Red Light Therapy for Restless Legs Syndrome

red light therapy for restless leg syndromeIf you have Restless Legs Syndrome, or RLS, you already know that the treatment options available are frustratingly few. The most common doctor-prescribed treatments are medications that act on dopamine and ummm….movement. (Yeah. Gee, thanks, Doc!)

Fortunately, there are a few treatments you can try for yourself, including LED light therapy or LLLT and near infrared light therapy.

Near infrared treatments have shown some success. In a four week study at Brigham Young University, researchers found that exposing the legs to near infrared light gradually decreased RLS symptoms over the course of the study. Participants did three 30-minute sessions each week. Interestingly, even after the treatments were stopped, the decrease in symptoms remained one month later. The researchers also did another study comparing infrared devices to determine whether there was any difference in effectiveness. Despite the devices having different wavelengths, frequencies and one including red as well as infrared, the devices were deemed to be equally effective.

Fortunately, trying near infrared therapy for RLS is relatively easy. There are near infrared bulbs and devices on the market which you can use at home. There are also doctors and clinics that can administer the treatment for you. Although the treatments are likely to be effective, you may have to be patient to see results. And obviously, you should discuss it with your doctor first before using near infrared therapy to treat your RLS.

Other Possible Treatments for RLS

  • Gabapentin/Pregabalin – prescription alpha-2-delta ligand medications.
  • Dopamine agonists – prescription medications such as pramipexole, rotigotine, ropinirole or cabergoline.
  • Anti-convulsants – prescription medications.
  • Compression stockings.
  • Iron supplementation if you are deficient in iron.