Dec 27,2022

What is Epsom salt?

Epsom salt is one of many naturally occurring mineral salts, a compound of magnesium and sulfate in rock-like formations. The name “Epsom salt” is a nod to the town of Epsom, located a stone’s throw away from London in England, where the salt was supposedly discovered about 400 years ago.

While it resembles table salt, it has a very bitter taste and isn’t really meant to be consumed. Most users dissolve it in a warm bath for a soak with the hope of relieving stress or sore muscles.

Benefits of using Epsom salt

A person with any underlying medical condition should speak to their doctor before trying Epsom salt. People living with kidney disease must not consume Epsom salt.

Magnesium from oral supplements or an Epsom salt bath may provide the following health benefits:

Improving exercise performance and recovery

Some people take magnesium before a workout. This may help remove the lactic acid that builds up in muscles during exercise and improve future performance.

In a small 2015 studyTrusted Source, researchers found short-term magnesium supplementation was associated with improved bench-press performance among 13 athletes.

When a person takes magnesium after a workout, it may also reduce recovery time and prevent muscle soreness. In a 2014 animal studyTrusted Source, researchers treated rats with either magnesium sulfate or saline before placing them on a treadmill.

The rats that received magnesium sulfate had higher glucose levels during exercise and cleared lactic acid faster during recovery.

Pain relief

People who do not have enough magnesium may experience painful muscle crampsTrusted Source and chronic inflammation. Underlying health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes or gastrointestinal diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and celiac disease, may also affect magnesium absorption.

An Epsom salt bath may help soothe sore muscles and reduce inflammation. However, experts are unclear whether Epsom salt is directly responsible for these effects.

Stress relief

Magnesium contributes to the synthesis and metabolism of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that transport signals between neurons, or nerve cells. These chemical messengers impact every aspect of daily life, including sleep, mood, and concentration.

According to a 2017 review in the journal NutrientsTrusted Source, having low levels of magnesium could harm a person’s quality of sleep and ability to cope with stress.

If a person takes an Epsom salt bath, it may help their skin absorb magnesium, which could relieve stress and promote relaxation. But, other studies investigating this show conflicting results.

Treating constipation

For many people, drinking Epsom salt is generally safe. However, those with kidney disease or heart disease, pregnant women, and children should not consume it. A person should speak with their doctor if they are unsure about drinking Epsom salt.

People can use Epsom salt as a laxative to treat constipation. This treatment method involves dissolving a small amount of Epsom salt in water and drinking the mixture.

How can you use Epsom salt?

The idea is that when you pour Epsom salt into warm water, it dissolves the magnesium and sulfate and allows it to be absorbed into your body through your skin. Centuries of user testimonials claim wonderful benefits from using Epsom salt this way.
Scientific research, however, isn’t quite as vocal in its support. There are no definitive studies showing that magnesium can be absorbed through your skin in sufficient amounts to address potential deficiencies of the mineral. And what research has been done offers skepticism.
Still, integrative medical experts commonly recommend Epsom salt to people with muscle pain and mental stress. If you want to try it for yourself, the process is pretty simple and light in risk.
Pour about 300 grams (1.25 cups) of Epsom salt into a clean bathtub as it fills with hot water. (Avoid using Epsom salt in a tub with jets, a hot tub or a whirlpool bath unless the manufacturer says it’s OK.)
Once the bath is drawn, test the water for its heat level and adjust as needed. You don’t want to scald yourself.
Slowly ease yourself into the tub and relax. A 15-minute soak should be enough.
When purchasing Epsom salt, look to buy a product that’s 100% magnesium sulfate.

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