This beautiful ancient practice is safe when respecting below important points:
1- If you carry any contraceptive device in place or IUD.
The steam opens the channels, leading to the possibility that the device could move a bit out of its place, which can create discomfort afterwards. The warmth can heat it up creating a burning sensation in case of metals or what its worse, creating a chemical reaction which will be absorbed by the walls of your uterus. If you have decided this method please do not risk it.
2- During pregnancy or if there is any possibility of pregnancy.
Since vaginal steam practices are supporting the detox process from your reproductive system, during pregnancy any kind of cleansing therapy is contraindicated. The body needs rich nourishment, and rejuvenation so the baby can get the most of the nutrients at the body temperature. You do not want to interfere with the fetus development.
3- In case of any open cuts / wounds / stitches or during a herpes outbreak.
Give your body a sweet little break and time to heal, fresh wounds and stitches can easily break or open with the warmth. In case of post-partum, certain preparations are suitable, wait at least for 9 to 10 days days or until your midwife gives you the green card. Ayurveda has a whole protocol for this period, after abhyanga (external oleation) for three days, warm herbal decoctions are given with vata pacifying herbs, which can be apply on the abdomen and genitals. Another option is a prolonged tub bath. After these 3 days, considering the season and constitution, Nadi svedana or Pinda sweda could be recommended. From 2 weeks to 45 days if possible. After the steaming (svedana) or bathing they practice fumigation.
4- During the heavy bleeding days of the period.
The warmth makes the blood more liquid in texture, speeding up the flow. If you are already bleeding enough there is no need to speed up the natural process which might lead to stressing the body and a possible hemorrhage. The heavy days you should rest, let the body do their job. When obstruction is there this practice is recommended at least twice a month, during ovulation phase and just before your period start, in order to assist the body.
5- If you are dealing with Pitta dosha imbalances especially during summer.
Ayurveda recognizes 3 types of constitutions (dosha imbalances, Vata, Pitta, Kapha) that when are mixed between them, create a total of seven different types. In order to make your life a bit easier and understand better these concepts we have created a section called Ayurveda which can hep you to identify the attributes in which your constitution can fit in . It will give you also more insight about how the elements place a role in our body. Our current dosha, might varies from time to time, since we are in constant change and influenced by the food that we ingest, the climate, the season, the age, etc. Pitta is governed by the fire and water element.
Ayurveda considers that any kind of Svedana therapy (sweating) like steaming is not recommended for pitta constitutions with imbalances especially during the hottest months of the year. Does it make sense? What happens when we add fire into more fire? In a holistic approach we should consider the interrelationships between the unique individual characteristics and all the surroundings. These women (along the rest of the year) should avoid very high temperatures, since the fire element is very present on them. A bit more cooling herbs in a gentle way, using mild temperature for yoni steam practice, during coldest months is much more suitable and beneficial for this type, when they are not out of balance. In case of out of balance they can wash with cold decoctions or herbal infusions, with herbs that support their balance.
6- In case of concrete healthy issue, double check it.
Consult a health practitioner before using herbals steams. In the case of pre-existing medical conditions, or contraindications with other medications, please make sure to follow your health practitioner advice.
Following this points, this practice is very safe. We hope that you feel confident to try them out and get the best out of all the amazing benefits behind. It is always good to get informed first.
Big long hug to all the sister in the globe!