Devotees of the yoni steam, or the practice of exposing the open vagina to hot moist air, swear by the benefits.
Fans believe yoni steams can help with menstrual cramps, PMS symptoms, and can even improve fertility, and the practice is now touted by celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Khloe Kardashian. Day spas have started to offer the yoni steam — sometimes just referred to as a vaginal steam — as a service designed to be equal parts pampering and therapeutic. (However, many OB-GYNs are skeptical of these claims because we don’t know the effect of these herbs on the the lower reproductive tract, so make sure to speak with your doctor before starting a practice.)
Although the yoni steam is having a moment, the practice has been popular in cultures around the world for centuries. Ancient Mayan women were known to practice the vaginal steam, known as “bajo,” and Korean women historically took part in a similar tradition known as “chai-yok.”
For more information, we reached out Sierra Bradshear, founder of Vibrant Souls, a wellness company that helps women practice their own yoni steams at home. Here’s why Bradshear enjoys yoni steaming:
How do you practice yoni steaming?
I do yoni steaming at home as part of my self-care ritual. I simmer two quarts of purified water with one heaping cup of Vibrant Souls Devi Steam blend for five minutes. I then turn off the heat and allow the water and herbs to cool for five minutes before carefully pouring the mixture into a heat-safe bowl. Next I place the bowl carefully in the bottom of a five-gallon pail and set my yoni steam seat on top. I disrobe from the waist down and sit down on the seat, wrapping myself up in my robe and a towel to keep myself warm and the steam inside. (An important note is to move away from the steam if it feels too hot.) I then allow the steam to permeate directly into my skin from below for about 25 minutes. During this time, I like to listen to calming music, meditate, and sometimes journal. Afterwards, I compost the herbs and get in my cozy bed. I recommend women do this two to three times monthly, before or after the menstrual cycle (but not during).
Who do you think would like it?
I encourage most women to try a yoni steam because it’s such a wonderful self-care practice. In general, yoni steaming is a great way to soothe and pamper yourself.
What are the benefits?
Yoni steaming can be thought of as a physical, emotional, and spiritual cleanse. The idea is to honor and support the brilliance of our natural systems using gifts from our precious earth. On the emotional and spiritual level, yoni steaming is considered to to call upon the vibrational power of water infused with plants, as well as intentions and prayer, for spiritual healing.
How does it actually feel?
It feels absolutely delightful! When the steam is the perfect temperature it feels like the warmth of the sun gently caressing your back on a cool day. It’s as if you’re being warmed and lit up from the inside, inviting your inner radiance to shine outward. When you yoni steam, there’s no choice but to release stagnant emotions, drop in with yourself, and experience deep relaxation.