Epsom Salt has long been considered by advocates of nature's larder, to be something of a magical cure all, and it is certainly growing in popularity amongst runners and cyclists to alleviate muscle soreness.
But is it Magic or Myth?
How can bathing in salt possibly help to dissipate lactic acid, reduce swelling and ease pain? And what does Epsom have to do with it?
I have to say I think it's a rather magical - and yes it was discovered in and named after Epsom in Surrey - and whilst good old fashioned sodium chloride or table salt, when mixed with water can be great for gargling away sore throats and healing cuts and grazes it just can't compete with it's Surrey 'cousin'!
Epsom Salt is a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of Magnesium Sulphate and the only relation it bears to table salt is that they are both formed into crystals.
We need Magnesium and Sulphate for a great many of our bodily functions and increasing our levels can be highly beneficial. Not only that but research has shown , when dissolved in warm water - it is easily absorbed by the skin and subjects have been shown over a period of three weeks to have increased levels of both minerals in their bloodstream!
We use it at Mind & BodyworX as a paste to reduce chronic inflammation and ease stubborn pain. But just look at all the other reasons you should take the time to bathe in this magical compound. And you can buy it here - or read on to learn more about it...
Magnesium regulates the activity of over 325 enzymes, reducing inflammation, facilitating good muscle and nerve function and helping to prevent artery hardening.
Sulphates help improve the absorption of nutrients, flush toxins and help ease migraine headaches.
Some of the many health benefits include relaxing the nervous system, soothing back pain and aching limbs, easing muscle strain, healing cuts, treating colds and congestion, and drawing toxins from the body
The easiest way to increase levels of these vital minerals is through the skin. We recommend soaking for 10 – 15 minutes in a warm bath, 2 – 3 times per week.
Eases stress and relaxes the body
Stress drains the body of magnesium and increases levels of adrenaline. When Epsom salt is absorbed through the skin it replenishes the level of magnesium in the body. The magnesium increases serotonin production, creating a feeling of calm and relaxation.
Research shows that magnesium also increases energy and stamina by encouraging the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the energy packets made in the cells, thereby reducing fatigue and increasing available energy. Raised adrenaline levels can be counteracted by magnesium ions reducing feelings of irritability and agitation, this is good for improving sleep and concentration.
Relieves pain and muscle cramps
Epsom salts are anti-inflammatory and help to remove toxins via reverse osmosis. Bathing in it is a highly beneficial treatment for sore muscles, bronchial asthma and migraine headaches. Regular use is recommended although we have found that localised use in the form of a warm compound during massage treatment can be very effective.
Eliminates toxins from the body
The sulphates in Epsom salt help flush toxins and heavy metals from the cells, easing muscle pain and helping the body to eliminate harmful substances. Your skin is a highly porous membrane and adding the right minerals to your bathwater triggers a process called reverse osmosis, which actually pulls salt out of your body, and harmful toxins along with it.
How to use Epsom Salts
Whether you like a relaxing soak or wish to enhance your beauty effortlessly, making Epsom salt a part of your daily routine can add a whole lot of goodness to your way of life. To experience the numerous health benefits of Epsom salt, take relaxing, stress-relieving Epsom salt baths three times weekly by adding 1 or 2 handfuls to a warm bath and soaking for at least 10 -15 minutes.
As a foot bath, pamper weary feet by adding a handful of Epsom salt to a basin of warm water. Relax and soak feet for 20 minutes.
If you are pregnant or have any health concerns, check with your doctor before using Epsom salts.
OTHER USES: HEALTH
Athlete’s Foot - Soak feet in an Epsom salt bath to help relieve the symptoms of Athlete’s Foot.
Remove splinters - Soak affected skin area in an Epsom salt bath to draw out the splinter.
Treat toenail fungus - Soak your affected toes in hot water mixed with a handful of Epsom salt three times a day.
Soothe sprains and bruises - Add 2 cups Epsom salt to a warm bath and soak to reduce the pain and swelling of sprains and bruises.
OTHER USES: BEAUTY
Exfoliate dead skin - In the shower or bath, mix a handful of Epsom salt with a tablespoon of bath or olive oil and rub all over your wet skin to exfoliate and soften. Rinse thoroughly.
Exfoliating face cleanser - To clean your face and exfoliate skin at the same time, mix a half-teaspoon of Epsom salt with your regular cleansing cream. Gently massage into skin and rinse with cold water.
Dislodge blackheads - Add a teaspoon of Epsom salt and 3 drops iodine into a half cup of boiling water. Apply this mixture to the blackheads with a cotton ball.
Neutralise foot odour - Mix a half cup of Epsom salt in warm water and soak your feet for 10 minutes to remove bad odor, sooth achy feet, and soften rough skin.
Hair volumizer - Combine equal parts deep conditioner and Epsom salt and warm in a pan. Work the warm mixture through your hair and leave on for 20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.