in: Wellness

Vaginal Steaming: A Love Affair

Sarah Lou

Your high school sex ed class probably failed to cover this one. No worries. We’re here for you … all of you. Here’s why Sarah Lou LOVES vaginal steaming.


Attention! I am now going to tell you why I LOVE Vaginal Steaming!

First, a story.

I used to have painful cramping every month. It really was debilitating. Not as bad as my friend who has endometriosis, but bad enough to keep me home. I found myself starting to decline RSVPs to events around the time of my menses. I started to dread my cycle. I started to feel isolated, alone, and slightly depressed—even more so than the PMS usual.

Then during my Maya Abdominal Massage training in 2013, I learned about vaginal steaming. We didn’t practice it at that time, but I heard about how the indigenous Mayan midwives treated women postpartum with steaming protocols, how they used it as a practice to keep the uterus healthy in all phases of womanhood.

How could I have not known about this?!

Something whispered in me, but I was skeptical.

I went home and started to do some research, not finding a whole lot. Back then, before Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop wrote the article that took Vaginal steaming into the spotlight, there wasn’t much information readily available. I learned what I could, got myself some herbs, and went home to squat over a pot!

Verdict: I was a little underwhelmed… I imagined that I would have a mystical experience with visions of elder Maya healers praying over me. I mean, I imagined that my vagina would open like a mouth and suck all the steam right up there!

Yet, it did feel really nice, and I was very relaxed afterwards. I chalked it up to a positive experience, and went about my life.

It wasn’t until after my next month’s cycle that I noticed my symptoms of period pain, brown blood, and intense emotional lows were gone. Skepticism was gone, and I did my steam every month and never did those symptoms reoccur.

In summer 2017, I started having symptoms again. Intense physical and emotional stress had caused me to stop ovulating, and I was having very short cycles. It really freaked me out. I realized I had gotten lazy about my steam practice. I empowered myself to take better care, and once again I found relief within a month.

Then I heard a podcast with Steamy Chick, Keli Garza, and she spoke of the incredible research she’s been doing, helping women heal from all sorts of problems manifesting as heavy bleeding, irregular cycles, infections, and pain, as well as the hormonal aftermath of birth, hysterectomy, and menopause. She shared that she’s found documentation of this practice being used all around the world in over 30 different countries, by indigenous healers.

I looked her up and realized she was training people in facilitating the art of steaming. I signed up immediately.

Until recently, western options in women’s reproductive health have been extremely limited, ineffective long-term, or truly life-altering. Often a woman’s only options are choosing between long-term drug/device use that may result in undesirable (and in some cases, horrific) side effects, or vital organ removal. Both miss the point of addressing the cause, and seek to simply manage symptoms in drastic ways.

As a result, women succumb to radical, yet-normalized surgeries, put their health at risk using drugs, or simply suffer in isolation. But now, perhaps ironically, many women are turning to the old ways to find the most effective modern results!

I’m also keenly aware of the lack of education around proper menstrual and reproductive health, that I believe should begin before puberty. I have vivid memories of the ‘sex ed’ class I had in high school. It came much too late in my opinion, and was full of lies, pushing one agenda: abstinence. I was actually told that I could get pregnant at any point in my cycle.

Well today, I believe that with appropriate guidance and support (for proper therapeutic herbs and protocols), vaginal steaming is positioned to revolutionize women’s (and girl’s) healthcare!

The implications of this are that every woman has the power at her fingertips to heal her cycle, her womb, and empower herself to take responsibility in a VERY accessible way.

Meanwhile, the majority of my bodywork and birth clients were struggling with menstrual and reproductive problems. It’s sadly common and often labeled as “normal.”

So, I have realized as an advocate of self-care and women’s health, there is no other option than to offer this service to women. I’m impassioned to be in the space to offer this gift to the world.

So here are my Three Top Reasons Why I Love Vaginal Steaming:

1. Happy Cycle

I LOVE having a clean pussy that smells like musky flowers, does her blood dance on the regular, doesn’t hurt me or cause me to feel depressed. Basically, I love having a healthy menstrual cycle.

After all this time, I’m quite amazed that the thing I dreaded each month could turn into a celebration of the cyclical nature of life. I am so grateful for the reminder each month to slow down, sit on my steam sauna, let myself feel into the watery side of myself, allow the emotions, and release the stagnation of the shit I didn’t say—just let it all be released by my body.

My body does that for me, and I don’t have to think about it—it’s empowering to surrender that way.

2. Sensitization to the Max

I LOVE having a sensitized pussy that responds to stimulus with pleasure. I love how the steam practice has increased blood flow to my whole pelvis, but especially to my labia and cervix.

I feel more pleasure—during sex of course, but also during walks in the woods when the leaves and the wind dance just right. I feel allowed to feel pleasure. I have become aware of all the things that can delight me, now that the veil of pain and dissociation are lifted.

I more-easily let myself receive, which (unbelievably!) starts with an open pussy.

3. Reclaiming Sexual Health

I LOVE taking my health back.

I remember how I felt defeated after that sex ed class. How broken I felt when I had an abnormal pap, after being diagnosed with HPV, and had to have a minor surgery to remove the “bad” tissue.

Now the stigma around ‘symptoms’ has lifted! I no longer hear bad news about my body and believe I’m broken, or that I need expensive interventions to heal. Ladies, your cycle is the 5th Vital Sign of your health. I love studying my cycle, in all its complexities and messages, and beginning to understand myself better.

Now I better know my needs, what I want, what builds fertility and juiciness, and I have the power to change things with that knowledge.

So, there you go.

I’ll leave you with this quote from Keli, “I felt like a truly magical woman.”

 

If you want to start a steaming practice—to solve a health issue, or simply to reconnect with yourself in an ancient and nourishing way—reach out to me or a practitioner you know. It can be contraindicated, depending on what you’re experiencing, and there is a bit of science to it.

About the Author:

Sarah Lou Sarah Lou

Sarah has committed to exploring what is lurking beneath the positive affirmations, using genuinely authentic humor. Threading through her careers as a transformative vedic thai bodyworker, women's sensuality and fertility coach, birth professional, and stand-up comic, is a golden strand of GET REAL BITCHES. She has culminated over 1,000 hours of professional study and a decade of teaching, and she works with individuals and couples in deep-dive bodywork and coaching alliances. She often works alongside her incredible husband, Kjetil Odin, who as a Norwegian man living in America, offers a very unique opportunity for her to reflect on her shit, learn from it, and share it with the world like good compost. Join her free facebook group Women Empowered

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