The Benefits of an Epsom Salt Bath


by Erica Jones MHS

The Benefits of Epsom Salt + DIY Essential Oil Epsom Salt Bath Recipes

If you’re anything like me, you’re always on the lookout for how to improve the health of you and your family.  And it’s always a bonus when you can find something that is cheap, easy to use and doesn’t come with a list of side effects.  Cue my love for epsom salts.  

Epsom salt bath benefits are extensive. From relaxing your nervous system, easing sore muscles, detoxing your body and helping maintain  your body’s supply of magnesium (which is crucial to your health), epsom salts has you covered. So today I want to focus on how to use epsom salt, some great epsom salt detox recipes, and epsom salt bath benefits. 

What is Epsom Salt?

It’s so widely known, you may have heard your mom or even your grandma recommending it in the bath or even for constipation. But epsom salt isn’t really a salt at all, it’s actually a combination of magnesium, oxygen and sulfur.  The reason why it’s so good for health is due to the magnesium sulfate content.

Magnesium is crucial for bodily processes and the sad fact is that most of us are deficient in it. That could be because the standard american diet lacks proper nutrition, but even if you eat healthy, these days even the soil is deficient in minerals!  This is because farmers plant in soil over and over again, without allowing it to rebuild and replenish its mineral content. For this reason as well as others, I recommend supplementing your diet and other finding ways to get adequate nutrition. Another way, is investing in epsom salt. 

Here are some of the benefits of magnesium (1). 

  • It supports our bones.  Without magnesium, calcium can’t be absorbed properly and vitamin D can’t be synthesized. We need all these vitamins and minerals together to build strong healthy bones, prevent against osteoporosis, and balance mood. 
  • It keeps our heart healthy. The heart runs on an electrical system and magnesium helps regulate those signals.  It can also help prevent stroke, heart disease and high blood pressure. 
  • It can ease PMS. Because of epsom salt’s positive effects on muscle health, it can ease menstrual cramps. 
  • It can help regulate blood sugar. People who are low in magnesium are often more likely to develop diabetes because it’s crucial in breaking down carbs and sugars. 
  • It can help manage anxiety and sleeplessness. People who are deficient in magnesium often have higher levels of anxiety and insomnia. Magnesium helps to relax the nervous system so you can get better rest!
  • Magnesium is even used to prevent eclampsia during pregnancy. 

So magnesium is pretty crucial. However, ingesting it can sometimes interfere with medications and cause irritable bowels as it is actually a well-known laxative too.  Some people consume epsom salt just for this reason, but the easiest and more gentle way to use it is to soak in a hot bath with epsom salts. So keep reading to find out the epsom salt bath benefits as well as my favorite tips and recipes!

Epsom Salt Bath Benefits 

Relaxes The Muscles

People who are deficient in magnesium are more likely to suffer from spasms and cramps. So if you’re suffering from constant cramping in your feet or hamstrings, you might have a magnesium deficiency. One of the great benefits of epsom salt baths is helping the body process lactic acid and easing sore and aching muscles.  This is especially good for those of you who exercise hard and want to speed-up recovery time. 

Another perk is for expecting mothers. It seems like during pregnancy most remedies are off limits, and this is also the time when muscles, ligaments and everything in the body just feels achy and sore. Epsom salt baths can help you relax the tension in your body and feel some precious relief from muscle pain. 

Eases Stress

Who isn’t stressed these days?  Whether you’re managing a whole office full of people or struggling to keep your home running smoothly, most of us carry around a lot of extra tension and stress. This can lead to all sorts of stress related health problems, especially insomnia. You know, that awful kind of sleeplessness where you toss and turn in bed thinking of all the things you need to do the next day. 

One of my favorite epsom salt bath benefits is its ability to reduce stress and promote a restful night’s sleep. Magnesium is crucial in helping your brain produce the neurotransmitters needed for sleep. Soaking in a hot epsom salt bath before bed can help you unwind, release stress and sleep deeply. 

Anti-inflammatory

People deficient in magnesium also have more inflammation in the body.  When it comes to helping with arthritis, fibromyalgia, or pain and swelling from any kind of inflammation, epsom salts can help, especially when combined with a hot bath. 

Again, a great epsom salt bath benefit is helping mothers whose bodies (especially the pelvic area) are sore and swollen from childbirth. Not only is this totally safe, but it’s also effective. 

Smoothes The Skin

One epsom salt bath benefit that could help us all is smoothing away dead skin and improving dryness.  Some people use epsom salt as an exfoliant, adding a teaspoon to their facial cleanser and rubbing it onto the skin.  This would be great for those of you who have dry, flaky skin or are acne prone. There is also nothing better for dry, rough winter skin than soaking in an epsom salt bath.  

Draws Out Splinters and Ingrown Nails

Have you ever tried to pick out a splinter on skin that hasn’t been softened first?  It will usually end up far worse than when you started. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, soaking the hands or feet in a high concentration of epsom salts can help release splinter. Not only do you get that epsom salt bath benefit, but it can also help relieve the soreness too. 

Another annoying hand and foot ailment is ingrown nails. An epsom salt foot bath can soften the tissues to help release the nail so you can cut it.  So next time you’re suffering from a splinter or ingrown nail, fill a tub, container, or bucket with hot water and a cup of epsom salts. Submerge the area for 20 minutes and dealing with it will be a lot easier. 

Supports Detoxing 

The skin is an important detoxification pathway and your cells can release toxins by sweating. The sulfates in epsom salts also help this to happen. Another important epsom salt bath benefit is that magnesium also helps you go to the bathroom by drawing water into the intestines to help move things along.  

Soaking in epsom salts helps you detox in two ways, through the intestines and through the skin.  And while there are a lot of intense cleanses out there, there is no better way to detox than relaxing in a hot bath, am I right?

So now that we’re clear on some of the epsom salt bath benefits, let’s get to the fun part, how to use them!  Keep reading for some recipes that combine epsom salts with essential oils, apple cider vinegar and other household products that will support whatever you’re trying to work with. 

Epsom Salt Bath Recipes 

Epsom Salt Bath Detox

Ingredients:

2 cups of epsom salts

1 cup of baking soda

¼ cup of apple cider vinegar 

10 drops of rosemary essential oil

Add all of these to a hot bath and soak for 30-40 minutes for optimal detox.  Make sure to drink lots of water before, during, and after, because detoxing can dehydrate the body. 

Epsom Salt Bath for Stress Relief

Ingredients:

2 cups of epsom salts

5 drops of lavender essential oil

5 drops of ylang ylang essential oil

Add these to a hot bath, light a few candles and let your troubles melt away.  One cool thing about epsom salt is that it helps break down essential oils and disperse them into your bathwater.  This makes the oils more medicinal, which is important when you’re using essential oils to ease stress or for other health complaints. 

Epsom Salt Bath for Sore Muscles

Ingredients:

2 cups of epsom salts

5 drops of roman chamomile essential oil

5 drops of lavender essential oil

Soaking in hot water, or hydrotherapy, is the oldest trick in the book for relaxing the body. Both lavender and roman chamomile help to relax tight muscles, especially if there is a spasm. Combined with epsom salts, they are extra potent. 

Epsom Salt Bath for Women’s Health

Ingredients:

2 cups of epsom salt

½ cup of baking soda

5 drops of rose essential oil

5 drops of geranium essential oil 

This recipe will help you detox, ease cramping, lower stress and boost the mood.  It’s a perfect PMS remedy, but be sure to give yourself at least 30 minutes in the bath to get all the benefits.  And drink lots of purified water!

Epsom Salt Bath for Smooth Skin

Ingredients:

2 cups of epsom salts

¼ cup of coconut oil, almond oil, or avocado oil

5 drops of frankincense essential oil

5 drops of rose essential oil

These essential oils are powerhouse skin soothers, and combining them with epsom salt and a carrier oil is heaven.  The oil will cover your body while your soaking, so towel off gently to preserve it and careful when you step out not to slip on any oil that’s still coating the tub!

There are endless combinations to use with your epsom salts, so get creative and find your own favorite recipes.  You can find epsom salt in any grocery store or pharmacy and they range in price. Of course not all epsom salt is created equal and when it comes to epsom salt bath benefits, picking a good quality source is important.  

I like to avoid epsom salts that are already scented, as many use chemical fragrances or low quality oils.  You’re better off sticking with the plain salts and adding in your own essential oils. Some of my favorite brands ranking from cheapest to most expensive are Dr. Teals, Ultra Epsom Premium Soak, San Francisco Salt Co., and Ahava with dead sea minerals. 

Are There Any Side Effects?

Not really.  Some people consume epsom salt as a laxative and in that case, stomach discomfort and diarrhea can occur.  Rarely there have been cases of epsom salts overdose where skin can get red and flushed on top of nausea and headaches.  It can be dangerous if someone doesn’t follow instructions and ingests a lot of epsom salts.  

But I’m not suggesting that you take epsom salts orally and the epsom salt bath benefits are what I really believe in. As far as taking baths in epsom salts or applying it topically, there are no known side effects and it’s generally safe, even for pregnant and nursing mothers. If you plan to soak longer than 30 minutes make sure to drink lots of water because it can be dehydrating. Otherwise enjoy that bath!

I hope you’ve got a better idea of how you can use epsom salts for wellness and why they can be so good for your health!  As I said earlier, there is nothing better than an easy to access, cheap and safe remedy to use day-to-day with your family.  

I’m always looking for ideas on how to use epsom salts and more DIY recipes, so now I’d love to hear what you have to say!  Have you found some great household uses for epsom salts? Or do you have some homemade recipes you can share with me? Leave a comment below and let’s talk!

Sources:

  1. Weatherspoon, Deborah (2017). “Why Do We Need Magnesium?” Retrieved from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/286839.php
  2. Elliot, Brianna (2018). “Epsom Salt: Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects.” Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/epsom-salt-benefits-uses
  3. Barhum, Lana (2018). “What Are The Benefits Of An Epsom Salt Detox?” Retrieved from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321627.php

 


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Meet Erica

Meet Erica

Meet Erica Jones, MHS

Hi there! I'm Erica Jones, MHS.
I'm a mom to 4 amazing little kids, wife to an incredibly talented doctor and I’ve been doing this “healthy lifestyle” thing for over a decade. I’m super passionate about essential oils, health, wellness and making natural living easy. I’m so grateful to be living my BEST life and I'm here to help YOU live yours.

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