Feeling restless in your legs? First step: take a deep breath, root down through your feet, and find stillness. This practice is a helpful place to start, and also restless legs is considered a neurological disorder, and sometimes you need a little more support than a few deep breaths.
Restless legs presents as an uncontrollable urge to move your legs, characterized by feelings like pulling, throbbing, aching, itchiness, a creepy, crawly feeling, or sharp currents of energy that feel like electricity running through the legs.
Whatever the sensations are, the common thread is that in order to find any relief, you have to move your legs. Sometimes, though much less common, these symptoms can affect the arms and trunk.
Symptoms tend to appear when you’ve been sitting or laying down for a stretch of time. They also often get worse for people at night, which is frustrating when you are trying to sleep. Without adequate restful sleep, the ability to thrive during the day becomes more difficult.
A variety of lifestyle changes and self-care practices can be helpful for restless legs. One of the easiest and most effective strategies is to use essential oils.
Why Essential Oils Are Good For Restless Legs
In addition to being one of the safest, most natural ways of supporting your body’s health, essential oils have a variety of qualities that are specific to the symptoms of restless legs.
Essential oils reduce nerve pain, inflammation, spasming, sleeplessness, anxiety, stress, muscle aches, and exhaustion – all helpful for people experiencing restless legs. They are also helpful for the days following sleepless nights. Read on for more information on which oils are best for which symptoms.
9 Best Essential Oils For Restless Legs
1. Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides)
Vetiver is an earthy, grounding oil that is great for encouraging deep, restful sleep, so will support you as you go to bed. And if symptoms do arise, vetiver also relieves tight muscles and pain.
Place one drop of oil in a teaspoon of sweet almond oil, and apply to the bottoms of both feet, and your wrists. Take a walk outside or around your house, jump up and down a few times and press your feet into the earth. Movement helps reduce symptoms and is always a good idea to do before bed to offload excess energy.
2. Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Ginger is a spicy, warming oil, that’s great for managing pain and reducing inflammation. Because it’s a stimulating oil, I would recommend using ginger when you are experience symptoms during the day.
Ginger is great at improving circulation by relaxing your muscles, which can be very helpful for quieting the restlessness of legs. It is also known to increase the effectiveness of other oils, so is a great choice to use in a blend.
To use on its own, mix 1 drop of ginger with 1 tsp of honey, blend well and add to one gallon of hot water for a soothing foot bath.
3. Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis)
Roman chamomile is a good choice of oil to diffuse when you’re experiencing restless legs. It reduces anxiety and supports nervous system health, which helps reduce symptoms that stem from stress.
Physically, Roman chamomile reduces inflammation, especially in joints, and is another good oil to use for massage.
Three drops in one tablespoon of jojoba oil massaged into the legs, focusing on the joints, before bed, will help calm symptoms and induce restful sleep.
4. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Lavender also supports the nervous system, calms a busy mind, and eases stress. It’s also a powerful ally to reduce physical discomfort, inflammation, twitchiness, muscle spasms, and nerve pain.
Blend lavender with most any other oil for a relaxing leg massage. It’s great before bed as it helps alleviate insomnia.
Blend it with Roman chamomile (4-5 drops of each) in a diffuser before bed and notice how your entire body, including your legs, begins to settle. Additionally, if you found you had a fitful sleep, lavender can help with fatigue as well, so turn that diffuser back on when you wake up and you’ll feel more energy for you day.
5. Clove (Eugenia caryophyllata)
Clove is a stronger oil that is wonderful when used topically to ease aches and pains, especially when blended with ginger or peppermint. It reduces pain deep into the muscles and nerves, and also acts as a numbing agent when it comes in contact with the skin.
Mentally, clove is a good choice to use for those mornings when you didn’t get much sleep and are needing a pick me up. It helps uplift and stimulate the mind, and support clearer thinking. If fatigue has you feeling fog headed, clove will help improve your memory and focus.
Open the bottle and inhale to beat exhaustion so you can accomplish tasks.
Safety Considerations: Do not use in baths. Always dilute in a carrier oil before application as it can be a skin irritant.
6. Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)
Lemongrass is also a great pick me up for days when you feel fatigued by your restless legs. In addition to invigorating the spirit and bringing mental clarity, lemongrass brings feelings of joy, which can be hard to come by when you’re having trouble sleeping or relaxing your muscles.
It’s also great at improving circulation and helping restore nutrients to muscles and tissues, which supports overall health and reduces symptoms of restless legs.
Blend 2 drops of lemongrass with one tablespoon of carrier oil on a warm compress and place over your legs and feet to reduce inflammation and aching, especially in the joints.
7. Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
Once again, thinking about those days after sleepless night, peppermint is a powerful oil to increase alertness, clarity, and focus. It invigorates the mind and spirit and helps you to move into your day with more energy and motivation to achieve your goals.
Peppermint is a wonderfully effective, cooling oil that numbs pain and eases inflammation. It’s commonly used for the feet and is a good choice to add to a foot bath, or a massage blend for the legs.
Add 2 drops of peppermint to 1 tbsp of honey and blend well into hot water for a foot bath. Soak for 20-30 minutes. This not only relaxes your muscles but reduces spasming related to restless legs.
8. Marjoram (Thymus mastichina)
Marjoram is a slightly warming, woody oil that reduces pain, spasming, and inflammation associated with restless legs. It is also useful to alleviate anxiety, stress, and nervous tension, which can make symptoms of restless legs worse. Hyperactivity can also contribute to restless legs and marjoram helps with this as well.
For a double dose of relief of both pain and stress, add 6 drops each of marjoram and lavender to a bath just before bed.
9. Clary sage (Salvia sclarea)
Clary sage helps to reduce muscle spasms, making it really useful for restless legs. It’s also great a reducing tension, both physical and emotional. Reducing stress and anxiety can help calm restless legs, and clary sage is great at this.
Diffuse 6-8 drops of clary sage into your bedroom beginning an hour before bed and through the night, to reduce spasms and promote restful sleep.
Best Essential Oil For Restless Legs Recipes
Soothing Essential Foot Soak For Restless Legs
- 4 drops lavender
- 2 drops marjoram
- 1 drop clary sage
- 1 tsp warm honey
- ¼ cup epsom salts
- 1 gallon warm/hot water
Blend the essential oils into the honey until well mixed. Heat up one gallon of water on the stove top or in an electric tea kettle and add to a wash basin. Add the honey mixture and salt and stir until completely dissolved. Make sure water is not too hot and soak your feet for 20-30 minutes.
This is a great treatment to give yourself any time during the day when you start to notice symptoms approaching. Symptoms throughout the body often start with the feet so a foot bath helps you get to the root of the issue.
Essential Oil Massage Blend For Restless Legs
- 2 drops ginger
- 3 drops lemongrass
- 1 drop clove
- 2 tablespoons apricot kernel oil
Mix essential oils with the apricot kernel oil and stir well. Apply to legs, arms, or anywhere you are experiencing symptoms. Using a circular motion while massaging will support healthy circulation. This is a great blend to use during the day when you feel symptoms start to set in.
Massage beginning at your hips and work your way down to your feet. If you want, you can visualize all the nervous tension and energy being released from your legs, out your feet and into the earth. This can help you feel grounded and free from the restlessness.
Bedtime Essential Oil Diffuser Blend For Restless Legs
- 5 drops lavender
- 3 drops vetiver
- 3 drops Roman chamomile
This is a wonderfully dreamy blend of oils to diffuse about an hour before you go to bed. If you can put the diffuser on a timer so that it continues to diffuse for at least an hour after you go to bed, as the effects will support your nervous system while you sleep.
Simply add the oils to the water in the diffuser, and take long, deep breaths through your nose as you settle in towards sleep.
- Essential oils are a great, natural choice to help with restless legs because of their ability to reduce muscle aches, pain, inflammation, spasming, nerve pain, nervous tension, sleeplessness, fatigue, stress, and anxiety.
- Essential oils help both to alleviate and prevent symptoms of restless legs, as well as to support you to recover after a bout with the disorder. They are great for helping sleep and for increasing energy and alertness in mornings after you’ve experienced insomnia due to restless legs.
- Most of the listed oils have no known contraindications, though all should be avoided during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. Do not apply clove oil directly to skin or in a bath.
- Both topical application and diffusion are great ways to use essential oils to reduce restless legs symptoms. Enjoy better sleep, more relaxation, and the satisfaction of using medicine that comes straight from the earth!