It is common, but it isn't normal. Your period should be pain-free. Sometimes there is a bit of discomfort during the first day or two, since the uterus grows in size and contracts to expel blood and tissue, but severe cramps, bloating, aching back and extreme moodiness are NOT normal and indicate some imbalance in your monthly cycle.
The Perfect Period is something Keli Garza of Steamy Chick talks about frequently. It is what a menstrual cycle is like for someone with no imbalances and it looks like this: a 28-30 day cycle (days between bleeding), 4 days of bleeding fresh red blood, free of clots and spotting, no back or breast pain, no cramps or bloating, no severe moodiness. There is no bleeding or pain mid-cycle. One feels introspective and calm. The body is efficient at removing the unecessary blood and tissue, and there are no blockages to that process.
As an ally to the queer community, it is important to me that this is a safe place to support those who identify as women and those who do not. I do use Vaginal Steaming and/or Yoni Steaming when those words fit into the experience of the person in front of me, but choose to use inclusive language to name my work.
Anyone with a body! Peristeam Hydrotherapy (often called Vaginal Steaming or Yoni Steaming) is traditionally used for postpartum mothers, but research has found tremendous benefits for anyone who menstruates and/or has a vagina. Even men or male-bodied folks can use steaming to ease discomfort from hemorrhoids or infections of the genitals or perineal area.
You should not steam during active bleeding. Steaming increases the heat in the reproductive organs, which can increase bleeding. Plus, the movement of the menstrual cycle is OUT, not in! You want to encourage the outward movement of blood and tissue to ensure a more comfortable cycle. Just before or just after your bleeding is a better time to steam.
Despite popular belief, you CAN steam with an IUD in place. You just need to be conscious of it and treat your body gently, using less heat, less time, and gentle herbs.
You can use herbal medicine via Peristeam Hydrotherapy to treat infections. Choosing appopriate herbs is important, as is being gentle with your body - using low heat and less intense steams than typical. I consult an Herbalist or TCM Practitioner when suggesting a steam protocol to anyone with an active infection.
Generally speaking, it is safe to steam once your postpartum bleeding has slowed to a light flow. This typically happens somewhere around 4-7 days, but it can vary. Be in touch if you aren't sure!
Yes, of course! We make the wooden steam saunas here in Greenville, SC and ship them all over the continental US. Locals can enjoy a discount for picking up their own sauna at our shop. See this page to order your steam sauna.
Although a steam sauna is the most comfortable and simplest way to steam, it is not necessary. I have used the toilet, a slatted chair, two chairs pushed together, or even just a bowl on the floor which the person crouched over. With creativity, anyone with any budget can enjoy the benefits of steaming. Get in touch with me if you want some help brainstorming!
Shortly stated, I listen! To the person, to their symptoms, and to my knowledge, experience, and intuition. Also, when it is called for, my Herbalist friends and colleagues who hold a wealth of information. Each person I work with will get a unique herbal blend for their individual body and situation. While many of the herbs I use come up frequently, I find that offering the practice of creating a personalized blend helps me see more deeply into each person's health and ask the right questions.
All of the herbs I use are organic. When introducing a substance to a body's mucus membranes, it is essential to avoid pesticides and other toxins, as the mucus membranes absorb very readily. This is why steaming is so effective! When possible, I source herbs from local growers or my own garden. I also use Mountain Rose Herbs, Frontier Co-op, and Red Moon Herbs.
Your home, generally speaking. I do have space in my office to set up a steam, if you desire, but I find that people feel most relaxed in their own home. I bring all the necessary supplies and set up your steam sauna, show you how to prepare a steam for yourself, and if you'd like, I stay during your first steam. I leave the sauna and herbs and stay in contact with you during your protocol window (usually 10-30 sessions) and offer a follow-up consultation at the end of that window.
I will drive to your home if you live within an hour or so of my home in West Greenville. For those farther, I charge a travel fee to cover time and fuel. If you live in the continental US, another option is to have the sauna and herbs mailed to you, and to do our meeting via Skype or Zoom. If you live outside the US, I can help you set up a steam sauna, either by some other means, or by contructing a sauna for yourself, then meet with your via Skype or Zoom to facilitate your consultations and steam sessions.