Where there is water, there are plants - and where there are both, you unavoidably have the advent of tea. Outside of plain water, tea
is the most commonly drank beverage in the entire world and throughout history. The simple act of adding herbs and flowers to water creates remedies that have been found in every curve of this world, from culture to culture and era to era. Steam from tea carries with it the fragrances of what it contains, as well as volatile oils and essences. The very wisdom of the plant
itself, ushered up by vapor; beckoning us with its ghostly dance in the air, as well as its curious array of scent. This warm steam is a breath of supportive healing. For those with vulvas, it has served as such for millennia.
When seeking the point of origin, it seems that steaming has been truly a universal healing modality used the world over. A vast history of pelvic steaming has been found on every continent spanning countries throughout Asia, Europe, the so-named North and South American continents, Africa and the Middle East, the Hawaiian islands and Polynesia. The practice has been long used throughout indigenous communities, as well as ancient civilizations such as Egypt, Babylonia (present day Iraq & Syria), the Aztec Empire, the Mayan Empire (presently called Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Peru), and more as they are discovered and respectfully reclaimed. This practice was developed to support community identity through sitting together in trusted circles, as we sometimes do while enjoying passive healing. Consider the energies of a bathhouse, a hot spring, or a sauna. Similarly, these would be specified moments of gathering, to sit and enjoy the benefits of the steam as well as each others company. In the wake of our colonist and church-driven culture, we have all but lost touch with this practice as midwives, wise women, community healers and traditional means of medicine have become noted as sinful, made outlawed, or worse. Thankfully there have been those willing to carry the torch and pass it down from generation to generation. Those who now hold these sacred flames
of knowledge are able to share in brand new capacities. That paired with the seeming collapse of the industrialized complex of healthcare has created a beautiful opportunity for these practices to be taken up once more.
Circulation in the pelvic area is generally regarded as a main source of overall health, spanning the physical, emotional and energetic. Steam from a warm herbal tea offers us the chance to heal in several ways. In fact, there is even healing in the impulse alone. To make space to reconnect with the body is an act of care. The body hears us, and responds. One of the societal damages our culture is beginning to reckon with is the aggressive removal of sacred reverence for life below the belly button. To simply offer attention towards our abandoned bodies is to begin the process of self-healing through devotion. Should you have experienced trauma of any kind, this approach could be a very gentle and effective way of reestablishing relationship with the body
, as well as bolstering self-trust and intuition. We must shed the old and rigid rules of society and begin regarding our magnificent and marvelous forms once more. They are our one true home, and our temple of life.
Steaming also supports our physical health, harmonizing the cycles of those who bleed, and relieving symptoms of discomfort associated with our monthly cycles in a natural and non-invasive way. Furthermore, there can be support in healing from infections, fibroids, cysts and endometriosis. Those who are postmenopausal, have experienced hysterectomy, prolapse or any number of more severe events may also discover relief in the simple act of sitting and receiving pelvic steam treatments. Wishing to enhance fertility, or balance hormones? Steaming can help. If recovering from childbirth, steaming can be relieving from the warmth alone, and amplified through the use of proper herbs. Simply done from home and involving nothing other than an herbal blend and water, it is a very available remedy - though one which must be embarked upon with caution and respect. Plants are powerful healers, rich with very real medicines.
Let’s go over how the process of steaming works. Physically, the introduction of warmth and heat helps soften the tissue of the pelvic inlet, the cervix and the uterus. The steam is light and expansive, allowing the oils of the herbs to be released and carried to permeate porous membrane, entering the bloodstream and newly relaxed tissue. The warmth creates healthy blood and fluid circulation, supports lymphatic flow, undoes stagnancy and heals tension from sitting, sex, stress, and trauma. Bodily fluids from previous cycles or discharge that has not been flushed can be left to sit in the uterus, often leading to menstrual pain. The steam and actually flush the uterine walls and pelvic canal, thus clearing the way for an overall healthier and cleaner pelvic region.
There is also a tremendously powerful magical component at work when we steam. We are each vessels of our own being. The hips and pelvis have been referred to as the Cradle of Fear, acting as a catch-all for our emotions, traumas and anxieties - as well as those we have inherited. It is where our inner child resides, as well as the taproot of our descendants. The pelvic girdle and bones of this part of our bodies form a kind of bowl. When we steam, we sift this bowl of emotional and energetic debris. Pelvic steaming is our chance to examine emotions that are held in this space, some being old and in desperate need of movement and release. This practice helps to heal our lives, and even our lineage
. Alchemically, the steam is made of the four elements: earth, water, fire, air - as well as the fifth: mysterious spirit. As we allow our bodies to drink in these healing vapors, we also enact remedy through ritual.
Below is a basic at-home steaming ritual you can try for yourself.
For any contraindications such as surgery, please refrain until doctor consultation. Please do not steam if you may be pregnant, currently on your cycle, have fresh spotting before or after ovulation, or if trying to conceive.
YOU WILL NEED:
- A steam stool, a crate with hole, or your toilet bowl
- A cloth, sheet or towel to wrap around your midline
- A glass, ceramic, or stainless steel pot that is no bigger than 8 inches wide and has at least a 1 liter (1 quart) capacity.
- Your choice of herbs - see list below for some basic recommendations:basil (move fluids)
- marigolds (anti-inflammatory)
- hibiscus (hydrating)
- rosemary (anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-microbial)
- lavender (disinfectant, anti-inflammatory)
- oregano (antiseptic, antispasmodic, expectorant)
- calendula (anti-inflammatory)
- orange Peel (digestion)
- motherwort (tonifies, cramping, infections)
- mugwort (all purpose)
- yarrow (strengthens uterus, anti-hemorrhagic)
- mint (digestion)
- nettles (blood building, kidney cleanser)
- thyme (disinfectant)
- Bonus: a luscious body oil for self-massage during the steam
HOW-TO, STEP BY STEP:
Please note: This can temporarily increase menstrual flow with more dark fluids or debris. Menses may start earlier than usual due to the cleansing effect. Herbs can be used twice. If you plan to reuse your herbs, remove them from the pot before steaming and store them in the refrigerator.
- If using a toilet, prep by placing your glass, ceramic or stainless steel bowl into the toilet bowl.
- In a medium sized pot, pour 6 - 8 cups of water.
- Place one handful of fresh herbs or 1/4 cup dried herbs into the water. Do not add or use essential oils as they are too strong and may burn sensitive tissue.
- Cover with lid and bring water to a soft boil for 5 minutes.
- Turn off heat, leave on lid, and steep for another 5 minutes. It’s super important to test the temperature of the steam before using it. If it is too hot, wait one minute and test it again until it feels comfortably warm to steam with.
- Pour 4 cups (half) of water into the bowl you have placed in your toilet.
- Place your hand 8 - 10 inches over the bowl to make sure it is not too hot.
- Remove undergarments, and sit on seat above the steam.
- Drape your blanket or sheet around your midline, ensuring the steam is kept inside. Make sure you keep yourself warm. Wear socks or slippers on your feet and a sweater or scarf if needed.
- Sit for about 10 - 12 minutes. You should feel a gentle and rolling heat from the steam.
- When the steam dies down, dump the water into the toilet or dispose in a sink.
- Starting with step #4, begin the second dosage if you feel inclined. If it has cooled, reheat and temperture-test again before sitting.
Using a small portion of massage oil such as our in-house made "Overworked
" or "Lavender
," try some simple self-massage
to your shoulders, arms or feet while sitting. Allow the steam to rise, and imagine your pelvic bowl filling with radiant light. It might be a sunset gold, a sweet shade of lavender, or more of a bright white. The color will come to you intuitively. Allow the fragrance to support your vision further. As this light fills and swirls within you, visualize the stagnant grey energies being shaken - flaking or melting away. Further explore these visions by imagining what this pelvic bowl would look like as a clear, flexible and mutable bubble cut in half. Let the light splash into it, scrubbing it clean of the old and stagnant. As this happens, take time to thank your body. Offer it sweet, compassionate gratitude for being exactly where it is and what it is at this time.
To explore this practice even further, join us on September 19th for our live webinar workshop, "Pelvic Steaming & Herbal Blends for Health & Magic" - sliding scale tickets and donation-based BIPOC ticketing available here.
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