I have become the person who thinks nothing of ordering a 20-pound bag of Epsom salt. Totally normal.
Epsom salt baths saved me when my first barre class left me barely able to walk for three days. And Epsom salt baths are my go-to for kids who might be getting sick or who won’t stop scratching bug bites. After I went through my huge bag I started using these mermaid bath salts, and my kids were not excited about green bath water, ha!
People often ask me how to get started with DIY beauty and my answer is always the same: take an Epsom salt bath. Here’s my non-recipe recipe: buy a big bag of unscented Epsom salt and dump a cup or two in a warm bath. Add a big scoop of coconut oil if you like. Soak for half an hour, and you’ll get out feeling soft and oily and ready to fall right to sleep.
Why am I such an Epsom salt evangelist? Because this inexpensive natural remedy has so many health benefits and helps so many ailments. Whether you’re sore, can’t sleep, stressed out or having cramps, an Epsom salt bath is the way to go.
9 Reasons To Take an Epsom Salt Bath
Epsom salt boosts magnesium levels
Epsom salt is not really a salt. It’s actually magnesium sulfate, a mineral that helps your body produce energy and impacts more than 300 enzyme systems. And many people are magnesium deficient, which can cause a whole host of problems, like increased anxiety, PMS, muscle aches and high blood pressure. And if you’re stressed or consume caffeine, salt or alcohol, your magnesium levels could probably use a boost.
I’m a fan of magnesium-rich foods like leafy greens and beans, but I’m an even bigger fan of soaking in the tub. Those soaks work because magnesium can be absorbed through the skin so an Epsom salt bath is an easy way to restore your body’s magnesium levels. That’s a win-win.
Epsom salt helps you de-stress
Stress and magnesium are interrelated. Stress depletes the body of magnesium. And anxiety and depression are often present when there’s a magnesium deficiency. You need magnesium to deal with stress, but stress lowers magnesium levels.
When you’re stressed your body is constantly pumping out adrenaline. Magnesium helps regulate those hormone levels while boosting production of serotonin, the ‘feel good’ hormone. The magnesium in Epsom salt relaxes the body and the mind by activating the part of the nervous system that creates feelings of calm.
Epsom salt eases muscle aches and pains
One of the reasons your muscles ache is because lactic acid builds up in the tissues. Proper magnesium levels help prevent lactic acid from building up by clearing it out faster. Epsom salt also draws fluid out of the body, and lactic acid goes out with the fluid.
Epsom salt also relieves pain and inflammation so a long soak is a good prescription for ailments like stomach cramps and headaches. While magnesium gets most of the focus, the sulfates in Epsom salt are also absorbed by the body, and they can help ease migraines.
Epsom salt reduces swelling
Your skin soaks in all the anti-inflammatory benefits of Epsom salt. The salt can shrink tissues, which is especially helpful in reducing the painful swelling of sprains and bruises. Inflammatory skin diseases like eczema and psoriasis also respond to Epsom salt baths.
Epsom salt helps insomnia
Magnesium calms the body and the mind, and lowering stress and anxiety can help you fall asleep. Magnesium plays other roles in sleep, too. One side effect of magnesium deficiency is insomnia. Boosting magnesium levels can help you fall asleep and also improve the quality of sleep.
Epsom salt cleans and softens
A mineral-rich bath soak will soften and smooth dry skin. To up the cleansing effects, massage the Epsom salt granules into your skin while you bathe to exfoliate dead skin. After the salt has dissolved (the granules are too rough for delicate skin) you can massage it into your face to break up blackheads and draw them out of your pores.
Epsom salt helps your body detox
Epsom salt makes a simple but effective detox bath. The sulfates help flush toxins and heavy metals from your cells. And soaking in the mineral-rich water triggers reverse osmosis in your pores, so salt is pulled out of your body and yucky toxins along with it.
Epsom salt draws out splinters and stings
Epsom salt is a good first line of defense on bug bites, splinters or small cuts that start looking red. A long soak draws out toxins and brings splinters to the surface, and its anti-inflammatory effects soothe red, irritated skin.
Epsom salt improves energy
Magnesium is an essential part of energy metabolism and muscle function. Studies on animals indicate magnesium can improve exercise performance. Conversely, human studies show magnesium deficiency impairs exercise performance.51