Not all massage oils and aromatherapy blends are created equal; there are some oils which are not suitable for pregnancy because they can affect the lymphatic and circulation system and be a hindrance to good health.
Prenatal massage is an excellent way to reduce stress and tension during pregnancy, and can help you get through even the most challenging days when everything seems off kilter. Pregnancy is a time of great change for your body inside and out, and enjoying a professional massage treatment is one way to soothe those aches and pains. Massage can also help improve the skin’s overall appearance by nourishing the skin with essential oils and herbal ingredients.
Jasmine Essential Oil
Jasmine oil is commonly used to treat insomnia and reduce anxiety, and offers a rich, floral scent. However, it is best used to ease labor pains and should not be used during pregnancy (Source: HerbalHealing.co.uk).
Basil Essential Oil
Basil is another herb that should only be used during labor; it is considered to be a uterine stimulant and can harm the fetus during all stages of pregnancy. Basil essential oils are best used for boosting the metabolism and increasing circulation, and need to be avoided during prenatal massage.
Fennel Essential Oil
Fennel essential oils are commonly used to reduce bloating and relieve constipation, and can be especially helpful for enhancing digestion. However, they can have a negative impact on a pregnant mother; women can use this oil for massage after labor as it can help relieve muscle tenderness.
Marjoram Essential Oil
Marjoram essential oils are considered to ‘happiness herbs’ and can relieve muscle soreness and general aches and pains. Marjoram has a natural calming properties that can induce deep relaxation; however, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils by Julia Lawson recommends pregnant mothers steer clear of this oil because it may be harmful to a mother’s health.
Aniseed Essential Oil
Anise and aniseed oils are commonly used to treat asthma, congestion and even bronchitis; it is a powerful herb that affects the respirator system, and has a distinctive licorice scent. However, the oil also has an effect on the digestive system and can be particularly volatile in a pregnant mother’s system.
Arnica Essential Oil
Arnica is commonly found in muscle-soothing creams and gels used by athletes and bodybuilders, but can be harmful to a pregnant mother. Its high levels of toxicity can lead to an adverse reaction in pregnant mothers, and is best used for treatment only after labor.
Cypress Essential Oil
Cypress essential oils are considered to be particularly astringent, and even though some people find it valuable for relieving swollen ankles and reducing varicose veins, it does present a risk during pregnancy. Cypress oil is best used after pregnancy to restore the body and reduce tenderness and swelling.
These are only a few of the dozens of potentially harmful essential oils during prenatal massage, and caution is advised when using natural and herbal remedies. A complete list of essential oils and their properties can be found in the book Ayurvedic Remedies for the Whole Family, by Light Miller. It is just one of many books that provides cohesive information on herbal and therapeutic treatments that are deemed safe for pregnant women.