There are a number of things that I do to promote healing and recovery after workouts, including proper diet, proper sleep (when life and my body allow it), heat and/or cold as required, meditation and stretching. But one of the more relaxing things I enjoy doing is taking a hot bath with Epsom salts. Even if you’ve never used Epsom salts, you’ve no doubt walked past them numerous times at your local retailer’s or pharmacy. They come in either a sealed plastic bag or a pourable plastic tub.
If you’ve never used it, you may be asking what the hell Epsom salt is? Well, in simplest terms, it’s a white crystalline powder that composed primarily of magnesium and sulphate, hence the “salt” aspect. Apparently, the term “Epsom” is the place where it’s mined. But the idea is to pour a couple of cups of this stuff into a hot bath and it will dilute and break down into the individual magnesium and sulphate, which can then be absorbed into the body during your soak to reap the benefits of these two mineral salts for a variety of reasons.
Every article I’ve read and every source I’ve looked into claims that there’s no definitive evidence that there’s a benefit to soaking in an Epsom salt bath, but many people swear by it. I should know; I’m one of them. With our upstairs shower not functioning properly at the moment, the whole family is limited to baths. And I do find a soak with some Epsom salts to help with a faster recovery and better relaxation. You can get the salts as is, or you can get them scented with a variety of different things like lavender, mint and many more.
As with everything in life, there’s some good and some bad to using Epsom salts. Considering the profound lack of clear scientific evidence that proves it, most people would be inclined to believe there’s no point in using it and one would be just as well to simply soak in a hot bath. But it simply wouldn’t be me, if I didn’t present both pros and cons. So here are some of the benefits of using Epsom salts in your bath.
Soaking in a bath with it is supposed to help reduce inflammation, soreness and aches from working out as well as help with skin health. It’s also good for foot health, with many people using it to treat ingrown toenails. No need to tell you that this is an important concern for people with Diabetes. But overall, it can be used to relieve soreness and stiffness of varying types, as well as being used as a mild laxative if taken orally. Magnesium is also said to help produce melatonin, which can help you get a better night’s rest. Last but not least, it can help to reduce stress. Granted, a saltless bath can do that as well.
The down side is obviously the lack of definitive evidence on the supposed benefits. But in all honesty, a hot bath will help ease sore muscles and reduce stress anyway. And there’s very little downside or danger to using Epsom salts in every bath you take. That being said, if you take Epsom salts orally for whatever reason, there’s a plethora of different ways you can harm yourself with them. Just be sure to check with your medical professional if you’re going to attempt it. But taking a bath with it is safe enough. Most packages will have clear instructions on how much to add and such.
I genuinely enjoy baths with Epsom salts. It’s a great way to relax and unwind when the stressors of life are getting you down. And it can definitely help speed up recovery. But it’s one of those things that you basically have to try out for yourself in order to make an informed decision. All in, Epsom salts are pretty cheap. In fact, they’re less expensive than bubble bath and to be honest, there are more benefits. Give it a try, next time you need to relax. ☯