In April Emily Graham of Greenvilee, South Carolina enrolled in the Institute of Peristeam Hydrotherapy. She's one of the first in the program designed to train professionals how to use vaginal steam as an all-natural therapy for gynecological concerns. After just half a year she says she is starting to see incredible results with clients. We interviewed Emily to find out more.
What is your profession?
I am a birth worker in varying capacities, and have a background in Mental Health. I am combining these two lives by becoming a Licensed Clinical Counselor for those planning births while healing from trauma, those healing from traumatic births and those healing from sexual trauma. I will continue to use Peristeam Hydrotherapy in all my work, as I find that it is a medicine for mind, body and soul.
Where did you go to school or get your professional training?
I studied birth with Whapio and The Matrona as well as with hundreds of families during a traditional apprenticeship, and will be returning to grad school to earn my Clinical Counseling degree.
What led you to this type of work?
The birth of my first child blew my mind in all the ways I'd hoped it would, and I dove into appreniticeship with a Nurse-Midwife when my baby was only 9 months old. That was nearly 10 years ago now.
How did you learn about vaginal steaming?
I first heard of vaginal steaming or "hip baths", as they called them, at a Korean Spa nearby. I was 13 months postpartum and had my first postpartum bleed the following day. So much "gunk" came out; old blood, stringy clots, and teeny bits of tissue. I was totally amazed, but didn't really think of it again for quite some time, and definitely didn't know anyone who was doing it at home.
Do you use vaginal steaming yourself?
Of course! Honestly, my summer was a bit crazy and all my steam saunas were sold or out for use. I was too lazy to use the bowl-in-the-toilet method, and for 2 months I didn't steam at all. I noticed that the progress I've seen with shortening my cycles started to reverse, and my cycles went from 29 days (my normal used to be 32-38) to 30 to 32.
Why did you decide to offer this service to women? Was there an “aha” moment?
The first time I ever used a vaginal steam at home was a couple of years ago when I was trying to conceive my 4th baby. I conceived the first month but lost the baby early, at about 6 weeks. I waited a couple of weeks to miscarry, but the blood didn't come. Knowing I was no longer pregnant and wanting to avoid medicalized care to complete the miscarriage, I instinctively made myself a steam. I gathered whatever herbs I had around my home; Yarrow and Lavender from the garden and Parsley and Oregano from the kitchen. I boiled the herbs and put the pot into my toilet. [TMI alert!] I masturbated to create strong uterine contractions as I sat over the steam. The following day my body released the pregnancy. I felt SO EMPOWERED! I knew I had been brought to powerful medicine and started to learn more.
(Side note: you can watch the baby I did eventually conceive be born at home in the documentary These Are My Hours!)
How long have you been offering vaginal steam services?
I've been doing steams with postpartum clients for about 9 months and just opened my doors to work with the rest of humanity a few months ago, as Greenville Peristeam. I hope to be a safe place for women, gender queer and trans folks to come for menstrual health, and so I use the term Peristeam in place of Vaginal Steaming. My husband also makes steam saunas from pine and cedar and I include a sauna with each of my Peristeam services and sell them through my website and through the Steamy Chick marketplace.
Where do you offer your services?
In and near Greenville, SC I do consultations and steam facilitations in my home office or in clients' homes, whichever they prefer. I also work with people from afar on the phone and through video calls.
What benefits do vaginal steam services have for your clients?
I honestly couldn't even list them all. Cycles at 28 or 29 days for the first time ever, WAY less pain and even pain-free periods, elimination of PMS, mid-cycle pain and spotting and clots during period, the passing of all kinds of old residue, reduction of cramping and bloating during the period, increased libido, faster healing of skin and tissue after birth, quicker involution (shrinking) of uterus after birth. I could go on, and I've seen all of this in less than a year in practice. I don't know anyone who has tried steaming without amazing benefits within the first few months.
Do any vaginal steam success stories stand out where the client had a significant health breakthrough?
A woman in her 20s I'm working with has Stage 4 Endometriosis and was scheduled to have a hysterectomy when she contacted me: This is what she sent me after ONE MONTH of steaming:
"My period started Tuesday. I didn’t need my heating pad once! And I’ve never bled this little before!! Say WHAT?! I’m actually stunned. Usually I can’t leave the heating pad and this is the first month in years I didn’t need to use it....... craaaaazy stuff! I don’t even know what to say I’m so shocked! I haven’t had a period this manageable since I was 13!"
I burst into tears when I read her message. She has since cancelled her surgery and is going to continue steaming and see if we can heal her body and keep her uterus!