I just read this interesting review article in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics about Restless Leg Syndrome and alternative therapies that may help manage it. Restless Leg Syndrome is a condition that causes your legs to move uncontrollably. It usually occurs when resting (like sitting or lying down). In general, moving eases the unpleasant feeling temporarily. This is why experts believe gentle exercises like Pilates, yoga and swimming can all be very beneficial.
The studies from the review article showed clinically significant effects for exercises, acupuncture, pneumatic compression devices, and near-infrared light. More studies are needed to show how significant massage is for Restless Leg Syndrome but there were no adverse effects found from receiving massage. There is actually a study from 2007 found in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies that shows massage to have positive results. Here a 35 year old woman received 45 minute massage treatments twice weekly. Her symptoms (tingling sensations, urgency to move the legs and sleeplessness), were decreased after two treatments and continued to improve throughout the 3 weeks of the trial. Like many of you, I've experienced the relaxing effects of receiving a massage and believe daily self-massage of the legs will be beneficial to relax the legs and increase circulation.
If you or someone you know has Restless Leg Syndrome, I would recommend giving Pilates a try. It strengthens not only the core muscles but the whole body. Pilates will provide strength, stability, flexibility and improved coordination. A regular Pilates practice (2-3x/week) will help relax, stretch and strengthen your leg muscles. I would love the opportunity to introduce you to the many benefits of Pilates. If you want to know more, contact me.