On Epsom Salts
Epsom salt baths are a great support for your body during a retreat, and a brilliant way to relax, especially when you’re feeling stressed, cold, after exercise or when you are full of aches and pains. Jools Sampson of Reclaim Your Self healthy holidays always provides a big bag of them in the bathrooms of all her retreats, so we asked her to tell us all about them.
What are Epsom salts?
Epsom salts are named after a bitter saline spring in Epsom, Surrey where salt is produced from the springs that arise where the porous chalk of the North Downs meets non-porous London clay. They are not actually a salt, but a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate. Magnesium plays a number of roles in the body, including regulating the activity of over 325 enzymes, reducing inflammation, helping muscle and nerve function and helping to prevent artery hardening. Sulfates help improve the absorption of nutrients and flush toxins out too.
Why are they so good for me?
Soaking in a bath of them can do all sorts of things, from relaxing your muscles to helping you sleep. Not bad for a mere mineral!
- Epsom salts can ease muscle cramps and pain from inflammation. Great if you’ve really stretched yourself in yoga! Studies show that Epsom salts can help regulate electrolytes in your body too, ensuring proper functioning of the muscles, nerves and enzymes.
- Epsom salts can help relieve stress and tension. If you’re stressed, you’re likely to have too much adrenalin in your body, which can result in a low magnesium level. Soaking in an Epsom salt bath allows magnesium to be absorbed through your skin, which helps to relax you.
- Epsom salts can help you detox. They pull toxins from the cells of your body through reverse osmosis – salt is drawn from your body and the toxins come with it.
- Epsom salts can aid digestion. The sulfates in Epsom salts trigger the pancreas to release digestive enzymes, which help your body absorb all the nutrients you need from your food.
- Epsom salts soften your skin. You can exfoliate and deep cleanse the skin by mixing ½ tsp Epsom salts with your usual cleanser. Massage on to the skin, then rinse with cool water and dry. This will boost your skin’s magnesium level, rejuvenate and rehydrate skin as well as removing toxins.
- Epsom salts can also help you sleep. As you replenish the level of magnesium in the body, this helps to produce serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of calm and relaxation.
How do I have an Epsom salt bath?
Add two large cups of Epsom salt to your bath water, which should be as hot as you are able to tolerate, unless you have a skin conditions, in which case the water should be warm. Once drawn, get in, relax, close your eyes, enjoy, dream, breathe. Soak for at least 15 minutes, and for no longer than 30 minutes. Drink plenty of water after your bath, as you need to be hydrated to get all the benefits from the Epsom salt treatment.
Who shouldn’t have an Epsom salt bath?
Please note that if you have a heart condition, low blood pressure or are pregnant you should not have an Epsom salt bath.
Where to buy Epsom Salts
You can buy Epsom salts from health shops, chemists and online – we buy giant bags from Westlab in the UK. A 5kg bucket costs £10.49 or if you want to start with a smaller supply 1kg is £4.19.