Magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) is a mineral compound of magnesium and sulfur, and really not a salt at all. It got its common name, Epsom salts, from Epsom spring in Surrey, England, where locals and wealthy gentlemen elite have been travelling to receive the benefits of the healing waters since the early 1600s.
In more modern times, magnesium was found to be essential for many of the body’s enzymatic functions including those that control muscle and nerve action, biochemical reactions like heart rhythm, and immune function. It’s critical for life and a shortage of this mineral can result in leg cramps, brittle nails, restless sleep, hypertension, osteoporosis, body odor, constipation, headaches, and unwarranted fatigue for starters. More than half the population of civilized countries are deficient in magnesium due to poor absorption of minerals, excessive excretion by the kidneys, poor diet, alcohol, or gastrointestinal issues such as Crohn’s or IBS.
How can you avoid magnesium deficiency?
Take a warm Epsom salt bath
Even if you’re experiencing one of the problems that cause magnesium deficiency, magnesium sulfate is easily absorbed through the skin. In one study that simply measured the amount of magnesium and sulfate in the blood both before and after taking an Epsom salt bath, 16 of 19 subjects showed more magnesium and sulfate in their blood after the bath than they did before. So taking a bath in the stuff will work well. Simply fill a tub with hot water to which has been added 2-3 cups of Epsom salts.
When the body is under a lot of stress, whether its internal as in disease or illness, or external like the stress caused by work or even the environment, it uses up stores of magnesium. Soaking in a hot bath will quickly restore your magnesium level and you’ll almost instantly feel its mood elevating effect. Magnesium helps the body produce serotonin so you feel relaxed and will sleep better. In less than a week, leg cramps will disappear, a good sign that the mineral has reached all parts of the body and is doing its job.
You will also begin to notice relief from headaches and asthmatic episodes, as well as faster wound healing and less offensive body/foot odor. If you suffer from diabetes, getting enough magnesium and sulfate improves how insulin reacts in the body. And if constipation is a problem for you, Epsom salts used externally will begin to detoxify the bowels. Drinking a glass of water after or during a bath will help the body move waste.
Be sure to take an Epsom salt bath at least 3x a week. Simply add 2-3 cups of Epsom salts to hot bath water as the tub is filling and soak for 15 minutes. If you want to make your bath a real spa treatment, add essential oils. For a moisturizing soak, add coconut oil. Soaking in an Epsom salt bath will also:
- Relieve athlete’s foot and other fungus that appears on the skin
- Lessen lactic acid buildup after a workout (delayed onset muscle soreness)
- Reduce inflammation from bruises
- Relieve gout
- Reduce pain from fibromyalgia
- Eliminate body odour
Note: When taking an Epsom salt bath, do not use soap, body washes, scrubs, or other cosmetic products.