|Do Epsom Salt Baths Work? There is so much on the internet about the benefits of Epsom salts in your bath. The main claim is that it helps with sore muscles to relieve aches and pains. But the bottom line is that there is no scientific proof of this. So don’t waste your money! And you don’t have to read any further, unless you want the reasons I made this statement.
If on the other hand you want to know more about Epsom Salts, then you have come to the right place. I have researched what Epsom Salts are, the science behind Epsom Salts, and other interesting information about them.
What is Epsom Salt?
First of all, it is not a salt. It is a compound made up of magnesium and sulfate. And water! 53% to be exact! Hence the term that is chemically applied to it is magnesium sulfate heptahydrate. It naturally occurs in nature. Which is how it was discovered.
It was discovered in the 1600s by a local farmer near Epsom England who noticed his cattle wouldn’t drink from a certain spring. The water was bitter and when it evaporated, it left behind a residue of salt like material, i.e. crystals. This was named as Epsom Salt and began to be marketed in the late 1600s.
As far as I can conclude, Epsom Salt can not be manufactured, only mined. I see articles that talk about manufacturing, but no further information is provided. I was also surprised to note that there is an Epsom Salt mine here in California, not far from where I grew up! Click on Death Valley Wilderness link if you want to know more.
The Science of Epsom Salts and Muscle Relief
Briefly stated, there isn’t any! I mean as far as it providing relief from sore muscles and body aches, there is no scientific background. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t benefits from Epsom Salt, which I will list below.
Otherwise, the claims of magnesium being able to penetrate your skin and help your muscles have no proof. One article, Myth or Reality—Transdermal Magnesium? makes this clear. It is a scientific article, but still understandable by us laypeople. It does support magnesium supplements, but I am not investigating those.
Can Epsom Salt Draw Out Toxins?
This is another popular belief that if you soak in an Epsom salt bath, you will remove toxins from your body. The thinking goes that as your body absorbs the salt it removes toxins. But once again this simply is not true.
Removal of toxins from your body is performed by your kidneys. Keep yourself hydrated and you are doing the most you can to remove unwanted chemicals from your body. I wrote an article all about taking a bath to detox; What is a Detox Bath? Why Should You Take One? Read it for more information to understand the reasons a detox bath isn’t a thing.
Along with the toxin claims there appears to be claims about correcting a magnesium deficiency.
These claims depend on the unsubstantiated practices we have discussed above. If you suffer from magnesium deficiency, an Epsom Salt bath is not the answer. First consult with your healthcare provider. A supplement is probably the answer.
Warnings to Diabetics
There is some research that warns diabetics against taking a bath in Epsom Salts. But since the magnesium can’t really be absorbed, the warnings may be unfounded.
However, there are still precautions if a diabetic has an open wound where the magnesium might affect the healing. It is therefore imperative that the diabetic should consult their doctor before using any type of magnesium product, including Epsom Salts.
Are There Benefits in Using Epsom Salt?
Yes, there are benefits we can gain from Epsom Salt. I’ve listed a few of the top uses which you might want to try.
It has been indicated to help rid athletes’ foot fungus. A warm soak with Epsom salt does counteract this problem. It should also work for toe fungus problems. One person claimed it helped with her ingrown toenail, along with constant nail trimming of course.
You can use Epsom salt to clean out your washing machine by running a clean cycle and using some Epsom salt to unclog any matter stuck in it. You can also combine it with dish detergent to make a paste that works as a mild abrasive to clean tiles and counters.
Sprinkling the salt on your plants helps the fertilizer you are using to do a better job. Magnesium is an essential part of the chlorophyll molecule.
Taken as directed, Epsom salts can be a mild cure for constipation. Just be sure you follow the instructions.
There are claims that soaking in the salts can help with magnesium deficiency, but these claims depend on the unsubstantiated practices we have discussed above. If you suffer from magnesium deficiency, an Epsom Salt bath is not the answer. First consult with your healthcare provider. A supplement is probably the answer to treat your deficiency.
Here’s a very helpful video that sums up everything I’ve said.
I welcome your feedback. Especially if you have some scientific proof that the salts do in fact help with muscle relief and removing toxins from the body. But if you have questions or other comments, please leave them below.