How Epson Salts Help The Body

27 Jun, 2024 | Dr. Malik | No Comments

How Epson Salts Help The Body

For centuries, people have soaked in Epsom salt baths to ease aching muscles and relieve stress. Today, this practice is more popular than ever, with people widely sharing their Epsom salt bath experiences on social media. Epsom salt is affordable, readily available, and has become a booming industry valued at several billion dollars annually.

Despite its popularity, the science behind Epsom salt’s health benefits remains inconclusive.

What is Epsom Salt and What Are Its Benefits?


Epsom salt, a compound of magnesium and sulfates, was discovered in the English town of Epsom over four centuries ago when livestock avoided drinking from certain natural springs. People soon found that sitting in these spring waters was relaxing, turning the area into a spa destination. Epsom salt was later extracted as a standalone product in the late 17th century.

The theory suggests that magnesium and sulfate dissolve in warm water, allowing bathers to absorb them through the skin or inhale them in steam. Magnesium, the body’s second most abundant mineral after calcium, is vital for healthy muscles, nerves, and heart function, as well as regulating blood pressure. It’s typically sourced from foods like greens, nuts, and beans, but many people do not get their recommended daily amounts.

Do Epsom Salt Baths Really Work?


There is no definitive scientific evidence that humans can absorb significant amounts of magnesium through the skin. The skin primarily acts as a barrier, not a sponge. Those seeking to replenish their magnesium levels might find it more effective to do so through food or oral supplements, as the gut is designed to absorb nutrients.

However, many people report that soaking in an Epsom salt bath helps relax their muscles, relieve pain, and reduce stress. This could be attributed to the hot soak itself, which boosts blood flow and helps to loosen and relax muscles and joints, regardless of Epsom salt’s presence.

Claims that Epsom salt can kill off harmful bacteria and fungi on the body are also met with skepticism, as there are no rigorous studies to support these assertions.

Can You Take Epsom Salt as a Laxative?


Epsom salts are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a laxative. While other laxatives might be more effective and produce fewer side effects, consuming Epsom salt dissolved in water can ease occasional constipation when used as directed. However, ingesting too much can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, a drop in blood pressure, and cardiac arrest, though these side effects are not threats to bathers.

Is Epsom Salt Safe?


Although a lack of scientific study casts some doubt on Epsom salt’s time-honored healing properties, there is no real reason not to indulge in an Epsom salt bath if it makes you feel better. Experts agree that, barring any rare circumstances like having open wounds, there’s no harm in enjoying a soak with Epsom salt.

Ultimately, while Epsom salt baths may not live up to all their purported benefits, the act of taking a warm, relaxing bath can still be beneficial for relieving stress and soothing muscles. So, if you enjoy Epsom salt baths, go ahead and indulge in this simple pleasure.

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