Vaginal Steams: Forgotten Ancient Wisdom for Women’s Healing by Rosita Arvigo

Sistahs, let’s up our game. Health is wealth!

Source: naturalchildworld.com

Source: naturalchildworld.com

Painful menses plague women of all ages, often causing withdrawal from daily activity or the use of toxic pain relievers, month after month. Yet women need not experience their monthly cycle in this way. Ancient remedies hold the key to not only relieving the symptoms of pain, but cleansing the organs so that the cause of such sensation is eliminated from the body. Rosita Arvigo, naprapathic physician and teacher of Maya medicine, reminds us of a forgotten ancient treatment that any woman can use at home.

Gretta, a fifteen year old Mennonite girl, sat before me in tears. “I hate my period. I hate it. There’s so much pain that I wish I had not been born a woman.”  Ever since her menses started three years earlier she was confined to bed for three days of each month, taking strong pain relief drugs that could only slightly alleviate the pain.  Her mother brought her to me after all else had failed.  Already, Gretta had seen doctors in Merida, Guatemala City and a host of other professionals to no avail.

I asked the most important question: “Do you see dark blood at the beginning of the cycle and dark blood at the end of the cycle?”

She looked surprised. “No one ever asked me that before, but, yes, always. What does that mean?”

“Well,” I answered, “it means that your uterus needs to be cleansed from within. The dark blood at the onset of your period is what did not flush out the last cycle and the dark blood at the end of the period is from many months, even years of accumulation on the uterine membrane.  The accumulation hardens, darkens and thickens which makes the uterus work and cramp harder to expel the indurated material.”

I gave her a good Maya Abdominal Therapy treatment and found that, as expected, her uterus was very low and sitting on top of the bladder.  It was easy to lift, and I taught her the self-care to do at home every day when not menstruating.

“Do you know what a vaginal steam is?” I asked her mother.

“Actually, yes, I know that my grandmother in Canada used to do them for us, but I forgot all about them.  Do you think it will help?” she answered with a quizzical look.

I gave them a good double handful of fresh oregano leaves to do three consecutive vaginal steams at home.  Fortunately, the timing was right as her menses would begin in about 7 days – perfect. Also, I took the time to explain to both of them that very likely they will see a lot of dark, thick blood pass with the next menses. It might look like coffee grounds, chocolate syrup or even hamburger meat. And, sure enough, that is exactly what happened on the first, second and third day of her period.

“Thanks be to God that you told us what might happen after the treatment and steams because had I not known, I would surely have taken her to the emergency room. It was absolutely shocking! An entire small bucket of gunk passed in three days time and each day her cramps were less and less until on the fourth day she was pain free.”

Vaginal or yoni steam baths are an old, respected treatment for women used by Maya midwives and traditional healers in Central and South America.  The practice is mentioned in early chronicles of  Spanish friars who took  time to record the healing practices of the Maya and Aztec. Bajos (ba-hoes) as they are called in Spanish, are a common and effective treatment for many female complaints, especially those of a serious or chronic nature.  Midwives give them within 1-9 days after childbirth depending on the personal preference and the woman’s condition. They are excellent for dysmennorhea, amenorrhea, ovarian cysts, cervical fibroids and as a general health aid to prevent any of those ailments.  Practitioners of Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy recommend vaginal steams be done regularly. How often depends on the severity of a woman’s condition.

Vaginal steams are also good preventive care.  For those who have normal, pain free cycles, we recommend a vaginal steam be done four times each year just before menses. Menopausal women have reported passing clots and dark, thick blood even a year after menses has ceased.  “Better out than in,” is our motto.  The combination of steam and essential oils from the plants penetrate deeply into the cervix and uterus to dislodge indurated menstrual fluids and pathological accumulations that have not properly sloughed off with each monthly cycle.  Induration of the uterine membrane causes the uterus to cramp fiercely to expel the hardened or thickened accumulation.

How to do a vaginal steam at home

Vaginal steaming at home is a very simple process that involves water, plants, a blanket, a chair and about an hour of time.  If you have oregano, basil, marigold and rosemary in your garden, pick a double handful of fresh leaves and stems – about a quart jar loosely filled. Use one herb or any combination of the above. If using dried herbs, you need about an ounce of dry plant material.  Other herbs useful for vaginal steam baths include burdock leaves, motherwort, chamomile, yarrow, plantain, squaw vine, lavender and thyme.  Please note we do not use essential oils in liquid form for vaginal steams as they are far too concentrated for this purpose. Simmer the herbs in a covered pot with two quarts of water for ten minutes and allow to steep for five minutes.

Remove the pot from the stove and place it under a chair with open slits – a cane, wood or plastic yard chair will work. Some women like to use the toilet by placing a pot inside the commode but others find it slips and slides around too much. The woman removes her clothes including under-wear, from the waist down. Covered with a blanket from the waist down, she sits over the steaming herbs.  This keeps the steam contained under the blanket.  Be sure she feels comfortable with the steam temperature and is not exposed to cold drafts. If it is scaldingly hot, pull the pot away for a few minutes and try again until the steam feels warm and comfortable. Some women say they taste the herbs on their tongues after only five minutes. Wrap her upper body in a dry, warm blanket and be sure that her feet are resting on a carpet or she is wearing warm socks. Lasting about twenty minutes, the steam bath introduces a lot of healing heat and cleansing plant oils into the uterus, cervix and ovaries.

Afterward, the woman should ideally lie in bed for an hour under warm covers or just be sure to stay out of all drafts and keep warm. Bedtime is the best time to do a vaginal steam. How often? When there is pathology with menses, we ask the woman to do three bajos within the week before her period begins. She repeats this monthly until her menstrual fluids are pink and there is no cramping.   For post-partum women the midwife decides when the time is right depending on the condition of the mother.  All things being normal after delivery, the steam bath could be performed as early as the first day or sometime within the next seven to eight days.  Each midwife seems to have a different protocol, but over the decades I have learned that it is anywhere from one to nine days after delivery and may be repeated more than once. For post-partum women the objective is to cleanse the uterine membrane.

To order a special vaginal steam stool or to learn about courses with the Arvigo Institute, go to our website http://www.arvigotherapy.com

Rosita Arvigo, DN is a naprapathic physician, herbalist, international lecturer, author and teacher of Maya medicine. She has lived in Belize for thirty years where she studied with more than a dozen traditional healers. Dr. Arvigo is the director of The Arvigo Institute, Rainforest Remedies, The Traditional Healers Foundation and founding member of the Belize Ethnobotany Project. She is dedicated to the preservation of the science and art of traditional Maya herbal healing for the benefit of the people of Belize and the world.

A New Model for Black Motherhood: Why We Need More Jada Pinkett-Smiths

Monday, November 26, 2012

by Kimberly Foster


Last week, Jada Pinkett-Smith posted an open letter on Facebook about her choice to allow her daughter Willow to make some controversial decisions about her personal appearances. Jadawrote:

The question why I would LET Willow cut her hair. First the LET must be challenged. This is a world where women,girls are constantly reminded that they don’t belong to themselves; that their bodies are not their own, nor their power or self determination. I made a promise to endow my little girl with the power to always know that her body, spirit and her mind are HER domain. Willow cut her hair because her beauty, her value, her worth is not measured by the length of her hair. It’s also a statement that claims that even little girls have the RIGHT to own themselves and should not be a slave to even their mother’s deepest insecurities, hopes and desires. Even little girls should not be a slave to the preconceived ideas of what a culture believes a little girl should be. More to come. Another day.

The actress and her husband Will chose a style of parenting that’s given 12 year-old Willow the space to grow into her own woman, and I couldn’t love them more for it.

It’s clear that Jada and Will employ a far more permissive parenting style than many of our parents, and that makes many uncomfortable. This seems to be particularly troubling for some Black folks who are used to a certain unyielding dominance.

Black parents are notoriously strict. Whenever the topic of the way “we” raise our kids arises, Black folks eagerly trade discipline tales like war stories. And no matter how traumatic the ending, the sharer will often note that they’re thankful for their parents’ MO because without it they would either be dead or in jail. As much as that may be true, I do wonder how our communities might be improved by allowing children more opportunities to push boundaries and ask questions.

(Read: A Domestic Dream: Re-imagining Black Motherhood)

Willow’s parents gave her the chance to test the waters, and she chose a path that dismisses social expectations. With her androgynous style, Willow is a different type of role model for young women. She’s not one of the the overly-manicured, fashion-obsessed tween Disney or Nickelodeon stars that have come to dominate children’s entertainment.She’s just being Willow — quirky, emotive, bold. These are traits to be celebrated not feared.

I’m more worried that today’s popular singers and actresses promote sexualized aesthetics that seep into consciousnesses of little girls. As a result, younger and younger children are being ushered into the Beauty Industrial Complex. 6 year olds now not only want to be beautiful princesses but sexy celebrities. According to researchers at Knox College, girls know the difference between “sexy” and “not sexy” by the time they get out of kindergarten. When asked,to choose between two dolls, the girls in the study overwhelmingly chose the “sexy” one.

Unsurprisingly, their preference for the more provocatively dressed figure increased with their television consumption. Girls know that they are being judged based on their physical desirability before they know their multiplication tables. Our sexist society does not even give girls an opportunity to develop a healthy self-image or sexuality beyond their bodies or sexual attractiveness. The cycle will not be broken without mothers and fathers actively working against the conditioning.

(Read: Unpretty: My Personal Battle With Vanity And Insecurity)

The Knox College study also points to the importance of mothers in shaping their daughter’s self-perception. Jada deserves credit for her own fearlessness. The Willow we see is a reflection of her mother’s willingness to break the mold. Mothers are our first teachers. They help us gain an understanding of our position in the world. They teach us what it means to be a woman. By giving her body autonomy, Jada has made it clear to her daughter that she is strong and capable by birth.

Parents want the best for their children, but they may not realize how pushing their daughters to conform to narrow modes of femininity might set them up for failure. Young girls, particularly young Black girls, receive endless messaging that they are not enough. The pressure can be dangerous when it comes from outside of the home, but devastating when administered by close family members.

Willow’s personal style challenges traditional gender binaries in a way that’s prompted absurd speculation about her sexuality. The talk is thinly veiled homophobia, and to her credit, Jada never acknowledged the whispers. The rumors are less about the woman Willow will become than the young woman she is now. Willow Smith is fearless and unapologetic–two things many think children should never be.

(Read: Invisible Chains: Unlearning My Mother’s Wisdom)

Jada unchained her daughter. Our mothers, grandmas, and aunties taught us to draw as little attention to ourselves as possible as we make our way through the world — or if we should be noticed, make it only for our exceptional achievements. Too many of us were taught that Willow’s style and demeanor are for white people; “we” don’t behave that way. But personal freedom isn’t just for white girls. Every little Colored girl deserves a chance to grow into the woman she longs to be. I could not be happier that preteens today who look like me now have Willow.

In Willow, I see a confident young woman who sets her own agenda — a beautiful Black girl who knows her worth because her parents chose to empower rather than to control. For better or for worse, we derive much of our identity from how we’re addressed by those closest to us. In every comment and action you’re telling your daughter something about herself. What are you saying?

Jada’s unorthodox mothering frees us all to re-think our intimate relationships. For mothers and daughters, the Smiths represent new possibilities.

Celebrating Afrikan Love: 2nd Annual Akoben Institute Fundraiser

Akoben Institute, in it’s 15th year of operation, is having a celebration for the Afrikan-centered community. This celebration is part of an effort, which has already begun, to gather financial support for our full-time, Afrikan centered educational institute for 4th – 12th graders. No independent educational institution survives or thrives without its community’s assistance and we are completely independent; wholly depending on our people to support the work of keeping this nationbuilding effort alive so that every Warrior-in-Training who comes to us receives everything  that he or she needs to be self-knowing and powerful. Afrikan family, join us Saturday, June 7, 2014 as we celebrate Afrikan love! Afrikan couples, single Afrikan men and women, as well as mature teens, interested in understanding complementary relationships are all invited. Our celebration will kick off with a panel discussion on relationships. There will be 12 couples (including the Baruti’s) in various stages of their marriages who will share their wisdom with attendees. Then it will be time to start the party with plenty of good music and dancing! Additionally, we will have a raffle with a $100 cash prize, a Complementarity gift set (books and dvds), as well as gift certificates from Afrikan businesses. The Afrikan marketplace will have food, Afrikan gifts and much more! Donations: $20 for Adults, $35 for Couples, $10 for Teens.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cH6A2VWbNQw

 

 

HOMESCHOOLING: Socialization not a problem by Michael Smith

One of the most persistent criticisms of home-schooling is the accusation that home-schoolers will not be able to fully participate in society because they lack “socialization.” It’s a challenge that reaches right to the heart of home-schooling, because if a child isn’t properly socialized, how will that child be able to contribute to society?

Since the re-emergence of the home-school movement in the late 1970s, critics of home-schooling have perpetuated two myths. The first concerns the ability of parents to adequately teach their own children at home; the second is whether home-schooled children will be well-adjusted socially.

Proving academic success is relatively straightforward. Today, it is accepted that home-schoolers, on average, outperform their public school peers. The most recent study, “Homeschool Progress Report 2009,” conducted by Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute, surveyed more than 11,000 home-schooled students. It showed that the average home-schooler scored 37 percentile points higher on standardized achievement tests than the public school average.

The second myth, however, is more difficult to address because children who were home-schooled in appreciable numbers in the late 1980s and early 1990s are only now coming of age and in a position to demonstrate they can succeed as adults.

Home-school families across the nation knew criticisms about adequate socialization were ill-founded — they had the evidence right in their own homes. In part to address this question from a research perspective, the Home School Legal Defense Association commissioned a study in 2003 titled “Homeschooling Grows Up,” conducted by Mr. Ray, to discover how home-schoolers were faring as adults. The news was good for home-schooling. In all areas of life, from gaining employment, to being satisfied with their home-schooling, to participating in community activities, to voting, home-schoolers were more active and involved than their public school counterparts.

Until recently, “Homeschooling Grows Up” was the only study that addressed the socialization of home-schooled adults. Now we have a new longitudinal study titled “Fifteen Years Later: Home-Educated Canadian Adults” from the Canadian Centre for Home Education. This study surveyed home-schooled students whose parents participated in a comprehensive study on home education in 1994. The study compared home-schoolers who are now adults with their peers. The results are astounding.

When measured against the average Canadians ages 15 to 34 years old, home-educated Canadian adults ages 15 to 34 were more socially engaged (69 percent participated in organized activities at least once per week, compared with 48 percent of the comparable population). Average income for home-schoolers also was higher, but perhaps more significantly, while 11 percent of Canadians ages 15 to 34 rely on welfare, there were no cases of government support as the primary source of income for home-schoolers. Home-schoolers also were happier; 67.3 percent described themselves as very happy, compared with 43.8 percent of the comparable population. Almost all of the home-schoolers — 96 percent — thought home-schooling had prepared them well for life.

This new study should cause many critics to rethink their position on the issue of socialization. Not only are home-schoolers actively engaged in civic life, they also are succeeding in all walks of life. Many critics believed, and some parents feared, that home-schoolers would not be able to compete in the job market. But the new study shows home-schoolers are found in a wide variety of professions. Being home-schooled has not closed doors on career choices.

The results are a great encouragement to all home-schooling families and to parents thinking about home-schooling. Home-schoolers, typically identified as being high academic achievers, also can make the grade in society.

Both “Homeschooling Grows Up” and “Fifteen Years Later” amply demonstrate home-school graduates are active, involved, productive citizens. Home-school families are leading the way in Canadian and American education, and this new study clearly demonstrates home-school parents are on the right path.

To read the full study or a synopsis, visit http://www.hslda.ca/cche.

• Michael Smith is the president of the Home School Legal Defense Association. He may be contacted at 540/338-5600 or send e-mail to media@hslda.org.

 

homeschool

 

Welcoming our babies: Baby blessings

Fam, a friend of mine just asked me to participate in her daughter’s blessing.  Beautiful! I suspect she reached out to me because of the interfaith feel she’s hoping to create. The baby’s father is Christian and my girl is spiritual-ish. Last time I checked she didn’t claim any religion. I have some suggestions that may work for the celebration. Here are a few:


http://www.interfaithreverend.com/samplebabyblessing.html        Sample baby protection, blessing & welcoming ceremony

 

http://www.interfaithfoundation.org/content/baby-blessing-and-naming-ceremonies       Interfaith ministers explain what baby blessings, naming ceremonies, Godparents/spiritual guardians are


  http://www.interfaithfamily.com/life_cycle/pregnancy_and_birth_ceremonies/Sample_Readings_for_Ceremonies_for_Boys_and_Girls.shtml         Sample readings for baby blessing ceremonies

 

http://www.forthisjoyousoccasion.com/baby-blessing-ceremony.html       Suggestions for baby blessings

 

http://www.susannamacomb.com/baby/                   Baby blessing tidbits

 

http://www.babyblessingceremonies.com/books.php      Susanna Macomb’s baby blessing book

 

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=go4uZucSLk4          Spiritual (non-religious) baby blessing on a beach

 

http://www.amazon.com/Welcoming-Spirit-Home-Teachings-Celebrate/dp/1577310098       Sobonfu Some’s book about pregnancy/birth & childrearing. Within it you’ll find suggestions for baby blessing rituals.

 

 

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