You likely had your first encounter with Epsom salt as a child, seeing a container of it sitting in your bathroom cabinet. Then eventually, you probably even went on to use it for your own self-care moments, as epsom salt baths have been touted as the ultimate go-to for sore muscles and overall R&R. Still, there’s a solid chance you don’t know how Epsom salt soaks actually work. You may have heard that Epsom salt uses include managing various skin care concerns, but is that actually true? And does epsom salt really work? Here, we’re digging into the roots of Epsom salt’s popularity and talking Epsom salt benefits, uses, and more.
What Is Epsom Salt?
According to the Cleveland Clinic, Epsom salt, which is also known as magnesium sulfate (a compound of magnesium and sulfate), is one of many naturally occurring mineral salts. Named after the town Epsom in Surrey, England, where it was discovered four centuries ago, doctors widely promote this product for its ease of use. Per the Mayo Clinic, Epsom salt is mostly known as a soaking solution for common ailments. Now that we know exactly what Epsom salt is, we can explore all of its uses and benefits.
3 Epsom Salt Benefits
So, why do people use Epsom salt? Epsom salt benefits range from physical to mental, making it one of the ultimate self-care essentials. Here are three benefits of Epsom salt to keep on your radar.
1. Eases Aches and Muscle Pain
The Cleveland Clinic shares that Epsom salt helps to relax your muscles and ease aches and pains in the neck, back, and shoulders. When added to bath water it releases magnesium (known as a muscle relaxer) and sulfate ions (important for joint health, as per the National Library of Medicine).
2. Headache and Migraine Relief
If you’re battling an intense headache or migraine, Epsom salt may help. The Cleveland Clinic states that Epsom salt can help melt away and relax the muscles around the skull, therefore eliminating the discomfort from a pounding migraine or headache.
3. Reduces Stress And Promotes Happiness
According to the Cleveland Clinic, Epsom salt, along with exercise, may help reduce stress and help quiet and relax the body. In fact, some research suggests that taking magnesium could help increase serotonin (the happiness or relaxation hormone) production in the brain.
How To Use Epsom Salt
There are a few ways to get the most out of your Epsom salt and reap all the benefits. Ready to learn three popular Epsom salt uses? Here’s the scoop.
1. Relaxing Epsom Salt Bath
Let’s start with the obvious and most widely known—take an epsom salt bath. After all, everyone deserves the opportunity to kick up their feet and rest for a bit. Whether you simply want to chill or need to soothe your muscles after a tough workout, a bath is a great way to put your Epsom salt to use.
2. Soak Minor Sprains And Bruises
The Mayo Clinic shares that Epsom salt can come in handy to relieve the pain of minor sprains and bruises. Fill a basin with one gallon of warm water, add two cups of Epsom salt, and soak your sprain or bruise for relief.
Editor’s Tip: You may be wondering, “Should I drink some of that Epsom salt water first?” Many medical professionals have opposing beliefs about the oral benefits of Epsom salt. The best thing to do is consult with your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet, especially if you think you have a magnesium deficiency. They can inform you of the benefits and also possible adverse effects of taking magnesium sulfate supplements.
3. In A Warm Compress
To lessen the appearance of a bruise, the Mayo Clinic also suggests using a warm water compress. Dissolve the Epsom salt in water, soak a washcloth in the mixture, and apply with a bandage or towel to the affected area for 30 minutes up to three times a day.
Edited by: Shalwah Evans, Photo Credit: Chaunte Vaughn