By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove
Most everyone enjoys a warm, soothing bath from time to time. So, what if I told you that by simply adding one ingredient to the bathwater, you can increase the healing power of your next soothing soak? And, what’s more, this ingredient can be found for a just a few dollars at your local drug store.
What is this magical ingredient?
Epsom salt baths have been used for centuries to promote relaxation and detoxification, as well as to reduce muscle pain and soreness.
Epsom salt is comprised of magnesium and sulfate. This makes Epsom salt an ideal way to restore and replenish magnesium levels in the body. Replenishing these levels is a good thing, as most people are magnesium deficient. Magnesium deficiency can be caused by poor diet (excess processed foods, coffee, sodas and overindulgence of alcohol further deplete the body’s stores of magnesium) and lifestyle factors, including high levels of stress, chronic diarrhea, high blood pressure medications, antibiotics, diuretics and other drugs. What’s more, our mineral absorption capability tends to decrease as we age, so the older you are, the more likely you are to have a magnesium deficiency. Since your skin is the largest organ system of the body, an Epsom salt bath allows the body to easily absorb this extra magnesium.
Here are a few specific ways that Epsom salt baths can be of benefit:
MUSCLE SORENESS AND ARTHRITIS PAIN
The magnesium in Epsom salt baths can help relax sore muscles and avoid the onset of muscle soreness by helping flush out lactic acid. If warmth seems to help your condition, especially muscle strain, muscle cramping and muscle pain, draw up an Epsom salt bath to expedite the healing process and decrease the pain.
Epsom salt baths can also be of benefit for arthritis sufferers. If you have arthritis pain in the joints of the hand, make an Epsom soak in a small bowl or a pot. When trying to relieve pain in the wrist, hand or fingers, be sure to incorporate motion while soaking. Try opening and closing the hand while it is fully submerged in the pot of warm water with Epsom salts. This will increase blood flow, decrease inflammation and soothe the joints.
Epsom salt soaks can help detoxify the body and can even help stem off a cold. When you feel a cold coming on, try soaking in an Epsom salt bath for about 20 to 30 minutes. The combination of magnesium and sulfate in the Epsom salt is believed to help strengthen the body’s detoxification pathways.
If you are drawing a bath for detoxification purposes, combine one to three cups of Epsom salt with one cup of baking soda and three to six drops of essential oil, such as rosemary and eucalyptus. Mix the ingredients together before dumping it into warm bath water.
Not only are Epsom salt soaks scientifically proven to relax your muscles, but they can also help relax your mind and provide a much-needed break from the frantic pace of daily life. Soaking in a warm Epsom salt bath is very calming and grounding. The relaxing effects of soaking in a hot tub can be helpful for those suffering from things like insomnia, depression or anxiety.
If you are soaking for relaxation, remove the baking soda from the recipe listed above and simply mix a couple cups of Epsom salts with lavender, frankincense or your favorite scent, and sit back and enjoy.
Pathways to Healing specializes in holistic chiropractic care. Dr. Alyssa Musgrove draws on a variety of techniques, including chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition, food allergy testing and lifestyle counseling to assist clients in achieving optimal health and wellness in one setting. Pathways to Healing is located at 1022 Founders Row, Lake Oconee Village, Greensboro. The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.