Epsom salt bath benefits for arthritis

Updated April 17, 2017

Approximately one in six Americans are dealing with the painful, debilitating effects of arthritis. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis. The symptoms include joint inflammation, swelling, pain and stiffness. Arthritis sufferers are always searching for help in easing the pain. Epson salt baths have been proven to be a helpful aid in relieving joint pain.

Benefits of the Epson Bath

A hot bath with Epsom salts has been proven as a helpful home remedy that takes the edge off arthritis joint pain. Epsom salts are made from magnesium sulphate, which is an anti-inflammatory agent. It has been known since Shakespearean times how effective and therapeutic Epsom salts can be in reducing swelling and increasing circulation. It also helps to reduce stress, and the heat from the bath also eases pain.

Epsom Salt Bathing Process

Begin by drawing a hot bath, then add two cups of Epsom salt that will dissolve quickly. Relax in the warm bath for at least 30 minutes and keep adding hot water to stabilise. This treatment can be repeated as many times as needed. Epsom salt soaks can also be drawn in small containers to soak just the hands and feet.

Benefits of Magnesium in Epsom salts

The magnesium in the Epsom salts can also be beneficial for regulating the heart rate. Since bone is slowly being destroyed in arthritis sufferers, magnesium levels are lowered. It is imperative to get enough magnesium in the system. Epsom salts are a cost effective way to do it. Most people do not get enough magnesium from their daily diets. The deficiency can cause a multitude of problems, including poor functioning of the nerves and muscles and loss of elasticity in the arteries that causes heart attacks and blood clots.

Negative Aspects of Epsom Salt Baths

The key is in finding the right strength of Epsom salts that works well with your body type. The negative side effect of an extremely long bath is the possibility of diarrhoea caused by the magnesium ion. There is also the chance of becoming so relaxed that you fall asleep. Extremely strong Epsom salt baths can dry out the skin, cause low blood pressure, respiratory depression or reflex loss. However, the benefits of the baths are far greater than the risks.

Epson Salt Lotions and Supplements

Commercial lotions that contain Epsom salt are available. They provide instant, but temporary, relief for the painful affected body parts. Supplement magnesium pills are available commercially, but it is more effective to have it absorbed through the skin.

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About the Author

Hunter Darden is an author of four children's books, a novel, and a black-and-white photography book. She is also a humor/inspiration newspaper columnist having written for The Charlotte Observer. Darden has a degree in psychology from Meredith College. She was the 2005 recipient of the Meredith College Career Achievement Award and the NC General Federation of Women's Clubs Excellence in Creative Writing Award.