passing of fleshy tissue. Usually by the third month women see a bright red oxygenated blood. Even women who haven’t bled in years because they’ve been through menopause, have reported a “cleansing” of old indurated blood. Improved blood and lymph flow increases the health of the tissue on a cellular level. I’d also like to add that outside of improving blood and lymph flow in a congested pelvis and softening the pelvic bowl, I believe the vaginal steams have a healing effect in a way that can’t be explained by science. Many woman use vaginal steams as symbolic cleansing to help clear the energy of sexual abuse, rape, past sexual partner or miscarriage.
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 and directed by your midwife. 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.
Vaginal steams 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 one similar to this:
U-shaped shower chair with removable back rest. (Amazon link)
It’s not as attractive as the chairs that are designed specifically as 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 (Amazon link) 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.
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.
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
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 that have been used for v-steams:
*Note-herbs used externally for v-steams do don’t always have the same effect when used orally. Consult an experienced herbalist.
Basil-antibacterial, spiritual cleansing
Oregano-antiseptic, uterine stimulant
Red Clover-promotes healing (skin)
Rosemary- antiseptic, stimulates circulation
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
Never use essential oils, they are too concentrated.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. There have not been any scientific studies on V-steams, all reported benefits are based on personal accounts. There is a wisdom that should be explored in practices that have been used for centuries.
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.
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.