Yesterday I had the pleasure of volunteering for an event in the city called Cycles and Sex, where all things related to female health, fertility and sexuality were put in the spotlight. I was there as part of Katinka Locasio’s booth for her practice Earth and Sky Healing Arts, where she offers services such as craniosacral therapy, acupuncture, and Mayan abdominal massage, among others. I was helping set up V-steams and educate women (and some men who were curious) about herbal uses in steams or otherwise. Although steams were popular since the 1950s, in recent years there have been some controversies about their use and efficacy.
During a steam, whether using a device such as this or this, or a homemade steam over a pot of boiling water, various herbs can be used for therapeutic effects. The steam helps to open the pores of the skin to enhance local penetration of therapeutic components.
Usually, herbs used in steams are chosen for properties to boost the ability of the tissues to heal and move stagnation. A good time to do a v-steam is just before menses, and right after, to promote stagnant blood to flow while preventing spasms or extreme bleeding. The following herbs are used for specific indications:
- Basil and oregano: used for antiseptic/antimicrobial/antifungal properties (tip: basil is also moistening, while oregano is more drying)
- Calendula: anti-inflammatory, tissue healer, and helps move lymph (to clean blood)
- Chamomile: gentle, calming, downward energy
- Yarrow: heals wounds and dispels overabundant blood flow (heavy menses)
- Mugwort: moves blood, stimulates menses, soothes cramps
- Lavender: antispasmodic, relaxing, soothing, antiseptic
- Rose: soothing, gentle, astringent (tightens skin), healing in psychosomatic issues/trauma
- Gotu kola: heals scars, old and new (called ‘Brahmi’ – or sacred herb in Ayurveda)
- Plantain: very soothing, healing to mucous membranes and skin
What are your thoughts on v-steaming? Has anyone tried it? What was your experience? Write below!