You spent weeks, even months scouring the internet and magazines for small bathroom ideas in preparation for your bathroom remodel. Finally, the new tub has been installed, the new flooring has been laid, the contractors have left, the dust is settled and you are ready to reap the rewards of your new bathroom. One of the satisfying things you can do now that all of your hard work is done is pour yourself a glass of wine, put on your favorite tunes and grab that book you have been wanting to read and spend the next 40-50 minutes soaking in a bath in your newly remodeled bathroom. Want to make this experience even more enjoyable? Add Epsom salt to your bath water! An Epsom salt bath will help to soak away the stress that has built up over the last few weeks as well as provide a wide range of other health benefits.
What Exactly is Epsom Salt?
The scientific name for Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, which looks similar to coarse table salt. Epsom salt gets its name from a saline spring that is located in the borough of Epsom, England. Although it is called “salt”, Epsom salt isn’t actually salt; it is a naturally occurring mineral compound of sulfate and magnesium. You probably know the importance of calcium and iron for your body, but how about the importance of magnesium? Magnesium, like what is found in Epsom salt, is the second most abundant element found in human cells. It is responsible for helping regulate more than 325 enzymes in body as well as organizing and coordinating several bodily functions, including energy production, muscle control, eliminating harmful toxins and improving electrical impulses.
How Does an Epsom Salt Bath Work?
Basically, bathing in Epsom salt is an easier way to get your required magnesium intake. Magnesium and sulfate are poorly absorbed through your stomach when ingested, but both sulfate and magnesium are readily absorbed through your skin and into your blood stream. So, one of the most beneficial Epsom salt uses is for your bathwater. Soaking in a warm bath with Epsom salt will help to give your body the added boost of magnesium and sulfate that it needs for nutrient absorption, flushing toxins, generating and digesting enzymes that help to detoxify your body and soften your skin in the process.
Epsom Salt Bath Benefits
From de-stressing your mind to relieving chronic pain, here are 20 of the most common Epsom salt benefits:
1. De-Stress and relax your body
Stress and excess adrenaline can wreak havoc on your body! Both stress and the excess adrenaline that typically accompanies stress can drain your body of essential magnesium. When Epsom salt is dissolved in warm water, it is absorbed through your skin and replenishes your magnesium level. As the magnesium ions break away from the Epsom salt molecules, it becomes absorbed in your skin and helps to produce serotonin, which is a mood-elevating chemical in your brain that creates the feeling of being calm and relaxed.
2. Relieve pain, inflammation and muscle cramps
When Epsom salt is absorbed through your skin it also works to relieve pain, muscle tension and inflammation in the joints. It is the ideal natural way to help relieve the symptoms associated with arthritis, sports injuries and abdominal cramps.
3. Helps nerves and muscles function properly
Soaking in an Epsom salt bath can help regulate the electrolytes in your body, which is essential in proper functioning of your muscles and nerves. Magnesium sulfate also helps to regulate fluid retention in body cells. Calcium is the main conductor for electrical current in your body (transporting nerve responses) and magnesium is necessary for maintaining appropriate calcium levels. So, soaking in a bath with Epsom salt will help to facilitate your body’s use of calcium to transmit chemical signals through your nervous system.
4. Eliminates toxins from your body
Your skin is highly porous, which means it absorbs all of the harmful substances found in the environment, including pollution, heavy metals and other toxins. Adding Epsom salt to your bathwater triggers a process known as reverse osmosis, which helps to pull the salt and harmful toxins from your body.
5. Relieves constipation
Epsom salt is known to work like a laxative when it is taken internally, but now that it has been established that the majority of the minerals found in Epsom salt can be absorbed through your body, spending a little time soaking in a bath of Epsom salt can help to relieve stubborn bowels.
6. Helps to prevent hardening of the arteries and blood clots
Epsom salt helps to relax and de-stress your body which ultimately helps to improve your blood circulation. When blood circulation is functioning properly it protects the elasticity of arteries, prevents blood clots and helps to lower blood pressure and improve your cardiovascular health.
7. Relieves itchy bee stings and bug bites
The anti-inflammatory properties found in Epsom salt combined with its exfoliating properties will help to thoroughly clean the area and reduce the inflammation-ultimately relieving the pain and itching.
8. Fight colds and flu
It is believed that soaking in an Epsom salt bath may help to activate vasodilation, which helps to increase the production of white blood cells, ultimately helping your body fight certain illness, such as colds and flu.
9. Help for headaches
Tension headaches are one of the most common types of headaches. Since tension headaches are the result of tense muscles, soaking in a bath with Epsom salts will help to relieve the headache by relaxing the muscles in your neck, shoulders and back.
10. Regulate blood sugar
Both sulfate and magnesium help to improve your body’s ability to produce and use insulin. Soaking in a warm bath with Epsom salt may help to regulate your blood sugar by improving your body’s ability to produce sufficient insulin, which can lower the risk of diabetes as well as increase your energy levels.
11. Smooth and soften skin
To take your bath one step further, use Epsom salt to exfoliate your skin while soaking. Rubbing a handful of Epsom salts over your damp skin will naturally exfoliate and soften your skin. You can also add a splash of olive oil to the Epson salts for a spa like exfoliation treatment. Use this treatment on rough areas, such as feet, hands and elbows to remove dead skin and to smooth and soften skin.
12. Stop odors
Epsom salts contain a natural neutralizer that when mixed with water can help to prevent foot odor. Simply fill the bathtub with warm water, add a handful of Epsom salt and soak feet in the relaxing solution for about 30 minutes.
13. Speed healing and prevent injury
Whether you are planning on running a marathon or you have a day of heavy labor ahead of you, soaking in a warm bath with Epsom salt may help to prevent injury and speed the healing of sprains and strains. The combination of the Epsom salt and warm water helps to loosen muscles and relieve fatigue, which ultimately helps to prevent injury from tightened muscles.
14. Relieves jet lag
If you have difficulties falling asleep when traveling, soak in a bath with Epsom salts to help you fall asleep fast. The warm water and natural muscle relaxant of Epsom salts will relax your mind and body, allowing you get to a good night’s sleep when you are away from home.
15. Get rid of a hangover
If you overindulged a bit last night, Epsom salt can help get rid of your hangover and get you back to feeling like yourself again. A hangover is caused by the toxicity in your body, Epsom salt contains sulfates that help break down and flush out toxins, which can quickly alleviate the symptoms of a hangover.
16. Add volume to your hair
While you’re soaking in the bath, give your hair a dunk in the water. The exfoliating properties found in Epsom salt will help to remove buildup of hair products and pollutants and the minerals will help to condition your hair, resulting in hair with more volume.
17. Improve levels of sulfate
As you know, Epsom salt contains sulfates, which not only help to extract harmful toxins from your body, but sulfates can also help to promote wellness. When sulfates are absorbed through your skin, it helps to promote healthy nervous system tissue, relieve aching joints and promote good skin.
18. Restore lost magnesium
One of the most beneficial Epsom salt uses is to help restore your lost magnesium. When you combine stress and dietary lack of magnesium, it significantly increases your risk of health problems, sleeping problems and a poor mood. Soaking in Epsom salt can help to counteract these problems by allowing your body to absorb some much needed magnesium.
19. Get over certain diseases
Some diseases, such as gout, athletes foot and toenail fungus have been shown to significantly improve with the use of Epsom salt. These conditions are typically uncomfortable and may take a lot of time to heal. Simply fill your bathtub with warm water, add a handful of Epsom salt and soak feet for about 30 minutes. The Epsom salt will help to relieve the inflammation, pain and discomfort as well as speed up the healing process.
20. Increase energy level
You already know that Epsom salt can help you relax and unwind after a hard day, but you may be surprised to learn that Epsom salts also help to produce adenosine triphosphate, which is a natural chemical that increases your energy.
How to Use Epsom Salt
It’s best to fill the bathtub as full as possible with warm water. The amount of Epsom salt to add is typically based on weight:
Tips on Getting the Best Epsom Salt Bath Benefits
- Children 60 lbs. and under-use 1/2 cup of Epsom salts to a standard size bathtub
- Adults 60-100 lbs.- use1 cup of Epsom salt to a standard size bathtub
- Adults 100-150 lbs.-use 1 1/2 cups of Epsom salt to a standard size bathtub
- Adults 150-200 lbs.-use 2 cups of Epsom salt to a standard size bathtub
- For every 50 lbs larger and for large soaking tubs, add an additional ½ cup of Epsom salts.
- Make sure to plan on soaking for at least 40-minutes, because you will need 20-minutes of soaking to remove the toxins and an additional 20-minutes for your body to absorb the minerals in your bath water.
- Along with the Epsom salt, add about ½ cup of olive oil or coconut oil to your bath for extra antioxidant benefits and to improve skin texture and softness.
- Adding from 1 tablespoon to as much as ½ cup of ginger or cayenne will increase your heat levels, which ultimately helps you to sweat out even more toxins. These spices are also packed with antioxidants that will help with the detoxification process as well. Start off with a small amount of the ginger or cayenne to learn the amount your body is able to handle.
- It is best to not use soap when taking an Epsom salt bath, because it may interfere with the actions of the minerals as well as the detoxification process. Instead consider showering after you finish soaking.
Whether you enjoying soaking in a warm bath to relax or as a way to enhance your beauty using Epsom salt as part of your daily routine can add a healthy balance to your bath. To experience the ultimate health benefits of Epsom salt it is best to add Epsom salt to your bath three times a week and for at least 40-minutes each time. When bathing children in Epsom salt, it is best to limit their time in the bath to about 30-minutes. It is important to keep in mind that if you are pregnant or any health concerns that may become irritated when bathing in Epsom salt, you should check with health care professional before using. It is especially important for those who have cardiovascular disease to consult with their physician prior to using Epsom salts in their bath. You should also use caution if you have any open cuts, scratches or wounds.