When Abiana Patton-Toure isn't serving up espresso, she's catching babies as a trained doula. After steaming brought her pain-free menstrual cycles and emotional balance, she knew that she needed to offer this service to as many women as she could. We interviewed Abiana to learn more.
What is your profession?
I am an espresso-slinging barista by day and a baby-catching-doula by night. I recently decided to work for myself and build my practice as a Vaginal Steam Facilitator on the side.
Where did you go to school or get your professional training?
I studied Herbal Medicine at Sky House Herb School in Silver Spring, Maryland. I became a certified doula at the Birth Well in Manzanillo, Costa Rica. I also travelled to Thailand for a Womblifting course at Baan Hom Samunphrai with midwife and traditional Thai massage therapist, Homprang.
How long have you been practicing?
I’ve been practicing herbal medicine since my course in 2015 and I’ve been assisting at births since the summer of 2017. However, my knowledge of traditional herbal medicine has been put to better use since I decided to create my own vaginal steaming blends. And my capacity to serve as a postpartum doula has also expanded with learning how to facilitate steams on postpartum women.
How did you learn about vaginal steaming?
After the Womblifting course in Thailand, our group decided to stay in contact via Whatsapp. Though we separated to fulfill our destinies in different parts of the world, we are still connected. The only male in our group shared a link to a webinar by Steamy Chick on Vaginal Steaming in Chinese Medicine. That’s where the idea had first been introduced to me in this lifetime. But, it felt very familiar looking back on it.
Do you use vaginal steaming yourself?
Of course. A huge reason that I offer steaming services is because of the benefits that I receive from my own consistent steaming practice.
What has your personal experience with steaming been?
Even though I sometimes waiver on my commitment to steam weekly, the benefits have been generous. The actual act of steaming makes me feel as if I’m treating myself to premium self-care. I’m thankful that I now have my own steam chair since I used to squat over a pot in my room. I know that my steaming time is a time to relax and that it’ll provide relief from a bad menstrual cycle. After probably my first steam, I noticed that my cramps disappeared and I felt more harmonious and emotionally balanced during my period. My first period after several steaming sessions was a breeze! I got to relax at home and embrace my yin time without dealing with any pain.
Why did you decide to offer this service to women? Was there an “aha” moment?
My “aha” moment came from that blissfully pain free menstrual cycle. I knew that this service could provide so much to women. Women previously came to me with various issues and I actually wasn’t sure how to approach them. Now, I have vaginal steaming herbal blends that address many women’s problems if not all of them. And if they can’t steam for whatever reason, they can always drink the blend as a tea. Since I’ve tested the herbs on myself first, I know how they work instead of just having book knowledge on them. And I’ve noticed that the steaming works a lot faster than drinking the tea so you learn how your body reacts to these herbs a lot more quickly than just taking them as teas. Overall the vaginal steaming aligned with my vision to aid modern women, especially postpartum women, by offering indigenous therapies. The ancient practice makes me feel connected to all the women who practiced before me and to all the women nowadays who suffer from various issues of the womb.
How long have you been offering vaginal steam services?
I only started offering steaming services in the summer of 2018. I’m looking forward to truly developing my practice and serving more women.
Where do you offer your services?
I travel to women in their postpartum phase. Otherwise, I offer my steaming services at home. I’ve created a cute little area in my room for women who want to experience this healing in a safe and comfortable space. I also organize Full Moon Gatherings and offer steaming as a part of the experience.
What benefits do vaginal steam services have for your clients?
All of my clients in their menopausal phase report improved sleep, deeper relaxation and a decrease in night sweats. Women who are postpartum generally feel like the steaming is emotionally cleansing, pampering and a good time to check in with themselves. I usually offer the postpartum steam within the first week of baby being born, since this is already an extremely sensitive period. The steaming gives the women a little slice of heaven and self care in the midst of their hectic nesting time.
How do clients respond when you offer them vaginal steam services?
Most people are like….. “What is that!?” I’ve come to realize that not many people have a reference point for it. They also usually ask if it’ll burn, which is a valid first question! Sometimes the steam does get a bit hot and you have to hop up for a second. But it should never burn.
Any funny stories?
The funniest thing to me is that people never want to get up. They rationalize reasons why they should be able to stay longer, like “Remember I got up for those 10 seconds in the beginning?” Or people are surprised when they feel things being released or a wetness in between their legs. They gasp in awe.
Any favorite quotes from clients either during or after steaming?
One client cried after a steam and told me how much she was glad to have someone who understood her situation and could provide her with emotional support to her during the postpartum phase. Sometimes you may provide a sense of security or comfort for others just by sharing your passion and dedication to their healing and care. You may even be the only person in their life who cares. That means a lot to people.
Do any vaginal steam success stories stand out where the client had a significant health breakthrough?
I’m still working on creating success stories. However, just the fact that people show up to the steam chair for their healing is success in it’s own!
For more information:
Certified Doula and Vaginal Steam Facilitator
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