Suffering from Restless Leg Syndrome? Yoga Can Help
If you suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), here's some helpful news: Simple yoga stretches may help ease your condition.
In a study published in the Journal of Alternative Medicine, participants found that yoga provided much-needed relief from the burdensome sleep disorder, which leaves sufferers unable to sleep because of a constant inexplicable twitching in their legs.
The 8-week study conducted by the West Virginia University of Public Health focused on women ages 32–66 years old with restless leg syndrome. Before the study, the women’s symptoms were rated moderate to severe, because their RLS symptoms persisted both day and night. But after 13 classes of a gentle Iyengar Yoga practice, most women in the study saw marked improvements.
Those who completed the study and practiced yoga for the full 8 weeks experienced consistent relief from their symptoms; 9 out of 10 women saw symptoms drop to minimal or mild within days of beginning their new practice.
Medications for RLS, although effective for some, are not for everyone. The side effects of these drugs often create issues of their own, especially when you consider the added financial burden of taking medications regularly as well as dealing with how the side effects are impacting your daily life.
While relaxation therapy is often recommended to help manage symptoms of RLS, previous research on the effects of yoga for RLS is sparse. The preliminary results found in this study lay the groundwork for continuing research and development of yoga as a promising natural treatment for the disorder.
Other studies have pointed to vitamin B deficiency as a cause of the disorder, particularly vitamin B-12. Vitamin B-complex taken before bed can often help ease symptoms of restless leg syndrome and help with generalized insomnia as well.
Try this practice for restless legs excerpted from an online video practice with yoga teacher Jasmin Punzalan in the YogaUOnline Practice Channel. Do this simple stretch on one leg and then rinse and repeat for the other leg. :-)
Innes, Kim E., Terry Kit Selfe, Parul Agarwal, Kimberly Williams, and Kathryn L. Flack. "Efficacy of an Eight-Week Yoga Intervention on Symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS): A Pilot Study." Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., 19 June 2013. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3673587/