Restless Legs (RLS) aka Ekbom Syndrome: A Holistic, Helpful Approach

20130127-113343.jpgRestless Legs Syndrome
2nd most common sleep disorder after sleep apnea.
Neurological movement disorder.
Overwhelming need to move or jerk legs (sometimes called “jumpy limbs”)–uncomfortable and distressing sensations deep in muscles.

Worse in late evening–legs are active at inopportune times: the more tired you get, the more energy goes into your legs.
Caused by hormones or hereditary.

Most prevalent in females (interestingly most prevalent in French Canadians!!)
Especially common in pregnant women (40%!)

Because it’s directly related to sciatic nerve it can be a side effect of sciatica.
20130127-113238.jpgCaused by lack of necessary blood supply (poor circulation). Can also be caused by excess abdominal fat.

People dealing with restless legs often experience insomnia. (much of what helps with insomnia will help your symptoms) 20130127-113212.jpgRLS is a vata problem just like insomnia because of its association with restlessness.

Folic Acid:
If your restless legs is hereditary (shows up by the time you are 20) then Folic acid will be particularly helpful:
Green leafy veggies (spinach), lentils, kidney beans, wheat germ, egg yolks

Often caused by a dopamine deficiency which is a deficiency of iron (need iron to make dopamine)
Iron (take with 100 mg vitamin C for absorbency)
Better to boost your iron levels with foods than supplements as it is easy to take to much iron.
Eat beans, green veggies, nuts, and seeds. (Almond butter is great!)

Magnesium is like natural Valium–gives energy and calms nervous system (take up to 500 mg)
B-6 (also helps with insomnia)
300 IUs of Vitamin E
Also ginkgo and horse-chestnut to help with circulation.20130127-113226.jpgAlso Eat:
Plenty fruits and vegetables.
Lots of warm, cooked foods
Add ground flax to your diet–omega-3s flush out impurities.
Liver. If you like liver then it’s really good for you.

Avoid dry foods
Reduce your sugar intake.
Avoid big meals in the evening.

Pineapple juice.
Juice with carrot, celery, &spinach.
Ginger tea (for circulation)
Licorice tea (natural muscle relaxant)
Some say drink OJ, others say avoid it.
Before bed drink warm milk with cardamom.

No alcohol or caffeine. 20130127-113204.jpgLifestyle:
Walk briskly during the day.
Allow legs to dangle when seated.
Stand frequently during the day.
Practice deep breathing.
Focus on slowing your heart rate for 90seconds-3 minutes during the day.
Take a quiet, gentle stroll after dinner.

If you have varicose veins you can have surgery to reduce them and it can relieve you of you RLS symptoms.
Smoking worsens symptoms. 20130127-113248.jpgBedtime:
Eat 6 apricots before bed.
Stretch calves, thighs, & hips.
6 gentle squats.
Massage legs with sesame oil. Firmly massage calves and also focus on last 2 toes.
Take a hot bath with 1 cup of Epsom salts (Epsom salts contain magnesium!)
Wear socks (people with restless legs tend to have folder feet!)
Lie on your stomach with your head to the right, putting weight on your heart.
Elevate your feet during sleep.

Massage therapy which targets lower body can ward off restless leg syndrome for several weeks.
Bi-weekly massages are recommended.

Looking for a massage therapist? Do you live in Staunton? I would be happy to work with you. Contact me at

Joy Boardman

Massage Therapist and Collage Art Therapist

Planet Joy: Otherworldly Massages for Women, Planet-Friendly Collages for Everyone

Find me here:

[PlanetJoy’s Blog]

[PlanetJoy’s Etsy Shop]

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