From painful to joyful: How I used herbs to transform my menstrual cycle

For years, I dreaded my monthly cycle and all that came along with it – from the painful cramps to the fatigue. The whole ordeal sent me running for the warm refuge of my bedroom for an entire week or more each month because I often felt heavy, stifled and overwhelmed. Despite my respect for my sacred feminine cycle, I began to grow frustrated with the experience I was having with my body. And although, menstrual cramps affect approximately 84% of women of childbearing age, I didn’t feel that it should be considered “normal” to suffer so much each month.

So, after many years of hiding in my room when my period came around, I set out in search of something I could do to support my body to function at its best. I wanted to make my menstruation more joyful, and I wanted to do it naturally.

Yoni steaming: the cure for my monthly woes

In my search for the cure, I discovered an ancient herbal treatment for the uterus that was exactly the solution I was looking for. The treatment is called yoni steaming, and it is revered by women and healers across the globe for its ability to remedy almost any kind of uterine pathology. Also known as vaginal steaming, the treatment uses medicinal plants to cleanse, heal and tone the uterus, which in turn reduces discomfort associated with menstruation, and comes with a whole host of other benefits.

I learned about this miraculous herbal therapy from Dr. Rosita Arvigo, a naprapathic physician, herbalist, international lecturer, author and teacher of Maya medicine. Having lived and studied with traditional Mayan healers in Belize for nearly 25 years, Dr. Arvigo became quite familiar with this remedy for the womb. She reports “astounding and universal results” from yoni steaming, having seen it effectively support women to regulate their menstrual cycles, speed healing after birth, treat uterine abnormalities such as uterine fibroids and endometriosis, assist with healing hemorrhoids, and increase fertility.

Yoni steaming was exactly what I needed to treat my monthly menstrual woes. It’s a remedy that's steeped in ancient wisdom, and it draws on medicine from the Earth. After steaming just three times per month for two months, my cramps, heavy flow and exhaustion virtually disappeared. I felt lighter, healthier and more energetic. I no longer felt overwhelmed by my period, and I actually began to welcome it with joy. And I'm not the only one who has had this experience.

But not only that, I found my yoni steaming practice to elicit even deeper and more subtle effects than the physical benefits alone. I found that yoni steaming brought a more profound connection with myself, my body, and my natural cycles. When combined with meditation and intentionality, I found steaming to release emotional toxins. For me, this is a sacred experience that continues to inspire greater self-love and initiate powerful forward motion in my life.

How to do a yoni steam

It’s easy for you to do a yoni steam at home. To do so, simply steep approximately 1 heaping cup of dry yoni steaming herbs in a pot of hot water for 10 minutes. Allow the water to cool for 5 minutes, and pour into a heat-safe basin. Disrobe from the waist down, and find a quiet place to relax with the steam below your yoni (vagina) for about 30 minutes. Keep the steam as contained, but be sure the steam temperature is mild, so as to avoid burns. Stay wrapped in warm blankets from head to toe as you sit, staying as warm as possible. The steam should feel pleasant, and you’ll likely find the sensation enjoyable! This is a great time to write in a journal, meditate or set some intentions for yourself in your life.

Once the time has passed, remain wrapped in blankets and lie down in a warm bed for at least an hour (or the night). The herbs will continue to work on your reproductive system as you rest, and you'll wake up feeling healed and revitalized. Repeat this process two to three times per month (except for while menstruating). If you are like myself and the countless other women who yoni steam regularly, you'll notice reduced cramping, decreased menstrual flow, and more energy as the months go by.  You can learn more about this process by entering your email address to download the free Ritual Guide on the upper right of this page. 

How does yoni steaming work?

A yoni steam works by applying gentle heat, as well as moisture carrying the volatile oils of medicinal plants, to the exterior tissues of the vagina (the tissue referred to as the vulva). The warmth increases circulation to the labia, causing it to swell and expose the inner labial mucus membranes. These tissues are very porous and absorbent, allowing the bloodstream to pick up the volatile oils and carry them into the inner reproductive system, including the uterus. There, the plant medicine helps to thin mucus and shed unnecessary membranes and build-up. The result is a revitalized uterus, a healthier, more pleasant cycle and a woman who feels more connected to her womb.

Yoni steam precautions

Are there any drawbacks to yoni steaming? Not many, as long as you follow a few simple precautions. First and foremost, never try a yoni steam while pregnant or if you have any sort of infection. Secondly, yoni steams should only be used while you are not menstruating, and are not recommended for women with an intrauterine device (IUD). Finally, always be sure the steam temperature is mild so as to avoid scalding. As long as these simple precautions are followed, yoni steaming is a safe and effective holistic health treatment.

Yoni steaming is an age-old remedy that has been tested and proven by generations before us. My vision with Vibrant Souls is to help revive this remedy in our modern culture today because it is plant medicine that truly has the potential to wildly improve every woman's experience of her beautiful body. I can certainly say, at least, that it has changed my life for the better, and I am happy to be sharing it with you.

As Founder of Vibrant Souls, Sierra Brashear, MA has created the original Devi Steam™, the Devi Steam Seat™ and an assortment of delicious, nourishing teas for women's wellness. Sierra also offers doula care, placenta encapsulation and belly henna services to the Boulder, Colorado community. Find Vibrant Souls on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Sierra also serves as Secretary for the Board of Directors of the non-profit organization Midwife International.