Why You Might Want a Steam Bath for your Lady Parts and How Self Abdominal Massage May Help Your Fertility
Description: Our guest today is my dear friend, Jen Poll. Jen is a Licensed Massage Therapist in St. Petersburg, Florida. We have a great talk with Jen on the techniques of vaginal steams, abdominal massage, and her inspiration from teachings of Don Elijio Panti and Rosita Arvigo. Steaming and Abdominal Massage can be a great way for women to maintain and achieve uterine health, to reconnect with their own body and reclaim any power they may have previously surrendered. We cover what a vaginal steam is, and why a woman may want to steam her lady parts. The massage and steam can be as ritualized as you want or can be a scheduled simple self-care technique. We also cover what to expect during the process and situations where you may want to wait before jumping in.
[:49] Jen is a Licensed massage therapist in St. Petersburg, Florida. In 2008, Jen traveled to the Pacific Northwest to train as a practitioner of The Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy. Having personally benefited from the techniques, Jen was eager to learn the work and share this ancient healing with others. I had the pleasure of working with Jen in a previous practice so I know first hand the transformative work she provides as I’ve referred countless patients and even been a client myself.
[3:22] Jen was having bad cramps and was working with a skilled midwife Anne Hirsch, who suggested the Arvigo massage to help alleviate some of her symptoms. She felt great relief and wanted to learn more so she could help women in all phases of life, from preconception to menopause; her passion is empowering women through transformative bodywork.
[6:41] They do a lot of work structurally and work with nerves to make sure all the ligaments are open and free so the body can do its job of maintaining balance and homeostasis within.
[12:21] Men can benefit as well, and it helps with prostate health to release congestion and blockages.
[16:03] One of the reasons we know about this work is based off the work of Don Elijio Panti and Rosita Arvigo. Jen explains how each of them carved a path for healing and didn’t give up despite many challenges and setbacks.
[21:35] The massage can be a great complement to other elements, including herbs and IVF. It can help women reconnect with themselves and partners.
[23:25] All about vaginal steams! Vaginal steam is used commonly in places like Korea and Central America. Please DO NOT use essential oils as they can burn the delicate skin of the vagina. The idea is to extract the oils safely out of the dried or fresh herbs during the steam.
[26:35] Jen explains why she uses a unit now with her clients, and during what time of the cycle it’s best to steam.
[28:56] There are many amazing herbs that can be put together for the steam, and it is important to go over each option with a trusted professional.
[29:40] Do NOT do the vaginal steam if there is a chance you are pregnant, during menstruation or an excessively heavy period.
[32:08] Focusing on the woman’s health is the safety net and most important investment.
[36:59] Post birth, it is a great practice for toning the pelvic floor and Jen recommends waiting at least 6-8 weeks.
[44:07] The uterus may retreat and hide due to stress, trauma, and age. In Chinese medicine, they call the uterus one of the “curious organs.” They can empty and fill at will and can be an outside indicator of what’s going on inside the body.
[47:48] One of the most important things we can do is love, trust, and support our own bodies.
How to Perform a DIY Vaginal Steam from the Maya Tradition or ATMAT
About five years ago a group of my friends facebook messaged me dying with laughter over an article they had found on vaginal steams asking me if this was legit? I had a chuckle because it was rather common place to me and I had forgotten about the shock value at first blush with it because I prescribed it so often in my fertility practice AND because I had such high regard for the Mayan Tradition. Long story short- I educated them all with some jokes here and there and I believe most of them have tried it by now with glowing comments like,
"It's actually quite nice."
"Who knew my lady parts deserved a facial."
and, "Why have I never heard of this?"
Recently, I sat down with Jen Poll LMT and registered Arvigo practitioner and we did an hour long podcast on all things in the Maya Tradition taught by Rosita Arvigo. Listen here to hear more about Vaginal Steaming, the difference between Maya Abdominal Massage and Fertility Massage and other techniques this heritage incorporates like castor oil packs and dietary therapy. Here are the basics on a long overdue instructional blog post on how to DIY a vaginal steam.
Why To Do a V- Steam
To potentially increase your fertility both naturally or with IVF (consult an Arvigo practitioner for best times during an IVF cycle)
Increase cervical fluids and eliminate dryness
To nourish and tonify the uterine lining
To potentially regulate an erratic cycle
To release any energetic attachments to past lovers or hurts that may be a blockage in your womb
As a natural way to assist the body in naturally dissolving ovarian cysts or small fibroids
When To V-Steam
For preventative care – 1 week before the 1st day of bleeding.
For cysts, prolapse, pelvic pain, fibroids, endometriosis– 2 – 4 x a week
After a DNC or miscarriage – wait 3 weeks; make sure there is no infection prior to steaming.
Post delivery, wait 6-8 weeks, making sure you are not bleeding and there is no infection
If trying to conceive TTC, perform after period ends or before fertile window starts
At end of your period as a way to ritualize this monthly flow and make friends with your body
When Not To V-Steam
If there is any chance you are pregnant; if trying to conceive TTC, perform after period ends or before fertile window starts
When infection is present
If there are symptoms of damp heat in the pelvis, vagina or colon i.e. vaginal infection, candida, yeast infection, bacterial infection, active herpes outbreak
IUD- most are metal and could conduct heat and burn you
During menstruation- We want everything to come out, not in
If your periods are excessively heavy- having to change a pad, tampon or cup more than every two hours
Herbs to Consider Using For Vaginal Steam
Herbs that have an affinity for the urinary and reproductive organs; Red Raspberry Leaf, Juniper, Motherwort, Peony and Dong Quai/Tang Kuei, and Mugwort leaf
Herbs that move blood like rosemary or Hong Hua for cramping, endometriosis or fibroids
Herbs that clear dampness like Pau’darco, Sarsparilla, or dandelion root for chronic conditions like cysts, non pathological cervical discharge
Herbs that contain volatile oils; Basil, Oregano, Lavender, Rosemary, Marigold, Garden Sage, Peppermint and Lemon Balm.
Herbs that are astringent or tonifying for conditions like hemmroids or prolapse; Witch Hazel, Yarrow, Cedar Berries, Rose and Juniper.
Traditional herbs the Maya use are dried basil, Calendula, Oregano, Yarrow and Lemon Balm.
Herbs to avoid if you have sensitivity to Estrogen are Red clover, Dong Quai also known as Tang Kuei
Available for purchase here https://www.arvigotherapy.com/rainforest/products3?tid=24
Individual herbs available for purchase at www.starwest-botanicals.com
How To Steam Without a Special Chair (using your toilet or slatted chair)
Things you will need- toilet or slatted chair, 1-2 blankets made from natural fibers if possibly, socks or slippers, a stainless steel pot, a large ceramic or pyrex bowl to but the herbs into, your choice of herbal blend, and preferably an hour of alone time or quiet
In a medium to large pot place chosen herbs (about 0.5-1 cup of dried herbs) and approximately 8 cups of preferably purified water into a vessel
While putting herbs into pot, if you feel called to- clearly state your intentions for these healing herbs, say a prayer, or enter a state of pure mindfulness. This was a very ritualized practice in the Maya tradition where this was normal place, however, it is not a must for it to work so go with your instincts and what feels right for you.
Bring water and herbs to a slow boil for about a 5 minutes, place lid on pot and bring down to a low simmer and allow herbs to steep for another 5-10 minutes with the lid on to contain most of the essential oils.
Place a ceramic or stainless steel bowl under a slatted chair or snuggly under the toilet seat
Pour half of the water/herb mixture into the bowl. Replace lid on remaining mixture in pan and leave on stove top on low simmer.
Wave your forearm above the herbal water and make sure the steam isn't too hot so you do not burn your lady parts. Do not sit down until the steam is comfortable for you. There is no prize for who can sit on the hottest pot!
Remove your underwear and sit on the seat above the steaming water.
Cover your entire lower half to the ground with a blanket, sort of making a tent to keep the steam in.
Make sure you are warm, socks, blanket around upper half of you if you aren't in a tropical climate
You should feel warm, rolling heat for about 10 min. Try and be mindful during this time, simply observing how it feels to give yourself the gift of self care and quiet reflection without judgement.
When the steam dies down dump the water mixture into the toilet or sink and repeat with the rest of the mixture starting at step 5. Don't forget to retest the heat before you sit!
If you can continue the gift of self care after this age old tradition, maybe give yourself permission to take a nap, read a yummy book or do something outside helping you to stay grounded while enjoying more of mother nature's special gifts.
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