As you may know, I am all for using alternative, natural, and at-home remedies over traditional health solutions. But when it comes to vaginal steaming—also referred to as v-steaming or Yoni steaming—it's a hard pass.
There are many reasons for this, but first, let me explain what vaginal steaming actually is and why women do it.
What is vaginal steaming?
Vaginal steaming is the process of squatting over a bowl of herb-infused steaming water for about 20 minutes. There is usually a stool with a hole in it where a woman can sit during this process, but that's not always the case. Herbs that are typically added include rosemary, basil, mugwort, and wormwood (all great for feminine health, but maybe not using this method).
Why do women do vaginal steaming?
Vaginal steaming has apparently been used for centuries but has made somewhat of a comeback in recent years, thanks to celebrities touting its benefits. Somewhat similar to douching, it is intended to cleanse the vagina, cervix, and uterus. Women who swear by vaginal steaming say it can also help treat a variety of issues, from period-related cramps to vaginal discharge, and that it can help improve fertility.
Why I don't recommend vaginal steaming
In my research, I have yet to come across a health care professional who recommends vaginal steaming, and I can totally see why. For one, there has been no evidence to support proponents' claims. But that's not all.
Sitting over steam for an extended period of time—even 20 minutes—can lead to serious burns, both internally and externally. The herbs involved may interact negatively with the vagina when used this way. Steaming can throw off the vagina's natural pH balance of good bacteria, opening the door to infection. And most importantly, the vagina is a self-cleaning mechanism, capable of taking care of itself without the need for douches or vaginal steam sessions.
The bottom line
Although the vagina literally cleans itself, it is by no means perfect. Health issues arise, from vaginal discharge to odors to cramps. But vaginal steaming simply doesn't seem to help. There are other more effective nontraditional methods.
There are natural solutions to vaginal discharge. There are sprays like mine that can help with unwanted feminine odor. And there are ways to balance pH levels and promote optimal vaginal health through eating certain foods. And that's just scratching the surface.
Just like anything else in life, living naturally is all about balance. But perhaps more than that, it's about being mindful of what we put into—and onto—our bodies every day. It affects everything from our mood to our physical health, so think of this mindfulness as the best protection we can give ourselves against external threats—and the best chance we can have to live as healthfully and as naturally as possible.