There are some things that good Christian women shouldn’t talk about (like our periods)… but here I am, sharing about my experience with a “V Steam” because, well, I like to overshare. And oh yeah, by the way, women need to hear about this ancient herbal ritual that is actually good for their health! I share my experience below.
First of all, when I first heard about V steaming I thought “this is a little too out there for me. Isn’t anything private and sacred anymore?” But the more I learned the more intrigued I was.
V steaming is becoming a popular topic, with everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to your local gynecologist touting the benefits. So what is a V steam?
V steam – yep, it is what you think it is.
First of all, the “V” stands for “vaginal.” Let’s just get that out there. Yes, it’s an herbal steam for your vagina.
This is also known as a “Yoni steam,” as “yoni” is the Hindu word for vulva. I guess the “V” could also stand for “vulva” with that in mind, but I digress.
The whole “yoni” thing can get into some Hinduism & spiritual stuff that I’m not interested in, so I’ll stick with “V steam” and tell you about the purported benefits… and what happened when I tried a V steam myself… at my local mall. Yep, I’m classy like that.
But more on that later. Let’s look at what a V steam actually is.
V steam -the herbal treatment for your lady bits
A V steam is basically where you squat over a pot of steaming herbs so that the herbal steam can enter your vaginal canal. Ideally, there is a seat or stool so that you can sit comfortably for half an hour or longer while you steam.
Herbs used include motherwort, wormwood, rosemary, and red raspberry, though the herbs can be tailored for an individual woman’s needs. Essentially these herbs are for combating infections as well as balancing hormones.
Listen, I’ve had four kids. And if you’ve had some kids, I probably don’t have to tell you that those sweet angels do a number on your body… including your vagina.
Whaaat? Pushing babies from your vagina changes it? Ya don’t say. Yep, as well as your pelvic floor muscles, your uterus, your bladder, and pretty much every other square inch of your body from your ankles to your chin(s). Actually, now that I think about it, even my feet changed during my first pregnancy.
But here’s the thing- V steams aren’t just for women who have had babies. They can be helpful for lots of female issues.
V steam benefits:
- uterine toning
- hormonal balance
- improved fertility
- relaxed pelvic muscles
- reduced period problems like PMS, cramping, and heavy bleeding
- less yeast infections
- may help with bladder problems and bacterial infections in the vagina and even the gut.
These benefits have not been studied, but proponents suggest that increased blood flow to the vaginal area following a steam may contribute to some of the purported benefits. In addition, herbal steam contains the constituents and therefore benefits from the herbs, so herbs that are indicated for infection, hormone balancing, and so forth may provide benefits.
What happened when I got a V steam
Because of my status as a four-time birthing champion, as well as lingering symptoms of interstitial cystitis, I decided it was high time to give V steaming a go.
I heard about a new medical spa in town and all the holistic health services they offered, from IV therapies, to an oxygen bar, to V steaming. Sign me up for a spa day.
Here’s how that went: my V steam experience
I arrive at the “medical spa,” which is basically a one-room shop at the mall. (I hadn’t realized it was at the mall.) The door is propped open and there are people constantly walking by and in.
“It’s cool,” I think. “I’m sure there’s plenty of privacy for such a treatment.”
I realize that the only separate room with a door in this place is the bathroom. “I’m not sure what your comfort level is with privacy…” the employee starts. “We can set you up right here [out in the open in the large room where other people are receiving services], or I can put you behind the curtain [still in the same room, but with a plastic curtain separating you from other people].”
Me: “Is that a trick question?” She looks at me. Clearly this is not a trick question. “Behind the curtain, please,” I say.
I walk in and there is a geriatric-looking stool perched over an electric burner and an old pot with water in it. It’s not yet boiling as expected. So, she adjusts something, the burner clicks on, and I wait while the water heats up.
I notice the pot for sure looks like it’s Teflon. I make a mental note to research the negative effects of Teflon fumes entering my vaginal canal.
She helps me put the steaming cape on and tells me I can wait to take off my pants while the water heats up. She leaves to get the herbs and I’m left wondering if I’ve made a critical error in scheduling this appointment. My fears are confirmed when she returns.
She scoops some herbs into the now boiling water and tells me to take off my pants and undergarments. That wouldn’t have been awkward at all to do out in the open in front of the couple now receiving ionic foot detoxes.
After I’ve disrobed, she tells me she’ll help me get onto the stool. I look at her and wait for her to put some sort of barrier on the seat. When she doesn’t move to do so, I ask, “Um, are you going to put a cover on that seat?” She kinda chuckles and says, “No.”
Me: “You mean, other women sit their naked behinds on this stool? And you don’t put some kind of liner or barrier over it?”
Her, still finding my dismay humorous: “No. We sanitize it.”
Me: “I mean, my chiropractor puts down a barrier for people’s faces and you’re not going to put one down for my behind?”
Her: “I can get some paper towels for you if you want?”
Me: “It’s fine.” (It’s not fine.) I mount the seat. I text my friend Jess about the lack of covering for the seat. I need moral support. She suggests I research natural cures for herpes next.
The employee leaves and I’m left to ponder the position I now find myself in: perched up on a stool, naked from the waist down (though covered with a cape), listening as only a plastic curtain separates me from a guy and his girlfriend getting foot baths.
Just on the other side of this, a dude and his girlfriend are chatting away. But at least there’s this curtain.
And then the steam hits. The glorious steam. And I’m instantly relaxed. I tell Jess that I don’t even care if I get herpes.
“OH MY GOSH,” I text Jess. “THIS IS HEAVENLY.” And it really is. Jess comments that she’s glad we get to bond over this experience. “This is a level of friendship intimacy from which we can never return,” she says.
The steam is wonderful… the sweating that ensues leaves me assured that sanitizing this seat is not sufficient. But the steam.
I can see, at least, how the steam relaxes the pelvic muscles. I definitely feel relaxed “down there.”
When my 30 minutes are up, I grab my clothes and shuffle across the big room to the bathroom (again, maybe I’m overly modest, but I feel weird carrying my pants across the room to go get dressed, but listen, things were, um, steamy, and I needed to dry off before putting my clothes back on).
I really do feel relaxed and rejuvenated, and I swear some of the bladder symptoms I deal with daily were temporarily abated.
I decide I want to continue doing V steams because it was just that good. But I don’t want anymore awkward experiences for my modest self.
How to do V steaming at home
While I was sitting for 30 minutes steaming, I had plenty of time to research how to have this experience at home. It turns out, it’s really easy.
First, you’ll want some kind of stool. Options abound. You can get this inexpensive stool made for camping, or a stool made specifically for V steaming like this.
You’ll also need some kind of cape to “tent” yourself over the steam. You might be able to use a large towel or even a sheet, but there are pre-made steaming capes available like this.
You’ll want to buy pre-made bulk herb packs that are created for V steaming like this.
You can use a portable burner to keep the herbs steeping for a minimum of half an hour, or you can heat the herbs on the stovetop, then steam for as long as the steam lasts. I plan to try using my Instant Pot, because, why not? (The Instant Pot Mini 3 qt would be perfect!)
Basically, all you have to do is make a tea (bring 2-3 quarts or so of water to a boil, then add a 1/2-1 cup herb mixture) then let the steam do its magic. Position yourself over the steam in a squatting position, with fabric of some kind draped over you to keep the steam in. Relax for half an hour or so.
With all the benefits of herbs for your health, it only makes sense to apply them directly to your lady bits, right? But -word to the wise- do it at home or do your homework before booking an appointment.