If you're like many of the women I know, when "that time of the month" rolls around, menstrual cramps are likely to send you seeking the warm refuge of your pillow-top rather than showing up as your best self. Indeed, according to one Italian study, menstrual cramping, also known as dysmenorrhea, affects approximately 84% of women of childbearing age. With all due respect for my beautiful, sacred cycle, I began to grow frustrated, wondering why we must suffer such monthly woes.
Finally, after so many years of hiding in my room when my moon came around, I started to seek out something I could do to support my body to function at its best, making menstruation more pleasant.
In my search for the cure, I discovered an ancient herbal treatment for the uterus that yielded exactly the answer I was looking for. The treatment, known as vaginal steaming, is as old as the hills and is well-respected by traditional healers across the globe, remedying almost any aspect of uterine pathology. Also known as yoni steaming (yoni is the Sanskrit word for womb or vagina), the treatment is used to cleanse and revitalize the uterus, effectively reducing discomfort associated with menstruation.
I learned about this amazing herbal therapy from Dr. Rosita Arvigo, a naprapathic physician, herbalist, international lecturer, author and teacher of Maya medicine. Having lived and studied with traditional Mayan healers in Belize for nearly 25 years, Rosita became quite familiar with this miraculous remedy for the womb.
Vaginal steaming, Dr. Arvigo says, is as popular in Mayan culture as drinking peppermint tea is in American culture. In Central America, the remedy is called a bajo, and it is very common among women because it works.
Yet the effectiveness of vaginal steams isn't limited to just eliminating cramps. Yoni steaming has been known by women throughout history to:
- Significantly reduce discomfort, bloating and exhaustion associated with monthly cycles
- Decrease menstrual flow as well as reduce dark purple or brown blood at the onset or end of menses
- Regulate irregular or absent menstrual cycles
- Increase fertility, especially when combined with Mayan abdominal massage
- Speed healing and tone the reproductive system after birth
- Treat uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, uterine weakness and uterine prolapse
- Assist with the healing of hemorrhoids
- Treat chronic vaginal/yeast infections, and maintain healthy odor
- Relieve symptoms of menopause
What's more, it's easy for any woman to do a vaginal steam at home. To do so, simply steep approximately 1 heaping cup dry yoni steaming herbs (a unique blend of herbs that, full disclosure, I happen to sell because I'm so passionate about them) in a basin of hot water, remove your clothing from the waist down, and find a quiet place to relax with the steam below your bottom for 20-40 minutes. Be sure the water isn't too hot, so as to avoid burns. Stay wrapped in warm blankets as you sit. This is a great time to write in a journal, meditate or set some intentions!
Once the time has passed, remain wrapped in blankets and lie down in a warm bed for the night. The herbs will continue to work on your reproductive system as you sleep, and you'll wake up feeling healed and nurtured. Then, if you are like the countless other women who use the vaginal steam, you'll notice reduced cramping, lessened bloating, and more energy at the onset of your next period.
How does it work? According to Dr. Arvigo, the tissues of the vagina are exceptionally porous and absorbent, and the warmth of the steam works to soften and open them. When the herbs are placed in the hot water, their medicinal properties, including volatile oils, are released and carried to the surface of your skin, and to the inside of the vagina, where they are absorbed into the bloodstream and, ultimately, into to the uterus.
The medicinal herbal steam increases circulation, thins mucus, and cleanses the entire reproductive system, allowing it to shed unnecessary membranes and buildup. In doing so, we support the uterus to function at its best, thus reducing the amount of work it has to do, and therefore your discomfort.
Of course, there are always those who will have their doubts. Some will say it's impossible, while others will say it makes no sense. I say, ask the countless women who have seen the results first hand before you write it off as impossible. To these women, this ancient remedy isn't just smoke and mirrors. To them, it makes a real difference.
Vaginal steaming is an age-old remedy that has been tested and approved by generations before us, and its time has come in our modern culture. This ancient treatment for women has stood the test of time, and today it has the incredible potential to significantly improve every woman's experience of her beautiful body. Just as it always has.