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Mayan Abdominal Massage Arrives in San Diego

Ancient technique used to increase fertility and invigorate the female anatomy is finally finding a home in modern medicine


June 1st, 2013 – by Eric DeBruin

Our usually rapid march towards ever more technological and scientific medicinal cures has recently taken a much-needed pause to investigate the case for preventative medicine. This reorientation towards prevention not only applies to preventing cancer or the effects of aging but also the female anatomy. Korean, Russian, Philippine and Mexican women have relied on herbal vaginal steams to cleanse their anatomy for centuries, and the idea that these steams may help reduce the number of hysterectomies performed within the United States (which is the second most likely surgery for a woman to undergo in this country, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) is rapidly gaining traction.


Imagine, here, in San Diego, a different, easier way to optimum female health.

Imagine a private, comfy, and softly lit room in the offices of Reproductive Wellness, an esteemed San Diego fertility clinic. Inside, a woman sits over a dark green vase with herbs custom to her needs, emitting an aromatic steam that fills the room with the scent of roses, lavender, and chamomile. This steam is then combined with Mayan Abdominal Therapy, ( a massage best known to correct a tilted uterus), a guided meditation or more, to create a truly relaxing and detoxifying experience.


A regular schedule of thirty minute sessions on the steam chairs have been widely credited to cleanse the uterus, decrease painful or irregular periods, prevent yeast infections, painful intercourse, and hemorrhoids, amongst other benefits. These steams are especially essential postpartum and have even been known to help induce pregnancy. Philippians, Koreans, Mexicans and Russian women, who remembered the traditions from their country, have practiced vaginal steams in this country as folk medicine for centuries. However, it was Dr. Rosita Arvigo, who journeyed into Belize over forty years ago for a ten-year apprenticeship with Mayan doctor Don Elijio Panti, who would be instrumental in ensuring Mayan steams reached a wider audience world wide.

Joanna Yañez, an alert and passionate young woman from Ramona, California, is the link between this ancient medicine and San Diego. Ms. Yañez traveled across Mexico absorbing traditional folk medicine and studied under Dr. Arvigo before returning to San Diego where she has been practicing traditional medicine and massage therapy for over a year.

Although the benefits of traditional steams have yet to be evaluated by rigorous clinical testing, there is a large body of anecdotal evidence indicating the effectiveness of the treatment. Chiropractors, health clinics, gynecologists, and acupuncturist are increasingly endorsing the idea as its popularity spreads throughout the country.

Eric Cervantes ND, MPH, comments on the steam, “I cant think of a better way to delivery the healing power of herbs to the female reproductive system. The volatile constitutes of the herbs easily accompany the steam and can penetrate the mucosa in the increased circulatory exchange of the tissue. In this way the vaginal steam bath is appropriate for cleansing, toning and nourishment of the tissue.”

Marnie Darby, a young woman suffering from Chron’s Disease and other ailments, began seeing Joanna in October of 2012, and noticed an immediate improvement not only in the intensity of her Chrohn’s Disease but also in the overall

health of her female anatomy. “I was really skeptical my first time,” Ms. Darby noted, “but after three, four or five times, I noticed my period becoming a little shorter, a little more regular, and a lot less painful.”

Joanna Yañez says the primary purpose of the steam is to bring, “warmth, nourishment, and to cleanse the womb.” Ms. Yañez goes on note this cleansing of the uterus “renews the lining, making it periods less painful, and conceiving easier by providing the reproductive system with optimum health and circulation.”


Currently herbal steams are offered in the San Diego area by only two practitioners, Joanna Yañez, and her mother (who also goes by Joanna Yañez) who has also been trained in Mayan abdominal therapy and worked as a health educator over fifteen years. The steams are available by booking an appointment to see either Joanna at Reproductive Wellness. Joanna can be reached by phone at (619) 320-5253, or online at

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