Restless legs syndrome, or RLS is a condition that affects many Americans – in fact it’s estimated that RLS affects approximately 10 per cent of US adults. Despite it being common, researchers think it’s often misdiagnosed, usually as insomnia or other neurological, muscular or orthopedic condition.
It’s thought that around 2 per cent of children get it, according to a study of more than 10,000 families in the US and UK.
Also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, RLS is an unpleasant sleep- related movement disorder that causes an overwhelming and often unpleasant urge to move your legs while you’re resting or trying to sleep.
There is no known cure for the syndrome, although some types of medication may relieve symptoms.
A new study has shown that there could be relief at hand – literally – for the one in ten Americans who suffer from RLS.
Massaging legs with oil has been proven to provide benefits for the condition according to the survey’s findings, which have recently been reported in Complementary Therapies in Medicine.
During the study, scientists looked at ways in which they could assess the short-term effects of massaging legs with olive oil , and whether doing this helped to reduce the severity of symptoms of RLS.
They decided to set up a double-blind placebo-controlled trial that involved 60 people with RLS. Some were massaged with olive oil twice a week and the placebo group were given a liquid paraffin- based massage twice a week. The severity of people’s symptoms was recorded at the start of the study, using the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group rating scale, and a week after the final treatment.
The decline in total RLS severity was found to be more significant in the group who received massage with olive oil group compared to the placebo group given liquid paraffin massage.
The researchers came to the conclusion that short-term application of massage with olive oil could be effective in reducing the severity of symptoms of RLS – although there are calls for more research to back up the findings.
If you suffer with RLS, why not book a massage and see whether the oil-based massage treatment works for you? It’s relaxing (we know that massage therapy helps sleep too) and there are no nasty side effects …