Last January, I got into a car accident. Everyone was okay (thank goodness!), but the other driver and I hit pretty hard. I didn’t realize how much I’d been affected until after our information had been exchanged and I was at the body shop dropping off my car. I couldn’t hold a pen straight because I was shaking from the adrenaline. Once everything was squared away, I went straight home, ditched my to-do list (while saying prayer of gratitude that I could) and drew myself an Epsom salt bath. I lay there and soaked until the water temperature dropped from almost intolerably hot – just how I like it – to lukewarm. I emerged feeling almost normal, and had very little soreness from the impact the next day.
The magic of magnesium sulfate (aka Epsom salt) keeps me coming back time after time for a long list of maladies. Here are five ways Epsom salt slays:
- It’s a tried-and-true pain reliever. Whether I’ve got a migraine headache or I’m just sore from the gym, an Epsom salt bath is my first line of defense against pain. The theory is that the magneseum sulfate dissolves in the water and then enters your skin where it works as an anti-inflammatory to loosen stiff muscles and provide almost immediate pain relief.
- It will help you sleep. You know those days where there’s nothing in particular going on but your mind won’t start running over your to-do list? All. Night. Long. If I’m anticipating one of those, I try to get out ahead of it with an Epsom salt bath. I find that it’s a great companion to my nightly sleep rituals and often results in more restful sleep.
- It helps relieve stress. I wish I could tell you all your problems would dissolve into the bathtub, but a soak in Epsom salt is the next best thing. When I’m feeling stressed out, I like to light some candles, dim the lights, doctor up my tub with salts and pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist. Sometimes, if I’m feeling especially guilty about taking time for myself, I’ll even meditate while in the bathtub just to try and turn off that nagging voice. It’s kind of amazing.
- It makes ugly bruises disappear. I’m known for being a klutz, which means I’m constantly bruising my shins on the open dishwasher and smacking into door frames as I pass through them. Not cute come shorts and tank top season. Thankfully, Epsom salt can help fade those dark marks more quickly, which means I face the embarrassing question of “OMG what happened?!” less often.
- It makes splinter removal a snap. Despite our best efforts to make him wear shoes, my son often gets splinters in his toes from our wood deck. I’ve noticed that adding Epsom salt to his nightly bath makes removing them much easier, likely because it reduces inflammation around the point of entry.
Okay, so how do I do it?
Taking an Epsom salt bath is as simple as buying a bag of Epsom salt, scooping out 1-2c, and adding it to a very warm bath. I’ve found that doing this while the water is still running helps it dissolve better. Soak for at least 12 minutes. If you’re in pain, make sure that part of you is submerged. One exception: migraine headaches. Clearly you can’t submerge the parts of your face that hurt (unless you have a snorkel), but I find that just soaking my neck is a big help.
Do you take Epsom salt baths? What for? Tell me all about it!