Epsom salts get their name from the town of Epsom, a town just 15 miles from London. It was first discovered in 1618 by a cowherd and his cattle. He marveled at its purging properties and declared that cattle who bathed in the pond recovered more quickly from their wounds. These days, Epsom salts are used to soothe sore muscles and purge our system of toxins.
August 2021. This article is independently written by Fusion 360. All opinions given are the opinion of Fusion 360
Epsom salts are a form of magnesium called magnesium sulfate. Most of their benefits are said to come when the body absorbs trace amounts of magnesium while soaking in an Epsom salt bath. While the hot water may soothe your muscles and induce a sense of calm, Epsom salts have not been proven to have any transdermal benefits. This means that you may not actually be able to absorb magnesium through your skin and thus receive the benefits of increased magnesium in the body. However, bathing in the salts can help with issues such as dry skin, eczema, and psoriasis.
While its pain relief efficacy has been called into question, Epsom salts are still used to treat various ailments, including muscle aches and pains, swollen feet, bruises, and irritated skin. The most common uses are for the symptoms of arthritis, stress, foot pain, and detox.
Arthritis Pain Relief
Baths are the most widespread use of Epsom salts. People claim that a hot bath filled with Epsom salts will soothe sore muscles and reduce cramps. When exposed to water, Epsom salts break down into magnesium and sulfate.
Many of the healing claims of Epsom salts revolve around magnesium. While the benefits of Epsom salts are still up for debate, the importance of maintaining good levels of magnesium is not. Magnesium is one of our body’s essential minerals. It keeps bones strong, regulates blood pressure and blood sugar, and enables our muscles to contract.
Most importantly, small amounts of magnesium help the body regulate the inflammatory response by ridding the body of the toxins that exacerbate it. These toxins cause swelling, stiffness, and pain in the joints. Soaking in warm water with Epsom salt can provide pain relief from achy joints to make arthritis more manageable.
Stress may not be the cause of your pain, but it certainly doesn’t help. If you have chronic pain issues, stress relief should be a part of your regular self-care routine. Studies have shown that people who suffer from physical and mental stress could benefit from regulating their magnesium intake. While these studies are concerned with magnesium supplements, a magnesium-filled bath may have a similar effect.
Our body uses magnesium to boost the neurotransmitters that reduce stress and encourage the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Even without the magnesium, a warm bath will loosen tight muscles. Do some light stretching to encourage your muscles to relax, or add a few soothing scents to calm the mind.
Foot Pain Relief
Epsom salts are often used to combat inflammation in the feet. Like the cowherd with his cattle, you would use the salt to heal fungal infections and soothe shallow cuts. The antibacterial and antifungal properties of Epsom salts have yet to be proven. However, Epsom salts help draw out infection and soften the skin to make future treatments more effective.
An Epsom salt foot bath is the perfect way to help remove a pesky splinter from your foot, treat athlete’s foot or ingrown toenails, and exfoliate the skin of the feet. To use, immerse the feet for 20 minutes twice a day. Some fungal infections can worsen when soaked, so be sure to consult your doctor before using Epsom salts to treat your feet.
Laxative for Pain Relief
As a laxative, Epsom salts have been approved by the FDA as a mild alternative to other harsher laxatives. When you take Epsom salts orally, your intestines hold onto more water. More water means a softer stool. They can also remove toxins in the body that cause pain, inflammation, and irritation.
Less is more when it comes to laxatives. Gradually build up until the symptoms of constipation are relieved. If you are taking Epsom salts as a laxative, avoid the scented varieties made for soaking in baths. Consult with your doctor before introducing Epsom salts to your diet.
Do Epsom Salts Really Provide Pain Relief?
These days, the benefits of Epsom salts are under scrutiny. People claim that adding Epsom salts to your bath will allow you to absorb magnesium through your skin. To people who believe in it, Epsom salt soaks help soothe sore muscles while reducing stress and inflammation in the body. Science has yet to be convinced.
However, a warm bath can certainly provide pain relief by relaxing your muscles and calming your mind. There’s no harm in trying an Epsom salts soak for yourself to see if it’s something that you enjoy.
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