Plants and Herbs

Essential Oils For Restless Leg Syndrome – Aromatherapy

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a common health problem that millions of people all over the world deal with on a daily basis. There are a number of treatments that people use to treat the disease, everything from muscle relaxer meds to special soap bars to natural calming herbs like essential oils.

While we are not doctors, and therefore can not advocate any specific medical treatments, our favorite method for relieving restless legs is essential oils. There are many reasons people with this health condition turn to home remedies for natural relief. Whether it’s dealing with restless legs during pregnancy, or simply wanting to avoid addictive chemical medicines, more and more people are beginning to use essential oils for restless leg syndrome.

Disclaimer: Essential oils are not intended to treat or cure any illnesses. Have to throw that in there 😉

And there are no shortage of options when it comes to using these natural alternatives for sleepless nights – everything from lavender to frankincense to a plethora of essential oil blends.

The common causes and symptoms of RLS

Before we get into our favorite RLS-relieving oils, first know that if you suffer from this frustrating health issue, you’re not alone. Consider these statistics:

  • As much as 10 percent of the U.S. population suffers from restless leg syndrome.
  • Some five million adults have moderate to severe symptoms.
  • About a million school-aged children suffer from RLS symptoms.
  • Eight out of ten RLS cases also suffer from periodic limb movement of sleep.
  • Moderate cases involve symptoms one to two times per week, while severe cases occur a minimum of twice per week.

The symptoms of restless leg syndrome involve an irresistible urge to move your legs or other limbs of your body. These urges are generally accompanied by uncomfortable sensations that are often described as “pulling” or “tugging.” Symptoms are more common in the evenings, which can interfere with sleep while diminishing your health and overall quality of life.

Before we get into how essential oils can help calm symptoms of RLS it’s important to understand a few of the causes that can spur on this disease. Lifestyle changes coupled with an effective home remedy can work together to ease these extremely bothersome symptoms.

  • Genetics: Almost half of all people with restless leg syndrome have a family member with the condition.
  • Certain medical conditions and diseases like Parkinson’s, diabetes, and kidney failure can spur on symptoms of RLS.
  • Many medications, including antidepressants, antipsychotics, and allergy medications can cause or worsen symptoms.
  • Restlessness during pregnancy: Many women who are pregnant experience RLS, particularly in the third trimester, leading up to delivery.
  • Excessive alcohol use can trigger symptoms or enhance the effects of the condition.

Restless LegsWhat essential oils to help calm restless leg syndrome

We’re not physicians, so we must say “treat” with caution. But many people suffering from restless legs have found a lot of success using essential oils. Along with anxiety and depression, RLS is among the leading causes of insomnia. We might not have to tell you this, but insomnia (along with other disorders like sleep apnea) can have an adverse impact on your health.

As you know, restless legs can impact your entire body, as the sensations in the lower half of your body begin to affect your upper half as well. For instance, if you’re laying down in bed and your legs are restless, it could leave you tossing and turning your entire body. This is why RLS, in more severe cases, can leave you awake until the wee hours of the morning.

These are the physical symptoms you may be dealing with. In addition, as you’re doing everything you can to calm your body down, mental and emotional anxiety can develop – which only intensifies the problem. The later into the night (or morning), the more you worry about falling to sleep. This is where aromatherapy in the form of essential oils can really help out.

Our favorite essential oil for dealing with minor RLS – and other restless symptoms – is lavender, a popular oil that has numerous applications. There in fact have been several studies that have displayed the positive effects that lavender aromatherapy has as a mild sleep aid. For example, researchers at the University of Southampton analyzed sleep patterns of 10 adults. Here were the results:

  • For 7 days, 5 of the participants slept in a room where lavender was diffused throughout the night.
  • The other 5 participants slept in a room where a placebo was run through a diffuser.
  • After a week the participants switched rooms. At the end of the week, the participants acknowledged that the quality of their sleep was 20% better in the room with lavender.

Some scientists report that lavender has been known to slow down blood pressure and heart rate, while putting you in a relaxed state, both physically and mentally.

Homeopathic AlternativesOther aromatherapy oils for restless leg syndrome

Personally, I use lavender as a treatment for general restlessness (and the occasional anxiety that creeps up). But in addition to these two natural products, there are other oils people find useful as well:

  • Vetiver
  • Frankincense
  • Bergamot
  • Sandalwood
  • Marjoram

Here are the two most effective methods for application:

  • Aromatic: Add 2 to 4 drops of your chosen oil to a diffuser. If it’s a potent enough oil you should be able to diffuse it anywhere in the room.
  • Topical: Apply directly to your skin (if you have sensitive skin, always use a carrier oil) by massaging the oil onto your wrists, back of the neck, or bottom of the feet.

51 Responses

  1. My Fiance’ just received a large order of various essential oils and Lavender was one of them, purchased for RLS along with a diiffusor. We both suffer from RLS and we will report back how well it worked.

    1. Yes, please! I have suffered horribly from RLS and PLMD for over thirty years. I am not suffering augmentation with my Ropinerole. I just went to an essential oils party, but could not justify such a huge expense for something I don’t even know will work. Any feedback would be wonderful! Thank you!

      1. I have saved so much money from using essential oils it really has blown my mind. It’s also been a life savor for my families health too. I thought it was a lot of money at first to buy a kit but after I started using the oils I now know the value in these and would not be caught without them!

      2. I had shoulder surgery and started getting severe RLS after the surgery. I tried everything, nothing worked aka: EO, sleep pills, pain meds, alcohol, hot or warm baths, cold compresses, I finally found something that works, for me anyway. It has been a life saver. Go to your local IFA (farm and ranch store) They have a tube of cream called Willow Balm. It’s main ingredient is Menthol and in my research for something to help, I came across web sites that said menthol helps and to give this a try. $10 a tube and has saved my nights. I rub it on my thighs before I go to bed, works great. If I wake in the night with jumpy legs I will put it on again. I only have to do it at bedtime and sometimes 1 more time in the night.

      3. Check out Edens Garden for essential oils. They are pure and therapeutic, reasonably priced and shippimg is always free.

        1. Can you send me samples for RLS? Not sure where you are located but I’m in Ajax Ontario Canada. I’ve been looking for something for my mom who has RLS really bad.
          Thanks so much!

      4. I have had rls for 10 or so years now. Got it from my mothers side. I was taking ropinerole until just days ago. I started throwing up badly about 30 minutes after taking it. Adding to that I would get stuffed up unable to breath through my nose witch led to snoring keeping my wife up. I switched back to eating bananas and using lavender oils and hot baths.

      5. A good essential oil will cost you more than you would expect for such a small bottle but they are very potent and usually only require a few drops like 3 to 5 in an ounce of carrier oil or cream. In this way it is very economical and far less expensive than pharmaceuticals and safer with no side effects. I highly recommend the purchase and use of oils.

      6. I rep for an online wellness company. We save 30-50% off from those oils companies you hear of out there. These are pure oils and some are definitely half the price of the oils only companies out there. And we have many other great chemical-free products too!

      7. Try to get frankensence. It very expensive at some sites. But if you can find one that doesn’t cost so much. I urge you to try it. I have rls really bad. And I ordered some rubbed it behind my knees and it worked like a miracle.

        1. I am studying aromatherapy and had put together several recipes in different carriers to see what would help my dad and what he could tolerate. Nothing was working and then I got on this blog and numerous people said straight frankincense, no carrier oil, was doing the trick. Not using a carrier is not usually recommended as the patient can develop sensitivity to the oil and sometimes an allergic reaction can occur, but he was desperate and frankincense is one of a handful of oils which can be used “straight up” in some cases. I gave my Dad a bottle of the oil and like you said, it worked like a miracle. Thank you for sharing. I hope you continue having success with it.

        1. Sally it differs for different people and with an 85 yr old there are many issues to consider EO are chemicals and can internet with other prescription and OC drugs. Definitely work with an AT!

  2. Two things recommended to me that help, weight on your legs and something that may or may not require a partner to achieve.

    I get it in my whole body at times which can be very frustrating!

      1. Trying Lavender and Anxiety Ease Synergy. Smell is pleasant and it has helped, along with Gabapenten and sleep is so much better. The plus side of the Lavender is my dog loves it and it keeps him from going nutso for treats all the time. He is so much more relaxed! I have the diffusers going 124/7 for the time being, one in the living room and a smaller one in the bedroom.

  3. I heard that aroma seiz essential oil will help. Is this true? If so how should I use it, diffuse or topically?

  4. I’m trying Lavender and Serenity. I struggle with restless legs and have found that if I go to bed before it starts, I won’t have a problem. When the sensations start, I have to get up and do something in order to calm them down (ironic that movement causes the calming). I’ve tried over the counter medicines which help a little . . . (Highlands “Restless Legs”, I found at Walmart). I’m hoping the essential oils will help a lot better.

    1. Dear Sandy D.

      I also use Restful legs by Highlands, unfortunately is not working well anymore ! I have tried proscribed medication that made me sick to my stomach ! Please let me know if you had good results with the essential oils please!

      Blessings
      Sigrid M

  5. I put a drop of frankincense topically on my forehead (neat) and it works instantly. I tried lavender but that doesn’t provide the relief for me that frankincense does.

  6. I have had severe RLS for about 20 years or longer and have to take medicine to go to sleep. Its a juggling act as one night it works, and the next night it doesn’t, even, with the same routine, etc . Even when I have the legs under control, I still can’t go to sleep as my mind won’t shut down. I’m trying different essential oils mentioned here to see what helps. I find that anything with Frankincinse makes my RL much worse, even a face creme if I put it on right before bed. It makes me feel like I have electricity going through my legs so I don’t use anything with Frankincense in the afternoon or evening. It may be that it interferes with the medicine Requip. I’m trying cedarwood, bergamot, vetiver and majoram to see if they help. So far they haven’t hindered me, but still can’t turn the brain off. Serinity has helped turn my brain off some in the past so I could sleep. I read above about the Past Tense and want to try it to see if that works.

    1. I would maybe also recommend trying balance. I personal have not trying but ordering this month to see if help with some stress, anxiety and focus. I am also struggling with restless leg syndrome for now 5 years. I have been taking horizant 600mg. This really been helping keeping it at bay but my new insurance and my doctor are struggling to get approved for me to take again. So right now I have free sample I am taking for now. So I am also looking into what I can do try to stop issue as well. I will keep posted on if find anything. Good Luck everyone!!! I hope someday they will figure why or how this happening to people.

    2. Vetiver rubbed on the bottom of your feet at bed time will help your brain quiet down so you can sleep. For RLS try any of the following or any combo of: Lavendar, Melaluca, Deep Blue (doTERRA brand is what I use) More expensive, but best quality and no side effects.

  7. I use essential oils everyday and I love them and they work for my situations. I do not have RLS, but my pregnant daughter does, horribly! Her physician told her to drink a glass of tonic water every evening for this. It stopped hers completely!

  8. Hi all. I have had RLS ever since high school (50yrs ago). Have been through a number of drugs. The most recent one , which has worked pretty well for awhile, is tramadol. But I have had to gradually increase the dose to 100mg about 5PM and then 150mg at bedtime. Now I even break through that at least 50% of the time. I still take the tramadol but about an hour before I retire at night I massage Past Tense on my thighs. I do that slowly while doing deep, wide squeezes of the thigh muscles. That finds the trigger points and desensitises them. The combination of the Past Tense and the deep massaging stops the break through of the tramadol. If I do the deep massage and squeezing without Past Tense I get the tramadol breakthrough. I have alternated using and not using Past Tense several times. Each time I leave out Past Tense I get the breakthrough. I also use serenity on my feet. So the combination of tramadol, squeezing, and Past Tense is what works quite well for me. Each individual has their own method. Cheers, Larry.

  9. I’m 29/F and I have intense RLS with PLMD nearly every night (making my insomnia worse). Gabapentin slows my brain, and even a quarter dose of Requip has me waking up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. I’ve tried Ambien, 1, 3, 5, and 10mg of melatonin, a heating pad, various teas, natural muscle relaxants, and lavender epsom foot soak… all to no avail.

    Please, someone tell me this works when nothing else has!! I’m about to lose my mind!!

    1. HI Reyna, I know what you mean! I found that using frankinsense and lavender oils mixed in a roller ball applicator with a carrier oil works great for me. I notice after not using it on my feet within 3 or 4 days my legs get jumpy again. It’s very frustrating since I already have a hard time sleeping, ugh! BTW, I use Dottera oils. Good luck to you! 🙂

      1. What size roller ball and how many drops of the oils? I’m new with using oils. My Mother has rls and I want to try and help her. Is there also a particular part of the bottom of your foot that you put the oil on? Thank you so much for you help. Theresa

        1. I can’t remember what mm roller bottle it is but any one will do. Mine is the size of a small, purse size perfume like one. To fill mine I usually put about 40-50 drops of each frankincense, lavender and a carrier oil like coconut oil but there’s many different carrier oil’s you can use. I would only do like 10 or 20 drops of each at first to see of it works. Good luck and I hope it works for your Mom! 🙂

          1. Yes, roll it on the bottoms of her feet. They say on the ball of the feet but I don’t think it matters where. I just roll it around a few times in circular or up and down motion several times and rub it in, wait a few mins then I put socks on but you don’t have to. Make sure you get quality oils. There’s several out there.

          2. Thank you. I am thinking about Doterra or Young living. I really do not know what oils are quality oils. I have come across some folks who use the 2 I mentioned.

          3. Just curious. Is the roller 1 Oz or more? That’s a very strong dilution you are using it seems although everyone is different and I tend to use more than recommended also, but I am curious.

          4. I used 10 drops each of frankincense and lavender with carrier oil. I gave it to my Mom to use. It has helped her. Thank you so much for your help. She can only put it on the bottom of one foot so she puts it on the calf of the other leg. She is also putting it on her shoulders. She is so excited because now she is able to get more sleep.

    2. Black pepper oil has worked for my husband

      15 drops with carrier oil mixed in a 2 oz roller bottle.

      Roll it on his calf’s and feet, restless leg gone

  10. Worked for us! Switch to using Himalayan Sea Salt as our table salt. Started taking soaking bathes with the Himalayan Sea Salt. Body’s lacking minerals. Diffusing… doTerra’s Purify, Serenity, Lavender at night. Couple drops of each.

    Give it 2-3 Weeks

    Best Wishes!

  11. I have a friend who suffers from rls. She had someone make her an rls recipe. I will try to get it from her soon. She said it WORKS…she has used it for 4 yrs

  12. Has anyone experienced Lavender making RLS worse? I take meds for RLS and have had it under control for quite awhile. I go t a diffuser for Christmas and have been using Lavender oil in it….I have had 2 nights of terrible RLS!! Help!!

  13. I soak in an epsom salts bath then apply lavender and frankincense mixed with rice bran oil to both legs. I then take 3 tablets of Hyland’s Restful Legs right before bedtime. You can purchase the restful Legs tablets at your local health food store or order them on line. They are completely natural, reasonably priced and really work for me.

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