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.