Does Massage Help Restless Leg Syndrome? (Massage Monday #463)

A while ago, I received a request to make a video for Restless Leg Syndrome also known as RLS. I have been looking for information on what you can do to alleviate it massage wise.

Restless Leg Syndrome seems to be a symptom of many possible causes such alcohol and caffeine intake, medications, pregnancy, smoking, various diseases such as Parkinson’s, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, dopamine deficiency, iron deficiency, and even genes. So these are things that you can look into because I believe it’s easier to fix the symptoms if you know the cause and if you can fix the cause. At least that’s my approach.

There are two case studies done with massage. It’s not very much but what I’ve read was still encouraging because massage did help reduce the restless leg symptoms on the subjects in the studies.

In one study, a subject received 45-miute massages twice a week for three weeks. She reported a decrease in the restless leg symptoms which were tingling sensations, urgency to move the legs and sleeplessness after two treatments and continued to improve throughout the three weeks. The massage techniques used in this study was myofascial release, trigger point therapy, deep tissue, and sports massage focused on the lower extremity focusing on the piriformis which is in the buttocks area and hamstrings.

Massage therapy and restless legs syndrome

In another study on 90 kidney dialysis patients, the subjects who had better results on restless leg symptoms received oil massage with effleurage techniques. Effleurage is a flowy massage technique used in Swedish Massage.

Effects of glycerin oil and lavender oil massages on hemodialysis patients’ restless legs syndrome

I’ve also read articles that massaging your leg before you go to bed will help reduce the restless leg during sleep. One of the believed causes of restless leg is lack of dopamine and massage helps to increase dopamine levels. So maybe that’s why it’s helping.

So massage does seem to help alleviate restless leg symptoms but it costs a lot to make those massage appointments unless you are the subject of these studies. A good alternative is a leg massager.

Leg Massagers for Restless Leg Syndrome

Some even say RLS for Restless Leg Syndrome. If I were to pick one for myself, I would choose something like this with a remote and rechargeable battery so I can use this anywhere on a couch or bed. It’s highly rated and one of the reviewers said massaging helps a lot for his/her mild restless leg syndrome.  

KONLIKING Air Compression Leg Massager Improve Blood Circulation for Foot Calf Massage with Portable Handheld Controller – 2 Modes & 3 Intensities Portable (BlackGrey)

By the way, if you want to volunteer as a subject for a research study, I read you can contact the Clinical Research Department at local universities and hospitals. Or you can go to these websites to look for one. Personally, I’d be scared to be a Guinea pig for drugs but I did a search on “massage” and I found total of 255 studies with 27 studies currently recruiting worldwide. Unfortunately, not in my area. And I did a search on “clinical trial” on Craigslist and there were 51 listings with duplicates in my area but no massage related studies.

U.S. National Library of Medicine:

Craigslist: (Do search on “clinical trial.”)

Massage Monday #463 Does Massage Help Restless Leg Syndrome?