a woman with restless legs syndrome doing yoga with her hands pointing to a book of puzzles

3 Alternatives That Help My Restless Legs Syndrome

In my last article, I wrote about some of the things that trigger my restless legs syndrome (RLS). But during my own research on RLS, I not only looked at which things trigger my RLS but also at solutions, things that can reduce my RLS, without medication.

Here are some alternatives that may also help alleviate your RLS symptoms.

A relaxing yoga class

I started doing yoga after my physiotherapist brought it up because I have a lot of tension in my body. (This is the stress that sometimes acts as a trigger). I had taken a yoga class once or twice, but never really worked on it. I thought it was a good idea and took classes. Now 2.5 years later, I can say it works for me.

I sometimes have a yoga class when I suffer a lot from my RLS and periodic limb movement (PLM). The first time I had to explain it, but now the teacher and my other yogis understand. Usually, the class starts with a lot of tension and sometimes RLS in my body, but then during the class, it quiets down and I relax completely. That relaxation helps to relieve my RLS and PLM.

It is certainly no guarantee, but for me, the relaxation works. I think it comes from relaxation, awareness of breathing, and especially focusing on breathing. Because I put my brain to work, there is no room for RLS. And for me, yoga also works just as well to give the daily stress a place and to relax a bit.

Walking, running, and swimming

As I explained in my last article, exercise can be a real trigger for my RLS, but with the right balance, it can also help me. Last year, I did a walking trip of 570km to raise awareness for RLS. I walked for four weeks, 25km per day and I didn’t have any RLS symptoms during that time. It felt good. But of course, not everyone can walk 25km every day.

I haven’t done much walking since the finish of that walking trip. At this moment I do some running and swimming in the morning. It makes me feel good and my RLS has been almost not existent in the last few weeks. As long as I’m doing not too much and it is in the early hours of the day. I think this is working because exercise is good for everyone, but also because it makes you feel good (well, most of the time).

Keeping my brain busy with puzzles

This is my most favourite and also the one that surprises me the most. I like to make puzzles, especially nonograms. Most of the time I do this during the evening; it’s just very relaxing. At one time I stopped puzzling and in less than five minutes my RLS started. At that moment I realized that every time I was puzzling I didn’t have RLS. I found this really interesting. It’s almost like, as long as my brain is busy with something else, my RLS is not there. I've worn out a lot of puzzle books since then.

These are just some things that work for me. It’s definitely not a 100 percent fix, but it can make life with RLS a little bit easier. Maybe it works for someone else, maybe it doesn’t. Of course, there are more things that may help, but unfortunately, there is no cure for RLS yet...

Interested in reading more about lifestyle changes for symptom relief? Explore our featured collection on lifestyle changes and alternative treatments for RLS.

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