Republished with permission from organiclifestylemagazine.com.
Epsom salt is not actually salt; it is a mineral compound, magnesium sulfate. It looks like large salt crystals, dissolves easily in water, and has many uses for health, beauty, and the garden.
There are different grades of Epsom salt, one for agricultural and one for personal use. For personal use, look for USP or the “drug facts” list on the label.
Why Take an Epsom Salt Bath?
Epsom salt baths are relaxing and therapeutic. They are a long known treatment for skin issues like eczema and acne, muscle soreness (well known within the bodybuilding community!), inflammation, bruising, swelling, and strained or torn muscles and ligaments. Epsom salt baths are also a wonderful aid for detoxing and an easy means to up your intake of both magnesium and sulfate.
Why We Need Magnesium
Magnesium is crucial to our health. It is a key mineral for metabolic processes that play a role in more than 300 chemical reactions in the body. It helps the body regulate enzymes and aids in electrical impulses, toxin elimination, muscle control, and more. The University of Maryland Medical Center site states, “Every organ in the body, especially the heart, muscles, and kidneys, needs magnesium. This mineral also contributes to the makeup of teeth and bones. Magnesium activates enzymes, contributes to energy production, and helps regulate levels of calcium, copper, zinc, potassium, vitamin D, and other important nutrients in the body.”
It is believed that most of us do not get as much magnesium as we need from our diet due to depleted soil and municipal water, which is stripped of minerals during the purification process.
How to Properly Take an Epsom Salt Bath or Soak
You will commonly see directions suggesting 2 cups to a normal size bath, more for an oversized bath, with a 12-15 minute soak. David Jockers DC, MS, CSCS, suggests a much more individualized measurement and a much longer soak. He recommends the amount be determined by the individual’s weight. The following is for a standard size bathtub:
Children under 60 lbs: ½ cup
Individuals between 60-100 lbs: 1 cup
Individuals between 100-150 lbs: 1½ cups
Individuals between 150-200 lbs: 2 cups
For every 50lbs more – add an additional ½ cup of salts.
As for soaking time, he says the first 20 minutes pulls out toxins while the second 20 minutes allows the body to soak up the magnesium and sulfate.
He also cites the following contraindications: pregnancy, open wounds or burns, or cardiovascular disease (without your healthcare practitioners knowledge).
For muscle soreness an Epsom salt bath is one of the best things you can do, but if your goal is detoxification, first do a dry brush rub to remove dead skin and open up your pores. This takes about five minutes. Take your time. When you finish soaking, consider hot and cold hydrotherapy.
Combine Epsom Salt With Other Ingredients
You can add additional ingredients to your Epsom salt bath such as essential oils, baking soda, olive oil, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, and more.
Essential oils are a natural compliment.
To read the rest of Organic Lifestyle Magazine’s article including how to use epsom salts for splinter removal and grout cleaner, please click here.