I’m obsessed. I’m ashamed I didn’t use it sooner. I mean, peeps be like, “epsom salt for this and epsom salt for that and just sit in a sitz bath.” And I was like, “Yeah. Okay. Epsom salt. Right. Got it.” (Not.)
I guess there was a small part of me that just couldn’t understand how a $3 bag of epsom salt could possibly do all of the things they said it could, so I never used it. Until I did…and now it’s my answer for everything.
Pregnant? Epsom salt.
Restless legs? Epsom salt.
Sore joints? Epsom salt.
Insomnia? Epsom salt.
Can’t poop? Epsom salt.
Detoxing? Epsom salt.
Anxiety? Epsom salt.
High blood pressure? Epsom salt.
Skin problems? Epsom salt.
Scary dreams, bad breath, chronic brownie cravings, and an inability to stop dancing naked in front of the mirror? Epsom salt. (Okay, maybe not, but it totally wouldn’t surprise me if this stuff has the ability to make somebody grow wings and fly away.)
What is Epsom Salt and How Does It Work?
Epsom salt is not a new fad, it’s been used for centuries and was used in the early 1900s for pain relief and inflammatory conditions. Today, it’s mostly used by athletes for muscle recovery, children with eczema, people who can’t poo, and pregnant ladies. Clearly people don’t know how awesome it is.
Epsom salt really isn’t salt at all. It’s a pure mineral crystal derived from magnesium and sulfate that’s readily absorbed through the skin, making it super awesome at doing all sorts of health-building things. Magnesium plays a huge role in the body, regulates over 325 enzymes, reduces inflammation and high blood pressure, soothes the nerves and improves function, and is important for circulation. Sulfates help flush out toxins, improve nutrient absorption, and can ease even the worst migraine.
Where to Find It
It’s not hard to find a place that has epsom salt on the shelves but don’t just run to a drug store and pick up a bag. I know, science peeps be like, “Don’t you know that mag sulfate is mag sulfate no matter where you buy it?” Yeah, but knock-off, cheap-0, bath salt brands have been known to contain heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium, and lead (most likely due to how the sulfate is processed), and some brands are shipped from China. Aint’ nobody wanna take a soak in that. So, invest an extra dollar on some good quality epsom salt. (Here’s the brand I use.)
How to Use It
Once you’ve got it, it’s not hard to figure out how to use it. Simply follow the label. Don’t go crazy. More isn’t always better. If you’re pregnant and it calls for 1-2 cups in a bath, start with 3/4 of a cup and see if that takes care of whatever issue ails you. If you’re using it as a laxative (a proven use, by the way, that is FDA approved), stick to a teaspoon.
The reason it’s used in a bath is because the skin has an amazing ability to absorb nutrients that people with compromised digestion can’t absorb through food and it works relatively quickly. Here is my epsom salt bath recipe. I’m sharing it with you because nobody deserves a mediocre bath experience.
Epsom Salt Bath
- First, fill up your tub with very warm (or hot if you’re not pregnant) water.
- Add bubbles. Lots and lots of bubbles. Therapeutic? No, but bubbles make everyone feel better so they’re a must for any bath.
- Add essential oils if you’re into that sort of thing. (We all know that essential oils have no therapeutic benefit whatsoever.)
- Add 1 cup of epsom salt.
- Soak for at least 20 minutes, unless you’ve been a horrible mom that day, then a longer time-out might be in order.
If baths aren’t your thing, do a foot soak instead, adding the same amount of epsom salt and soaking your feet for 20 minutes.
It Works? Prove It.
Now I’m a huge fan of PubMed, but you won’t find many studies done on epsom salt baths. Nobody is going to spend millions on something you can pick up for a few dollars at a drug store. People don’t know about it. And why would we want something so awesome and cheap competing with something expensive and toxic? But if you must know, studies have shown epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) to be preventive against all sorts of things from high blood pressure (eclampsia), PMS, pain, asthma, and constipation to vascular issues and neurodegeneration.
As far as epsom salt’s effect on muscles and joints post work-out? Nobody can agree. The haters say any perceived benefits are just a placebo effect. I say, whoever says it doesn’t work probably used table salt by mistake.
The only way to know for sure, is to try it yourself. If it doesn’t work, you had the pleasure of taking a really awesome bath and you didn’t go into debt doing it. If it did work, then you can do what almost all of us do with our really good finds and keep it your yourself.