Dr. Theresa Pulickal is a Physical Therapist and Western Trained Clinician that treats pelvic floor dysfunctions. When she learned how much steaming could help her patients she took a vaginal steam certification in order to add this to her San Diego practice. After all the valuable knowledge, she knew she needed more in order to provide this service to her clients. We interviewed Dr. Pulickal to learn more.
What is your profession?
I am a doctor of physical therapy that specializes in the pelvic floor and abdominals and I'm also training as a Peristeam Hydrotherapist.
Where did you go to school or get your professional training?
I went to Illinois State University for undergraduate school and Azusa Pacific University for my Doctorate. I am a registered yoga teacher, have course work in Ayurveda, level 1 and 2 pranic healing, cranial sacral, visceral mobilization and trained in internal pelvic floor muscle and nerve assessments. I became certified as a Vaginal Steam Facilitator and am in Peristeam Hydrotherapist program at the Peristeam Hydrotherapy Institute by Steamy Chick.
How long have you been practicing?
I have been practicing physical therapy since 2006. I have collected many certifications and completed many courses that contribute to the way I treat my patients but vaginal steaming has made a huge shift for the better in my practice. I have been using steam with my patients since 2017.
How did you learn about vaginal steaming?
I heard about vaginal steaming from another therapist at a pelvic floor seminar. She used it with her patients to relax the pelvic floor before internal assessments. I looked into it and realized steaming could be used for much more than relaxation. Turns out all of the information was exactly what my patients are seeking help on. It fit seamlessly into my practice since I am already evaluating the pelvic floor.
Do you use vaginal steaming yourself?
Of course! I did the whole postpartum protocol just 6 months ago after I had my baby. I do monthly wellness steams now for relaxation and will continue to steam when I get my period into the next birth, the next postpartum, and into menopause. I do not see myself giving up with the ritual/wellness/self care.
What has your personal experience with steaming been?
I followed a postpartum vaginal steam protocol after my third baby. I immediately knew this was something I had to offer other women. I had only wished I knew of it after my first baby 4.5 years ago. In the Peristeam Hydrotherapist Program we learn to steam for labor prep and I wish I had done that with my pregnancies.
Why did you decide to offer this service to women? Was there an “aha” moment?
My first time steaming was amazing! That was definitely an "aha" moment but also going through my third postpartum experience with steaming was unforgettable. I healed so quickly, felt amazing, and relaxed. I already had two other child births and this was different/better healing wise (emotionally and physically). As a physical therapist, I love to explain to my patients "I have felt and done every technique on myself before trying it on you" and can explain how it feels first hand. The postpartum steam was an amazing first hand experience and I wish for all birthing parents to be open to doing this for self care.
How long have you been offering vaginal steam services?
I have been offering vaginal steaming since 2017.
Where do you offer your services?
I offer my services online and also mobile, in my client’s homes, as well as in my office space in San Diego. I have started doing community pop-up clinics with a sliding scale in San Diego to be accessible to all.
What benefits do vaginal steam services have for your clients?
My clients report that their PMS symptoms have been eliminated. They’ve also reported that they are less emotional and experience less physical pain, reduced clots, and decrease stress during their menses or ovulation. They report immediate relaxation, better sleep, healing hemorrhoids, increase fertility and sex drive, reduced hip and low back pain, vaginal tightening in a weak pelvic floor, easy labor, and quicker postpartum healing as well as miscarriage recovery.
How do clients respond when you offer them vaginal steam services? Any funny stories?
Most patients are very receptive to trying steaming. Once they steam for the first time, they love it. While I am studying in the Peristeam Hydrotherapist Program I use my best friend as my practice client for different protocols and she is now addicted to v steams. It is funny because every time she comes over she asks if we could do a v steam together. And we do!
Any favorite quotes from clients either during or after steaming?
"Time for a vagina facial."
"It is like a vagina deep cleaning!"
"Get it right, get it tight."
Do any vaginal steam success stories stand out where the client had a significant health breakthrough?
I had a client come to me who had a constant yeast infection. She had tried diets, chiropractic care, essential oils, probiotics, and diflucan when she finally allowed me to assess her pelvic floor internally. Around her urthera, levators, and hip internal rotators were hypertonic as well as her coccyx (tailbone) was getting pulled by her hypertonic musculature. She had suffered a pelvic floor trauma in the past and her amazing body was protecting her womb. Her body beautifully responded to the first steam and allowed me to guide her body into a place of healing. She felt immediately relaxed and expelled discharge into the steam pot for the next couple days. After that her yeast infections did not return.
Another success story would be that a pregnant client came to me proactively as she had suffered with leaking after her first birth and it never subsided. She was worried about the second birth affecting her control to void. As we worked together during her pregnancy we planned v steaming for her postpartum period. After her second child's birth, she returned to getting pelvic floor physical therapy and v steaming. She confidently weaned away from wearing a panty liner 3 weeks postpartum. She resumed light pelvic floor breath work 4 weeks postpartum and reported no leaking. We checked in with each other week 6 and she was so pleased she had not had any leaking during her daily household chores, was not wearing a panty liner, was satisfied with her postpartum experience, and was confident in her body again.
For more information:
Dr.Theresa Pulickal, PT, DPT
San Diego, California
Theresa.firstname.lastname@example.org / (619) 894-6884
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