Epsom Salts Baths Relax the Mind and the Muscles


Detoxifying Epsom Salts contain Magnesium Sulphate

What can you do for 20 minutes to help you relax, sleep, ease sore muscles, ease depression and anxiety, and help stop chocolate cravings or cravings for other sweet food? An Epsom Salts bath is a vastly under-rated and cheap remedy which has been used for centuries to great effect by all who try it.


One bath is generally not enough; although if you have just over-done it with digging in the garden or have just had a heavy exercise session, you are likely to find your stiff muscles ease after just one bath.


What are Epsom Salts?

Epsom Salts are magnesium sulphate; the magnesium helps to relax the body mentally and physically [123], while the sulphates help to detoxify the body.


Epsom salts have been shown to reduce blood lactate levels after exercise [4]. The minerals are absorbed through your skin, in much the same way that many patch medicines are. Research has shown magnesium can help to relieve both depression and anxiety. It acts on the nerves in a similar way to pharmaceutical drugs (benzodiazepines) that are used to decrease anxiety and relax muscles [12].


Bath in Epsom Salts - Do not Drink

It is very important to be aware that Epsom Salts should never be taken by mouth to help relieve anxiety or depression. Very small doses of Epsom salts are sometimes taken as a laxative [3]; although there are many gentler effective laxatives, so I do NOT recommend Epsom Salts as a Laxitive. Taken orally in large doses Epsom Salt can have serious, even fatal effects [5].  Epsom salts used in the bath are safe and healing.


How to use Epsom Salts in your Bath

You will need 2 mugs of Epsom salts for your bath, use warm water, not too hot and let the Epsom Salts dissolve. You need to soak in the bath for 20 minutes; this is thought to be the optimum time for both relaxation, easing muscles and detoxifying. Do not use soap or other products. The Epsom salts are cleansing to your body, a sponge is enough.   


After 20 minutes GET OUT SLOWLY, do not be tempted to leap out of the bath to answer the phone. The bath can cause a temporary drop in your blood pressure, so standing suddenly may make you feel faint.


Epsom salts and your skin

Epsom salts are healing to the skin [6], and are an excellent exfoliate to help soften the skin [3]. Although some people do find them a little drying to skin; if so, rinse off with clean water and use moisturiser.


After the bath, rest and relax; you really wont feel like doing anything at all.


The best effects are obtained with regular Epsom Salts baths, so every night, especially if you have sleep problems, or alternate nights work well.


You will need to buy large amounts of Epsom salts; they are cheap when bought in bulk; you can get a sack of Epsom Salts that are fine to use for a bath from farming or gardening stores in New Zealand for $15- $20.


Contact Bay Health Clinic today to find out more or to book a consultation with one of our Naturopaths; if needed they will also prepare tailored herbal medicines and recommend supplements to help you feel your best.  Call 07 571 3226 or email us: ask@bayhealth.nz



References (click on article title or web link to read the abstract)


1.   Poleszak E, Szewczyk B, Kedzierska E, Wlaz P, Pilc A, Nowak G:Antidepressant- and anxiolytic-like activity of magnesium in mice. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 2004, 78(1):7-12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15159129

2.   Poleszak E: Benzodiazepine/GABA(A) receptors are involved in magnesium-induced anxiolytic-like behavior in mice. Pharmacol Rep 2008, 60(4):483-489. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18799816​

3.   Polefka TG, Bianchini RJ, Shapiro S: Interaction of mineral salts with the skin: a literature survey. International Journal of Cosmetic Science 2012, 34(5):416-423. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-2494.2012.00731.x/abstract​

4.   Morgan PM, Salacinski AJ, Stults-Kolehmainen MA: The Acute Effects of Flotation Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique on Recovery From Maximal Eccentric Exercise. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 2013, http://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Citation/2013/12000/The_Acute_Effects_of_Flotation_Restricted.30.aspx​

5.   Kuehn BM: Bath salts abuse. JAMA 2013, 309(4):333-333. http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/1558263​

6.   Denda M, Katagiri C, Hirao T, Maruyama N, Takahashi M: Some magnesium salts and a mixture of magnesium and calcium salts accelerate skin barrier recovery. Arch Dermatol Res 1999, 291(10):560-563. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs004030050454