Epsom salt baths became a weekly ritual for me years ago when I first started working out. A personal trainer had suggested that I soak in Epsom salt to relieve muscle soreness. At the time, I didn’t think much of it because I assumed that all baths were created equal. I was so wrong.
Over the years, Epsom salt has played a role in many of my weight loss efforts. When I attempted the Lemonade Diet (aka the Master Cleanse), I used it as a colon cleanse. Every morning, I was supposed to drink a mixture of Epsom salt and cold water. After my first (and only) attempt, I had absolutely no desire to ever try this remedy again. However, I can attest to immediate results of using Epsom salt as a laxative.
Regardless, Epsom salt has become a mainstay in my bathwater due to the laundry list of health benefits it provides. People have been using it for hundreds of years to soothe aches and pains, heal cuts and bruises, detoxify the skin and body, and create an overall sense of well-being. But if you are anything like I was, you are probably wondering is Epsom salt and how can a simple bath provide so many health benefits?
Epsom Salt aka Magnesium Sulfate
“Magnesium is the second-most abundant element in human cells and the fourth-most important positively charged ion in the body, so it’s little wonder this low-profile mineral is so vital to good health and well being. Magnesium, a major component of Epsom Salt, also helps to regulate the activity of more than 325 enzymes and performs a vital role in orchestrating many bodily functions, from muscle control and electrical impulses to energy production and the elimination of harmful toxins.
“The National Academy of Sciences, however, reports that most Americans are magnesium deficient, helping to account for our society’s high rate of heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, arthritis and joint pain, digestive maladies and stress-related illnesses, chronic fatigue and a host of other ailments. The Academy estimates the average American male gets just 80% of the magnesium required for good health, while females get only 70% of their recommended levels. Nutritionists say Americans’ magnesium levels have dropped more than 50% in the past century.” Read more from this article about Epsom salt.
Health Benefits of Epsom Salt (From saltworks.us)
- Eases stress, relaxes the body, improves sleep and concentration. Magnesium aids in serotonin production, a hormone that influences a sense overall well-being.
- Relieves pain and muscle cramps by reducing lactic acid. Epsom salt is also known to ease pain and inflammation, making it a beneficial treatment for bronchial asthma, migraines, and recurrent colds and sore throats.
- Helps muscles and nerves function properly. Studies show that Epsom salt can help regulate electrolytes in your body, ensuring proper functioning of the muscles, nerves, and enzymes.
- Helps prevent hardening of arteries and blood clots. Epsom salt is believed to improve heart health and help prevent heart disease and strokes by improving blood circulation, lowering blood pressure, protecting the elasticity of arteries, preventing blood clots and reducing the risk of sudden heart attack deaths.
- Makes insulin more effective. Proper magnesium and sulfate levels increase the effectiveness of insulin in the body, helping to lower the risk or severity of diabetes.
- Relieves constipation. Taken internally, Epsom salt acts as a detoxifying agent for colon cleansing. The salt acts like a laxative by increasing water in the intestines and can bring about temporary relief from constipation. However, consult your physician first.
- Eliminates toxins from the body. The sulfates in Epsom salt help to flush toxins and
heavy metals from the cells, easing muscle pain and helping the body to eliminate harmful substances. Your skin is a highly porous membrane and adding the right minerals to your bathwater triggers a process called reverse osmosis, which actually pulls salt out of your body.
Soak Up the Benefits of Magnesium Sulfate, Doctor’s Orders
Though magnesium supplements are available, their effectiveness can be compromised by certain foods or drugs or even a person’s individual stomach acid chemistry. But studies have shown that Epsom salt baths are one of the most effective and ideal methods for increasing magnesium levels. Simply dissolve two cups of Epsom salt into a warm bath and soak for at least 12 minutes three times weekly. However, avoid adding soaps which could inhibit the effects. Instead, opt for essential oils like lavender or tea tree oil for added aromatherapy benefits.