What's a Yoni? According to tantric tradition, yoni is sanskrit for vulva and translates to "sacred portal" or "sacred cave," says Isis Phoenix, a somatic sexologist who specializes in yoni massage. A yoni massage is a ceremony where a woman is invited to seize touch on her vulva, says Phoenix. When we invite touch, theres opportunity to cleanse a sense of energy. She says it's a therapeutic process meant to help women become aware of their sexuality .

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Who Is It For? Any woman who wants to have a little one-on-one with her vagina is welcome, says Phoenix. The sole purpose of this experience is for women to discover new areas of pleasure . But Phoenix says clients also seek treatment for a variety of reasons, such as coping with a trauma or breakup.

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Phoenix says that it's possible to release any emotions that may be "stuck" in your vag by experiencing different sensations during the massage. But most of her clients come in to discover a new area in their vagina that feels good, she says.

The Prep Work Phoenix starts her session with deep-breathing exercises to connect and bring awareness to her clients body and pelvic floor. Sometimes shell ask women to roll around with an exercise ball to bring more attention to pelvic area. Occasionally, shell use herbal treatments, like a yoni steam ( beware of this! ), to help her clients relax. Once the client feels calm, shell lie down on a table, and Phoenix will massage her body using essential oils and coconut oil. This massage can focus on certain erogenous zones , like the breasts. After that, she stretches out the woman's hip flexors to get them ready for the big event.

The Ceremony Phoenix and her client sit on a table in a butterfly position with the client's legs draped over hers. When shes ready, Phoenix places her gloved hands on her client's vulva. Then, she asks her to repeat the breathing exercises , while gently touching the woman's labia. During the ceremony, Phoenix asseses how the client feels and asks her to start inhaling through her mouth and exhaling through her nose.

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If theres enough time and the client is willing, Phoenix will trek inside to analyze any tension in the woman's vagina. When she finds a tight spot, she presses into it and asks the client to contract around her fingers, hold her breath, and release, says Phoenix.

The Bennies While some people actually have an orgasm during the process, reaching the finish line isnt the point, says Phoenix. It's more about discovering what makes you feel good.

"The biggest benefit is that they feel a sense of embodied wisdom of what gives them pleasure, she says. And, hopefully, they use that knowledge to do some solo exploring with their fingers or though a vibrator, she says. Plus, learning more about your pleasure zones can make you a better communicator, which could lead to better sex .

Does It Get Weird? The idea of paying for a professional vagina massage is pretty out there (they cost upwards of $300), but that doesn't mean you should feel uncomfortable at any point. To ensure that her clients aren't surprised by the process, Phoenix discusses boundaries and consent before getting started.

It can go as far as women want it to go, she says. She may just want her yoni held. Also, a good yoni masseuse will always wash their hands before handling your lady business, says Phoenix. So keep an eye out for that!

Is It Safe? You might be surprised to know that some gynecologists are on board with this practice. Though this pretty much sounds like foreplay , any gentle touching in the vagina can help you get aroused faster after the session and help with vaginal dryness the next time you have sex, says Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Yale School of Medicine.

"Logically, anything that increases blood flow to the pelvis increases sensitivity, arousal, and lubrication, which could help with orgasms," says Minkin

As for Phoenix's claim that a yoni massage can lead to a release of tension and constipated emotions, Minkin isn't so sure. "To say that just touching the vagina can lead to a release of emotions doesn't seem true to me," she says. But if it improves your sex life, that can better your relationship and, in turn, lead to a little emotional stress relief, says Minkin.

The biggest thing to avoid during yoni therapy: steam and herbs . Minkin says that any steam near your lady bits is pretty dangerous. "This is the most delicate tissue on your body," she says. "You risk burning yourself."

As for the herbs, she says you never really know what's in that stuff, and the less you annoy your vagina , the better.

Would you try a yoni massage? Let us know!