Restless Legs Syndrome
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder characterized by an irresistible urge to move one’s body, mainly the legs, to stop uncomfortable and sometimes painful tingling, and tugging sensations. It is a common condition that affects up to one in 12 of the population. It is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. RLS may start at any age, including childhood. In a survey among members of the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation it was found that up to 45% of patients had their first symptoms before the age of 20 years. For some sufferers it is a progressive disease whilst others find their symptoms will remit.
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) typically causes a strong urge to move your limbs and can cause pain and uncomfortable sensations. It typically concerns the legs, but the arms and torso can be affected too.
Sufferers may experience some or all of the following sensations:
- tingling, burning, itching or throbbing
- a feeling like something is crawling on their skin
- a fizzing feeling inside the blood vessels in the legs
- cramping in the calves or legs.
Symptoms can range from mild to severe and are usually worse in the evening and during the night. It can cause major disruption to the sleep cycle.
Some people experience symptoms just now and again, while others have them every day. Sufferers may find it difficult to sit for long periods of time.
Just over half of people with RLS also experience episodes of lower back pain.
Some say that the exact cause of RLS is unknown, other researchers claim it is linked to one or more of the following factors:
It is due to inflammation in the body.
It is linked to abnormalities in levels of the brain chemical dopamine.
It is a genetic condition.
It is the result of an iron deficiency
It is associated with certain drugs and medications including: caffeine, alcohol, H2-histamine blockers (such as ranitidine [Zantac] andcimetidine [Tagamet]), and certain antidepressants (such as amitriptyline [Elavil, Endep]).
As with all diseases this did not happen overnight. The very first thing you must do is see a licensed health professional. Find a list of practitioners in your local area here.
Here are some things you can discuss with your practitioner:
- Do a full body cleanse to detoxifiy and de-stress the entire body and bring it back into balance.
- Go on a fast to clear your system of toxic waste www.wecarespa.com
Adopt good sleep habits and set a regular bedtime at a reasonable hour. Try using relaxation techniques before going to sleep. Guided meditations and relaxation exercises, soaking in a warm bath before bedtime, massaging the legs or problem areas with suitable aromatherapy oils, are all good options. It is also a good idea to start and end the day with a routine of gentle exercise to stretch out the muscles.
When symptoms arise, lying on the floor on your front for 30 minutes can bring relief.
- We recommend regular colonics to remove toxicity from the body. Read more about colonics by clicking here. Find a practitioner here.
- Most of the water that we drink is very acidic and in order to heal our bodies need a more alkaline state. During the program drink alkalized water, which you can buy from Real Water.
Take an Epsom salt bath three evenings a week to relax leg muscles. Cold feet have also be known to aggravate this condition so be sure to wear warm, cosy socks before getting into bed.
Hot and cold compresses on the legs or switching to cold water after having a warm shower can be effective in treating restless leg syndrome.
Eat a diet rich in green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, wholegrains, organic fish, grass fed beef and poultry. This will provide adequate levels of magnesium, folate content and iron (deficiencies in these are linked to RLS).
Stay away from refined flour and sugar.
Caffeine, alcohol and tobacco can all aggravate the condition so steer clear of these offenders too.
Avoid heavy meals before bedtime.
Eat small frequent meals. This keeps the nutrients flowing through your body at a more consistent level than by eating one large meal.
Drink plenty of pure, filtered water throughout the day.
Keep a food diary to see if there are links to particular foods that may trigger your condition.
It is important to not add further toxicity to your system so also try to adhere to the following:
- Do not consume any artificial sweeteners, such as Splenda, NutraSweet or Aspartame
- Do not consume high fructose corn syrup or mono-sodium glutamate.
- Do not drink any carbonated beverages.
- Avoid all fast food restaurants.
- Avoid all canned food.
- Eliminate conventional dairy products. The best dairy products are raw, unpasteurised and homogenised dairy from grass fed cows. If this is unavailable, then buy organic dairy.
- Avoid conventional beef. The best beef is organic grass fed beef.
www.grasslandbeef.com The second best is organic meat; this includes beef, veal, lamb, chicken and turkey.
- Take Vitamin D3 50,000-100,000 International Units a day for periods of 4 weeks at a time.
- Wholefood supplements are the best way of ensuring your nutritional needs are met. The best we know on the market is Kevin Trudeau’s “KT Daily” product. You can find more details here.
- Take an Omega 3 supplement. Omega 3 is an anti-inflammatory so can help to heal the inflammation that may be causing your restless legs.
- Iron supplements: It is recommended that people with RLS should have their serum ferritin level tested. The ferritin level, a measure of the body’s iron stores, should be at least 50 µg/L (or ng/mL, an equivalent unit) for those with RLS. Oral iron supplements, taken under a licensed practitioner’s care, can increase ferritin levels. For some people, increasing ferritin will eliminate or reduce RLS symptoms. A ferritin level of 50 µg/L is not sufficient for some sufferers and increasing the level to 80 µg/L may further reduce symptoms. It is dangerous to take iron supplements without first having ferritin levels tested.
- Vitamin C and E have been found effective in treating RLS. In a randomized double-blind placebo controlled trial by Sagheb, et al., vitamins C, E and their combination were an effective and safe treatment for RLS in hemodialysis patients compared to the placebo.
- Take vitamin B3, B12, zinc and potassium to heal inflammation.
- Taking calcium, magnesium and folic acid have also been proven to improve symptoms of RLS.
Prescription and non-prescription medication:
What non-prescription and prescription drugs are you taking? Your non-prescription and prescription are partially the reason that you have this illness or disease – you need to get off these medications but do so only under the guidance of a licensed health care practitioner.
Note: Medications such as allergy pills and cold medications contain mild stimulants which can cause jittery legs.
Try to reduce stress from your life. Stress can exacerbate RLS. We know that when the body is out of balance, energy doesn’t flow, leading blockages and eventually disease. Here are some things you can do to combat stress and restore balance:
- Go to a Dr Morter BEST (Bio-Energetic Synchronisation Technique) Practitioner.
- Sign up for Energetic Re-Balancing: 2 practitioners to consider are:
Stephen Lewis, founder of the Aim Program. Find out more by clicking here.
. Find out more by clicking here.
- Consider using Mary Millers Iching System Products – ichingsystemsinstruments.com
- Reiki healing is very powerful in releasing stress and emotional baggage. Find a practitioner here.
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) has had remarkable results in dissolving stress. Find a local practitioner here or go towww.thetappingsolution.com or www.tftrx.com
- Try Hypnotherapy to relax the mind. Find a practitioner here.
As always the fastest most effective way to receive tailored advice to your own situation, you should visit a local licensed practitioner. Find your closest Ayurvedic practitioners here.
Here are some remedies that your practitioner may suggest:
Beneficial herbs such as:
- Skull cap and jatamamsi – to help reduce the flow of prana through the nerves and nadi of the physical and subtle body.
- Ashwaganda and shankhapushpi – to help to stabilize the flow of prana and improve the ability of the nervous system to manage stress.
- Amalaki and ashwaganda – to restore the strength and endurance of the body.
- Fennel, dill and aloe vera – are herbs that have a regulating and cooling action on the body.
Gentle yoga poses that work the thigh muscles and flex and extend the solar plexus and pelvis are also recommended.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
According to Traditional Chinese medicine, the cause of Restless Leg Syndrome is heat in the heart, which is thought to cause agitation in one’s spirit, and can lead to restlessness during sleep and periods of relaxation.
A popular TCM treatment for restless legs is acupuncture. Acupuncture treatments have proven effective in patients with arthritis, and are believed to also stimulate those parts of the brain that are involved in RLS.
Another ancient TCM practice that can help to control RLS symptoms is Moxibustion. This involves the use of the mugwort herb, or “moxa,” to stimulate the points on the body used during acupuncture. Stimulating these points can help to energize or align one’s qi, and also can induce a smoother blood flow, which will reduce the urges of Restless Leg Syndrome.
To receive bespoke advice based upon your own situation you should visit a local licensed practitioner. Find your closest Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners here.
The following essential oils all have effective properties for treating RLS:
Lavender and chamomile have sedative qualities. Four drops of each oil can be mixed with a carrier oil (such as grape seed oil). The blend should then be massaged into the legs. A few drops of the oils placed at the top corners of your pillowcase may also prevent disturbed sleep.
Good choices to add to a warm bath are four drops of the following:
Marjoram oil for its analgesic, anti-spasmodic and sedative effects. It is a warming and soothing oil.
Vertiver for its relaxing benefits. It is commonly used to treat muscle spasms, insomnia and muscle pain so is a wonderful all-rounder for this condition.
To ensure positive results, always check that the essential oil is a 100% pure plant distillation and that it comes from a reputable source.
Owing to the principles behind homeopathy it is essential you see a licensed practitioner to receive your own personalised prescription. Find your closest Homeopath here.
Here are some remedies that your practitioner may suggest:
Aconitum Napellus – a soothing remedy for sufferers who tend to panic. Tingling or shooting pains are experienced in the legs. The person may be agitated and unable to sleep or sleep is distressing and full of fearful dreams.
Arsenicum Album – for those who feel simultaneously restless and exhausted, with feelings of weakness, heaviness, and trembling in the legs. Cramping and burning sensations may also be experienced. People who need this remedy are often deeply chilly and improved by warmth.
Causticum – for those with restless legs with sensations of burning and aching, and cramps in the calves and feet. Symptoms are worse at night and often improve with warmth. People needing Causticum often have a tendency toward muscle weakness. They can be prone to nervous stress and very sensitive to other people’s feelings.
Ignatia – for sensitive, nervous individuals who experience twitching and spasms in the muscles. The legs and arms often jerk as the person falls asleep, and sleep lightly. Those experiencing grief or emotional stress often respond to this remedy.
Rhus Toxicodendron – for sufferers with intense restlessness who need constant movement. The person may feel apprehensive when trying to fall asleep and find it difficult to stay in bed.
Sulphur – for burning pain in the legs accompanied with restlessness. Jerking and twitching during sleep with frequent waking, are other indications for Sulphur.
Zincum Metallicum – for extreme restlessness in the legs that causes distress. Symptoms are present both at night and in the daytime and the condition can also affect the arms. People who need this remedy are usually excitable with active thoughts—although over stimulation and loss of sleep can eventually lead to exhaustion or depression.
Curcumin, cayenne, ginger Root, St. John’s Wort, skullcap, devil’s claw and liquorice root are all natural anti-inflammatories and have been found effective in treating RLS.
Gingko biloba and ginseng are helpful in dealing with stress in the body and they work to alleviate tension and calm the nerves.
Butchers Broom is a popular herb for treating restless legs as it helps improve circulation. Horse chestnut is also chosen for its positive effect on blood flow.
Valerian root and kava kava are useful in promoting a restful night’s sleep.
Monochromatic Near-Infrared Light Treatment – This treatment has also been shown to decrease symptoms associated with RLS. A study showed that there was a steady decrease in symptoms associated with RLS over the 4 weeks in the treatment group. After 4 weeks of treatment, the treatment group had a significantly greater improvement in RLS symptoms than the control group.
Juice Therapy – A daily dose of fresh green juice containing spinach, asparagus or kale juice, are all rich in folate and other essential minerals and vitamins which will help keep your legs still at night. Carrot juice is another popular drink for sufferers due to its amazing inflammation busting properties.
Exercise – Regular exercise such as jogging, brisk walking, rebounding or cycling can help in alleviating the problem. Daily exercise will help you sleep better too.
Yoga – The physical postures and breathing exercises comprising the practice of yoga have long been proven by scientific research to promote feelings of relaxation while simultaneously strengthening the body. Research conducted since the 1970s has shown that regular yoga practice not only relieves stress, and stressful emotions such as anxiety and depression, but also improves blood pressure rates and overall cardiovascular health. Yoga is also effective for reducing pain, improving gastrointestinal and respiratory function, and for improving cognitive function and enhancing sight and hearing.
Note: If you are just beginning to explore yoga, it is recommended that you initially do so under the guidance of a trained yoga instructor who can guide you to become aware of the subtleties involved in each yoga posture as well as the corresponding method of breathing.
Qigong –Is a wonderful form of exercise, breath work and meditation to relieve stress and tension in the body. See article section for more information about the art of qigong.
Restless leg syndrome linked to magnesium deficiency www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/173193.php
Traditional Chinese Medicine – Ancient Healing www.naturalcures.com/healthblog/traditional_chinese_ancient_healing.php
The best way to cleansing and purification of the body www.naturalcures.com/healthblog/54_the_best_way_to_cleansing_and_purification_of_the_body_110512.php
Squeaky Clean (Colonic Irrigation) www.naturalcures.com/healthblog/squeaky_clean.php
Heal Your Body and Raise Your Consciousness – Qigong NC_Newsletter_12-08.pdf
Health Care that Won’t Cost You a Single Penny – EFT NC_Newsletter_12-06.pdf
Become Master of Your Mind – taking charge of your reaction to stress NC_Newsletter_12-10.pdf
Jump for Joy – Rebounding is a great stress busting workout NC_Newsletter_12-10.pdf
Hypnotherapy for stress management – why it is so effective www.naturalcures.com/healthblog/hypnotherapy_for_stress.php
Herbal remedies to treat RLS www.youtube.com/watch?v=AY49hoHHgOw
Exercise tips for restless leg syndrome www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuysT1F6eAQ
Evaluation of oral iron treatment in pediatric restless legs syndrome (RLS)
Estrogen tied to restless legs during pregnancy
RLS in middle aged women and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder in their offspring
Vitamins C and E for treatment of restless leg syndrome
Further Information (links and books)
Juicing for Restless Leg Syndrome by Andrew Williams Ph.D
The Power of Sleep: How to Get to Sleep and Stay Asleep Naturally by Maria Johnson
The Inflammation Syndrome: Your Nutrition Plan for Great Health, Weight Loss, and Pain-Free Living by Jack Challem
Yoga Sanctuary: A Guided Hatha Yoga Practice by Shiva Rea
Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art by Kathi Keville and Mindi Green
Detox and revitalize by Susana L. Belen
The Secret Language of Your Body by Inna Segal
The Healing Herbs: The Ultimate Guide to the Curative Power of Nature’s Medicines by Michael Castleman and Prevention Magazine
Amy Lanski, homeopath: www.activeconsciousness.com
Judith Hoad, herbalist: firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrea Butje, aromatherapist: email@example.com
David Spector-NSR/USA firstname.lastname@example.org – meditation, stress
Kath May, reiki, tai chi: email@example.com
Lillian Bridges, Chinese medicine, living naturally: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rakesh Modi, Ayurvedic Practitioner: GAC@AyurvedicLifeStyles.com