Epsom Bath Salts are crystals of magnesium sulfate. They are not actually a salt at all but a naturally occurring mineral. They were first prepared from boiling down mineral water from the springs in Epsom, England. Epsom was known as a spa town that people flocked to so they could benefit from the therapeutic spring water. Epsom Salt has numerous health and beauty benefits as well as properties that can sooth the mind, body, and spirit.
Magnesium is essential in helping our bodies cope with stress. Adrenaline, a stress hormone, increases heart rate, blood pressure, and blood flow to the muscles. When adrenaline is released, so is magnesium. Magnesium counters the effects of adrenaline to help the body return to a more relaxed state. Over time, chronic stress can cause the loss of too much magnesium.
Magnesium relaxes muscles after calcium contracts them. We tend to place more emphasis on getting enough calcium in our diets over magnesium. When there is too much calcium and not enough magnesium in a skeletal muscle cell, the body can suffer from twitches and spasms. This imbalance also affects smooth muscles. One place smooth muscles are found is in the lining of the blood vessels. Elevated blood pressure may occur if these muscles are unable to relax.
Magnesium aids in the conversion of the amino acid tryptophan to the neurotransmitter serotonin. This neurotransmitter is responsible for elevating mood and relaxing the nervous system. Many experts believe that a serotonin deficiency leads to depression.
Several studies suggest that Americans are not getting the necessary amount of magnesium they need. The National Academy of Sciences estimates that the average American female gets 70% and male 80% of their recommended daily amount. Perhaps the modern diet, which is rich in fat, sugar, and salt, is the greatest reason for this. We live in a fast food society and this type of lifestyle limits our intake of magnesium-rich foods that include green leafy vegetables, swiss chard, avocado, pumpkin seeds, banana, and black beans.
Another contributing factor is the loss of magnesium from overworked soil. We don't have the magnesium in produce that our ancestors did. Unfortunately, it is not being replenished because magnesium is not a standard component in most fertilizers. For many of us, stress has become a live-in companion, along with its buddy, adrenaline. And, as previously noted, adrenaline drains magnesium from the body.
The sulfates in Epsom Salt help flush toxins from the cells and also helps form proteins in joints, brain tissue and mucin proteins. Your skin is a highly porous membrane and adding these minerals to your bathwater triggers a process called reverse osmosis, which actually pulls salt out of your body, and harmful toxins along with it.
According to the Epsom Salt Council, soaking in an Epsom Salt Bath is one way to increase magnesium and sulfate levels through skin absorption. The Council recommends adding 2 cups to a bath three times a week and soaking for at least 12 minutes. As always consult with your doctor before using.
I have attended several conferences of Dr. Mark Hyman's over the years and have been a client of his at his UltraWellness Center in Lenox Massachusetts. Dr. Mark Hyman M.D. recommends The UltraBath:
Add 2 cups of Epsom salts, 1 cup of baking soda, and 10 drops of lavender oil to bathwater as hot as you can tolerate. Take a 20-minute UltraBath just before bed every night.
The UltraBath provides many powerful benefits in one easy, 20-minute solution every day. The benefits of the UltraBath include:
- Relaxation of your nervous system and lowering of cortisol through the use of lavender oil, which promotes weight loss and lowers inflammation.
- Enhancement of detoxification through the effects of the magnesium and sulfur in the Epsom salts.
- Enhanced sleep through the effects of the hot bath and magnesium.
- Alkalization of your body through the use of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), which promotes an ideal pH for healing, detoxification, and optimal cellular function.
- Increased circulation and increased heart rate, which serves as a form of passive exercise.
- Lowered blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
- Increased heart rate variability, a sign of a healthy nervous system and reduced stress.
- Increased sweating and elimination of toxins.
As always consult with your doctor before using.
This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical issue or disease. The author does not in any way guarantee or warrant the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of this article and will not be held responsible for the content of this article. The information in this article is not intended to replace a personal relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Always consult your personal health care provider for specific medical advice.