What is Epsom Salts?
Epsom salts is not actually salt, it’s a mineral containing magnesium and sulfate. The name originates from the bitter saline spring at Epsom in Surrey. I love this versatile ingredient and I’m excited to share some of it’s uses and benefits with you.
Did you know that magnesium plays a huge role in the body and regulates over 325 enzymes? It has been shown to flush toxins, improve absorption of nutrients, ease headaches, reduce inflammation and help nerve function.
Both the minerals magnesium and sulfate are easily absorbed through the skin and take only 15 minutes to benefit. It hasn’t been scientifically proven, but studies have shown its benefits and doctors have been recommending it for hundreds of years.
Make sure you purchase from a reliable source, making sure it’s 100% magnesium sulfate. Beware of retailers who cannot guarantee quality or purity.
Benefits of using Epsom Salts
Epsom salts is for external use only. Though I found a paper dating back to the 1600’s where Epsom salts was taken internally, please only use this ingredient externally, and contact your doctor should you have any health concerns or questions.
- Relieves muscle pain and cramps: Epsom salts have been known to ease inflammation and pain, making it a wonderful addition to your treatment of sore muscles, bronchial asthma, and headaches.
- Eases stress and relaxes the body: Did you know that stress can drain the body of magnesium and increase adrenaline levels? When absorbed through the skin, Epsom salts can aid in replenishing magnesium in the body. The magnesium helps to produce serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical and reduces adrenaline creating a sense of calm and relaxation.
- Improves muscle and nerve function: Epsom salts may improve muscle, nerves and enzyme function by regulating electrolytes. Magnesium has also been shown to be critical in the proper use of calcium, which serves as the main conductor of electric impulses in your body.
- May improve the efficacy of insulin: Optimal levels of magnesium sulfate increase the efficacy of insulin in the body and can help to lower the risk or severity of diabetes.
- Eliminates toxins from the body: The sulfates in Epsom salt help flush toxins and heavy metals from the cells, easing muscle pain and helping the body to eliminate harmful substances. Your skin is a highly porous membrane and adding the right minerals to your bathwater triggers a process called reverse osmosis, which actually pulls salt out of your body, and harmful toxins along with it. 
- May support internal organs: Many integrative practitioners are recommending Epsom Salts to aid in the support of internal organs, which may benefit the cardiovascular system and improve bowel movements.
Uses of Epsom Salts
- Warm bath: The typical way to include Epsom salts in your health and beauty practice is to take a bath with 2 cups of Epsom salts a couple of times a week. The water needs to be quite warm and you need to soak for at least 12-15 minutes. I recommend not combining any oil into the bath to ensure the water-soluble salts are absorbed into the skin. Also, be careful not to use soap on the body as it may interfere with the benefits of the Epsom salts. It is ideal to rest after the bath, but if you have arthritic joints it may be useful to move them as much as possible after the bath to prevent congestion in the joints.
- Shower scrub: I’ve recently learned the absolute delight and benefits of using Epsom salts in the shower. Simply make a paste of the salts and water, and exfoliate the body in the shower, before switching the water on, or in the bathroom before climbing into the shower. Make sure the mixture is simply Epsom salts and water and does not include any oil which will affect the absorption and benefits. Rinse off in the shower. This delightful ritual not only boost the magnesium and sulfate benefits in the body, but it also leaves your skin delicately soft and exfoliated. Follow with some body oil or body lotion.
- Foot bath: Although a full body bath or scrub yields the best absorption and benefits, a foot bath can do wonders. Add ½ cup of Epsom salts to a basin of water and soak the feet for 20 minutes. This can make a luxurious and useful addition to your evening self-care routine.
Epsom salts are also widely used in the house and garden. It seems the uses and benefits are endless.