*Herbal vaginal steams, 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.
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). Doing a 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 are going to steam at home, you have a few options on what to use for a steaming chair. I have the U-Shape Shower Chair with Adjustable Legs. It’s not as pretty as the chairs that are designed to be vaginal steam chairs, but it is convenient with the adjustable legs (I lower the legs to the lowest setting) and are affordable at $39.99. I love mine. I wouldn’t get one with a back since it’s not as convenient for keeping the steam in, plus you will be sitting towards the front of the stool.
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.
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 you could use:
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
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.
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