The healing magic of Epsom Salts.

Dec 4, 2018

What are Epsom salts?

Coarse grained salt on a wooden scoop

Epsom salt is a naturally occurring mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate, both of which are highly absorbable through the skin. Magnesium plays a number of key roles in the body including reducing inflammation, helping nerve and muscle function, and preventing the clogging of arteries.  It helps regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels and plays an important role in energy metabolism and enzyme function.  It even helps with constipation! Sulfates help with the absorption of nutrients, easing headaches and migraines, and flushing toxins. They also help strengthen the walls of the digestive tract.  All of this plays a role in decreasing overall stress on the body.

Signs that you may be Magnesium deficient: 

  • Muscle weakness, spasms and/or cramping 
  • Insulin resistance
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Low HDL
  • Tingling and numbness
  • Migraines

Below are a few key benefits that Epsom salt baths can provide:

1. They ease stress and promotes relaxation. 

Stress drains the body of magnesium, and given that most of us these days are under chronic stress, our bodies are magnesium deficient. In fact, according to Statistics Canada, over a third of Canadians are deficient in magnesium. When Epsom salt is dissolved in warm water, the magnesium is absorbed through the skin to help replenish magnesium levels in the body. Magnesium helps promote a feeling of calm and relaxation and also increases energy and reduces irritability. Epsom salt baths can help improve your sleep and concentration.

2. They’ll help you detox. 

The sulfates in Epsom salt help flush toxins and heavy metals from the cells helping the body eliminate these substances.  Think of the message “salt sucks” and remember it absorbs and draws these toxins from your body in a therapeutic Epsom salt bath.  It is important to follow the directions for such use and to remember to hydrate and rinse you body post bath to remove salts from the skin to avoid reabsorption and sickness. 

3. It will ease muscle pain. 

Epsom salt baths can reduce inflammation and ease pain, which makes it a great treatment for sore muscles and migraine headaches.  An easy way to help speed up that “post workout” ache from lactic acid settling into your muscles is with a therapeutic bath after excessive physical exertion, or even after a deep tissue massage!  It’s a great tool incorporated with pure essential oils to soothe achy muscles and speed up recovery time.  

4. It will soften and smooth your skin. 

If you have dry, itchy skin or a more serious condition like eczema or psoriasis, Epsom salt baths can help. The mineral-rich bath water can help soften, smooth and soothe skin. Just remember to rinse off any salt that might be left on the skin and apply a moisturizer like coconut oil, afterward. You can also add your own moisturizing oils and essential oils to your Epsom salt bath if you like.

The great thing is that you don’t have to devote a lot of time to this practice. You can reap the benefits of an Epsom salt bath in as little as 10 minutes. 

How to have a proper therapeutic Epsom salt bath:

Fill your tub with water as hot as tolerable, taking into consideration any blood pressure or heart conditions where you may need to use less heat and even add a cold compress behind the neck, while keeping the upper torso out of the hot water.  Add one half to 2 cups of Epsom salt. The more salt you add, the more detoxifying it will be, so you may want to start small and work your way up and again taking into consideration any health concerns and using less salt to meet your individual needs and reduce the risk of low blood pressure or increased heart rate.  

Submerge as much of your body as desired, certainly the affected areas if possible and stay in the bath 10-20 mins max. If this is just a relaxation purpose bath, less salt and lower temperature can allow for a longer bath session.  Be sure to have some water on hand to maintain your hydration as a therapeutic bath is quite dehydrating in effect.  Once out of the bath, rinse in a shower at least 10-20 degrees cooler than your bath to bring the heart rate back to normal, as well as the blood pressure back up and also to rinse the residual salt off of the skin to avoid retoxification.

Indulging in an Epsom salt bath, whether for relaxation or as a part of your health care routing is so beneficial. Epsom salts (often labelled as Magnesium Sulfate) are readily available at your local health food store or drug store, or even bulk food store or Costco!  Buy some Epsom salt, and give it a try. It’s an efficient and inexpensive way to relieve stress and improve your overall health.