Natural Home Remedies for Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless Leg Syndrome refers to discomfort in the legs accompanied by a need to move them. You can experience this sensation at any time but it often worse at night when you are still (or trying to be). This is also referred to as Willis-Ekbom Disease and is classified as a neurological sensory disorder.

Photo by Magda Ehlers from Pexels

The more you experience this discomfort at night while trying to sleep, the more likely you are to have secondary symptoms caused by lack of quality sleep.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

  • Discomfort in the legs with an urge to move them
  • Jerking limb movements at night

RISK FACTORS

  • Excessive use of alcohol
  • Iron deficiency
  • Neuropathy
  • Pregnancy
  • Renal disease
  • Smoking and tobacco products
  • Some medications

PREVALENCE

Between 7 and 10 percent of Americans report RLS symptoms.

ALLOPATHIC TREATMENT

Generally, medical advice will be for lifestyle changes, iron supplementation or drugs.  It is considered incurable.

SELF TREATMENT

DIET

A healthy immune system is always the first line of defense against disease and disorcer.  To promote a healthy immune system, it is important to eat a balanced diet, with as much variety as you can manage, with lots of whole, fresh vegetables and fruits, quality protein and healthy sources of monounsaturated fat.  The Zone is an excellent nutrition plan. Eating healthy will also help you sleep better at night.

FOODS THAT MAY PROMOTE HEALING

  • Bone broth
  • Iron-rich foods if you are low on iron

FOODS AND OTHER SUBSTANCES TO REDUCE OR ELIMINATE

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Excessive sugar
  • Gluten
  • Tobacco products

TEAS AND OTHER LIQUIDS

  • Apple cider vinegar, topically and internally
  • Chamomile
  • Poppy seed
  • Tonic water
  • Valerian

HERBS AND SPICES

  • Chamomile
  • Hops
  • Indian pipe
  • Lemon balm
  • Skullcap
  • Snakeroot

ESSENTIAL OILS

Essential oils can be administered via a diffuser for inhalation, administered topically in a carrier oil (coconut, almond, olive, etc.), or undiluted drops can be added to a hot bath or compress.  Find recipes for blends on the web or create your own.  Look for oils that have anti-spasmodic properties or are known relaxants.

  • Basil
  • Bergamot
  • Black pepper
  • Cedarwood
  • Clary sage
  • Clove
  • Cypress
  • Frankincense
  • Ginger
  • Jasmine
  • Lavender
  • Lemongrass
  • Neroli
  • Patchouli
  • Peppermint
  • Roman chamomile
  • Sweet marjoram
  • Vetiver
  • Yarrow

OTHER SUBSTANCES AND SUPPLEMENTS

The cost of having a blood test to determine if you have nutritional deficiencies is likely to be negligible compared to over-consuming expensive supplements that you do not need.

  • Iron
  • Magnesium/calcium
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D (get checked for deficiency)
  • Vitamin E

HYDRATION

Water is essential and a main nutrient for the human body.  Without it, you cannot survive for many days.  Staying hydrated is fundamental for a healthy body, so how much is enough? There are so many differences in people (i.e., how much we sweat), as well as the diets we consume (a lot of water comes from healthy, whole foods), but a general rule is to consume enough water that your urine is clear, but not so much that you dilute your nutrients. If you are taking certain supplements that make your urine yellow, then you can start out with the formula of drinking ½ to one ounce of water for each pound you weigh.  If you weigh 130 pounds, drink 65 to 130 ounces of water a day. Definitely drink when you are thirsty.

EXERCISE

That exercise is beneficial for overall health is undisputed. Since RLS will be worse if you sit for long periods, get up and walk frequently throughout the day.  Do some stretches. If you are ill, you will want to take it easy, of course, but there is always something you can do to support your body. Do what you can without making yourself feel worse.  Exercise in fresh air whenever possible.

SLEEP

Studies show that lack of quality sleep affects the production of disease-fighting antibodies.  RLS makes it difficult to get good quality sleep but it may help if you have good sleep habits. Sleep in a cool, quiet and dark room. If possible, use your sleeping room for nothing else besides sleep and sex; go to bed at the same time every day.  If you wake in the morning after 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep feeling unrested, you aren’t getting enough sleep or you have an underlying health condition.

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT

Stay calm.  Anxiety undermines health.  Practice relaxation exercises, talk to a friend, meditate.  Do what works for you to stay mellow.  Some of the following relaxation methods may be helpful for you:

OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO

  • Heat or cold packs, or alternate hot/cold
  • Massages
  • Soak your feet in cool water
  • Use a heating pad
  • Use an electric massager on your legs
  • Warm baths

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

  • Acupressure – https://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2531565
  • Acupuncture – https://www.pacificcollege.edu/news/blog/2014/09/06/restless-leg-syndrome-and-traditional-chinese-medicine
  • Ayurveda – https://www.ayurvedacollege.com/articles/drhalpern/clinical/restless_leg_syndrome
  • Chinese Medicine – https://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1576-acupuncture-and-herbs-relieve-restless-leg-syndrome-rls
  • Chiropractic – https://bakerchiropractic.org/pain-relief/restless-leg-syndrome/
  • Earthing – https://daithidubh.com/portfolio/grounding-relief-from-restless-leg-syndrome-ankle-bracelet/
  • Homeopathy – https://www.peacehealth.org/medical-topics/id/hn-2255006
  • SCIO/Biofeedback
  • TENS – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4671777/

PREVENTION

  • A wholesome, balanced diet
  • Adequate hydration
  • Regular exercise and stretching
  • Low stress levels
  • Quality sleep

 

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