Vaginal steaming is a practice done by women all over the world as a safe and needed self care therapy. Steaming is addressing a number of concerns from cramps to bacterial vaginosis to fibroids. Vaginal steaming is extremely gentle and simply involves sitting over a pot of herbal steam. To that wise, it's important to know the do's and don'ts.
Contraindications it is very inportant to know when not to steam.
Contraindication #1: Menstruation
Women turn to vaginal steaming to address menstrual problems, steaming during active menstruation or fresh spotting is contraindicated. Steaming during active bleeding can be dangerous because the steam speeds up the blood flow and can cause heavy bleeding. Steaming should be done before and after the period, which will help aid the natural period cleanse.
Contraindication #2: Pregnancy
Vaginal steaming will aid in healthy conception and excellent after birth, steaming is contraindicated during pregnancy. Steaming while pregnant can be dangerous, the steam relaxes and opens the cervix, which could result in miscarriage or early labor.
Contraindication #3: After Insemination While Trying to Conceive
For anyone that is trying to conceive, they can steam during the time period after the period up until the point of ovulation and then they should stop. Steaming after insemination could interfere with the sperm, fertilization or implantation.
This is also true for medically assisted insemination. Steam up until the point of the IVF or IUI transfer and then stop until the pregnancy is confirmed.
Contraindication #4: Spontaneous Heavy Bleeding
For anyone that experiences spontaneous heavy bleeding or if a woman has two periods per month, steaming is contraindicated. The steam speeds up circulation and opens the cervix, it can cause spontaneous bleeding to occur, this can be dangerous when heavy. Women with spontaneous bleeding who want to steam should go to an acupuncturist/herbalist first and get herbs to control spontaneous bleeding.
Contraindication #5: Hot Flashes
Since steaming introduces heat to the body it might trigger hot flashes and should probably be avoided when hot flashes are present. This might not be true in every case, Some woman have reported that steaming actually helped to alleviate their hot flashes. This is an area where more research is needed, however, it would be best to proceed with caution if prone to hot flashes.
Contraindication #6: During Miscarriage
Steaming is very helpful for miscarriage recovery, it is not advised to steam before the pregnancy matter has cleared out. In rare cases this might lead to heavy bleeding and can be dangerous. Start steaming after the pregnancy matter has cleared out and the bleeding has turned to brown.
The next consideration when it comes to vaginal steam safety is how the vaginal steam is setup. Below are the setup components.
Vaginal Steam Seat
Ensure that the vaginal steam seat is sturdy and that it is placed far enough above the steam not to cause a burn. Unfortunately, there are a lot of unsafe youtube videos that advise women to steam by sitting directly on or straddling over a hot pot. This is not safe. Sadly, one woman attempted such a setup and fell in. She endured several burns. The vaginal steam seat should be a wooden box such as the Crystal Cleansing Center Steam Sauna, a birthing stool or a sturdy chair.
The hot steam should not be in a plastic bowl as is commonly shown on youtube DIY setups because toxins from the plastic can leak into the water. Glass jars are also common but often break if the water is too hot. The best setup is to have the water and herbs in a clay, glass or stainless steel pot.
Electric burners are commonly used to create long steam sessions which is very helpful for addressing certain complaints and is commonplace in spas. Long steam sessions are not suitable for everyone however. Steaming with a burner can aggravate those with herpes, the mirena IUD, short menstrual cycles (27 days or shorter) or infections (BV, yeast, UTI). On the other hand, a mild steam session (without a burner) might be able to help in the above cases.
Lastly, it’s not necessary to steam with a burner during hot summer weather. Mild no-burner steams are the best during summertime.
Getting the Right Herbs
When steaming is making sure to get the right herbs. Most vaginal steam herb blends focus on cleansing and circulatory herbs that are beneficial for clearing out old residue and helping with cramps. Unfortunately, this category of herbs doesn't work for everyone. Specifically, women with short menstrual cycles (27 days or less) don’t tolerate cleansing herbs very well and it can cause their period to come early or may cause loose stools. Alternatively, if short-cyclers get the right herbs, it may help to extend their cycle to a normal 28 days try Mild/Relax herbal blend.
Cloak or no Cloak
It's common in spas to provide a plastic cloak while steaming which helps to cause a full body detox and increase circulation. Though it's commonplace, it is okay to steam without a cloak. In hot weather, if prone to infections, herpes, night sweats or hot flashes, the cloak is unnecessary and might cause excess heat problems in the body. Instead, it can be replaced with a light sheet or thin robe.
Vaginal Steam Safety
These are the basics of vaginal steam safety. As more spas are starting to offer vaginal steam services and new DIY at home videos pop up every day, it's clear that the practice of vaginal steaming is spreading. As it does, the companies and individuals offering this service should implement proper screening processes to ensure there aren't contraindications and to make the proper choices for sensitive clients.
For more info see the Crystal Cleansing Center Vaginal Steam Safety Certification
Vaginal Steam Safety Certification Online Course.