The Health Benefits of Epsom Salt Baths
Epsom salt baths have been used by many different cultures for hundreds of years. The salts themselves have a number of different beneficial properties and are used in gardening, household cleaning and detoxifying the body. These salts are very inexpensive and can be purchased at bulk discounts in garden centers nearly everywhere. Using Epsom salt baths is an advanced detoxification strategy that has remarkable health benefits.
Epsom salts are named for a bitter saline spring located at Epsom in Surrey, England. Epsom is different than traditional salts in that it is actually a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate (1). These minerals have very powerful health benefits that can enhance the detoxification capabilities of the body.
How an Epsom Salt Bath Works:
Magnesium and sulfate are both readily absorbed through the skin and into the bodies blood stream. The skin is a highly porous membrane that both takes in minerals and eliminates toxins every day. Using a powerful mineral base such as Epsom salts in a bathwater medium creates a process called reverse osmosis. This process pulls salt and harmful toxins out of the body and allows the magnesium and sulfates to enter into the body (2).
Magnesium plays a critical role in over 325 enzymes, helps to improve muscle and nerve function, reduces inflammation and improves blood flow and oxygenation throughout the body. Sulfates are necessary building blocks for healthy joints, skin and nervous tissue.
Epsom salts replenish the body’s magnesium levels and sulfates. This combination helps to flush toxins from the body and helps build key protein molecules in the brain tissue and joints.
Epsom Baths Reduce Inflammation:
The use of regular Epsom salt baths have been shown to improve the symptoms of many health conditions including athlete’s foot, gout, toenail fungus, sprains, bruises and muscle soreness. It is also good for anyone dealing with chronic disease or chronic pain to do regular Epsom baths to help detoxify and de-inflame while improving mineral and sulfur balance in the body (3).
Contraindications to Epsom baths would be if you are pregnant, dehydrated or have open wounds or burns on your skin. Individuals who are suffering with cardiovascular disease should always consult with a natural health physician who is familiar with the health benefits of Epsom salt baths before starting.
How to Take an Epsom Salt Bath:
The first step is to schedule yourself at least 40 minutes as you need about 20 mins to remove the toxins and the second 20 minutes the body absorbs the minerals in the bath water.
Fill up your bath with warm water. Be sure to have a water filtration system in your house as you don’t want to bathe in tap water that has toxic chlorine, fluoride, dioxins and heavy metals. Add in the Epsom salts in the following amounts.
Children under 60 lbs: Add ½ cup of salts to a standard size bath
Individuals between 60-100 lbs: Add 1 cup of salts to a standard size bath
Individuals between 100-150 lbs: Add 1½ cup of salts to a standard size bath
Individuals between 150-200 lbs: Add 2 cups of salts to a standard size bath
For every 50lbs larger – add in an additional ½ cup of salts.
Additional Strategies to Apply:
Adding in a ½ cup of olive oil is also very good for the skin as the polyphenols soak into the skin and give extra antioxidant benefits. Adding ginger or cayenne can increase your heat levels which will help you to sweat out toxins. You can add anywhere from 1 tbsp to ½ a cup of these herbs to stimulate sweating and these herbs are loaded with antioxidants that will enhance the detoxification process as well.
Do not use soap with an Epsom salt bath as it will interfere with the action of the minerals and the detoxification process. Try to rest for an hour or two afterwards unless you have arthritic joints, in which case, you will want to stay active as much as possible to prevent congestion in the joints.
Many people love to add in great essential oils like lavender and/or frankincense which are extremely therapeutic and enhance the healing process.