These perspectives are based on Natural Herbal
theories and Healing principles that have been used reliably and effectively for
thousands of years. The natural principles used to describe restless legs, restless leg
syndrome, RLS and what is causing it or its cause or causes are simple and quite understandable to most.
Once Restless legs can be visualized conceptually the cause of the problem, although still
bothersome, is easier to understand and a more intelligent approach to getting rid of it is possible.
Restless legs syndrome, RLS, restless legs, tingly, fidgety legs
with related sleep disorder or by what ever name it is currently going under, especially afflicts those over 50. With over 12
million people being affected in the United States alone it's not a small problem. Restless legs syndrome is said to
affect as much as 5% to 15% of the entire population which also include pre and
post menopausal women and even some children and adolescents. Although restless legs or RLS typically affects the
elderly it is bothering increasingly younger and younger people.
The point of
view expressed in this article is an alternative point of view based on the long
established Natural Principles of Traditional European Herbalism. We understand
that this Traditional and Natural point of view of explaining the cause of causes of rls may fundamentally differ from
most orthodox modern perspectives yet, it provides a truly alternative point of
view that is easy to understand, visualize and implement and not politically or commercially driven as is often the case.
Many have commented that this explanation of cause, and solution to Restless
leg Syndrome using familiar examples from nature to describe restless leg
syndrome to be simple, very descriptive of the problem and easy to relate to.
And, although restless leg syndrome, restless legs, fidgety legs, restless legs syndrome, tingly legs,
or fidgety legs with sleep disorders may be
helped with an all Natural Herbal Remedy like Leg-Rest, when a person understands their problem they are already better than half way towards solving it.
Restless leg syndrome is also known as ekbon syndrome, leg jitters, fidgety
legs, restless legs, anxietas tibialis, hereditary acromelagia and by several other names to
be sure. Restless legs induced Sleep Disorders and insomnia is a very common complaint among people of all ages.
The names given to this problem do little to describe what it actually is. It is interesting to note that there is also a relationship between restless leg syndrome and
stress and anxiety.
There are additional patterns that accompany some afflicted with restless leg syndrome.
Among them are general pallor, feeling cold or having heat sensations, general indigestion,
bloating, stress, racing thoughts or a racing mind, stupor, etc. all of which contribute to sleep disorders and insomnia
Interestingly many people have observed that certain foods will aggravate or bring on
this very irritable restless leg syndrome problem in them. For
some the scenario is as follows: a sizable amount of take out pizza is eaten (which
at age over 40 can be almost any amount), this being followed by a lay down on the couch to watch television
and the sensations that follows are hard to describe. The feet start to become uncomfortably
"itchy, come irritated" to the
point that they cannot just be left resting in place - but must be moved. One might justifiably conclude that food or food choices are at least one cause for restless legs in at least some people.
In today's world where the word allergy is attributed to just about everything; it would be misleading to label RLS brought on by food an "allergy." Pizza itself is not the culprit per se, because homemade pizza made
from good ingredients will likely have no such effect - at least not on most
people. Clearly if the problem were strictly pizza, places like Italy would have been
driven insane by this problem a very long time ago.
It is the ingredients however that are suspect and should be examined. The hybridized, high gluten, perhaps even genetically modified wheat that is often used along with the artificial quick leavening
agents used in commercial pizza making are more likely to be suspect.
Wheat itself has become problematic only in the past 100 years or so due to it having been modified as just mentioned. Before then, it was indeed the staple of life - not so much anymore.
(It should also be mentioned that for some people other chemicals and food
additives may provoke Restless Leg Syndrome. One person who visited our site from the UK said
that monosodium glutamate provoked it in her. Other people have observed and suggested nitrates or nitrites as the cause of their episodes with RLS. These type of artificial substances may be a
little hard to cope with because while real foods are naturally easier for the body to deal
with chemicals are not easily digested or tolerated by the body. That is why they
remain traceable after the fact and the cause of many a problem. Once ingested their effects take their course and
until eliminated herbs or anything else may not counteract their effects.
Perhaps override their effects but not stop them until they are eliminated from the body or the body has compartmentalized them.
Sometimes they cannot be counteracted at all.)
For many simply ingesting too much refined wheat has produced restless leg
symptoms. The reason is that in some people the gluten does not break down completely after
digestion into something the body can use. It is not the organism that is at
fault but the substance that is indigestible (the substance that may trigger or cause
restless leg syndrome may vary from person to person). Even though the particle size is
minute it still remains only partially digested - something that is out of place in the blood
stream while in this form. (When something is cleanly and fully digested it first becomes
blood and then flesh and is therefore untraceable. This is called assimilation -
a concept not accepted by modern science as even being plausible - which does not necessarily mean that it is not correct or valid. In place of it the
concept of absorption is used. These are similar but very different concepts.)
The problem or cause is therefore in the blood and what is coursing through it, or, more
to the point, what shouldn't be coursing through it.
Among the young the energy
inherent in youth will force wastes out of the body more readily through the normal
channels of elimination by the digestive organs. If wastes happen to be in the legs, for instance, it is common that a
rash or a boil will be the result in that part of the body because of the
"centrifugal" (literally meaning - escaping from the center) effect of the bodies energies. Among the elderly however, most of
whom lack the "heat power" (centrifugal) of their youth at the proper intensity, the
wastes are more prone to simply sit (stagnate) and irritate on the inside. This, in brief, is restless leg
syndrome. (Restless leg syndrome
can affect younger people as well.)
It is a fact that most of our blood is stored in our
legs and the muscle
contractions inherent in the simple act of walking help to circulate it.
(this is also why a simple stretching of the legs with its contracting of the
leg muscles moves the blood and temporarily relieves restless legs)
Furthermore, if the
organs that filter the blood are not doing their job due to obstruction or lack of
adequate function, what should have been removed out of the blood remains as
undigested particulate in suspension within the bloodstream. It is the nature of these
undigested substances to break down through fermentation, which in
simple terms is basically a
process of decomposition or rotting.
Most have a hard time seeing or accepting the idea that things can actually decay inside of us, much less associate it with a disease. Yet, there are many ailments that are the result of exactly that.
It is one of the tasks of the kidneys to eliminate
wastes from the blood. The kidneys especially affect the area below the waste.
Many people who have kidney problems or kidney failure are also known to suffer
more frequently from restless leg syndrome. Even so, restless leg syndrome is
not an actual kidney problem per se although if they are not able to filter the blood properly the left it is clear that something like Restless legs can occur.
That the fermenting of not completely
digested matter anywhere in the body would be problematic and irritating is obvious. When it happens in the blood vessels of the legs it is equally clear that it would create an internal irritation that is specific to the legs. If in
addition to this there is no physical leg activity to help circulate the blood past the areas of stagnation, as these subsequent wastes
from fermentation accumulate, they will affect the blood flow and the vessels containing it. This cycle just repeats itself in between the intervals when a person moves and then rests their legs in an attempt to get relief from the non-stop internal irritation.
A) Imagine our blood
stream as life sustaining rivers within our body; in the case of restless leg syndrome, a river laden with waste. A waste laden polluted river necessarily slows and deposits its
particulate burden along it's banks and sandbars. You would expect that these murky and fetid deposits have
a fowl rotten stench that necessarily affects other life along it's banks and within the
river itself. Eventually normal life becomes impossible along this waterway or anything that comes in contact with it. The natural point of view maintains that this analogy describes the condition in many different ailments and syndromes that people suffer from.
Just like in a
river it can
also happen within the bloodstream that the irritating substance can deposit itself out of solution
onto the tissue of the vessels themselves to cause irritation. It is well
documented that fat can and does deposit within the vessels of the upper body, then
logically gravity can surely carry heavier wastes into and onto the vessels of
the lower body (legs).
This particulate is one major component of restless leg syndrome but, there
is at least one other.
There is an energy associated with life. Physicists know it's there. Science can observe it, measure
the work it does but there is no mechanical way to quantify it. The ancients
simply called it "life force." It's in every living thing and every living thing contains it in order to live. As everyone can plainly observe, this life force is more abundant in youth and
diminishes in the presence of ailments and with age.
This very fine concept is hard to explain but, Herbalists throughout the
millennia have consciously worked with it to attain health and finally physics is catching up and validating this concept.
Although it is everywhere in the body and it concentrates more abundantly in
certain organs, ultimately it is the blood that carries it throughout the body. Although there are different
types of "life force," the "life force" or "vital energy" that pertains
to the problem of restless leg syndrome is taken from the air we breathe and the
food we eat, converted through proper digestion and distributed to all parts of
the body though the blood. In the Orient it is called "chi." This very fine life
energy for various reasons stops "flowing freely" due to its
insufficiency resulting in stagnation. With it the movement of the blood in
general along with the substances being carried in the blood also become
inhibited. This is not a total stoppage of course, but a stagnation.
This "life force" is, to our blood, what octane is to the fuel we put into our
cars. Or, it can be compared to wattage in relation to voltage in
electricity. The more octane or wattage - the more power to do work. The more life force - the
more capacity/energy for the body to work with, to move what is necessary for life and the less the likelihood of stagnant.
The introduction of this energy into where it is lacking will act to move or remove stagnation in blood flow and strengthen organ function.
Analogy B) Another very good analogy
to illustrate the
above fuel example in relation to restless leg syndrome is the using of cheap fuel in a high performance automobile
engine. Anyone who knows anything about automobile engines knows exactly what would happen should this be done. In very short order there would be significant carbon deposits and caramelizing in the internals of the engine that
would noticeably impair the engine performance or even corrode the metal itself.
Why? Because there is too much impurity in the fuel and it will not completely
or cleanly combust – leaving
residue behind that impedes engine functions. Higher octane - less residue. More "life force" - less waste in the
body. (Believe it or not our bodies can also produce carbon and other post-
digestion residues depending upon what is eaten. It does
not take the form we would expect being largely invisible as carbon (or other) because it
combines with other fluids and tissues in our bodies and because bodily
pollution is becoming more the norm it is being considered normal.)
This is how a knowledgeable herbalist would explain restless leg syndrome.
These, of course, are metaphors but, they might create a clearer picture of
restless leg syndrome in
principle than most other explanations illustrating why restless leg syndrome comes
into being. Some will argue that restless legs is of strictly neurological origins because the legs are moving and the desire to move them is not voluntary. Well, if someone pokes someone else with something sharp or irritating, will they or won't they move, even if they do not want to? Similarly, if you stub your big toe it will not
likely be the cause of a head ache. Yet, this is the logic that is trying to be applied
in some explanations of restless leg syndrome. But, according to the logic of
Paracelsus, expect that if your legs are bothering you that the problem is
likely to be found in the vicinity of your legs not in your head! The central point being, the cause is far less complex and can be explained far more simply than it sometimes is.
These explanations illustrate a few simple principles that depict what
occurs in our digestive and circulatory systems that closely relate to the
problem of restless leg syndrome. When the blood carries residues within it that should have been
removed through normal digestion and blood filtration, Nature in an attempt to restore order and equilibrium will work without
prejudice trying to remove them to the point of causing discomfort. Nature really couldn't care less how you feel. It's job is to preserve the order of life in order that we stay within the limitations of life.
Although Restless leg syndrome is more prevalent today
than ever before it is not a totally new phenomenon. The effects
and causes have
existed for centuries and the ailment it was associated with was named Podagra
(bitter waters) by Paracelsus - himself a Physician/Herbalist - who's work is
still being mimicked but rarely if ever duplicated, today or back in the 1500's.
According to the theories of Paracelsus Restless leg syndrome or rls can be compared to gout or arthritis (podagra) only less
intense, occurring within the vessels instead of in joints or skin. Also, the irritating
substance is not so concentrated as to provoke an actual inflammation in one
local area but because of its dilution within the liquids of the vessels is being
more diffused over a larger area more likely producing an irritation rather than actual
pain. This is similar to how a sliver of wood will irritate the flesh or how an irritating
substance on our skin may cause irritation, only with restless leg syndrome the substance is much
finer and on the inside of the vessel walls. If there are too many irritating
substances being carried in the blood it would stand to reason that they can also alter its chemistry.
The blood can become too acidic (uric acid, lactic acid, etc.) (Some may define
this corrosivity more accurately as being alkaline).
Today restless leg syndrome is far more prevalent than ever largely because
of our modern circumstances. A sensitive person will notice that our present day
food may be "prettier" to look at but all too often it lacks fragrance, taste,
and nutritional value. Many popular foods are in fact synthetic or contain
synthetic substances or have been stored or preserved for too long to contain
any real food value, let alone life "energy." These synthetics are not foods anymore and therefore remain as
irritating residues in our systems after digestion because they are
One can argue that these are not completely scientific explanations, yet restless leg syndrome is not a disease as such. It remains officially unexplained, making it, like so many other modern ailments, a "syndrome." Although science
is looking in the direction of the brain and nerve functions as probable causes; there is no
scientifically based diagnosable physical problem, therefore there is no
scientific explanation or solution for restless leg syndrome.
Some associate restless leg syndrome with iron
deficiency. Although iron does help carry oxygen which is essential for the flow
and conversion of energy in the body, not everyone with iron deficiency alone
has restless leg syndrome. The concept that the energy that flows in the blood
stream must first be produced and accumulated by the body is ignored because ideologically this concept is foreign to the orthodox branches of healing. Although this
energy is related with iron it's effects are finer and entirely separate from it. Healthy iron content (which is not
supplied through normal iron supplements) also contributes to normal kidney
function which does affect the lower body (below the hips). Standard iron supplements are often little more than iron oxide (rust) in a capsule. If rust is associated with tetanus why would anyone ingest it, especially when it's deficiency does not explain the phenomenon.
In addition stress is commonly associated with and aggravates restless leg
syndrome. These are closely related issues. Emotional stresses consume our
energy (life force). This leaves less to be circulated in our blood stream. With
age there is even less life force available, this deficit in life force leaves
the blood less vital. This cannot be measured by chemical means like say, anemia
or the like.
In order to remove restless leg syndrome the ancient herbalists would, in
principle, restore the bodies ability to create, store and distribute life force,
strengthening the other
organs into proper function removing the waste and stagnation. The problem
is in principle solved, and for the most part…gone. This is what a product like
To keep the problem from returning adopting a healthy lifestyle is helpful. Of course restoring digestion through proper nutrition is
essential. For those who have severe manifestations of this problem more steps
may need to be taken.