You’ve probably heard of Epsom salt, but have you ever taken a bath in the stuff? If not, you’re missing out on some great benefits. Right now, you might be thinking that you’ve never been in a situation to benefit from an Epsom salt bath, but you probably have. This is certainly the case if you suffer from the sort of pain or stiffness associated with any number of chronic conditions. If you’ve injured yourself, an Epsom bath can help with that too. If you’re unfamiliar with Epsom salt, and how to use it, here are some facts and tips.
There are many types of salt; Epsom salt, as the name implies, is one of those types, but it is a different type than the kind that you would eat. Epsom salt gets its name from the town Epsom in England; it is found in the natural springs there. Fortunately, you don’t have to book a flight to get it, even if you aren’t in England. Chances are good that a trip to your local pharmacy or grocery store will net you a reasonably priced selection of Epsom salts.
Epsom salt differs from Dead Sea salts; as the name implies, the latter is composed of a specific blend of ingredients that are local to the Dead Sea (and exclusively so). The combination of circumstances there are purported to help remedy certain health problems, including various aches and pains, and some skin diseases. Epsom salt is also distinct from bath crystals, the latter of which tend to have various aesthetic additives, such as bright colors or pleasing smells to help you relax. Both of these can be very useful, but they are still not the same thing as Epsom salt.
Epsom salt is a combination of magnesium and sulfate that returns to these two separate elements once it is exposed to water. Once separated, they can be absorbed into the skin of the person soaking in the bath via osmosis. There’s still room for more research on that; however, there are also a number of conditions for which people take baths with Epsom salt. For just a few examples, consider:
- Arthritis pain and swelling
- Bruises and sprains
- Fibromyalgia, a condition that makes your muscles, ligaments, and tendons hurt, and causes tender points throughout your body
- Ingrown toenails
- Psoriasis, a disease that causes red, itchy, scaly skin
- Sore muscles after working out
- Soreness from diarrhea during chemotherapy
- Sunburn pain and redness
- Tired, swollen feet
If you are concerned about Epsom salt, it is best to consult a medical professional.
For an ideal Epsom salt bath, be sure to use water that is very warm. Keep in mind that this does not mean that the temperature is hot, but about as warm as one can comfortably stand. Figure out the temperature that is right for you while the tub fills, because it is best to add the Epsom salt while the water is running. This will help it break down much easier in time for the bath.
You shouldn’t be using more than a cup or two of Epsom salt for your bath, assuming you have a tub of the standard size. You may also have special instructions from a medical professional; if this is the case, you should follow these. Whatever the case, you should generally avoid the use of Epsom salt in a hot tub or Jacuzzi, because it can cause problems for the water jets in the tub.
If you are taking the bath for pain, be sure to spend at least a good 15 minutes or so soaking in the water. It’s about relaxation, and it takes patience. If you have concerns about the frequency which you should or can take Epsom salt baths, speaking to your medical professional is the best way to go. Some issues required a single treatment, while others require much more.Related: How Often You Should Wash Your Bath Towel