Will soap in bed calm restless leg syndrome?

Q: I’ve read about putting soap under the bottom sheet to prevent leg cramps. I suffer from restless legs. I don’t think “leg cramps” refers to this problem. Do you have any other recommendations?

A: You are quite right that leg cramps and restless legs are two entirely different problems. A leg cramp (or charley horse) is a sudden contraction or spasm of a muscle. Restless leg syndrome is a puzzling neurological condition. Patients report an uncontrollable urge to move the legs to relieve uncomfortable “creepy-crawly” sensations.

Oddly, though, we have heard from readers that both problems may respond to a bar of soap placed under the bottom sheet in the area of ​​the legs. Others put soap chips in their socks or smear liquid soap on their skin.

We have a hypothesis about why this might help prevent leg cramps. Perhaps the fragrance of the soap activates transient receptor potential channels that reverse inappropriate nerve-muscle communication. We don’t know if this might also apply to restless leg syndrome.

Q: Have you heard that people have nightmares while taking biotin? I began taking this supplement and started having the most vivid and terrible nightmares.

I would yell, kick and get out of bed while still in a dream state. A recurring theme was getting chased by wild animals or being attacked by a stranger. Normally I have vague memories of dreams, but I always recalled these vividly because they were so real.

I researched the behavior and found that it was best described as REM Sleep Disorder. The nightmares stopped when I quit taking biotin.

A: This certainly sounds like an unpleasant experience. There are some similar reports on the internet, but we could find nothing in the medical literature.

Q: I have been using gin-soaked raisins for about 10 years for hand arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome. I am a licensed cosmetologist, so having surgery for the carpal tunnel would be a huge problem. Also, the doctor said I would need to stop doing the motions that irritate the nerves.

Well, I’m not about to give up my career and income. Instead, I started eating the raisins and never looked back. I do sleep in a wrist splint at night as well.

My hands are great! My 86-year-old mom had frozen shoulder, so she started taking them, too. Now she has no pain and full range of motion. My sister, who has arthritis in her hands, has also benefited.

This is cheap and easy. My first attempt was with inexpensive gin. When that did not work, I almost gave up. I tried it again with Bombay Sapphire gin. Just like olive oils, there are different grades of gin. Bombay made the difference! I got results in about six or eight weeks after starting this remedy.

A: Over several decades, hundreds, if not thousands, of readers have reported success with gin-soaked raisins for joint pain. We still have no good explanation for this surprising home remedy. Many, like you, say that it took several weeks before they noticed the benefit.

Good quality gin is flavored with juniper berries. We don’t know if that is the magic ingredient, though juniper berries have a reputation as anti-inflammatory.

To learn more about

this and many other intriguing approaches to easing joint pain, you may wish to read our 104-page book, “Graedons’ Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis.” It is available in the book section of the store at PeoplesPharmacy.com.

Contact the Graedons at peoplespharmacy.com.

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