Massage alone can provide many benefits, however, combine this with the power of aromatherapy and the effects can be amazing at a time when your mind and body need it most.  Both your body and your hormones are going through huge changes and fluctuations and so the power of massage can be great at this time.  There is, however, much to consider when considering massage and no doubt you may be warier if this is your first pregnancy.  As with all things, there is a huge amount of support and guidance available to you and sometimes some confusing contradictory advice to wade through before making your decisions.  

This article is aimed at giving you a professional, non-biased view and advice on what to look for, together with cautionary information.

When looking for any therapist it is vital that you look for qualifications and professional membership to ensure that the therapist not only understands their techniques but has also studied and passed qualifications in Anatomy & Physiology to ensure an understanding of the body they are working with.  Therapists, as well as the right levels of insurance, will also be members of professional bodies for their industry; such as FHT (Federation of Holistic Therapists), CThA (Complementary Therapists Association) and CNHC (Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council).  This will ensure that they have continued Professional Development and also have the approved qualifications to offer the treatments that they are advertising.

Pregnancy Massage can be carried out seated or side-lying and your therapist will ensure that you are comfy and safe in whatever position you have your massage using pillows and v-pillows to limit pressure on the body.

Main Benefits to Pregnancy Massag
- Relaxation & Stress Alleviation-Increased Blood flow can increase haemoglobin and reduce anaemia
-Lymphatic Drainage alleviates fluid build-up and reduces Varicose Veins- remedies common pregnancy discomfort - back pain, cramps, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, heartburn, sciatica & constipation
- Hormone levels - Reduced need for medication

When not to have a massage-
 High-risk pregnancy
- Bleeding
- Threatened Miscarriage
- History of early labour
 - Placental dysfunction
- Eclampsia
- Gestational Diabetes

There is no restriction on how early in pregnancy you can have a massage, however, many therapists may say after your first scan to ensure there are no complications.

If you have any concerns you should always check with your doctor or midwife.
A therapist will require you to sign a disclaimer and undertake a full medical consultation prior to your treatment.

Adding Aromatherapy into the mix

Always use a qualified Aromatherapist that is fully trained to understand the therapeutic effects of all oils and also the medical contraindications to oils, particularly in pregnancy.
Do not be afraid to ask to see your therapists qualifications.  
Oils should be restricted to over your first trimester and only used in a 1% dilution to the carrier oil, never undiluted.  

Benefits to Aromatherapy Oils 
- Swollen ankles - some oils stimulate lymphatic drainage when combined with massage to the area - Cypress (only to be used after 5 months term), Grapefruit, Mandarin
- Morning Sickness/Nausea - oil inhaled on a tissue or blended with a carrier oil and massaged into the feet - Lemon, Peppermint
- Aching legs - Geranium, Lavender- Headaches - roller balls of oil and carrier blend applied to the temples
- Nasal congestion - Eucalyptus
- Varicose Veins (should not be massaged over directly) - Lemon
- Lower back pain - Chamomile, Lavender
- Stretch mark prevention - Tangarine- Cell regeneration - Lavender, Neroli
- Cystitis in Pregnancy - Bergamot/Sandalwood - applied in a shallow douche bathe
- Thrush in Pregnancy - Tea Tree - applied in a shallow douche bathe
- Lowers Blood Pressure - Ylang Ylang
-Emotional wellbeing to;  
*Uplift - Citrus oils (avoid use in the sun as phototoxic)
*Calm - Lavender
*Pain relief, anxiety & cell regeneration - Neroli  
*Grounding - Patchouli (strong oil so use sparingly)  
*Sedative & Antidepressant - Sandalwood, Frankincense, Rosewood
*Grounding & Overwhelmed - Vetiver  
*Anxiety, tension - Ylang Ylang
*Pre-post partum depression - Petitgrain

Cautions to oils Properties of oils need to be checked when using in pregnancy, particularly those with the following effects;
- Emmangogues
- Promote Menstruation
- Diuretics
- Promote Urine Production
- Parturients
- Promote Childbirth
- Arborfacients
- Abortive -
 Uterine Stimulants
- Oestrogenic Effects - which upset hormone balance

Safe Oils (underuse of an Aromatherapist (and checked against any other medical contraindication))- Mandarin, Frankincense, Ylang Ylang, Lime, Neroli, Petitgrain, Bergamot, Lemon, Orange, Coriander, Palmarosa, Lavender (Spanish not safe but English is) Eucalyptus, Helichrysum, Niaouli (a safer alternative to eucalyptus), geranium, black pepper, patchouli, vetiver and ginger

Oils not safe to use in pregnancy; Basil, Carrot Seed, Chamomile (in early stages), Clary Sage, Fennel, Rose, Marjoram, Rosemary, Thyme, Cedarwood, Cypress (up to 5 months), Myrrh, Jasmine (although good for labour), Juniper

Information in this article is provided with the best intentions.  It is the responsibility of the user to seek medical and professional advice from a doctor and midwife if concerned or high-risk pregnancy.  The author takes no responsibility for any contraindications that occur following the guidance in this article and is up to date at the time of writing under the CTPA (Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association)

To book your massage or to discuss the benefits in more detail please call Sarah today on 07792 114290 or visit