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J Clin Sleep Med. 2016 Jul 15;12(7):947-52. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.5920.

Decreased Symptoms without Augmented Skin Blood Flow in Subjects with RLS/WED after Vibration Treatment.

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Department of Exercise Sciences; Brigham Young University, Provo, UT.
Department of Educational Leadership and Foundations; Brigham Young University, Provo, UT.
Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.



Vascular disturbances leading to tissue hypoxia have been named as a possible cause for RLS/WED. Vibration to the whole body (WBV) in subjects with RLS/WED results in increased skin blood flow (SBF). The aims of this investigation were to (1) determine if a two-week treatment with WBV will decrease symptoms associated with RLS/WED and, (2) if so, determine if the mechanism for improvement in symptoms is related to an increase in SBF, as measured in flux.


Eleven subjects with RLS/WED underwent 2 weeks of 14-minute intermittent WBV and a 2-week sham treatment in randomized order. Pre and post intervention RLS symptom severity were compared. Baseline SBF was compared between subjects with RLS/WED and an age- and sex-matched control group. A crossover design (aim 1) and a matched case-control design and repeated measures design (aim 2) were used. The data analyses consisted of 2-sample and paired t-tests; where applicable we used a standard crossover design adjustment.


WBV did significantly decrease symptoms associated with RLS/WED compared to baseline data and compared to sham treatment. The baseline flux was significantly lower in RLS/WED subjects than matched controls, but this deficit was negated with WBV. There was no increase in resting SBF over the 2 weeks of treatment.


Subjects with RLS/WED have decreased SBF but are able to increase flux to the same level as normal subjects with WBV. A 2-week intervention with WBV decreases symptoms associated with RLS/WED, but this does not seem to be related to an increase in resting SBF.


WBV; hypoxia; restless legs syndrome

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