This month on the blog, I have invited Meriah Ruskowsky from My Blissful Womb to write on the benefits of vaginal steaming during the postpartum period. She is a local certified holistic nutritionist and Yoni steam practitioner. Vaginal steaming has other benefits aside from helping the postpartum healing process (which I have experienced myself. It helped my menstrual cycle go back to ‘’normal’’ after my miscarriage. It actually got better than before!) We will focus on the healing properties of Yoni steaming after giving birth. I invite anyone curious about this practice to communicate with Meriah to get a personalized steaming protocol and herbs appropriate for your condition and goals.
*I would also like to point out that the text she wrote uses gendered language. In my opinion this practice can be for anyone with a vulva, vagina and uterus. I think we all have some sacred feminine energy circulating through and is worthy of celebrating through rituals.
Here is what she has to say:
As with most noteworthy developments in life, it is a simple series of events that leads me here to writing this piece on postpartum vaginal steaming for you today. Coming into the New Year I had been asked to teach a class on Yoni Steaming for a group of women in Calgary. Virtually, of course. While putting the class together and reviewing my old notes, I was reminded of my original ‘why’ – the reason I choose to make the leap from using Yoni Steaming as a personal practice to actually making a business out of it. And it’s simple. From the very first time I sat down over that warm and fragrant steam, I knew that this was a practice that I had to share with women; for their own health and empowerment as well as to be a part of a revival of something very sweet and ancient.
What is Yoni steaming?
If you are completely new to the concept of Yoni Steaming, the practice uses a selective blend of flowers and herbs that we steep in water, like tea. The steam from this water is then used to gently steam the vagina as the woman comfortably sits over it, safely, using a wood steam sauna box. There are other ways of steaming without using a sauna box, but for steaming postpartum, this is the most recommended method. It is encouraged to work with a trained practitioner who can guide you on which herbs to use, work with you to develop a unique plan catered to you, and advise you how to steam in a safe manner.
The benefits of postpartum steaming
In the world of Yoni Steaming, postpartum steaming is like the quintessential cornerstone. In fact, I will take it even further in saying that if there was a holy trinity of Yoni Steaming, steaming postpartum would be at the top! Postpartum vaginal steaming is a universal practice. Women have been using steam as a way of caring for their bodies after giving birth for hundreds and hundreds of years in all corners of the world. Many cultures and traditions steam for 30 days postpartum, however, in parts of Cambodia, for example, the postpartum steam plan is to steam for 90 consecutive days!
So what exactly are the benefits of postpartum steaming? Why do women around the world continue to use this natural and holistic practice to care for their bodies after giving birth? What might they know that we do not, here in the Western world?
Lifting and tightening of tissues and organs
The benefits of postpartum steaming are as plentiful as they are diverse. Let’s begin with one of the most important benefits and that relates to the natural lifting, rising and tightening action that steam has. This innate value of steaming postpartum helps to lift the organs back into their optimal position after giving birth which may help to address prolapse. Along these lines of lifting and tightening, vaginal steaming may also have a positive effect on defending against bladder incontinence. Think of the concept behind steaming your face at a beauty salon, an important and inclusive aspect of the facial. First, steaming is cleansing and helps to remove impurities. Steaming the face also tightens and tones the skin, encouraging elasticity. We can notice the same effects while steaming the tissues of the vaginal canal, the cervix, and the uterus – the muscles, ligaments and connective tissues are believed to be strengthened and restored. I was recently speaking with a retired midwife who has 20+ years of experience. She tells me that this particular point cannot be emphasized enough; a strong pelvic floor is so important, not just for the new mother, but for all women.
Postpartum steaming may help the uterus to return back to size and many women state that they feel a reduction in postpartum contractions or afterpains. Some other points of interest are that postpartum steaming has been know to have a positive effect on reducing hemorrhoids and constipation.
Scar healing properties
Let’s move on to some other benefits of postpartum steaming. I had mentioned in the previous paragraph about steam removing impurities as well as its cleansing attributes during a beauty facial. So let’s take that concept down south a little further. After a vaginal birth steaming is supportive to the healing process by keeping the stitches and tears clean, which may result in less infections. Steaming, in general and especially postpartum, may also help to reduce scar tissue. In fact, steam works wonders on scar tissue and I know this from personal experience – that, however, is for another blog! I must mention a caveat here and that is that postpartum steaming must be postposed for 6 weeks if the woman has given birth by caesarean section. In this case, we want a certain amount of scar tissue formation and steaming too early would be a contraindication to that.
Increase milk production
Another very compelling piece of postpartum Yoni Steaming is the idea that it may increase breast milk production. The scientific explanation behind this is that oxytocin is released when the cervix is stimulated. That is a fact. As we know, steam permeates and does touch the cervix, thus releasing this important hormone that promotes feelings of happiness, peace, and has a positive effect on breast milk production. It would be amazing to have more research done in this area! Testimonials from women who have steamed postpartum show that there is possibly less postpartum depression and more breast milk production. How awesome is that!
I invite you to indulge your imagination for a moment and think about the feeling of sitting over a nice warm steam, fragrant with lavender, mint, and other luscious flowers and herbs – it is delightful! And it is this incredible soothing warmth that is responsible for getting our circulation moving, especially in our reproductive organs. Having this great circulation is going to help to naturally clear the lochia, the liquid discharge in the womb after giving birth, more quickly and efficiently. This circulation is also going to help reduce water retention, and according to Dr. Lia Andrews, author of 7 Times a Women, it is the reduction in water retention that is responsible for rapid weight loss after pregnancy. In fact, in regard to the possibility of returning to pre-pregnancy weight, Keli Garza, creator of Steamy Chick is a huge advocator (from her own personal experience) of this amazing benefit of postpartum steaming.
Encourage the menstrual cycle to return healthy
And finally, postpartum Yoni Steaming helps menstruation to return HEALTHY! That is because we have really supported the uterus in a full postpartum cleanse with steam. As well, there are many lifestyle and food choices that we can make during postpartum to really support and nurture our body in this natural cleansing and healing time. We go into further details around these important topics when we work together.
It is a ritual celebrating the sacredness of our body
I have been told that there are three golden opportunity times in our lives as women to really care for our essence. These three times include our monthly menstruation, postpartum, and during perimenopause. I know that my self-care is a priority. I fully understand the concept of my own cup being full to show up as my ideal self for others. Yoni Steaming throughout the month (not while I am menstruating) is how I support my golden opportunity for healthy menstruation. I would love to work with you in supporting your golden opportunity for self-care during postpartum.
If you are interested in further reading on postpartum vaginal steaming, I invite you to check out this study: Fourth Trimester Vaginal Steam Study
Blessings to you as you remember your strength, beauty, and inner light.
Meriah Ruskowsky, Yoni Steam Practitioner