Restless Legs is a nightmare. The bad part is, you’re definitely not asleep when the “dream” comes. After a long day, you finally crawl into bed, unable to keep your eyes open, dripping with exhaustion, and the minute you lie down, you realize your body is not going to let sleep come. Your body is tired, your mind is ready for sleep; but your legs feel like someone injected them with caffeine and they just want to get up and walk. Or is it jolts of electricity running down your legs? Hard to describe.
Here are 13 remedies I use from time to time, that all seem to work.
- Open your hips. I found this remedy by accident. I do lots of yoga, and found that on the night when I did the hip openers, restless legs didn’t bother me. I researched this and found that RLS is directly related to the sciatic nerve. Here’s how you do this simple exercise. Sit on the floor criss-cross applesauce style. If you can’t bring your legs up close, just bring them up as far as you can — it won’t help at all to hurt yourself, nor will it matter if you can’t get your legs up close. Once your legs are in position, try to keep your back straight, put your hands out in front of you, and try to lean forward (straight back.) Babysteps — no need to feel pain, just a nice gentle stretch. The benefit is almost instantaneous — but continue to do this every night. This release is very good for your spine, and will keep your hips open and your sciatic nerve working properly. I do this everyday now, and RLS has not come back for 2 years. Each day, I’m able to bend forward a little further. For beginners, there is a great “hip openers” series on the yoga CD, Yoga Sanctuary: A Guided Hatha Yoga Practice
- Compression. Grab a flat tennis ball, and lie on your back. Slide the tennis ball under your hip and find that “sweet-spot” of feel-good, hurts a little, release. Keep it there for 5-10 seconds. Then move the tennis ball down to your calf and find that same sweet-spot. Hold for 5-10 seconds. One time usually kicks out the RLS. But continue until it leaves. This seems to just release that sciatic nerve, and it begins to relax. Shiva Rae has a great relaxation CD, Drops of Nectar: Yoga Relaxation for Rejuvenation and Healing that takes you through this process, step by step. It’s called, the “Secret Ball Society.”
- Lie on your stomach with your head to the right so that the weight is heavier over the heart area. Symptoms disappear in about 5 mins.
- Drink tonic water. This contains quinine that is helpful for the cramping.
- Drink a glass of warm milk and add a teaspoon of cardamom to the glass. This is based on an ancient ayurvedic remedy for restless legs.
- Epsom Salts Bath. Dr. Andrew Weil acknowledges that a 500 mg of calcium citrate and 250 to 500 mg of magnesium will calm nerves and muscles.
- You can also take a warm bath in Epsom Salts, which are also full of magnesium, to relax the muscles.
- The RLS Water Cure. 1. Step in your bath and take a warm/hot shower for 1-2 minutes being sure to spray the entire length of your legs with warm/hot water. 2. Then, switch water temperature fully to cold and spray your lower legs (from the knee down ONLY – shins, calves and feet) for about 30-45 seconds. 3. Step out of the shower and dry yourself and your legs with an upward movement.
- Take folic acid supplements. Remember the limits for folic acid are 1000 micrograms for males and 800 micrograms for females
- General Massage Oil for Parkinson’s, which also helps for RLS. From The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Worwood:
Nutmeg 5 drops
Valerian 2 drops
Geranium 5 drops
Rosemary 18 drops
(diluted in 2 Tbs. vegetable oil)Massage Oil for Muscle Stiffness:
Marjoram 10 drops
Basil 5 drops
Rosemary 10 drops
Lemon 5 drops
(dilute in 2 Tbs. of vegetable oil)Bath Oil Formula:
Orange 5 drops
Bergamot 5 drops
Lavender 10 drops
(blend together and use 4-6 drops in bath)
- Skip pain medicines. For some reason, Tylenol, and especially nighttime Tylenol makes my RLS worse.
- Add ground whole flax seeds to your diet. (Store this in the freezer.) Sprinkle it on salads, add it to baked goods (substitute 3 tablespoons of flaxseeds to 1 tablespoon of fat in recipes.) Flax seeds are a great omega-3 source, and help to flush impurities out of your system.
- Snack on Marmite and toast, followed by a banana. Rich in B Vitamins.