If you've ever been to our clinic, you've probably noticed the bags of Epsom salts we have on hand, and have probably been given some at some point during your visits. We get asked pretty often what Epsom salts are and how you can use them, so hopefully this blog post can answer your questions!
What is Epsom salt?
Epsom salt is actually magnesium sulfate, a compound comprised of magnesium, sulfur and oxygen and isn't a salt at all. It most likely got its name due to its similar appearance to table salt. The most common use for Epsom salt is in baths, with benefits such as relief of muscle aches and pains. It can also be used in foot baths or applied to the skin using a compress.
Why is it beneficial?
There's a lot of controversy surrounding the benefits of Epsom salts, but most people that have used them can speak to how useful they really are to help with muscle aches, pain, sleeplessness and inflammation. A lot of the benefits can be tied to the magnesium in Epsom salt, a necessary nutrient that most people, especially athletes, don't get enough of.
Adequate magnesium levels can be linked to a decrease in muscle cramps, sleeplessness and inflammation. Since magnesium is so difficult to get in the average diet, taking supplements or finding other ways of increasing your body's supply can aid in muscle recovery, an important factor for athletes or those who live a more active lifestyle. By using Epsom salts on a consistent basis, the theory is that it increases your magnesium levels, allowing your body to use glucose and lactic acid more efficiently and help your body produce melatonin.
How can using Epsom salts help me after a massage?
During a massage, your muscles are manipulated and exposed to pressure to help release tense spots. As a result, your body can feel sore for almost 2 days following your massage. The Epsom salts we give you serve an important purpose: they help to decrease any soreness you may feel after your massage while relaxing your body further, allowing for improved sleep and a quicker recovery time. Using Epsom salts in a warm bath is a great way to help ease muscle soreness you may feel following a massage or workout.
Quick note: Adding essential oils such as lavender or eucalyptus to your bath can also help speed up your recovery, since they help decrease tension and muscle aches while promoting relaxation!
How do I use Epsom salts?
There are quite a few ways you can use Epsom salts at home. One of the best and easiest ways is to put 2 cups of Epsom salts into a bath with warm water, and then soak in it for 15 minutes. If you have a larger bath, just add more Epsom salts. This is a great way to really allow your body to reap the benefits of Epsom salts, but if you need just a small area to be targeted, like your ankle or knee, fill up a small tub with warm water and about 1 cup of Epsom salt. You can also create a compress for your shoulder or neck by dissolving about 1/2 cup of Epsom salts in a large bowl of warm water. Let a washcloth soak in the mixture for a few minutes, then wring it out and place on your neck, shoulder, or other hard to reach areas.
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For optimum hydration, drink water that is slightly cooler than room temperature and drink small amounts at a time. This allows your body to "accept" more water than if you were to drink large amounts once or twice throughout the day.
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