Acupuncture/ pressureCochrane Library

Using acupuncture to treat restless legs syndrome

 Researchers from the China Academy of Chinese Medicine Science in Beijing reviewed the evidence for this Cochrane report.

First, the details.

  • Reviewers selected all studies where acupuncture had been compared to placebo or some other treatment.
  • Among 14 studies found, only 2 studies in 170 patients met this criterion and were included in the review.

And, the results.

  • There was no significant difference in lessening of overall symptoms between acupuncture and medications in 1 study.
  • The other study reported that dermal needle therapy combined with medications and massage was more effective than medications and massage alone, in terms of improving the unpleasant leg sensations and reducing the frequency of symptoms.
  • There was no association between the duration of restless leg syndrome and response to acupuncture.

The bottom line?
There’s too little evidence to make any conclusions about the value of acupuncture for treating restless leg syndrome.
Most treatments for restless leg syndrome are complementary. A succinct review of the condition and treatment options can be found here.

10/13/08 10:03 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.