What Are the Benefits of Epsom Salt Baths?

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What Are the Benefits of Epsom Salt Baths?
Soaking in a bath with Epsom salt is an effective way for the body to absorb magnesium. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Judith)

"Getting a virus is the body's way to force us to detoxify, and an Epsom salt bath is one of our favourite recommendations for a gentle detoxing," states Dr. Margaret Philhower. Epsom salt is a natural, harmless supplement that can help your body fight disease, repair injured muscles and calm stress. An Epsom salt bath is not just a relaxing getaway; it will actually make you healthier.

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What is Epsom Salt?

Epsom salt is a magnesium sulphate compound. Although it is called "salt," it does not have the same components are the more common table salt. Epsom salt is named for the town of Epsom, England, where the compound was first produced by distilling it from water.

The Importance of Magnesium

Magnesium is an important mineral in the proper functioning of body, and the Office of Dietary Supplements reports that most Americans do not get enough magnesium in their diets.. The magnesium in Epsom salt has multiple benefits, and can help the body overcome magnesium deficiencies.

Benefits of Magnesium

Magnesium has been shown to help ease stress and improve concentration, leading to the common use of Epsom salt as a bath salt. Magnesium is also essential for muscles and nerves to function properly. Dr. Margaret Philhower cites magnesium as a great supplement to "relax the muscles and flush the lactic acid out of them." According to the Epsom Salt Council, soaking in a bath with Epsom salt is one of the most effective ways for a body to absorb magnesium.

What Are the Benefits of Epsom Salt Baths?
Soaking in a bath with Epsom salt is an effective way for the body to absorb magnesium. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Judith)

Benefits of Sulfates

According to the Epsom Salt Council, the sulphates in Epsom salt are also beneficial. Sulphates can help the body flush toxins and absorb nutrients more efficiently. Sulphates complement magnesium's benefits to joints and tissues. Sulphates have also been shown to help prevent or mitigate migraine headaches.

Using Epsom Salt in a Bath

The Epsom Salt Council recommends adding two cups of Epsom salt to a standard size bath tub, whereas Dr. Philhower recommends up to four cups.For large or garden tubs, you may want to increase the amount, up to four cups. You'll achieve the maximum benefit if you soak three times per week, for at least 12 minutes each time.

Where to Buy Epsom Salt

Almost all pharmacies will carry Epsom salt. This basic form will work well as an additive to a warm bath. Several companies offer Epsom bath salts with scents and colourings, to increase the sensory experience of the bath. If you purchase custom Epsom bath salts, be sure that the base of the salt is magnesium sulphate.

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