There’s a simple way to pour a load of health benefits into one relaxing bath – add some Epsom salts. Named after Epsom in England where the salt was once mined from saline springs in the area, this naturally occurring mineral has numerous uses in agriculture, manufacturing and medicine. However, it is best known for its therapeutic benefits when added to a warm bath. From muscle and joint pain relief to skin care to detoxification, Epsom salts is a more than just your Grandma’s home remedy.
How It Works
The scientific name for Epsom salts is the chemical compound magnesium sulphate. Its two elements, magnesium and sulphate, are both important minerals that help the body to function smoothly.
- associated with muscle and nerve function and bone development
- acts as an anti-inflammatory, relieving muscle pain and cramping
- thought to alleviate stress, aid in sleep and improve concentration
- shown in studies to aid in the prevention of blood clots and hardened arteries
- aids the body in using oxygen more efficiently
- can increase the efficacy of insulin for those suffering from diabetes
- magnesium ions act as a mild analgesic by inhibiting pain receptors in the brain
The National Academy of Sciences reports that most North Americans are deficient in Magnesium and that adult levels have been steadily on the decline since the 1950′s, possibly due to the increase of processed food in the average diet. Magnesium is not always reliably absorbed through the digestive tract, but can be effectively absorbed through the skin.
- a key player in joint and tissue function
- one of the minerals deficient in those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis
- known to flush toxins from the system
- assists the body in absorbing nutrients
- can reduce the severity – and even prevent – migraine headaches.
Put the these two essential minerals together and you have Epsom salts – a natural and inexpensive way to aid in general health, relieve aches and pains, improve skin tone, detoxify and relax the whole body.
Joint and Muscle Pain, Detoxification
Many athletes use Epsom salts regularly to relieve muscle strain – it is also recommended by postpartum caregivers to aid in recovery from the physical stress of childbirth. Some proponents of Epsom salts believe that magnesium sulphate can flush harmful toxins from the body by strengthening and nourishing the systems already dedicated to this function. Many massage therapists recommend a bath with Epsom salts to expel the toxins released from your muscles by a massage. As with any therapeutic treatment, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before using it if you have any ongoing medical conditions.
How To Use It
Pour about 1-2 cups of the salt into a warm bath, making sure as much dissolves as possible to reap the greatest benefit. Stay in the bath for at least 12 minutes. Some recommend that you take the bath just before you go to bed to maximize the relaxing effects of the treatment.
Soaking in Epsom salts can do great things for your largest organ – your skin. Its soothing, anti-inflammatory properties can relieve minor sunburns and aid in the treatment of psoriasis and eczema. Its hydrating abilities can help to soften skin and even prevent wrinkles.
How To Use It
For the greatest benefit to your skin, soak in an Epsom salts bath of warm, but not hot water and once you get out, be sure to rinse well and moisturize your skin in order to keep it hydrated. For an effective exfoliant, mix Epsom salts with mineral or baby oil to create a paste. Apply to your face like a mask to draw the contaminants out of your pores or rub into dry, rough areas like heels and elbows.
Removal of Foreign Objects
Splinters and even bee-stingers can be easily and painlessly ejected thanks to the osmotic pressure present when Epsom salts are applied to the skin.
How To Use It
Add about a cup of Epsom salts to a basin of warm water and soak the affected area. This will draw the offending object to the surface of the skin, where you can easily remove it with tweezers. Afterwards, soak a cloth in the solution and use it to apply pressure to the affected area in order to reduce swelling.
While the scientific community has yet to perform conclusive studies on all of the benefits of Epsom salts, people have been using it and recommending it to others for over three centuries. Add that to what we now know about the important functions of magnesium and sulphate in the body, and the reasons to give it a try are even more compelling. Finally, consider that it is an all-natural product and quite inexpensive – what more of an excuse do you need to go run yourself a nice, warm bath?