Give Your Legs Some Much-Needed Peace
Have you ever had it happen where you lay down for bed and then your legs do something weird. They feel like no matter what, you need to kick and move and adjust them. And often this prevents you from getting your rest. Well, that’s Restless Legs Syndrome.
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is an ailment that result in an uncontrollable desire or need to move your legs, typically because of a strange, uncomfortable sensation. Usually, it happens in the evening or nighttime hours when you've just sat down or gone to bed. Moving seems to make the strange, unpleasant feeling go away temporarily.
Also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, RLS can start at any age and typically gets worse as you get older. It can interrupt your sleep or keep you from falling asleep, which interferes with daily life.
While medications and lifestyle changes can help with the feeling, there is another fantastic way to help manage the symptoms many people love- massage.
The chief symptom is that urge to move your legs. You’ll also commonly see symptoms of RLS that can include:
- After resting, the sensations occur. The sensations usually starts after you've been lying down or sitting for a longer period of time, such as in a car, on an airplane, or when you’re in bed.
- If you move your legs, the feeling gets better. The sensation should lessen with movement, including stretching, jiggling/scissoring your legs, pacing, or walking.
- At night, the symptoms are worse. Symptoms occur only or predominantly at night.
- Leg twitching at night. RLS can be associated with another, a more common condition referred to as periodic limb movement of sleep, which causes your legs to twitch and kick, potentially throughout the night, while you’re asleep.
People often describe RLS symptoms as abnormal, unpleasant feelings in their legs and/or feet. They typically occur on both sides of the body, both right and left legs. Not as often, the sensations could affect the arms.
The sensations, which usually develop within the leg rather than on top of the skin, are described as:
- Creepy, Crawly
Occasionally, the sensations are challenging to explain. Those with RLS typically don't equate the symptoms to a muscle cramp or numbness. They do, however, regularly describe the urge to move their legs.
It's common for symptoms to change in severity and occur more or less often. Sometimes, symptoms go away for periods of time, but then they come back.
Should I Go See the Doctor?
Some people with RLS never seek medical attention because they worry they won't be taken seriously. But RLS can interfere with your sleep and cause daytime drowsiness and affect your quality of life. Talk with your doctor if you think you may have RLS.
What are the Causes?
In most cases, there is no known cause for RLS. Studies may indicate that the condition could be the result of an imbalance of the brain chemical dopamine, which sends signals to the brain related to muscle movement.
Additionally, in some situations RLS runs in families, particularly if the condition begins prior to the age of 40. Researchers have seen sites on the chromosomes where genes for RLS could be present.
Pregnancy or hormonal changes can temporarily worsen RLS symptoms. Some pregant people get RLS for the first time during pregnancy, particularly during their last trimester. However, symptoms typically disappear following delivery.
How Massage Therapy Helps RLS
As a person who deals with restless legs syndrome on about half of my nights, learning that something as wonderful as massage could help me was amazing.
The exact reason why massage aids those with RLS isn’t entirely understood by scientific studies. However, several people have gotten significant relief from their symptoms by receiving leg massages before bed on a regular basis. When used together with other RLS treatments, massage therapy can be a very safe and effective way to assist with the management your RLS.
One of the apparent reasons massage can be so effective for RLS is that it promotes proper blood and lymphatic circulation. As you may have read in several places on our site, massage assists to move out congested blood and improves the flow of new blood throughout the body. This brings in more oxygen and nutrients that your tissues need to stay healthy. Massage also helps move lymph fluid through the lymphatic system, which cleans it and aids the body in fighting infection.
If you suffer from RLS going to bed can be quite the task. You know that you won’t sleep well because you want to kick your legs so badly and may even have anxiety about losing more sleep, which in turn causes you to lose sleep. That’s when massage can truly help. Massage is known to minimize stress, lessen tension, and increase dopamine release, which is the hormone that could play a role in RLS’s cause. All of these things combined can help you calm your mind and body so that you can rest.
Massage Chairs for Your RLS
Thanks to the beauty of being able to get a much-needed massage right at home without having to do it yourself, massage chairs are a fantastic way to deal with your RLS symptoms. You can sit back and relax in your massage chair with a calf and foot massager and let it go to work so that you can relax and help yourself ot be able to sleep better than ever.
Massage Chair Techniques for Restless Leg Syndrome
There are a number of massage therapy techniques that can help with restless legs syndrome. What works for one person may not work for another, however, you should always give it a try as different types, particularly those you’re not familiar with, could be just the technique you need. Here we cover four common massage techniques found in most at-home massage chairs that can benefit the symptoms of RLS.
With myofascial release, the massage chair program will focus on easing tension by massaging the fascia, the tissue which surrounds the muscles. This is commonly referred to as a relaxation or Swedish massage. So, how does it work? Normal fascia feels soft and maleable, when it gets tight and knotted the massage rollers will work on these areas to loosen and stretch it. The goal is to release the fascia to reduce pain and muscle tension.
Shiatsu massage uses some of the same techniques as acupressure, and in fact, Shiatsu means “finger pressure” in Japanese and employs stretching, pressure, and rotating to offer a restorative effect to the muscles that can reduce stress, muscle pain, as well as anxiety and depression.
The philosophy behind a Shiatsu massage is goes back hundreds of years and is based on the idea that your life energy or ki (chi or qi) flows through the body across several different energy channels. When you feel discomfort in a specific area, that energy channel is blocked. Shiatsu massage works to alleviate those blocks and offer a relaxing and refreshing massage. When you find a massage chair with Shiatsu capabilities in the calf massager, you’re sure to find incredible relief.
Deep Tissue Massage
With deep tissue massage, the rollers use strong pressure to knead deep into the muscles to break up adhesions and scar tissue. Deep tissue leg massage done in the evening can help with RLS symptoms, and you can always adjust the pressure used to your liking.
There are several massage chairs that offer rollers in the calf massagers instead of just airbags. These are the chairs you want if you’re looking for a deep tissue massage in your calves and feet. You can find some of those chairs here.
Sports massage is a well-known massage type often used by athletes to lessen recovery time or enhance performance prior to an event. You don’t have to be an athlete to experience the benefits of a sports massage though. This massage type works the leg muscles and muscle-tendon junctions that can help you find relief from restless legs syndrome.
Massage Accessories for RLS
If you are looking for something more compact and portable option, a massage gun or independent leg massager could be a great choice. Our two favorites for this are the Kahuna 888 and the Osaki Otamic Massage Gun.
The Osaki Otamic Massage Gun
The Osaki Otamic Massage Gun is designed with five levels of power intensity and a modern ergonomic design. Right from your chair, you can experience great pain relief and prevention through fascia relaxation, motor function improvement, and improved blood circulation. The Otamic can be used by everyone from the general public to athletes. It actively stimulates and releases muscle tension and helps promote relaxation.
- BALL HEAD (Abdomen/Hips/Thigh)- The mildest option, this one is designed to massage large muscle groups, and you can use it when you want soft, light stimulus.
- FORK HEAD (Abdomen/Chest/Inside Thigh)- For a concentrated massage made to target that area near your spine. This is suitable for those who want a strong stimulus.
- BULLET HEAD (Sole/Palm)- For a highly concentrated massage intended for pressure points, pinpoint tight muscles, and the ligaments around joints. This head is best for attending to deep muscle layers and for those who want strong stimulation.
- FLAT HEAD (Shoulders/Back/Lower Back)- For a mid-intensity that’s meant to be focused on mid to large muscles, this head is most effective for the relaxation of major and peripheral articular capsules.
How Often Should You Massage?
Massaging your legs in the evening before bed is a proven sleep habit that can help you deal with RLS symptoms. In the best case scenario, you have your legs massaged for 30 to 60 minutes twice a week. In fact, a study showed that a 45-minute massage done twice a week reduced symptoms of restless legs syndrome. And best of all, massage doesn’t have the unwanted side effects that a lot of medications can. It’s always important to remember to listen to your doctor about using massage and never push yourself past your limits. There are some conditions like blood clots that can massage a poor choice for you. With that in mind, you’ll be good to go.
Taking the Right Precautions With RLS Massage
Massage for restless leg syndrome is safe and effective. No matter if you have mild to severe RLS, your legs can benefit from this relaxation technique and you can enjoy it right in the comfort of your own home in a quality, professional massage chair.
Finished With Your Research?
You can look into the chairs, techniques, and other benefits of massage in the Learning Center on our website, and you’ll be able to see the physical benefits each of the styles offered and what to be prepared for from them.
If you have any questions or are interested in purchasing your first massage chair, check out our Massage Chair Buying Guide or give us a call. You can even reach out through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With all this in mind, don’t forget about our financing options. We understand that investing in a massage chair is a big decision, and we want to help make that process as simple and stress-free as possible. Our sales representatives are ready and excited to get you into the perfect chair!