You’ve just settled into bed for the night, when an uncomfortable sensation creeps up your legs. Suddenly, you feel a strong urge to jerk them — it’s strange, and perhaps even painful. Not again! If this sounds familiar, you may suffer from restless leg syndrome (RLS). And while there are prescription medications that can help, there are also natural remedies you can try — and lavender oil is one that many people swear by.
Doubtful? Don’t be. At-home treatments have been shown to relieve symptoms of RLS, no matter the underlying cause. (Iron deficiency, anemia, and kidney failure have all been linked with RLS, and women are more than twice as likely to develop the condition.) Since one in 10 people will be affected by RLS at some point in their lives — many for no known reason — finding an inexpensive yet effective, treatment for this bothersome condition is a huge help. And if it’s all-natural, then all the better.
A simple trick like a lavender oil massage might be incredibly helpful and effective.
How does lavender oil help restless leg syndrome?
In a study published in Nursing and Midwifery Studies, a research team tested the effectiveness of lavender oil leg massages on 59 RLS patients, all of whom suffered from chronic kidney disease and received regular dialysis treatments.
For three weeks before each of their dialysis appointments, half of the participants received a 10-minute effleurage leg massage using lavender oil. (An effleurage massage is a massage technique that uses long strokes with light pressure.) The other half of the participants continued to receive kidney dialysis, but didn’t receive treatment for RLS.
By the end of the study, patients who had received lavender oil massage therapy experienced a significant decrease in their RLS symptoms. The control group, on the other hand, saw no change in their symptoms.
Why did the therapy work as a restless leg syndrome treatment? Effleurage massages are designed to encourage relaxation, improve blood circulation, and stimulate the lymphatic system. These positive effects may have reduced the leg-jerking impulse.
According to the study’s authors, the massage positively affected cognitive function and emotion — and the lavender oil may also have reduced feelings of anxiety and depression. (RLS has been linked to anxiety, so, it makes sense that anxiety treatments would help alleviate RLS symptoms.)
How To Give Yourself a Lavender Oil Massage
While the study only tested lavender oil massages on kidney disease patients, the authors noted that the treatment had no adverse effects. So, it might be useful for anyone who suffers from RLS — and it can’t hurt to try it.
Giving yourself a lavender oil massage is also a nice opportunity to indulge in some necessary self-care. To give yourself a massage, first dilute your essential lavender oil with a carrier oil, such as olive oil or grape seed oil, or mix it with your favorite unscented lotion. (Using lavender oil without diluting it could cause skin irritation.) For a one to two percent dilution, add three drops of lavender oil for every two teaspoons of oil or lotion.
Start at the base of your foot, and gently massage upward, toward your knee. Continue moving up and down your leg with light pressure. About five minutes per side should do the trick, but you can always extend the time if you want.
Looking for other RLS tips? Try soaking your legs in warm water with two cups of magnesium-enriched Epsom salts. If your symptoms get worse, make sure you speak to a doctor.
Hopefully, incorporating a little relaxation time into your day will reduce your symptoms and improve your sleep.
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