The Surprising Health Benefits Of An Epsom Salt Bath
Epsom salt baths have a long history. The summer of 1618 saw England consumed by drought and one summer’s day, cow herder Henry Wicker Happened upon a mysterious pool of water on the Epsom Common (Surrey). He noticed that the cows refused to drink the bitter tasting water and those that waded in it healed much quicker.
When the water evaporated, a salt was left behind (I’m sure you can guess what salt this was). Word of this discovery soon got around and people began flocking to Epsom to experience the healing waters. They were especially popular with those suffering from painful gout. The salt was officially dubbed Epsom salt in 1965 and the rest, they say, is history.
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What is Epsom salt?
Epsom salt is a chemical compound called magnesium sulphate made from magnesium, sulphur and oxygen. Despite its name, Epsom salt is nothing like table salt and was probably named so because of its salt-like crystalline appearance. You can pick up Epsom salt in supermarkets, health and beauty shops and online, we love this one. Wherever you get your Epsom salt from just make sure it’s pure and of good quality. There are lots of cheap bath salts filled with fragrance, colour and nasty chemicals that have popped up on the market which don’t carry the benefits of pure Epsom salts.
How does Epsom salt work?
When Epsom salt is dissolved in water it releases it’s magnesium and sulphate. When you soak in this magnesium and sulphate rich water your body absorbs these magic chemicals which go on to serve a bunch of important bodily functions. Epsom salts can also be applied to the skin or taken orally in a glass of water as a magnesium supplement and or laxative.
Health benefits of Epsom salt baths
There are reams of health benefits associated with Epsom salt baths which is why they are so widely loved and used;
- Reduced muscles soreness and pain > A reduction in inflammation, muscle aches and tension, some studies suggest that magnesium can ease muscle cramps.
- Softer and clearer skin > Strengthens the skin barrier helping skin stay hydrated and supple, reducing inflammation may also help some skin conditions.
- Relaxation and stress reduction > A deficiency in magnesium can include anxiety and depression, depression and stress.
- Better sleep > Adequate magnesium levels are essential to produce the chemicals that induce sleep, like melatonin.
- Ease constipation > When taken by mouth, Epsom salts draw water into the colon which promotes bowel movements. Epsom salts for this purpose should only be used occasionally and with caution.
Magnesium and vitamin D
Magnesium is responsible for determining how much vitamin D our bodies can make. Magnesium supplementation increases vitamin D levels in those who are deficient in the vitamin. All vitamins need to be converted into a form that the body can absorb before they are properly utilised, this is known as ‘bioavailability’. Vitamin D’s ‘bioavailability’ depends on magnesium so taking it in tandem can make sure your body is properly using the magnesium. We love this vitamin D spray and if you don’t get a chance to take an Epsom salt bath to get your magnesium you can also get that in a spray, this one is great.
Epsom salt safety
While Epsom salt is largely safe, like with all things, there are some safety and suitability points to be aware of. Those with severe open wounds or a severe burn should not bath in Epsom salts. Pregnant women, children and those with impaired kidney function should not take Epsom salt by mouth. Taking too much Epsom salt by mouth can cause quite bad diarrhoea as well as blurred vision and dizziness. While magnesium overdose is rare, it can happen so it’s always best to be cautious when taking Epsom salt by mouth.
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