Al foil wraps

Please share your experiences, successes, and failures in using non-drug therapies for RLS/WED (methods of relief that don't involve swallowing or injecting anything), including compression, heat, light, stretches, acupuncture, etc. Also under this heading, medical interventions that don't involve the administration of a medicine to the body (eg. varicose-vein operations, deep-brain stimulation). [This forum contains Topics started prior to 2009 that deal with Non-prescription Medicines, Supplements, & Diet.]
bromhouse
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Location: Sydney Australia

Al foil wraps

Postby bromhouse » Thu Apr 24, 2008 11:27 pm

I am presenting here the story of my RLS and how I found a way of relieving symptoms. It is a bit long but I thought it important to “set the scene” to show the logic of my findings.

Notes on relieving symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)

1. A few years ago I started to experience left leg (calf) irritable discomfort during the night while sleeping in a waterbed, requiring voluntary limb movement to obtain relief (no problems experienced in regular, spring mattress bed).
2. Tried various wraps—including socks, elastic bandages, and pantyhose—no significant relief from symptoms.
3. Noticed that it was possible to feel a light “static electric” effect in waterbed (measurable as a deflection on a voltmeter)—so placed a layer of Aluminum (Aluminium) foil (“Al foil”)under water mattress and earthed (grounded) this to mains earth—no major problem then with leg discomfort for a year or so!
4. About a year later a recurrence of the symptoms of RLS in one or both legs. Difficult to sleep through the night, onset of symptoms typically several hours after lying down. Similar problems, although less severe, in spring mattress bed.
5. Wrapped Al foil around offending leg when symptoms manifest during the night and was amazed at obtaining very rapid and total relief!!

Characteristic effects:
• At onset of RLS wrapped leg in Al foil and then, after about 5-10 minutes usually, the condition intensified for a short period and then the irritation “drained” away and, subsequently, no problem sleeping through the night.
• Associated with the loss of irritation in the calf was a slight sensation of numbness in the corresponding foot and toes—this sensation quickly diminished.

Further Experiments

1. Tried several different types of Al foil wrap, glued to a backing material (with Al foil side in contact with skin—all gave relief from symptoms.
2. Used Al foil wrap while in regular bed (where RLS symptoms less severe) also with complete relief of symptoms.
3. Tried applying wrap reversed—no contact of Al foil with skin—this provided partial, but not complete, relief.
4. As a “control” tried the backing material alone (with no Al foil attached)—no relief of symptoms.
5. Tried “sandwiched” very thin film of Al foil (the material used in candy wrapping, wine casks, florist wraps etc.)—relatively low electrical conductivity—no significant relief of symptoms.

It is probable that the foil provides a shield in some way, possibly a “relative earth” or “constant potential surface” that interferes with micro electromagnetic fields associated with nerve electrical currents. Waterbed conditions serve to substantially amplify the irritation and therefore should be avoided by RLS sufferers.

Since the initial experiments I have tried various combinations of foil and magnets and have even tried applying electromagnetic coils, with varying degrees of success, but the simple cheap foil wraps work very well.
The bottom line for me is that I have RLS (based on the international RLS rating scale criteria my condition is rated as moderate to sever) but it is only a minor problem at this stage because I can control the symptoms without the need for drugs.

Making a foil wrap

Start by laying a length of regular heavy-duty Al foil (from the Supermarket) on a flat surface and then stick two A4 size labels (length-wise with slight overlap) onto the foil. This provides strength and prevents the foil from tearing. This will make a wrap around two feet long and eight inches wide (about 60cm by 20cm).

Now glue (with hobby glue or any suitable paper glue) a piece of strong cloth material on the back of the paper and let set overnight. The backing makes the wrap more substantial. I then trim the excess foil and cloth from the wrap and then use tape (e.g., masking tape) to seal the edges all round.

When RLS symptoms start, I coil the wrap very firmly around the calf and hold it in place with a cut-off sock or stocking (cut-off surgical stockings if you have them). The cut-off socks can be cut at the toes, not the heel, to give extra length.

As noted above, there is often an increase in calf irritability for about 5 minutes before the RLS symptoms disappear for hours!

I have made wraps for two other RLS sufferers and they both report relief of the symptoms.

I would be most interested to get feedback from folks who try this technique either on this Discussion Board or you can email me at: stan7@ozemail.com.au if you wish. If necessary, I can also send more detailed information on making the wraps, with photographs.

(Just to add some credibility to my findings, I should explain that I have a PhD in chemistry and worked for many years as a research scientist, before retiring.)

I Really hope the Al foil works for you to help with this nasty condition. Good luck!
stan7

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SquirmingSusan
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Postby SquirmingSusan » Fri Apr 25, 2008 6:35 am

Hi Stan and welcome to the forum. Thanks for posting this and especially for the detailed instructions on how to make this. I'm glad it works for you and hope that it helps others as well. I wonder if that would work with the painful variety of RLS? I have such a wrap around already, and might have to find it and give it a try.
Susan

bromhouse
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Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2008 5:44 am
Location: Sydney Australia

Al foil wraps

Postby bromhouse » Fri Apr 25, 2008 7:24 am

Hi Susan,
I figure that the other two people that tried using the Al foil wraps (and obtained relief) had about the same degree of RLS as I - moderate to severe.
I don't know how effective the wraps may be for very severe cases, and I suspect that if you have painful RLS then it must be severe! I really do sympathise with you. Please try making up a couple of wraps and give it a go! - there may be, at least, partial relief.
It is important to have the regular metalic foil directly in contact with the skin - the flexible, plastic-coated foils do not work.
Do you know if it is possible to post photos on the Discussion Board? - If so, I will post some to show the preparation of a wrap.
Regards,Stan
stan7

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SquirmingSusan
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Postby SquirmingSusan » Sun Apr 27, 2008 12:06 am

Hi again, Stan. We don't have a "files" section like they do on Yahoo groups, but you can certainly put a photo in a post. You'll need to host it somewhere online, like on Photobucket or a site like that. Then you can just link it here using the "Img" tags above.
Susan

bromhouse
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Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2008 5:44 am
Location: Sydney Australia

Al foil wrap

Postby bromhouse » Sun Apr 27, 2008 3:06 am

Thanks Susan - I'll give it a shot!
stan7


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