Dec 21,2022

What are bath salts?

Bath salts are a designer drug of abuse with reports of dangerous intoxication from emergency departments across the US.  "Bath salts" are not a hygiene product used for bathing, as the name might imply, but are dangerous synthetic ("man-made") cathinones.  Cathinones are stimulants found in the khat plant, grown in East Africa and southern Arabia. These mind-altering drugs are strong central nervous system stimulants that inhibit the dopamine-norepinephrine reuptake system (neurotransmitters in the brain).

What is in bath salts?

The most commonly reported ingredient is methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), although other stimulants may be present, such as mephedrone and pyrovalerone.1  MDPV is of the phenethylamine class and is structurally similar to cathinone, an alkaloid similar in structure and effects to amphetamine and found in the khat plant.  Khat is a shrub found in East Africa and southern Arabia.  Mephedrone has been reported to have a high potential for overdose.

MDVP is structurally related to methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and cathinone derivatives. MDMA is a schedule I hallucinogenic substance and cathinone derivatives (cathinone, methcathinone) are listed as schedule I stimulants. Animals studies have demonstrated elevated levels of extracellular dopamine 60 minutes after administration of MDVP.

Benefits of using bath salts

Bath salts are not just relaxing, they can support the body in so many ways due to the inclusion of minerals such as magnesium and salt that the body needs to replenish every day.
Bath salts can soothe tired muscles, rejuvenate the body, hydrate and detoxify the skin, and aid sleep and relaxation. Studies have shown that they are a great way for the body to absorb the minerals; particularly beneficial for those with a magnesium deficiency.

Several correct ways to use bath salts

Bath salts can be used in various relaxing and therapeutic ways:

  • Shower Steamer - Sprinkle salts on shower floor. The steam provides inhalation benefits.
  • Detox Bath - Add salts to bathwater, soak 15-20 minutes to detoxify. Can add essential oils.
  • Steam Bath - Mix salts into a bucket of steaming water to cleanse skin with steam.
  • Foot Soak - Soften feet in basin of water with salts and oils. Exfoliate dead skin.
  • Hand Soak - Submerge hands to moisturize and remove calluses. Avoid scrubbing.
  • Sore Muscle Bath - Mix salts in hot bath to massage and relieve muscle pain or arthritis.
  • Compresses - Soak cloth in dissolved salts and water to make a soothing compress.
  • Exfoliant - Combine salts with oils as a scrub for dry or acne-prone skin.
  • Aromatherapy - Mix oils first with salts before adding to bath to boost benefits.

Bath Salt FAQs

Should salts be added before or after getting in?
Add and dissolve salts first to allow thorough mixing before entering. This aids absorption.
How long should you soak?
15-20 minutes while water is warm. Longer can damage skin.
Can they be used on the face?
Yes, mix with oils and apply as a face mask while bathing. Rinse after.
Is showering needed after a salt bath?
No, showering diminishes benefits. Avoid long showers afterwards.
Can salts be used as a scrub?
Yes, mix with oil to make a scrub for exfoliating and detoxifying skin.
Alternatives without a tub?
Use for foot baths, hand baths, scrubs, and compresses. Dissolve in warm water.
Safe to use while pregnant?
Discuss with your doctor first. Can provide therapeutic benefits under supervision.
Difference between salt types?
Unique origins - Dead Sea, Epsom, Himalayan. Himalayan matches human blood plasma minerals.

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