How Vaginal Steaming Restores the Organic Flow of Reproductive Cycles, Periods, and Organs

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I first met Keli at my STREAM training when she guest-spoke about the efficacy of peri-steaming and its long history and current practice as preventative and postpartum care in dozens of cultures around the world.  I am continually amazed that this efficient and cost-effective practice isn’t more widely known to address such a wide range of issues – from resolving irregular period symptoms, to postpartum recovery, to restoring sensations from sexual trauma, to increasing blood flow for penis-owners.  I really admire Keli and how she has guided Steamy Chick towards data collection and will soon be creating new educational campaigns about holistic standards for “good gynecology.”  

Today’s Guest: 

Keli Garza has a Masters degree in International Development graduating cum laude. Garza is the owner of Steamy Chick – the largest distributor of vaginal steam supplies in the United States. To further vaginal steam education, Garza founded a branch of her company called the Peristeam Hydrotherapy Institute to train practitioners in the use of vaginal steam for menstrual and reproductive health and to further research on the benefits reported by thousands of customers.

Additional resources discussed in this episode:  “Making Women’s Medicine Masculine: The Rise of Male Authority in Pre-Modern Gynaecology” by Monica H. Green and “Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology” by Deirdre Cooper Owens.  

And Korean studies on vaginal steaming include:  

* Systematic Review of Fumigation Therapy for Atrophic Vaginitis:           Steaming-Therapy-for- Atrophic-Vaginitis-Article-2016

*Therapeutic Effect of KMST (Korean Medicine Steam Therapy) – Korean Medicine Combination Therapy about Leukorrhea Patients:  TherapeuticEffectofKMST/KoreanMedicineCombinationTherapyAbout-LeukorrheaPatients

* Effects of Artemisia A. Smoke on Menstrual Distress, Dysmenorrhea, and Prostglandin F2.  KoreaScienceArticle

We explore: 


“Menstrual pain isn’t ‘normal.’ … Pain is not okay” 


How the quality of one’s menses as an indicator of their overall health.  


How brown menses is an indicator of a lack of circulation – despite gynecology texts claiming that “anything consistent is normal.”


How articles against Vaginal Steaming lead to documentation and data collection culminating in the Pelvic Steam Testimonial Database. 


How modern Western gynecological procedures are based on White male doctors experimenting on Black enslaved women.


How The Fourth Trimester Postpartum Study revealed significant differences in recovery between the steam and non-steam PP groups, and provided an opportunity to identify standards for what is healthy PP recovery.  


How Vaginal steaming as a somatic practice can restore and increase healthy pleasure sensations in the pelvis. 


How perineal steaming can be healthy and beneficial for penis-owners (“men”).  

Rahi: Welcome to Organic Sexuality, where we explore the restoration of pleasure, the reclamation of sexual sovereignty and the realization of our embodied sexual nature. An invitation to honor the pleasures of your body by embodying the pleasures of your nature. I'm your host, Rahi Chun. I'm a certified somatic sex educator, sexological bodyworker and creator of Somatic Sexual Wholeness. In this episode, we explore the various applications and wide range of benefits of the ancient time-tested practice of vaginal steaming with Kelly Garza, founder of Steamy Chick. We discuss the turning points which propelled steamy chick into becoming the premier resource for all things related to vaginal steaming, the roots of modern day Western gynecological practices and its resistance towards longstanding effective practices like vaginal steaming, and standards for healthy, holistic gynecological care that are still missing in the current medical model

Rahi: Today, I'm really, really thrilled and happy to have invited Kelly Garza to the podcast. I've known Kelly for a couple of years now. I've been so impressed and just in awe of her journey of navigating the steamy chick revolution. So just to introduce her first, Kelly is the founder and director of Steamy Chick -, which is quickly become the most comprehensive resource for data collection, prescription, assessment - advice on, you know, most everything related to peri-steaming and vaginal steaming, as well as being a leading supplier of steam saunas and herbal blends. So Kelly, great to have you here. Thank you for joining us.

Keli : I'm always, always happy to be involved with anything you're doing.

Rahi: Thank you. Thank you. So, I thought we could start Kelly because a lot of our listeners are probably going to be new to vaginal steaming or may have heard of it, but not necessarily practiced it.

Rahi: And I thought it would be fun to ask you to share like the different turning points in the evolution of steamy chick and your, you know, even as your role as the leader of steamy chick and how that's kind of, I mean - I feel like you were, you've become a spokesperson for this holistic healthy, safe,, self-care practice, that's actually been around for centuries, but you know, a lot of modern day audiences don't really know that much about. So I'd love to know, like during your evolution - from your very first steam to now, like what were the junctures that really kind of propelled steamy chick in a new direction or in a deeper direction? Like essentially, what blew your mind along the journey.

Keli : Wow. Okay. So nobody's ever asked me that before. Yeah, you do have my mind turning, you know, that one. So, if I go back to the beginning, I heard about vaginal steaming, like everybody else. And I learned about it from Marcia Lopez, who's a Mayan abdominal womb healer. And, actually at first there was nothing, there was just like - blank. Like it was like crickets, she said vaginal steaming, and it was just like crickets to me - why would I do that? I would never do that. That has nothing to do with me. And then my period was missing. And something, you know, since you work with trauma, my period was missing because of a traumatic experience. So, it had been gone for three months or so. And what I realized now is that any time I have experienced trauma in my life, my period has gone missing.

Keli : That's actually one of my body's responses to trauma. But at that time I didn't know it. And I was just like, Oh, my period's gone, who cares, you know, just going through whatever I was going through. And, and so I actually, I realized that mentally I was struggling and emotionally I was struggling. I was having a hard time, like moving forward. And so it occurred to me that my hormones might be out of balance and I realized, well, of course, that would make sense if my period is missing, that my hormones are out of balance, but because I was struggling so much, for the first time in my life, I figured, well, I guess I need my period to come back so that my hormones can balance out. And so I went to sleep with that question. Well, how do I get my periods to come back?

Keli : And that's how I asked. And I woke up and I had, that was like vaginal steaming. I was like, I have to try that. And so I went to a Korean spa and I tried it and my first experience with it, it was actually a little bit too hot and I wasn't in my comfort zone. And so I did it. And so here's one of the interesting things about vaginal steaming is that you can do it not believing or not having any idea what it's going to do. And it actually still has an effect. It physiologically, you know, has an effect on the body. It creates circulation, it creates heat, you know, which is ultimately going to affect the womb. And so a couple of hours after that steam session, my period started, so my period started and my just like that, and I felt a relief.

Keli : I felt like I was able to return to my normal self after that. And so what happened at that point was that I saw that that period looked healthier than any period I'd have had my entire life. About 10 years earlier, I had asked my OB GYN. They said, do you have any questions? I said, well, I said, my period is Brown. I was like, is it supposed to be Brown? And they said, is it always Brown? And I was like, yeah, it's consistently always Brown. And they said, okay, then that's normal. Just contact us if something's different. And I was like, okay, then, right. Well, this period after steaming was red, it was a fresh red, healthy color. And it was just vastly different. And I could tell that it was healthier. So that was, that was the moment I was like, this is better.

Keli : This is better than the consistently Brown. It's better. It smelled better. It felt better. It, my, my body felt better. And, um, and so I decided at that point, I'm going to, I'm going to continue to do this. And you know, when you ask about like, you know, what propelled me forward or why, honestly, one of the reasons why was because I didn't have health insurance, I figured I have to do things that keep my body healthy. And if this is going to give me a help, what looks to me like a healthier period than I should do it. So there was a honestly a financial consideration, you know, as to why I was going to integrate this into my life. And, um, that's something that I'm really just starting to understand again. Now looking back is how important the accessibility, you know, is how even without much income it's accessible, it's something that anybody can do to improve their health or to ensure that they have, that their menstrual health is on track. Right?

Rahi: Yeah. And it can, I mean, it's a preventative health practice in many cultures. You know, you're sharing so many great points right now. Kelly, I want to underscore that, you know, like a lot of people will assume that - Brown, that their menses being Brown or even darker is, is there's nothing wrong with that or missing a period here - and there's nothing wrong with that or menstrual cramps - It's just part of the, part of the experience and, and all of these things - there's a reason for all of these things, and they can all be remedied through this holistic practice that's been around for centuries in so many cultures around the world.

Keli : Right. Right. And you're, you're Korean. Right, right. Correct. Yeah. So Korea is fascinating because Korea is one of the places that has maintained vaginal steaming, despite yes. Despite Western gynecology and cook in Korea. In fact, like steamy is more advanced than anywhere else, as far as being able to research it and integrate it into like healthcare. But, um, but that was another, that was another like turning point. I, at the time, I couldn't say it at the time. I couldn't express it, but now I can, Brown is not normal. Right. And now I couldn't say it because that's actually wrong. According to Western gynecology, that's, that's wrong. According to doctors, according to doctors, anything that's consistent is okay. Even if it's Brown, even if the cycles are really long, even if the cycles are really short, anything that's consistent is okay. Um, and so I didn't understand like how significant it was to actually just own that.

Keli : Um, just to basically disregard that and to decide no, you know what Brown isn't okay. Brown is a sign of old Menzies and it was through, traditional Chinese medicine that I think that I was able to get that permission to speak more authoritatively about what is, what is an a menstrual cycle imbalance versus what's a menstrual cycle? What, what a balanced healthy menstrual cycle looks like, excuse me. So I found, I used to go to, Yo San University to their acupuncture clinic. And so I, right next to the acupuncture clinic was, uh, the bookstore that, you know, the acupuncturist, you know, in training the students would buy their books for their classes. So I used to always sneak into the bookstore after my acupuncture appointment and just browse. And so I bought a book called diagnosis in Chinese medicine, and it's not a book that I'm recommending people go out and purchase.

Keli : It's really hard to read in order to read it. I had to buy more books to be able to understand a lot of the terms, but what was really cool was that in that book, there's a, um, a chart that shows, that talks about the different menstrual cycle, like color, the different colors of the menses and what, what that imbalance shows. Right. Yeah. And so that's what, I started to look at my menstrual cycle as a monthly health health checkup, like, Oh, okay. You know, do I have any Brown in it because that's a sign of poor circulation or was I able to get it all the way red, you know? And then I started to look at, what steaming and patterns created that healthy period, as well as what lifestyle factors created that healthy period. And then also the period care and how, you know, what I was drinking and eating and how that was affecting my periods. So I started to use my period as a monthly checkup, and I started to read it using this book that was based on - knowledge that was thousands and thousands of years,

Rahi: Thousands of thousands of years old. I actually studied at Yo San for a little while. And so I know the bookstore. Yeah. I like the memories are coming back of that bookstore, which is great, but, you know, for listeners, it's like the basic basic, um, uh, like setup of vaginal steaming makes so much sense because it's using steam is being used as the transporting mechanism to carry these healing, herbal properties up the vaginal canal, up the cervix, into the uterus to release any stagnation. I mean, it could be old stagnant blood. It could be lochia if it's postpartum, it could be, you know, anything, but at the very fundamental basics that that soothing steam will relax the pelvic floor muscles that steam will increase blood flow, which will increase sensation, which will increase libido. Uh, it will, downregulate the nervous system because the vagus nerve goes into the cervix. So at the very like basic level, it's so good for so many reasons.

Keli : Yeah. Yeah. And I don't really understand this like knee jerk reaction that, uh, it hasn't been okay. So in 2015, um, about four years after I started my journey with vaginal steaming, a beautiful actress, Gwyneth Paltrow mentioned vaginal steaming on her blog. She had gone to a Korean spa to TiKun, spa in Santa Monica. And so she mentioned the, on her, on her blog and, and recommended it. And so there was this reaction that, uh, vaginal steaming can't be healthy. It can't have any effect on the hormones. It can't have any positive benefit, if anything, it's going to be harmful. And I just don't get it for the same reason that you just explained that there's just no way for it not to be useful. There's no way for it not to be beneficial. It's going to relax the muscles. It's going to increase circulation. I mean, if we understand anything about the body, it's that warmth and circulation is good and stagnation is bad just in general, every single injury anybody might have no matter where it might be. You have to get circulation, you have to get warmth, you know, in order to, for that part of the body to heal. Right.

Rahi: Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. But, you know, I think, I mean, it's kind of like, it is a knee jerk reaction and the medical profession, you know, it serves many wonderful purposes in many ways and, you know, the way the educational structure is they're really kind of limited to their boxes of, uh, approved procedures. And we know there's politics involved and money involved with, you know, the medical association and all of that. Um, and you know, it's, it's really based on kind of, um, uh, not looking at the holistic health of a human being, but trying to kind of, uh, stop like symptoms from proliferating. So, you know, I'm kind of, in some ways, I'm not surprised that the medical establishment would respond to something they don't know, and they've never researched. And most of them have probably never experienced

Keli : One of the things that you'll notice about the doctors in the articles that are advising against it is that they don't know about it. They said, well, I don't know what that involves, but I recommend against it. I don't think that you should do it cause in his bed. Okay. Well, steaming is a number one, number two. And so w when I had a chance to have this conversation with a conversation with Dr. Lorena, I said, why would a doctor advise against something that they don't know? And she said, Oh, it's very simple. They don't want to get sued doctors when they give an opinion, it's a medical opinion. And so if a doctor doesn't know about something, they will advise against it because they could be held legally responsible if somebody tries that and is harmed. And that actually was a really important puzzle piece for me to understand, because I'm just sitting here, like, how could they be advising against something they don't know.

Keli : That's just, it seems ignorant to me, like, I know, I think the answer would be, well, I don't know. I would need more information about that. Right. And we have now all of these, when people, unfortunately, when people Google vaginal steam, they come up with all these articles of doctors that say, or articles that say, doctors say, don't do it. Right. So anyways, so she explained to me, um, you know, again, you know, a doctor can only talk about what they learned in medical school, right? So they're limited by the curriculum that they were presented with and anything outside of that, they actually have to advise against it because of the legal framework that they're in. So that was also like, another turning point was in 2015, when all of a sudden, you know, vaginal steaming came into media and there were all of these articles against it,

Rahi: But it sounds like the turning point that, that, that, that inspired, or, you know, propel for you was data collection, like providing, you know, doc documented evidence as to the benefits of it, which, you know, five years later is just so critical and important because I feel like Steamy Chick's become kind of, you know, this amongst everything else, like a data collection.

Keli : Right. I, until that point, I completely thought that I was not using my degree. I have a Master's degree in international development. I have a strong, uh, social research background, um, as well as, statistical backgrounds, as well as research and just all of this, you know, you know, this training that I had done at school, I was like, yeah, I'm not using it. I, as far as I was concerned, I wasn't using my degree at all, but that turns it on. I was like, okay, well, let's see if we can find any studies. Let's see if we can find any evidence. Okay. You know what, at that time, I couldn't find any studies, even though I have now, in fact, Korea is like the hub of studies on that. The problem is that a lot of them haven't been translated into English, but there are several studies.

Keli : It's really cool. Um, so, so at the time I couldn't find any study. So I said, fine, here are case studies. Here's, here's 10 case studies about seeming at vibrates. Here's 10 case studies about steaming and bacterial vaginosis. If there isn't any scientific data, if, if the medical establishment hasn't studied this, then fine, let's look at these case studies. You know, you can take case studies and create statistics from those, and you can take case studies and you can learn from those. And so what, when I started to create my blog and started to create these studies, um, and actually culminated last year in, what was that? Yeah, I believe it was last year. Um, I got together with, um, some of the other steam practitioners and we created a pelvic steam testimonial database where we were like, okay, let's record all of our stories and all of our customer, our client's stories, let's, let's start to collect them. And that database is so interesting because you just hear story after story, and it's really, um, mind blowing, how many different things that steaming, that at least the people that the participants contributing to this database, how many different areas of their life that Stevie touches? I think I counted up, you know, because people say, well, what does he mean do, that's a really hard question to answer, because it it's like, what does it it's like, it improves so many different areas of people's lives.

Rahi: Yeah. Yeah. So that's, that's the, that's the database that's currently on the, on the steamy check website, which is so fantastic because you know, you, you can see the age of the steamer. You can see the issues that brought them to steaming. You can see the protocol, the prescription, if you will, of how often, how many months they steamed and the resolution. And it is really an incredible resource because anyone who has, you know, who has, you know, issues with fibroids or irregular periods or menstrual cramps, or trying to, or fertility issues like you can go to that database and look at the, the, the experiences time and time again, of people with the similar symptoms and how they've resolved it,

Keli : Right. People's symptoms have gotten better. Their periods are less heavy. Their periods are less painful. They're able to enjoy sex again. Whereas it was, it's been painful, you know, as they've been, you know, dealing with this issue, and there's just like so many side effects. And what's really interesting about that. That has been another moment for me to say menstrual pain. Isn't normal pain is not okay. It is not, Oh, okay. That was another turning point for me. Right. Because again, people say, and if, when you, I have, so I just like to, I like to get the books. So I have gynecology books too. I have like probably six textbooks that kind of colleges themselves, you know, that are used in medical school. And they absolutely say that menstrual pain is normal. Menstrual pain is normal. It's an it's normal. There's not a problem.

Keli : It's a normal part of menstruation and that is not okay. And so this is what we have - women have been told, this is the messaging that we have received forever, that menstrual pain, sorry, during our lifetimes, during our entire lifetimes, that menstrual pain is okay. And I think this is like, this is a huge problem. Why, and who decided that it's okay for women to just suffer and just be in pain. And you can't even, there's not even like, there's not even like a huge research study going on right now to end pain. There's there's research studies to end cancer, there's research studies to figure out what's going on with, um, what's the one where people forget there,

Rahi: Dementia or Alzheimer's.

Keli : So Alzheimer's, there's, you know, there's research about eyes, there's research about all of these, all of these things that affect people's life. And especially things that affect older people's lives. Why isn't there a heap, all of this research money going into solving the menstrual pain issue. Women shouldn't be in pain. Right. But you can't solve an issue if you haven't decided that it's a problem. And so medically, according to Western medicine, menstrual pain, isn't a problem.

Rahi: Well, yeah, I think I heard in one of your podcasts, you shared that the NIH devotes about 1% of their budget to women's health issues 1%, and they are the leading research funder, for, you know, medical knowledge in this country. And yet, I mean, that's just incredible, you know, I also interviewed, Ellen Heed on the podcast and her whole dissertation was about, you know, result, sexual pain, postpartum as a result of scar tissue. And she found that there's all this research being done on scar tissue remediation that is non obstetric, right. And yet a leading cause of sexual pain, postpartum is scar tissue. Like all 10 of her sample subjects had that it sexual pain due to scar tissue. And yet there's no research being done on it. So to your point, like, if, if we're not asking the right questions, we're not, we're not the, you know, we're not, we're not conducting research in the right areas.

Rahi: And if in gynecologic books, you know, it says it's normal, then it's not going to be looked at or taken seriously. And yet Kelly, from your work and from Steamy Chick's research, it sounds like 90 something percent of menstrual cramps disappear from steaming. So, you know, I feel like the data collection that you've done, like both intentionally and I mean, frankly I think the Facebook steamy chick forums are just like a gold mine of data and research. I mean, it's like getting a PhD in vaginal steaming to just type in I'm serious because, you know, I mean, there's the regular forum, but then there's the practitioners forum, and both of them, you can type in anything. So listeners out there you can go to instead an open group, the Steamy Chick forum. Okay. So on Facebook, you can type in, steamy check vaginal steam forum, which is open.

Rahi: Uh, there's also one specifically for practitioners, which is also great. Um, but you can type in any issue you want to explore that you want to resolve holistically and naturally whether it's fibroids and to meet, I mean, things like endometriosis, which is really tough, uh, you know, even the medical community hasn't figured out how to really address it, but it's like mind-blowing all the range of things. And once again, all of these things like, you know, Brown, Brown Menses color, or menstrual cramps, or, you know, heavy bleeding or, you know, shorter periods. So these are not regular things you can resolve them with, uh, with vaginal steaming in a holistic and healthy way, going back to the turning points. It sounds like the data collection was a huge one. And it was in part done to kind of defend yourself from all of these, you know, the medical establishment, like making accusations.

Keli : Yeah. And then that started getting me looking at the state of women and, um, just women's rights that got me, that got me understanding that there's some type of a woman's women's rights, um, aspect to, to what we're doing. And just, and that there's also some of empowerment. And, and, and, and there's also some type of stance that you have to take either. When I first steamed I wasn't taking a stance, I wasn't taking my body back, you know, but I did, I did take my body back rather than we, you know, now just, you know, depending on the gynecologist telling me Brown blood was normal, I was steaming monthly. Right. And I had specifically learned, to steam monthly from the Korean spa owner, told me, well, in Korea, we still, once a month after the period minimum, she said, and then we may stay more often if there are other issues.

Keli : And so I was like, okay, once a month, you know? And so I started doing it, but I didn't realize that that was me taking my body into my own hands rather than handing it over to men every time that I had a health issue. And when I say men, it's fair to say that Western gynecology, even if you have a female gynecologist is a profession that was founded established, and is currently still dominated by men. The early founders of Western modern gynecology were all men that were operating on odd women. Um, and they started off doing all of their experiments actually on enslaved women. And so all of the gynecological procedures that are done today, you know, were founded by white doctors that actually killed black women, enslaved in order to be able to create these methods. So again, this is another, this was another turning point.

Keli : I didn't know that I had no idea how significant it was for me as a black woman to not any longer, you know, go to my gynecologist, go to a man to ask them if it was okay to see my own body. But it definitely was triggering when I saw those articles that said, don't do it. You should not see. And I'm thinking why I've been doing this. This has been healthy for me. Right. And so I had to make a decision right there, honestly, to ignore that advice or not to follow that advice and to decide what I felt was better for my body and that right there. Right. He is, it's a big thing. It is a big thing. And I, I I've continued to learn how significant is more and more as the more that I learn history. So what I found out was that, um, and there's a really excellent book, which I'll share with you as well.

Keli : Um, and it's basically, how did, how did women's medicine fall into men's hands? How, how did gynecology become a malpractice since the beginning of time, midwives have been women, majority, all women, and in fact, women's health even considered part of medicine. And then all of a sudden, a couple of hundred years ago, gynecology was founded and all of a sudden all women's issues, including postpartum, including obstetrics, including pregnancy, all of it, all of it has to do with, like, we have these male, these men that are in charge of it, who are using surgery and pharmaceuticals as the main methods of treatment.

Rahi: You know, it's interesting. Cause it seems like in a lot of other cultures, um, I mean all around the world where vaginal steaming is accepted as a healthy practice, especially postpartum, especially to increase fertility, especially as a preventative measure, it's midwives really, that kept it alive all over the world. But didn't you say co

Keli : Yeah, especially midwives in rural areas where there aren't any hospitals or clinics. Right. And then there's like there, and then there are a couple exceptions. Korea is as one of the exceptions, it works so symbiotically with the rise of even the modern Western gynecological practices that are used in the country. And, and I think it's such a good example because it shows there's no conflict between these. You can, you can deliver your baby in a hospital with a doctor and in the maternity ward afterwards, seeming can happen. Steamy can happen to help the mother recover. Steaming can be prescribed to help somebody, if they have pain during sex, or even to use seeming prior to, you know, first sex after, after giving birth. There's no reason why these can't be used together. Right. And so Korea is such a really great example of that. And I'm not sure, I think it has something to do with the fact that I dunno, there's something there.

Rahi: Yeah. I mean, you know, I grew up there as a kid and, you know, the sauna, like, you know, people, my friends in LA love going to the Korean sauna, you know, the women's sauna. It's a really, it's a real integral part of the culture, like going to the sauna steaming like, like, so I think, I think there's that piece. And also South Korea is largely rural and there is, you know, like when you look at how the religion, like it's not dominated by like a Christianity or like a puritanical religion, there's actually a fair amount of shamanism still being practiced in the rural areas. So I think all of those things kind of combine in the culture to be open to, you know, um, different forms of healing and care, but you know, what you're bringing up Kelly is, um, you know, it's true. Like why not, you know, have, you know, a Western delivery in a modern hospital and then go and get steamed. And that's exactly what your,, the fourth trimester postpartum study examined.

Keli : Right. So, um, I forget how long it was though. Two years ago, I believe. Um, I started to work with, so I was actually talking to Kimberly Johnson and she's the author of the fourth trimester study and a good friend of yours. We actually know each other through Kimberly. And so she, you know, it was kind of having, um, you know, this experience where, you know, she talked about her, um, difficulties postpartum and she wrote this book and now all of a sudden, she, her inbox, you know, her email, Instagram inbox is flooded with all of these women who have all of these problems and how do we, and, and who are looking for solutions, they're there. They're not getting. And these are people who have not that they, they're not willing to go to the doctor, but they haven't received adequate care or attention for the problems that they're having.

Keli : For example, postpartum sex, you know, difficulty with postpartum sex due to scar tissue, not something that, you know, that doctors are concerned about. It's not something that's even considered exactly. Um, during the postpartum checkup, for example. And so there are all of these issues that are going unaddressed or that the care for them is inadequate. Right. And so, um, so she's getting all of these, you know, and so she, of course she, there's certain things that she can do to help people, but there were too many people. And so, um, so I, I have the, I have the, I had the same problem. And so when you're kind of comparing this, you know, just all of these women that need help and how to even get help to them. And Kimberly mentioned, she said, well, what's steaming, steaming is low cost. And it's something that people can do in their own home. They can learn to do it themselves, and they can immediately receive relief for so many different issues that they have. And especially,

Keli : Especially because she's dealing with the scar tissue, the postpartum scar tissue. And, um, you know, this is another thing that's just astounding that, you know, people are saying, Oh, there's no way steam can help. Well, if you've ever had, you know, if you've ever delivered a baby and if anybody's ever had a tear and had stitches, how could steam,

Keli : You know, how could it not

Keli : To keep that area clean so that it can heal better? You know, it's just something that people really do see immediate benefit and relief from. And so, um, and so she said, she had heard me talk about how I wanted to do a study. I think in studies, am I just like, well, if we had a study that did this and this, you know, like I was just always have all these ideas for studies. And she said, well, when are you going to do that study that you told me about it?

Keli : Not right now, I'm busy. She was like, so I, I, my, the whole history of my company, right, is that I've been on backward. I've been on back-order since the very beginning, and I'm still working to that beyond backward. Okay. So, I was like, not right now, I'm busy. She was like, well, she's, I just think that, you know, she's like, can I help? What can I do so that we could give this study done? Because I think that it could really make a big difference. And so, anyhow, we did it, we did the fourth trimester, vaginal steam study. We figured out how to do it just as a grassroots study, rather than going through, um, through, through a university. And we just figured, okay, what's, what's the least amount of money and resources that we could get this done, basically ourselves. And so with this study, what we did was we wanted to look at, um, we wanted to look at postpartum, a group of people who did see me postpartum, and then a group of people who didn't steam, postpartum and compare.

Keli : And this was another turning point because as we were trying to figure out, well, what should be included in this exam? What I realized is that there's no definition for postpartum recovery. What is postpartum recovery? What, what is it, you know, if anybody's had a baby, what did your doctor talk to you about what postpartum recovery is at that sex? What needs to happen between those six weeks before you're okay to go back to exercise, work, and sex, what is supposed to happen at that time? There's no definition for it. There's no list for it. And so what we had to do, I looked at, okay, well, what do midwives, you know, what a mid-wives look for, you know, when they're contending to somebody postpartum, and then what do doctors look for at that six week checkup? What are the emergency things that people, you know, that we're checking for right after somebody gives birth.

Keli : And so, and then, and then beyond that, it was like, and what isn't addressed, prolapse scar tissue, right? There's a lot of things that aren't addressed, even broken bones, aren't assessed. Um, after somebody gives birth, I, myself, I realized I had a, I had a broken Cox explosion after I gave birth to my first child and nobody ever asked me. So I just, I mean, if somebody asked me, I'd say, yeah, I can't, I can't sit down. I sat on my side for about two years after my nobody checked. There was no, there was no point that I was to be assessed to make sure that my Coccyx bone didn't break when I gave birth to my 10 pound baby. That's really, there's no point in this whole process where the assessment happens. Right? So during this, we actually got to assess, well, what is postpartum recovery and what should be checked during this postpartum exam?

Keli : And so we created,, we were able to create what we felt like is a, a comprehensive, postpartum, postpartum examination. And that was really interesting to be able to create and look at those indicators of what we should be considering. And we considered even something like processing the birth, you know, women, right. Women are checked to make sure they don't have postpartum depression, but there's no point that women are able to emotionally process the biggest event of their life. Why do we only just to see if she's depressed and not give her a tool to process it, you know, or acknowledge, you know, this Rite of passage. So anyway, so we were able to create this. And so Raquel, the midwife did these exams on day four on day eight and six weeks. And there were vast differences between the steam group and the non-state group.

Keli : So the same group had better. They had less, they had no issues with their stitches by day eight, after five days of CME, they had zero issues issues with their stitches. And then also at the six week Mark, which is huge. I mean, just that alone is huge. They were able to urinate without burning sensation. They didn't have pulled in, they didn't have itching. And, and the weird thing is that everybody ended up with stitches in both groups. Now, the non group at six weeks, we're still dealing with the issues. And definitely at day eight, we're still dealing with issues. They hadn't even resolved their stitching issues and their scar tissue by the six week Mark. And so people say, well, water could do the same. You could use a spray bottle and spray water on their water with salt or water with herbs.

Keli : It's not going to do the same thing as steaming. You know, steam is part of it's, it's made up of water, but the steam combined with the heat and it turned into its gaseous form. Steam is actually a gas. It's able to penetrate the stitches and go deeper. It's able to get inside and underneath in a way that just spraying, warm water cats. And so, um, and so that was something that was a big difference. Our steam group was not constipated. After steaming, they weren't, they started out constipated. Everybody started out constipated by day eight. They were not constipated. And then actually we stopped steaming. None of them were constipated by day eight. And then the entire other group was, um, by six weeks after they stopped steaming, actually the constipation had returned for some of them. So they were better off when they were me than when they had stopped steaming.

Keli : Right. We saw that the blood pressure,, this was an interesting one, cause I've never, considered people's blood pressure levels or anything like that. Right. Um, the seam group, their blood pressure was lower and this poor non-steam group, their blood pressure was higher by day eight. So when you look at blood pressure or one of the things that we can, but one of the things that we can think about with blood pressure is stress. So the steam group, their stress levels appear to be lower if we're looking at the blood pressure and it was lower all within a healthy range. And then the poor non-steam group, their blood pressure was going up and it stayed within a healthy range, but their numbers were getting towards the, you know, the point where it would go unhealthy. Well, one of the leading postpartum causes of death is, um, called eclampsia and the sign, the reason why they take the blood pressure is to, um, monitor for eclampsia. One of the signs of preeclampsia or eclampsia is high blood pressure. So how, it's very significant that the steams group's blood pressure was going down and staying within a healthy range. Whereas the shots seem group's blood pressure was going up. It was going up, it was going towards something that was unhealthy. Whereas the steam group had that, a hundred percent, all of them were going towards safety.

Rahi: And doesn't that make sense? So, I mean, knowing what we do about the soothing effects of the steam, but, but more specifically the down-regulation of the nervous system with the effect of the Vegas nerve being soothed, it's going to, down-regulate the whole body, down-regulate the whole nervous system of the body. Um, and on day eight of, you know, postpartum, I mean, I can only imagine all the stresses that you're surrounded with, if you're not addressing a way of soothing, the nervous system, and going back to what you shared Kelly about, you know, the, the regulation of the bowel movement. Well, of course, if the muscles are being relaxed with the steam, if there's more blood flow with the steam. Yeah, sure. That's going to make a lot of sense too.

Keli : And so we don't, I don't know if you want me to go through all the indicators, but there were like eight w we actually looked at more than eight different things, but there were eight areas where the steam group was way better off than the non-steam group. And it, you know, they didn't bleed for as long. They started losing weight earlier and they lost more weight overall and, and so on. And so it's really worth taking a look at that. And it, you know, again, it's not hard to show just because steam hasn't been studied by Western medicine doesn't mean that it's not valuable. And if we did use scientific studies to evaluate it, there's no reason that we wouldn't end up being able to see scientifically the benefits of it, because it's not this isn't something that, you know, steam touches you, it actually touches the body. It touches the physical body. Of course, it's going to have a physiological response.

Rahi: Well, you know, there are entire cultures who do that as a regular practice, you know, in the care of their new mothers. And, um, there's a reason for that. There's a reason why it's been a practice for centuries. So I want to point out to listeners that this study, the fourth trimester postpartum study is available to The, um, you know, there's the abstract, there's the protocol, there's the different measuring, um, uh, you know, uh, protocols that they used and the results, and it's really worth taking a look. Um, you know, as well as the other testimonial database, which I think is just a phenomenal service to, um, to show people who are curious or interested, you know, like it's just over a hundred examples of, uh, I mean, my gosh, like if someone kind of went through the Facebook forum, there are thousands of case studies like thousands, um, you know, from fibroids, falling out to like the green mucus, just dropping out to, I mean, just left and right. There's just like, it's incredible. It's incredible. Um, you know, so

Keli : Even have somebody send you a private message of their fibroids that came out, I always tell people, I'm like, please don't post them on the forum because I'm actually squeamish. And I felt like I say, okay, private message me. And also I'll send you the photos, you know, they sent them around, you know?

Rahi: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, no, I've seen those photos and it's amazing. Um, but yeah, but it just, it makes so much sense that, you know, not only the steam for all the reasons you mentioned, but combined with, you know, we know how potent and healing herbs are, and, you know, you guys blend them. People can blend them in such a way that it really addresses what needs to be tonified or what needs to be cleansed. I want to ask you Kelly, before we wrap up, what were some, so staying on the theme of like, what blew your mind? So with the forum and other, because now it's like, it's so many, I mean, you've certified so many practitioners, it's like, there's a, uh, you know, a whole tribe of practitioners whose minds are being blown, you know, just with the simple holistic, you know, like time tested practice, what were some of the outlier stories that stayed with you or blew your mind as you know, you're hearing about people steaming all over the world.

Keli : Oh, wow. Um, honestly, there are so many, so many and what I really love about,, so I've certified over 800 practitioners worldwide. And what I ealized is there is a certain amount - and Rahi he's one of that, what I've realized is there's a certain amount of safety that is needed as I started to, as I started to become a supplier, you know, selling vaginal steam, herbs and, and saunas, people always had all these questions. And so people needed, you know, a lot of how to advice, as well as like the safety, um, safety measures, as well as how to get the right herbs, you know, based on the different type of menstrual cycle. And so that's basically, you know, I was spending all day long, answering the same questions over and over and over again.

Keli : And so, as I finally, you know, started a certification program to certify more practitioners who could help guide people through this process and make sure that they're doing it safely and with the right herbs and so on. And what I think is really cool is, um, seeing how each practitioner applies it within their own profession. So theirs is, are, are becoming certified practitioners. We have a massage therapists, we have, acupuncturists who are now integrating it. Right. And so it,, midwives do as, and so it's so cool for me to see the way that it, um, like the way that seam works, even within these different, like professionals, um, professions, right. And, um, like lately, uh, physical therapists and chiropractors have started using it. And at first, like I can teach the steam part, but I actually need the practitioners to explain to me how and why steam is useful for chiropractors.

Keli : How and why is it useful for physical therapy? You know, you as a, I don't know how to say your title as a somatic sexual expert, you explain it in a way that I can't even fathom explaining it, you know, once you start talking about the vagus nerve and down-regulating it, when you say it, I know it's true because I've stayed right. But that's, since that's not my professional discipline, I can't speak in those terms. And so what's really cool to me to see is how it applies in all of these different professions, even to therapy. There's a therapist. Who's like, you know, we work with people who are diagnosed with premenstrual dysphoric disorder. She's like, and there's no way that we can't eat that. We shouldn't be using the steam to also address all of the black and Brown men sees that these women end up having.

Keli : Right. And so, you know, like, so every different profession is showing all these different ways. And so basically what I'm, what for me is so cool to see is how you really can't work with women. If you're not working with their menstrual cycle, that's what I take away from it. You can't just help somebody overcome sexual trauma without looking at her menstrual cycle. How is she supposed to overcome sexual trauma? If she gets bacterial vaginosis every time she has sex, or if she has scar tissue that like causes pain every time that she has sex, how can you overcome pain and the trauma from pain when she still has pain, right? So it's just, you can't really deal with women unless you're not dealing with their menstrual cycles. How do we not know that, the period is actually a wound cleanse? Nobody knows this. Nobody knows that the period is a womb cleanse, right? And yet women are able to run businesses and be a top level CEOs of any business in the world. And yet we are not trained to learn that our own period that happens on a monthly basis is a wound cleanse. And that pain and cramps is a sign that you're not getting a full cleanse. Right. It's just, anyways, I just, there's just something very foundational about menstrual health and women that I think, uh, the world been

Rahi: Completely overlooked. Yeah. So many things you've, you've touched on, you know, the thing that really stands out to me, Kelly, is that the turning point you shared about, um, recognizing that the wisdom you were hearing of your own body and seeing it's what your body's, what your body was telling you was more important than what the medical profession was telling you about your body and that sense of ownership and reclaiming, you know, that your body's wisdom is its wisdom. And I'm going to listen to that. I mean, that's, that seemed to be a real, turning point. I love what you share about how it's like the steam is like, you know, I don't know, kind of like a musical melody and all these different professions are creating different kind of jazz rifts out of that musical, these musical chords you're providing.

Rahi: Um, like I know for me, like, of course we want to regulate, um, you know, healthy, healthy menstruation, but as a somatic practitioner, it's really been profound as a, as a practice to invite clients, to start to get back in touch with their feeling sense of their pelvises, especially if they've been, um, you know, if they're recovering from trauma and have dissociated or cut off from their pelvises. Like I had one client who, I mean, she was eight months postpartum had a traumatic birth. And so kind of disconnected from feeling our pelvis Kelly, like within 30 seconds of feeling the soothing steam she's, she felt her vulva for the first time since you know, that her traumatic birth and just like tears coming down her face, because she was finally getting in touch with the grief and sadness of her experience. Um, like her baby was healthy and fine, but it was traumatic for her.

Rahi: And then the increase of blood flow and sensation should not be underestimated. I mean, it's incredible. And that's what blows me away is it's so simple, but it can be so profound. You know, I had, I had a client who had been circumcised as a child, you know, in Northern Africa. And so she was not feeling sensation and we used castor oil - covered her clitoral complex and Vulva with Castro oil and after one steam session,, sensation and pleasure returned. So there are all these different kinds of, yeah, it's incredible. But, you know, as you're saying, there's a whole variety of different ways to utilize this ancient and holistic practice,, beyond just regulating and supporting, you know, the perfect period, you know, four days fresh red, without, without,

Keli : And that's such a perfect example. Early on, I also had a client who was a, FGM survivor circumstances. She was circumcised against her will as a child. And the way that she's using seeming right now, you know, within that circle of, you know, of circumcised women that are now, you know, working on getting back all of their function and all of their sensation is incredible. I also have another, I had a client who was, she was, she's a sex trafficking survivor. So she was held captive. Um, she was kidnapped as a teenager and held captive for a year, and has the way that she's able to, and now she helps to empower other women to, you know, who are, who have escaped, who are survivors to, you know, get their lives back.

Keli : And steaming is absolutely a part of, you know, what she's bringing to these women, you know? And so it's just, it's so cool to see all of the different areas. But I think like, I think we, we really have to talk about men's health as well and how steaming can be used for that, because you're the second, um, male practitioner who was certified by me and I have a third who's going through the program now, and I don't teach about men's health, in my program. But one of the cool things is that in Korea, steaming isn't specifically a female practice it's, it's used for both genders.

Rahi: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, Koreans just love the sauna. I mean, it's just like anything that could happen happened in a sauna, you know, they're really into, or massage or steaming. It's like, it's, it's really, it's fascinating.

Keli : It's incredible. Well, earlier this year we lost, one of our heroes in the black community Chadwick, the star of [inaudible] the star, Black Panther, and I had known from, okay, so one of my, one of my close colleagues is Kris Gonzales and her mother is Korean. And so she always goes in and finds the Korean stuff, you know, like the Korean data, the Korean information. And so I had known from her a lot from, from, you know, a while ago that Simi is used in China and Korea for men's health as well. But since it's not something since I I've never worked with male clients, it's just not something that I focused on, but when Chadwick died, I was just like, Oh man, is he died from colon cancer? And colon cancer is one of the things that C mean can treat or esteeming is used to treat it in both Korea and China for men.

Keli : And it really made me realize, you know, I've got this, I got this gang now of 800 steam practitioners around the world. We all have men around us. We all have sons, dads, uncles, cousins, brothers, whatever. We need to start getting the steam to them as well. And so the areas that seem, and again, I'm not the expert in this, I am looking for somebody to step forward, to be able to help, to train the practitioners, you know, along these levels. And Kris Gonzales is a great - she's a great resource as well as a couple of other people. And then you, I always send people your direction if I can. But even you, I'm not sure if, if you know, again, because I haven't trained anybody, how do you see me for men's health? But I do want to mention that steaming can also be used for men's health.

Keli : It can be used for enlarged prostate. It can be used for all the rectum and colon issues, whether it's hemorrhoids, whether it's, there's some type of prolapse, whether there's fissures or some type of bleeding or whatever's going on there. As well as any type of genital cancer, as well as erectile dysfunction and infertility issues. And I don't know what to do with that because I don't actually know what blends to you have to go from there. But I do know, and what I hope that we see over this next year is a growth really in this area of using steam for these issues.

Rahi: Yeah. I mean, it's kind of like, there's a massive problem. I think prostate cancer is the number two killer for men, and yet the solution, you know, there's just, it's kind of waiting. And I agree. I mean, you know, again, the basics are gonna apply to any body, the increase in blood flow, the relaxation of pelvic floor muscles, um, you know, increase the blood flow is going to increase sensation. It's going to increase libido. I mean, I've certainly, and I know there's one, I can't recall her name now, but I know there's one colleague on the practitioners forum who makes a blend for men - Zhaleh. Yes. And, um, yeah, it's so there's a lot of, you know, there's so much potential for it, for sure. And, you know, I've, I've experienced the benefits of that increased blood flow, for sure.

Rahi: I started with the, with the cleansing blend and then someone suggested using the disinfectant blend. And so I steamed, you know, at night I went to bed and, you know, I mean, the wood the next morning was of a different quality and there was just a lot of wood on the block. Let's just put it that way. So yeah, it has that effect. Right. We know it increases blood flow. And yet if you're right, it's under-utilized and it's not really, there's not a lot of attention a place there. So that's a really great intention for the next year. And, yeah, it's of interest to me as well. So, we should just stay in contact as far as like, what, what possibilities there are. Yeah.

Keli : It's natural Viagra. That's what I, that's what I mean, it's natural.

Rahi: Yes. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely no side effects, but higher libido. And you know, it just more fun wood, so that's all good.

Keli : I stay away from it and I'm like, well, you know, there's, there's going to be, there's going to be some changes of men, you know, you see me. But when I started to think about the application with like, with all the when men, when men start to deal with these enlarged prostates, they can't urinate. Right. And one of the things we've seen with women postpartum as well with men with enlarged prostate is okay, right. It's painful, or it can be slow. As soon as you introduce that steam, everything flows, the urination flows it unblocks. Right. And so just the stimulation something happens there. And so it's just like, why should, why should people that be able to urinate? They should just be able to, you know, do a steam session and be able to like empty out their bladder that way they don't have any of the complications that happen. What's really interesting is there's even a medical device that was developed in order to - as a prostate surgery, alternative. And they use a machine, but the, it points out the enlarged prostate and then it shoots steam at it. And

Rahi: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I saw that so much sense to me. It makes so much sense and it speaks to the power of steam to penetrate the tissue. So it can actually get to, you know, the root of the issue. So for listeners, you can go to It is a comprehensive resource for all things, steaming related. Kelly, thanks so much for taking time out of your day to share your, um, your wisdom and your experiences with us

Keli : Anytime. Right? Anytime,

Rahi: Notice how this episode is landing in your body. How is your womb space or pelvis feeling right now? Is there any message or request it may want to communicate to you? And might it welcome any kind of support from you? In the next episode, we continue exploring holistic womb and pelvic care from an Eastern TCM perspective, with the creator of The Way of Yin, Kris Gonzales. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share with your tribe or leave a review. You can also download the free organic sexuality Until next time, take good care.

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About the Show

We explore the restoration of pleasure, the reclamation of sexual sovereignty, and the realization of our organic sexual wholeness. We engage with leading somatic therapists, sexologists & sexological bodyworkers, and holistic practitioners worldwide who provide practical wisdom from hands-on experiences of working with clients and their embodied sexuality. We invite a deep listening to the organic nature of the body, its sexual essence, and the bounty of wisdom embodied in its life force.

Rahi Chun
Creator: Somatic Sexual Wholeness

Rahi is fascinated by the intersection of sexuality, psychology, spirituality and their authentic embodiment. Based in Los Angeles, he is an avid traveler and loves exploring cultures, practices of embodiment, and healing modalities around the world.