Health Library

Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a nerve problem. It is an urge to move your legs that you cannot control. It is worse at night.

It can be managed with healthy habits and medicine. Natural treatments have been used to further ease symptoms. They should not be used instead of standard care.

Natural Therapies

Likely Effective

Iron is an essential nutrient that is vital for blood flow. It is likely to help ease restless legs. (Note: People with heart problems should not take iron. It may also cause constipation.) B2, B5, B7

May Be Effective

These supplements may help ease restless legs:

  • Peony root is the root of a flower that is used in Chinese herbal medicine. B3
  • Vitamin C is used by the body to improve health and fight off illness. It is found in citrus. B1
  • Vitamin E is used by the body as an antioxidant to help slow damage to cells. It is found in nuts and olive oil. B1

Other therapies that may help are:

  • Exercise training D1, D2
  • Light therapy can be used on acupoints to ease symptoms. C1, C2
  • Yoga B4

Not Enough Data to Assess

  • Acupuncture A1-A3
  • Valerian B6

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution

Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse, such as:

  • Iron should not be taken by people with heart problems. It may also cause constipation.

References


Acupuncture

REFA1
Cui Y, Wang Y, et al. Acupuncture for restless legs syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008;(4):CD006457.

REFA2
Raissi GR, Forogh B, et al. Evaluation of Acupuncture in the Treatment of Restless Legs Syndrome: A Randomized Controlled Trial. J Acupunct Meridian Stud. 2017 Oct;10(5):346-350.

REFA3
Xu XM, Liu Y, et al. Complementary and alternative therapies for restless legs syndrome: An evidence-based systematic review. Sleep Med Rev. 2018 Apr;38:158-167.


Herbs and Supplements

REFB1
Sagheb MM, Dormanesh B, et al. Efficacy of vitamins C, E and their combination for treatment of restless legs syndrome in hemodialysis patients: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Sleep Med. 2012;13(5):542-545.

REFB2
Trotti LM, Becker LA. Iron for the treatment of restless legs syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019;1:CD007843.

REFB3
Kwon S, Jin C, et al. Paeoniae Radix-containing herbal medicine for patients with restless legs syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2019 May;35:329-341.

REFB4
Xu XM, Liu Y, et al. Complementary and alternative therapies for restless legs syndrome: An evidence-based systematic review. Sleep Med Rev. 2018 Apr;38:158-167.

REFB5
Aurora RN, Kristo DA, et al. The treatment of restless legs syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder in adults--an update for 2012: practice parameters with an evidence-based systematic review and meta-analyses: an American Academy of Sleep Medicine Clinical Practice Guideline. Sleep. 2012 Aug 1;35(8):1039-1062.

REFB6
Cuellar NG, Ratcliffe SJ. Does valerian improve sleepiness and symptom severity in people with restless legs syndrome? Altern Ther Health Med. 2009 Mar-Apr;15(2):22-28.

REFB7
Wang J, O'Reilly B, et al. Efficacy of oral iron in patients with restless legs syndrome and a low-normal ferritin: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Sleep Med. 2009 Oct;10(9):973-975.


Near-Infrared Light Therapy

REFC1
Mohammadi MM, Raygani AAV, et al. Effect of Near-Infrared Light Therapy Based on Acupoints on the Severity of Restless Legs Syndrome in Patients Undergoing Hemodialysis: A Single-Blind, Randomized Controlled Trial. Clin Med Res. 2018;16(1-2):1-8.

REFC2
Xu XM, Liu Y, et al. Complementary and alternative therapies for restless legs syndrome: An evidence-based systematic review. Sleep Med Rev. 2018 Apr;38:158-167.


Exercise Therapy

REFD1
Xu XM, Liu Y, et al. Complementary and alternative therapies for restless legs syndrome: An evidence-based systematic review. Sleep Med Rev. 2018 Apr;38:158-167.

REFD2
Gopaluni S, Sherif M, et al. Interventions for chronic kidney disease-associated restless legs syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Nov 7;11:CD010690.

  • EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC
  • 201911
  • 20200615