Leg edema, or swelling, is one of the most common pregnancy symptoms, affecting up to 80% of expectant mothers.1 While it is generally not associated with serious complications, the cramps, tingling, and numbness it causes may lead to significant discomforts, including limiting women's mobility.
Therapeutic massage can be of great help when it comes to reducing edema, especially when done with natural oils that are rich in micro- and macronutrients. However, studies showing its efficacy of using the oils from almonds and grapes are still scarce.
This study was conducted to compare the effects of foot massage using grape seed oil and sweet almond oil on leg edema in pregnant women.
It was a 2020 randomized clinical trial conducted in several health centers in Zahedan, Iran. Researchers published their results in the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine journal.
The study involved 84 pregnant women at the gestational age between 30 and 40 weeks, who were randomly divided into three groups: the grape seed oil massage group, the sweet almond oil massage group, and the control group without any intervention.
Foot massages lasted for 20 minutes daily over a period of five consecutive days. Foot circumferences were taken in all groups before and after the study to evaluate the extent of the edema.
There was a significant reduction in foot circumference in the grape seed oil massage group and the sweet almond oil massage group, but not the control group.
The scores between the grape seed oil and almond oil massage groups were not substantially different.
What Does this Mean?
The findings of this clinical trial confirm that grape see oil and sweet almond oil massage is effective for reducing pregnancy edema. It is worth noting that the effects were seen relatively soon as the intervention lasted for five days.
As such, researchers encourage nurses and midwives in prenatal units as well as pregnant women at home to use nutrient-rich, natural oils for reducing physiological edema.
- Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Comparing the Effect of Foot Massage with Grape Seed Oil and Sweet Almond Oil on Physiological Leg Edema in Primigravidae: A Randomized Clinical Trial, 2020
- Circulation. (2014). Cardiovascular Physiology of Pregnancy. Retrieved November 19, 2020 from https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/circulationaha.114.009029