Aromatherapy Self-massage for Bedtime Twitchy Legs in ME/CFS

I’ve been very lucky that since I visited a homeopath a couple of years ago I’ve suffered very little with muscle symptoms.  I am very careful not to overexert, but even on the odd occasion when I do overstretch at a yoga class I usually only suffer the normal stiffness you would expect from a healthy body. Homeopathy 1: ME/CFS 0! (Unfortunately it was the only success the homeopath had but I’m very grateful. Every little helps!)
However, since spending a couple of weeks doing extra shifts at work to cover a colleagues holiday I’ve been struggling with muscle stiffness and twitchiness again, particularly when I’m trying get to sleep. My leg muscles just wouldn’t switch off!
After a couple of nights of struggling to sleep and only succeeding after getting up and giving myself a leg massage I decided to take proactive action with a 10 minute leg massage with essential oils before my 10 minute read at bed time. It couldn’t have worked any better! My legs have relaxed, I’ve been falling to sleep much quicker and my sleep has even been more refreshing! This week I’ve played around with different combinations of essential oils and found two that are particularly effective.
Marjoram and ginger
With analgesic, antispasmodic, nervine and sedative properties, marjoram should help relax and soothe muscles, calm the sympathetic nervous system and encourage sleep. Ginger adds further potency to the soothing properties of this blend. Ginger can, however, be a stimulant so this blend might not be suitable for everybody.
Clary sage and bergamot.
Similar to marjoram, clary sage also has antispasmodic, nervine and sedative properties along with the ability to reduce inflammation (anitphlogistic properties). Bergamot  adds potency to the antispasmodic and sedative properties of this blend. Its analgesic properties also offer pain relief.
  • I mix 2 drops of each essential oil (4 in total) in about a tablespoon of carrier oil and gently spread the oil all over my legs.
  • Then I start by massaging around my ankles with my finger tip, particularly on the front where foot meets leg, but also all around the edges of bony protuberances of the ankles. The one rule of any massage is towards the heart so I aim to direct all movement up towards the top of the legs.
  • Next using cupped fingers and palms I stroke from the ankles up to the top of the calves, one hand after another, back, front and sides of the leg. If the calves are very stiff I might knead them with a grabbing/ squeezing movement, but then finish with a little more stroking.
  • I very gently stroke the back of my knee with my fingertips then move on to the upper legs.
  • With alternate hands I firmly stroke the outside of my thigh diagonally from behind my knee to a couple of inches above my kneecap, repeating the movement, moving my hands gradually up towards my hip.
  • I then do a similar movement on the inside of my thigh. I then use grabbing movements on the top of my thigh, followed by long strokes from just above my knee cap to my groin.
  • Finally I lie on my back sticking one leg in the air and try to stroke all the way from my ankle to hip: first with one hand on the front and one on the back of my leg and finally with a hand on each side.
I tend to repeat each part of the massage on the other leg before moving up, but you could do one whole leg followed by the other.

I hope this brings you some relief, and a better night’s sleep!

My information about the properties of essential oils comes from the wonderful book by Wanda Sellar ‘The Directory of Essential Oils’ 1992, a cherished gift from a friend.

2 thoughts on “Aromatherapy Self-massage for Bedtime Twitchy Legs in ME/CFS”

  1. This is very interesting. My twitching and jerking occurs in the shoulders and arms also. Relief would be a blessing. Do you recommend any particular brand of oils?


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