Restless legs syndrome: a brief review of diagnosis and acupuncture treatment

What is Restless legs syndrome

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a common disorder affecting 7.0% population in some European countries, and the symptoms are normally demonstrated as uncomfortable sensations such as pain that may be associated with the urge to move the leg and usually occurs at night. The movement of the lower extremities can release the uncomfortable sensation, yet the sleep quality will be disturbed by RLS.

Pathophysiology of Restless legs

The underlying pathophysiological mechanisms is now said related to the dysregulation of iron regulation and its impact on dopamine metabolism. However, our current understanding of this disease is incomplete.

WM treatment for Restless legs

Current treatments for restless legs syndrome approved by the US Food and Drug Administration include Ropinirole, Pramipexole, Rotigotine patch, Gabapentin enacarbil, Relaxis.

Chinese medicine diagnosis for Restless legs

The diagnosis of restless legs is related to liver, spleen, and kidney yin deficiency, which leads to less nourishment for the muscle and tendon; Also the external cold dampness will retain in the channels and develop into dampness and heat.

Treatment of Restless legs by herbs and acupuncture

Chinese herbs and acupuncture are normally applied to Restless leg syndrome to release the tension of the muscle and tendon, and nourish liver, spleen and kidney yin deficiency, A meta- analysis showed that acupuncture has good result for this disease, yet the evidence quality of the clinical research still need to improve.

Author: Catherine (Yiyu) Chen

30 August 2021


1 Allen RP, Walters AS, Montplaisir J, et al. Restless legs syndrome prev‑ alence and impact: REST general population study. Arch Intern Med. 2005; 165: 1286 -1292.

2 Rizzo V, Aricò I, Liotta G, et al. Impairment of sensory‑motor integration in patients affected by RLS. J Neurol. 2010; 257: 1979 -1985.

3. Tipton PW, Wszołek ZK. Restless legs syndrome and nocturnal leg cramps: a review and guide to diagnosis and treatment. Pol Arch Intern Med. 2017 Dec 22;127(12):865-872. doi: 10.20452/pamw.4148. Epub 2017 Nov 9. PMID: 29120993.

4. ZHOU Rui, LI Kesong, ZHUANG Lixing. Cumulative Meta-analysis on efficacy of acupuncture therapy for restless legs syndrome[J]. Tianjin Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 2019, 36(6): 579-583.


The effect of acupuncture for the cancer patients with insomnia

Acupuncture is commonly used as the treatment for external muscle pain, however, it is also helpful to some interior diseases, such as insomnia. By regulating and qi and blood circulation and balance abnormal energy level in the body, it can improve the sleep quality. Here is the linkage to a  latest research about the effect of acupuncture on cancer patients with insomnia. http://abstracts.asco.org/214/AbstView_214_220993.html.

Also the Memorial Sloan-Kettering cancer center recently released the news about acupuncture for those patients with insomnia: https://www.mskcc.org/blog/asco18-acupuncture-and-cognitive-behavioral-therapy-can-help-cancer-survivors-who-have-insomnia


Diseases that could be treated by acupuncture-from WHO evidence based report

In 2003 World Health Organization published a report about clinical trials researching the effectiveness of acupuncture. More than one hundred indication were discussed and divided into four groups concerning the strength of existing evidence. It covers muscular diseases, digestive system, cardiovascular system, respiratory system, nervous system, endocrine system, urinary systems. In the follow weeks… Here is the linkage to this information which may help you to know more evidence about acupuncture: https://www.evidencebasedacupuncture.org/who-official-position/


Acupuncture for Bell’s Palsy

Wake up in the morning with droopy mouth on one side of the face? You may have Bell’s Palsy!

What is Bell’s Palsy?

Bell’s Palsy is caused by swollen or compressed  seventh cranial nerve , which leads to the facial weakness or paralysis. The exact reason of this disease is unknown, but most of modern researchers believe it is triggered by the virus infection.

The symptoms are marked by a droopy mouth on one side of the face and being unable to open or close the eyes with some other symptoms. In most cases it will affect one side of the body.


The Treatment for Bell’s Palsy?

Bell’s Palsy symptoms could be improved without treatment, while it may take several weeks or months to totally recover. Modern medicine include steroid, antiviral or antibacterial medication if this is caused by virus or bacteria, also some pain killer will be prescribed to release pain.

What acupuncture can do for Bell’s Palsy?

Basically, Acupuncture can regulate and promote the blood circulation, decrease the inflammation, and strengthen the body’s immunity system  with inserting very fine needles to the local and distal area of the body. There are different acupuncture treatment protocols  according to the different stages of Bell’s Palsy.  A number of studies in China have suggested a good therapeutic effect of acupuncture on facial palsy, however, the quality of the included researches is inadequate to allow any conclusion about the efficacy of acupuncture, more high quality trials are needed.


Li Jiangping. Comparison the efficacy between acupuncture and manipulation for Bell’s palsy. Chinese Clinical Medicine Research 2005;11(12):17156

Chen X, Zheng H, Hu K, et al. A randomized controlled trial of acupuncture and moxibustion to treat Bell’s palsy according to different stages: design and protocol. Contemporary Clinical Trials 2009;30(4):34753.

Ning C, Muke Z, Li H, et al. Acupuncture for Bell’s Palsy. Cochrane Neuromuscular Group. 2010. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD002914.pub5

Reheman A, Liu HS, Kang MF. [Clinical study on acupuncture combined with moxibustion on temperature-sensitive points for treatment of Bell palsy in the acute stage]. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu 2009;29(1):1720.




Would Acupuncture be effective for the paralysis caused by a stroke?

Acupuncture is an essential therapeutic treatment for stroke in China and Japan besides the standard drug treatment, however patients in Australia rarely received this level of care, is acupuncture really effective for the paralysis caused by a stroke? Is there any evidence that can support this? Though some studies showed acupuncture increases the global neurological deficit score and in the motor function score, but these studies are of low quality evidence and are confounded by the risk of bias related to the use of open controls. More high quality studies with clearly report of the randomization method, concealment of allocation and blinding method are needed for the further development of acupuncture in this field.


Xu MM, Li D, Zhang SH. (2018). Acupuncture for acute stroke. Cochrane stroke group. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003317.pub3

Li YH. (2016). Treating Early Hemiplegia Following Acute Cerebral Infraction by Acupuncture Plus Rehabilitation Therapy.Clinical Journal of Chinese Medicine.2016,8(5):13-15.

Huang CJ,Qi F. (2014). Clinical Observation of Treating Early Hemiplegia Following Acute Cerebral Infraction by Acupuncture Therapy.China Practical Medical.2014,9(15):249-250.

Yang CG. (2013).Clinical Observation of 263 Cases of Treating Early Hemiplegia Following Acute Cerebral Infraction by Acupuncture.Chinese Journal of Practical Nervous Diseases. 2013,16(18):78-79.


Cosmetic Acupuncture

We try so hard to maintain our beauty: lots of foundation, lotion and cream on skin? That’s only effect the outside layer of skin; Injection of chemicals into the skin and muscle? May last for a few years without your own control of the effect. Have you ever think about cosmetic Acupuncture, which will stimulate your own ability to recover from the fine lines, wrinkles and dullness together with your whole body energy level improved and go back to the younger state, call us today 0434553670, and book your consultation with us.

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