We recently had a client question about which essential oils can help with restless legs. I know how annoying this is first hand because I have experienced it sometimes when I’m trying to go to sleep or in an airplane.
According to the NHS[i], Restless legs syndrome (RLS), is a common condition of the nervous system that causes an overwhelming irresistible urge to move the legs. It can also cause a crawling or creeping sensation in the feet, calves and thighs. Some people have the symptoms of restless legs syndrome occasionally, while others have them every day. The symptoms can vary from mild to severe and in severe cases, restless legs syndrome can be very distressing and disrupt a person's daily activities.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, restless legs syndrome is caused by an overactive and overheated Yang. In Ayurveda, it is believed that this is due to a deranged Vata. In both these traditional systems, cooling down and grounding approaches are recommended to alleviate RLS.
- Bed-time routine
Given that RLS is a nervous system condition possibly caused by overstimulation, lifestyle changes can be explored. Firstly, if you experience restless legs at night time, make a little audit of your routine. Do you go to bed overstimulated by sensory or other stimuli which might be causing it? Establishing a bedtime routine with a cooling off period an hour before bed. Allow your body to slow down, read a book instead of watching TV and even speak in a non-stimulating way to wind down.
- Diet and supplements
Diet is also incredibly important! Do not eat or drink a few hours before bed and certainly avoid sugar. Taking a magnesium supplement might also contribute to a more calming down bed-time routine and restful sleep. Also check to see if you have iron deficiency anaemia (ferritin), and possibly supplement your diet with iron. Examine other prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications or herbal remedies you may be taking. For example, drugs commonly used to treat high blood pressure, nausea, colds, allergies and depression can trigger RLS symptoms. Eliminate or limit alcohol and caffeine from your diet to help improve sleep. Avoid nicotine as it is known to disrupt sleep.
- Aromatherapy and essential oils
Luckily, there are some natural remedies to help soothe the weird crawly itchy sensation, not the least of which are essential oils. Hurray! Mother Nature comes through again.
Essential oils can calm the nervous system and reduce stress and irritability which might be causing RLS. In particular, lavender, chamomile, geranium, frankincense, cedarwood, myrrh and rose are some of the most calming oils with a relaxing and sedative effect.
To make a massage oil for your legs: 6 drops of one or preferably a combination of the oils above (especially if one is lavender!) in a 30 ml of oil base, such as sweet almond, jojoba or olive oil. Blend the essential oils with the base oil and massage onto legs before bed.
To make a lotion: As above 6 drops of essential oils mixed into an unscented lotion.
Bath: Mix the 6 to 10 drops of essential oils into 200 grams of bath salts, such as Epsom, Pink Himalayan or dead sea salts and take a lovely relaxing bath for 20 minutes.
Happy legs with our Sweet Dreams range
Why don’t you try our Sweet Dreams range, specially the Body & Bath Oil and Bath salts for a calming routine and a restful night’s sleep?
If you are experiencing severe symptoms, please contact your GP.