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Volume 10 No. 12
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Accepted Papers

Letters to the Editor

Sensory Stimuli and the Restless Legs Syndrome

Fred Burbank, M.D.1; Mark J. Buchfuhrer, M.D., F.A.A.S.M.2
1Salt Creek International Women's Health Foundation, San Clemente, CA; 2Stanford School of Medicine, Stanford, CA

We read with interest the recent study, “Effect of Sensory Stimuli on Restless Legs Syndrome: A Randomized Crossover Study” by Rozeman et al.1

Their observations are consistent with our two, recently published, prospective, randomized, double-blind, parallel design clinical trials.2,3 In these trials treatment consisted of patients placing a vibrating pad (Sensory Medical, Inc., San Clemente, CA) under their thigh or calf, in bed, at the time of an RLS attack. Sleep improvement was significantly greater for patients assigned a vibrating pad than those assigned a sham pad2 and was not significantly different than improvement from FDA-approved RLS drugs.3

Vibration provides a counterstimulus during an RLS attack. However, unlike patient-applied counter-stimulation—such as leg rubbing and twisting, standing, or walking—vibration is compatible with sleep.

It appears that sensory input therapies may play a future role in the relief of RLS symptoms.


Dr. Burbank is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sensory Medical, Inc. and a minority shareholder. Dr. Buchfuhrer is a consultant to and a minority shareholder in Sensory Medical, Inc.


Burbank F, Buchfuhrer MJ. Sensory stimuli and the restless legs syndrome. J Clin Sleep Med 2014;10(12):1363.



Rozeman AD, Ottolini T, Grootendorst DC, Vogels OJ, Rijsman RM, authors. Effect of sensory stimuli on restless legs syndrome: a randomized crossover study. J Clin Sleep Med. 2014;10:893–6. [PubMed]


Burbank F, Buchfuhrer MJ, Kopjar B, authors. Sleep improvement for restless legs syndrome patients. Part I: Pooled analysis of two prospective, double-blind, sham-controlled, multi-center, randomized clinical studies of the effects of vibrating pads on RSL symptoms. J Parkinsonism Restless Legs Syndr. 2013;3:1–10.


Burbank F, Buchfuhrer MJ, Kopjar B, authors. Improving sleep for patients with restless legs syndrome. Part II. Meta-analysis of vibration therapy and drugs approved by the FDA for treatment of restless legs syndrome. J Parkinsonism Restless Legs Syndr. 2013;3:11–22.