Last weekend my girlfriend came over with her 7 year old daughter to have a girl’s night. As we were doing facials and playing with dolls, friend's daughter Surem asked me if I would set up a vaginal steam bath for her. I was thrilled! Her mother told me she had put on her long ceremonial skirt all on her own, in case I had said yes. I let her choose from a variety a few different gentle flowers, rose, calendula and sage. We opened the bags inhaling the aromas, praising the vibrant colors and scents of each herb. Her big beautiful brown eyes gleamed with excitement. I shared with her the medicinal use of each one. I let her put the tiniest pinch of each dried flower in the pot of water to boil. "I love the colors, they are so pretty!" she exclaimed.
We let the herbs steep in the hot water. When I took off the lid she peeked inside, "The colors changed. Where did the colors go?" she asked. "Into the water'' I said. “Now all the beautiful smells and colors are transferred into the water. You just made your own flower water!”
I set up the vaginal steam bath chair in my kitchen. Surem needed my help getting on the chair, she sat down, draped her skirt over the chair, and sat over the steam, shoulders to her ears, looking at me with biggest smile on her face! Her mother is a native Yaqui women who embraces these practices, so I know she had heard the following before:
"Now I will let you sit, allowing all the wonderful smells of the flowers, and beautiful colors in the water to nourish your sacred womb. This is a way you will take care of this space, because this space is very special." I kept it simple, lite and fun. A celebration of her body with women she looks up to. She was so happy and looked very proud as she sat there. It was adorable! It was such an honor for me to share this time with her.
We need to reclaim these ancient practices for our girls. For centuries, and still modern day, native women of the Americas, Korea, Philippines, India, Russia, Africa, have used these steam baths for vaginal health.
I give vaginal steam baths, along with womb massage, and herbal remedies for reproductive health. I often times I will meet a women, a first or second generation immigrant from another country, that lights up when mentioning the vaginal steam baths. They'll say "Back in my country, women do this. This is my grandmother's medicine." I am learning more and more that vaginal steam baths were/are really done all over the world by so many cultures. I see vaginal steam baths and other natural womb care practices as a way to empower ourselves, taking charge of our health. We need to practice these wise traditions for our bodies as our ancestors have been doing for centuries. I see so many women heal themselves with vaginal steam baths, abdominal therapy, and herbs from uterine issues such as painful periods, pain from endometriosis, or even infertility, after their doctor told them they couldn't do anything about it. Not to mention the emotional aspect healed, the sense of empowerment, and connection to oneself.
What if we were talked to like this from a young age? About how special our womb is, about how our cycles sync with the moon, of how we should love and care for ourselves. What if we learned how to use vaginal steam baths, and other natural preventative remedies as a part of our self care routine? What if we practiced the simple act of slowing down to take care of and check in with ourselves, viewing it as a self care, not selfish. What if we celebrated a young women's period, giving her the tools to help prevent painful cramps? I have, at one point said myself (and often hear many women say), “I hate my period! I hate being a women!” Maybe we could change that. I know it did for me, and many of my clients.