So, I am guessing by now you must have seen the latest news on Gwyneth Paltrow going for a Womb Spa or Womb Cleanse, and wondering what on earth that is, and what is the benefit. I have even had a journalist on the phone asking me about womb steams, how they work and what my thoughts are.
So I thought I would share my experience of this wonderful yet simple therapy with you.
Where Did They Come From?
Womb steams have been done in China for many years and Victorian women in England used to do them too. More recently, they experienced a renaissance in women’s health after Rosita Arvigo started training her practitioners in how to do them and herbalists have started adding them to their repertoire of recommended self care treatments. It was even included as a part of my Fertility Massage training.
There are still traditional medicine practitioners that practice them today, especially in Asia, South and Central America. But since Gwyneth announced having one, they seem to have really taken off.
You may hear them being called womb steams, vaginal steams, v steams or even yoni steams (Sanskrit for all the female genitalia).
So Tell Me More
Womb steams are simply the use of steam to help remove impacted endometrium and according to Arvigo, even correct a mal-positioned womb.
Sometimes when we have that icky dark sludgy stuff in our bleed, this is old endometrium coming out of a mal-positioned womb, where instead of the bleed coming, down, it has to go up and back down again. See my video here. The result is the endometrium remains in the womb, pools and condenses into darker, old blood, which becomes impacted. The heat from the steam can help to draw this out, like it does to draw out a boil.
It is also great to help the day after your period to ensure that you have removed all remaining endometrium from that cycle, so that fresh oxygenated, nutrient rich blood is there, available ready to nourish any potential egg, rather than beneath a layer of old lining.
So, as you can see, it isn’t really so out there, and quite a logical treatment. It is also lovely and relaxing like a hot bath, which helps relax and release any pelvic tension.
But I Shouldn’t Wash My Lady Parts
This is true, any soap, especially anti-bacterial can disturb the natural flora of the vagina which is very sensitive to changes and is a self cleaning organ anyway. And it is also correct you shouldn’t use any kind of douche as it often uses water out of a tap that can carry bacteria which is harmless for regular washing but issues for the vaginal flora. However, steam by its nature will kill off any bacterium in the water and is not propelled up, it will rise up and in.
Some women who do get thrush easily from hot baths, should avoid this, but you will know if this is an issue for you.
You don’t have to use herbs, but if you do, I recommend fresh ones that you know you can eat or seeing an herbalist. Do not use essential oils as they are super concentrated and will more likely cause an irritation. I often use hot water with nothing added.
So, Can Anyone Do Them?
In short, no. You cannot do them:
if you are pregnant
on your bleed
after ovulation if you are trying to conceive
have an active infection
have any suspected but as of yet undiagnosed infection
have any unexplained bleeding
are very sensitive to heat (ie hot baths give you thrush)
How Do I Do Them?
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Want to know more:
Find out Why Period Pain Isn't Normal and What You Can Do About It
Find out What Periods Have To Do With Fertility
Find out How Sanitary Products Could Be Causing You Period Pain
Learn more about practices to look after you period with my Periodology: Love Your Period Course