Still cold from the ice bath post? Me too. Good thing I only take those once in a blue moon or I’d be permanently purple. Instead of jumping in the ice, I regularly manage muscle soreness and relax by taking weekly epsom salt baths. Epsom salt may sound BOGUS, but its a technique used by many athletes and gym fanatics use to promote recovery during intense periods of training. And it’s a great time to get in some regular reading (Amazon would go out of business if it weren’t for my book + bath habit 😉
REALLY? How do Bath Salts help me recover faster?
Magnesium – the key component of Epsom Salt — performs more functions in more systems of the human body than virtually any other mineral, including regulating the activity of more than 325 enzymes.
Studies show that magnesium is:
- An electrolyte, helping to ensure proper muscle, nerve and enzyme function.
- Critical to the proper use of calcium in cells.
- An aid in helping to prevent heart disease and strokes by lowering blood pressure, protecting the elasticity of arteries, preventing blood clots and reducing the risk of sudden heart attack deaths.
Medical research also indicates that magnesium may:
- Increase the effectiveness of insulin, helping to lower the risk or severity of diabetes.
- Reduce inflammation and relieves pain, making it a beneficial in the treatment of sore muscles, bronchial asthma, migraine headaches and fibromyalgia.
Although magnesium can be absorbed through the digestive tract, many foods, drugs and medical conditions can interfere with the effectiveness of this deliver method. Therefore, soaking in an Epsom Salt bath is one of the most effective means of making the magnesium your body needs readily available.
Epsom Salt also delivers sulfates, which medical research indicates are needed for the formation of brain tissue, joint proteins and the mucin proteins that line the walls of the digestive tract. Studies show that sulfates also stimulate the pancreas to generate digestive enzymes and help to detoxify the body’s residue of medicines and environmental contaminants. Studies indicate that sulfates are difficult to absorb from food, but are readily absorbed through the skin.
The benefits from these components of Epsom Salt include:
- Ease stress and improves sleep and concentration
- Help muscles and nerves function properly
- Regulate activity of 325+ enzymes
- Help prevent artery hardening and blood clots
- Make insulin more effective
- Reduce inflammation to relieve pain and muscle cramps
- Improve oxygen use
- Flush toxins
- Improve absorption of nutrients
- Help form joint proteins, brain tissue and mucin proteins
- Help prevent or ease migraine headaches
Want in? Here are a few common ways to enjoy some of the above Epsom Salt benefits:
- For compresses: Use 2 cups of Epsom Salt per gallon of water for sore muscles, splinter removal and to reduce the itching from mosquito bites, bee stings or poison ivy.
- For soaking: Add two cups of Epsom Salt to warm water in a standard-sized bathtub. Double the Epsom Salt for an oversized garden tub. Popular for easing muscle pain and fading bruises. Bathe three times weekly, soaking for at least 20 minutes.
- Foot bath: Add a cup of Epsom Salt to a tub of warm water as a popular balm for aching feet.
It’s time to RELAX after that last ice bath post. Soaking in Epsom salt – actually magnesium sulfate – is an inexpensive way to help ease tired, achy bodies so you can revive and enjoy all of your hard training days. Here’s my much more enjoyable recipe for an Epsom Salt Bath 🙂
Caroline’s recipe for and Epsom Salt Bath:
- Buy Epsom salts at your local pharmacy or supermarkets. A large bag typically costs only a few dollars.
- Pour hot water into tub. Add bath bubbles, a bath pillow, a few drops of eucalyptus oil if you really want to indulge.
- Add two cups of Epsom Salt to the water in a standard-sized bathtub (double the Epsom Salt for an oversized garden tub). Or go crazy… I sometimes use the whole bag 😉
- Make a cup of hot tea or grab a cold, refreshing drink. Bring your favorite book or magazine to read.
- TURN OFF THE PHONE, EMAIL, AND COMPUTER. Take a break will ya? It’s good for your health.
- Step in and soak for 20 minutes or longer. Inhale . Exhale . Let Go .
Excess adrenaline and stress are known to drain the body of magnesium – the main component of Epsom Salt. The body requires magnesium to bind adequate amounts of serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of well being and relaxation. Restoring magnesium levels reduces anxiety, relieves muscle aches, and improves sleep – and it’s as easy as stepping in a hot bath. Have YOU tried epsom salt baths? Whats your favorite bath time recipe?