All Hail the V-Steam for Pelvic Health!
I came across the idea of pelvic steaming, or V-Steams, when I first began traveling to Belize to study Mayan Abdominal Therapy and Spirit Healing. This was before the days of Goop and Gwenyth Paltrow, before podcasts that introduced listeners to this idea that was very foreign to most of us in the US and Europe. Before trying V-steams myself, I investigated the origins of this therapy that seemed very new to me. What I found showed me that steaming for pelvic health was indeed a time-tested practice from traditional healing lineages around the world.
It turns out, sitting on a pot of steam, with or without herbs, has been a part of most herbal medicine practices around the world for a long time. Africa, Asia and Central America all have pelvic steam recommendations going back centuries, to treat reproductive gynecologic issues and pelvic pain. While some traditional cultures tout this therapy as “cleansing” a dirty area, we know in modern society that this is not the case. The vaginal canal, cervix and uterus are self-cleaning when everything is working as it should. However, at times, due to stress, antibiotics, pH imbalance, and other factors, chronic infections such as yeast, bacterial vaginosis (BV), chronic pain, difficulty conceiving (infertility), and irregular and painful menstrual cycles can develop.
How does pelvic steaming help?
We know that circulation can be compromised in the pelvis, and proper blood flow is essential to good pelvic health. Our modern lifestyles with long hours of sitting do not support good pelvic circulation, and in addition many of us have a history of procedures in the lower abdomen and pelvis which can cause adhesions, such as surgery. Modern medications such as antibiotics disrupt vaginal flora, and soaps and lubricants can also cause pH imbalance. While steaming itself does not change hormone levels, enhancing pelvic circulation can support the ovaries, uterus, and vagina in receiving hormonal signals so that they work normally. After all, hormones travel in the blood, and if blood circulation is poor, how do our organs get those signals?
My first steam used what I had at home – a stock pot, rolled up beach towel around the rim, and hot water with a handful of dried rosemary. It was what I had on hand, and it worked! I had been experiencing pelvic pain and the gentle heat from the steam relaxed my muscles so I could sleep well that night, without pain. It was amazing! I went on to steam a few times a week and then about once a week to maintain benefits. Eventually I bought a Shakti electric steamer to simplify the process, and am now able to set up, steam, and clean up in about 20 minutes. While an electric steamer isn’t necessary, it makes it easier and quicker, so that I actually do my V-steams regularly. Now, we have a Shakti electric steamer in the office as well, so my patients can come get V-steams regularly, in a spa-like setting, without all the stressors being at home might bring.
Book a session with Dr. Jennifer Karon today. Call or text 503-244-0500 to schedule.