Whether you’re using it for sore muscles, household cleaning products, or health reasons, epsom bath salts have a long history of diversified use and benefits.
Epsom salt is a natural exfoliant and anti-inflammatory remedy that can be used to treat muscle aches, dry skin, and even to fight various internal health issues. And what’s great about this at-home spa experience is it has an amazing ability to relieve stress.
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History of Epsom Salt Baths
Epsom salt is named after the English town in which it was discovered, where it bubbled up in water from an underground spring in the early 17th century.
The people of the town noticed that the wounds on the animals who waded in the bitter-tasting (or, Epsom-salted) water also seemed to heal more quickly.
This, of course, prompted the humans to wade in the waters.
Many people in England then began to travel to Epsom to experience numerous health benefits, particularly the relief from the painful symptoms of gout and for the natural purging effects of the water. Or, ahem, what we’d now call its laxative effects.
Today we now know how Epsom salt baths work wonders at reducing stress, healing muscles pain, and improving digestive health.
How Do Epsom Salt Baths Work?
The magnesium and sulfate present in Epsom salt play essential parts in the ways in which our bodies function.
Magnesium is important in that it helps keep enzyme activity regular in your body, and it helps your bodily functions to run smoothly.More than half of all Americans have a magnesium deficiency, which is believed to be a factor in all kinds of health problems.
Sulfate also plays an important role in the formation of brain tissue and joint proteins, and it can strengthen the walls of the digestive tract.
Taking an Epsom salt bath helps restore magnesium and sulfate in your system because they are easily absorbed through your skin. It also helps people with gut issues because they don’t have to deal with intestinal side effects because the minerals are absorbed through the skin.
Epsom Salt Baths for All Sorts of Conditions
If you suffer from any of the following health problems, Epsom bath salts can be extremely helpful.
- Digestive problems
- Sore muscles
To get the full benefits of Epsom salt baths it’s recommended that you soak using 4 cups of Epsom salts in hot water for 20 minutes 7 days in a row, then follow up by soaking 2-3 times a week.
Soaking for 7 days in a row will get your magnesium and sulfate levels back to normal. After that, it helps to maintain those levels in your body and aid in stress reduction by soaking a few times a week.
If you’re wondering where to find Epsom salt, just check out your local grocery store, health food store, or online at the link below.
6 Benefits of Epsom Salt Baths
There’s plenty of reasons why Epsom salt baths have been used for so long to treat a variety of health issues. Even if you don’t suffer from SIBO or other intestinal conditions, you can benefit greatly from Epsom salt baths in many ways.
1. Stress Reduction
Everyone has heard of the recommendation to have a good soak in a warm bath after a rough day, but take it to the next level with a cup or two of Epsom salts to really bust the stress. Not only will the magnesium in the Epsom salt help to relax your muscles, it can also help to relax your mind.
2. Promotes Restful Sleep
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. It also increases energy and reduces irritability. Epsom salt baths can help improve your sleep and concentration.
The sulfates in Epsom salt assist the body in flushing out toxins and providing a heavy metal detox from the body’s cells. This lowers the internal accumulation of harmful substances.
Human skin is a highly porous membrane, so when you add minerals like magnesium and sulfate to your bathwater, it triggers a process called reverse osmosis, which actually pulls salt out of your body and along with harmful toxins. Make sure you soak for a good 20-30 minutes to remove the toxins from your system.
4. Relieve Pain and Muscles Cramps
Since low magnesium has been linked with higher C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation in the body, a warm bath containing Epsom salt can help ease pain. By relieving the inflammation at the root of most diseases, Epsom salt baths are a beneficial natural treatment for sore muscles and headaches, including migraines.
Epsom salt can also help heal cuts and reduce the swelling that accompanies sprains and bruises. They have even been known to help with soreness after childbirth.
5. Improve Muscle and Nerve Function
In general, healthy magnesium levels from Epsom salt use can help overall bodily inflammation. This promotes healthy muscle and nerve function. Many athletes use Epsom salt baths for this exact reason.
6. Relieves Constipation
Epsom salt is an FDA-approved laxative and is commonly used to naturally relieve constipation. When taken internally, Epsom salt acts as a laxative by increasing water in the intestines and cleansing the colon of waste.
Internal use of Epsom salt can bring about temporary relief from constipation, but like any laxative, it is not meant to be a long-term solution. We would recommend soaking in it instead of ingesting it because it can be a very harsh laxative effect.
Epsom Salt Bath Potential Side Effects
The benefits of Epsom salt baths are great for everyone, especially those that deal with the pain and stress of digestive symptoms on a daily basis. But, there are side effects if you overdo it.
Make sure to drink plenty of liquids to prevent dehydration, stick to the recommended dosage, and don’t take it orally if you don’t want the laxative effect.
Also, magnesium in any form, including Epsom salt, must be used with caution in patients with renal failure since it is processed by the kidneys and can reach toxic levels easily in those patients. Magnesium sulfate is often used to successfully treat eclampsia and pre-eclampsia in pregnant women, but pregnant or nursing women should generally exercise caution and consult their doctors being using Epsom salt.
Potential side effects from overdose:
- abdominal cramping
- allergic reaction
- irregular heartbeat
- severe drowsiness
- muscle paralysis
You should tell your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms after using Epsom salt. But don’t worry, serious side effects of Epsom salt are rare when used in recommended dosages.
How to Use Epsom Salts
Setting up an Epsom salt bath is pretty easy. This is a good routine to use:
- Fill your tub with hot water
- Scoop 3-4 cups Epsom salt and pour into the water
- Mix the salts around in the bath
- Relax and soak for 15-30 minutes (you don’t need to soak longer)
- Repeat this routine at night 2-3 times per week (or more if you are highly stressed)
Epsom salt can pretty much be found at any drugstore and is very affordable. Once you have your Epsom salt at home, store it at room temperature away from moisture and heat (this prevents it from becoming compacted).
Why Epsom Salt Baths are Great for Digestion
As you can see, Epsom bath salts have benefits that everyone needs to boost a healthy lifestyle. And for those with particularly difficult intestinal issues, like SIBO or IBS, Epsom salt baths prepared with the recommended amount of magnesium are perfect for calming the gut down and relieving symptoms.
So go ahead and pick up some Epsom salts, fill up the tub, and relax.