Yoni steaming, the official name for vaginal steaming, is used in many different cultures around the world. The Sanskrit word for sacred space is Yoni.

It involves squatting over a bowl of steaming water that has had some specially selected herbs steeped in it. By wrapping a towel around your waist and ensuring that this flows down over the bowl you create a mini steam room for your nether regions. This is usually combined with a short meditation or relaxation session. 

However, it is a very controversial practice with many doctors speaking out about the dangers of steaming your vagina. Despite this, it has been growing in popularity in recent years with celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Chrissy Teigen fuelling its popularity by posting photos of them taking part in the practice on social media.

Yoni steaming has been around for hundreds of years. It was a part of Mayan culture and many cultures still encourage it today. The purported purpose of it is to cleanse the uterus and help with menstrual issues.

Fans of the practice claim that it can be used to treat yeast infections, ovarian cysts, fibroids, endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome. They also claim that it can help to encourage scar tissue to heal.

Opponents of the practice however, such as women’s health expert Jennifer Wider, M.D., argue that the vagina naturally cleanses itself. Altering the delicate vaginal pH balance by doing things such as steaming it or douching can create an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive in and so increases the risk of infections such as thrush.

Devotees of Yoni steaming believe that the herbs mixed in with the steaming water can help to regulate menstrual cycles and draw out any lingering blood from the uterus. They believe that if your period starts with brown or dark blood, Yoni steaming can help to stop this by ensuring your uterus is fully cleansed after every period.

Medical professionals warn that steaming your vagina with the wrong herbs can actually cause a miscarriage. Both sides agree that you definitely should not steam your nether parts while you are pregnant, if there is a chance that you might be pregnant, or if you are having your period and are actively bleeding.

Those who practice Yoni steaming claim that it softens the exterior of the vulva. They believe that this encourages increased blood flow and improves circulation in the area.

However, opponents of Yoni steaming have this sobering reminder for anyone tempted to try it. They say that as the skin there is particularly delicate and sensitive, it is very easy to accidentally burn it during a Yoni steaming session.

Lynette J. Margesson, MD, FRCPC, Assistant Professor of Dermatology and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College told Women’sHealth “Although this steaming has been used all over the world it makes no sense. Why would one do this? The steam almost never gets inside the vagina. Steaming would just affect the vulva and potentially scald the skin. Unfortunately, women mix up the vulva and vagina all the time. They, too frequently, are taught that the genital area is a taboo, dirty area—how sad!”

Others feel that taking time to Yoni steam is the same level of self-care as having a facial or a pedicure. Menstrual coach, Lindsay Dalton, says “You may also practice Yoni Steaming to mark the end of the Inner winter part of your cycle as you’re transitioning into your Inner spring and to connect in with your Yoni, your pleasure, your womb, and your creative spirit.”

This article does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read in Anything Goes Lifestyle magazine. Always ask your doctor first.

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