In this article, we look at the possible benefits of Epsom salt baths, how to use a detox bath, and whether there are any risks involved.
Benefits of Epsom salt baths
Including Epsom salt in a warm bath may help with relaxation and stress relief.
The two main ingredients of Epsom salt are magnesium and sulfate. It is believed the combination of both ingredients stimulates detoxification pathways.
Magnesium is a natural substance that aids a variety of bodily functions, including the removal of toxins. Sulfate can strengthen the walls of the digestive tract and make releasing toxins easier.
There is little scientific research documenting the detoxifying effects of Epsom salt. However, advocates of it argue that an Epsom salt detox bath may have the following benefits:
Soothe the skin
It is a good idea to check with a doctor before soaking in Epsom salt if a person has a skin condition, as it may make the symptoms worse.
Reduce soreness and pain
Low levels of magnesium can ease the pain in people with arthritis. Epsom salt contains magnesium and may help the body get rid of toxins responsible for exacerbating inflammation while also reducing swelling, stiffness, and pain.
Healthy magnesium levels can boost brain neurotransmitters that are responsible for inducing sleep and reducing stress. Magnesium may also promote melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone.
People feeling stressed and overwhelmed may benefit from taking an Epsom salt bath. Some research has found that people who are suffering from mental and physical stress benefit when their magnesium levels are managed. While the study looked at oral supplements, Epsom salt could have a similar effect.
Taking a warm bath can also help a person relax by allowing them to release muscle tension and recuperate after a long day.
Promote foot health
Epsom salt may help treat athlete's foot and ingrown toenail infections. A person can bathe in a tub with Epsom salt water or soak feet in warm water and Epsom salt to help feet heal faster and relieve itching.
Soaking the feet in Epsom salts may also help reduce foot odor.
Draw out splinters
Splinters can be difficult to remove without pushing them further into the skin. Soaking in an Epsom salt bath for a few minutes can reduce inflammation in the affected area, soften the splinter, and make it easier to remove.
Drinking Epsom salt
Epsom salt should be dissolved with plenty of water if it is going to be consumed orally. Adding lemon can improve the taste.
However, the only benefit of drinking Epsom salt is as a laxative when someone is constipated.
While oral consumption of Epsom salt is safe in very small doses, there is no credible evidence that consuming it has any detoxifying effects.
Anyone considering drinking or eating Epsom salt should consult a doctor first. Many medications, including acetaminophen, can interact with Epsom salt.
How to take an Epsom salt detox bath
An Epsom salt bath can help soothe and soften the skin and may help with pain relief for those with arthritis.
It is recommended to only purchase Epsom salt that has USP on the label, which means it has been tested for human use, according to standards set by the United States Food and Drug Association (FDA).
The packaging should have ingredient and drug fact information printed on it. Epsom salt can be purchased at a health food store, some pharmacies, or online.
To take an Epsom salt bath, add 2 cups of Epsom salt when running a bath in a standard size bathtub. The salt will quickly dissolve if put under running water.
The water should be warm but not too hot. Temperatures between 92°F and 100°F (33°C and 37°C) are ideal.
A person can then soak in the bath for 12 to 20 minutes, or longer if desired, and they should avoid using soap.
People should rest for at least 1 hour after a detox bath or take a bath at bedtime so that they can go to sleep afterward.
Other things that can be added to an Epsom salt bath to enhance its effects include:
Olive oil contains antioxidants and can also help soften the skin when added to a bath. A person can use olive oil by adding ½ a cup of the oil as the bath is filling with water.
It is essential to be cautious when getting in and out of the bathtub to avoid slipping, as the oil can make the bath's surface slippery.
Using olive oil in a bath is not recommended for children or older adults who are prone to falling.
Adding therapeutic oils can make a detox bath more relaxing. Some oils people can try include:
Essential oil needs to be diluted before being applied to skin, and so it is best to dilute it with a carrier oil before bathing.
A mixture of 3 to 5 drops of essential oil per ½ to 1 ounce of carrier oil is usual. Carrier oils can be sweet almond oil, coconut oil, or even olive oil. A little essential oil goes a long way, so it is important to add only a few drops of the diluted oil into a full bath.
Baking soda has been shown to have antifungal properties and may help reduce irritating germs. It may also soften the skin and reduce itchiness.
Risks and side effects
Epsom salt can interact with medications and be dangerous for some people if consumed.
Epsom salt baths are normally safe, even for children. However, oral consumption of Epsom salt may be dangerous for pregnant women, children, and people with kidney conditions.
Epsom salt overdoses are rare but can cause serious side effects, including:
- extreme fatigue
- blurry vision
- dizziness and fainting
- problems breathing
- slow heart rate
- muscle weakness
- urination changes
More research is needed to prove the benefits and detoxifying effects of Epsom salt baths. However, people who use Epsom salt baths for detoxification believe in their benefits, such as relaxation, pain relief, and softening the skin.
Warm baths can help to reduce stress and promote better sleep. Adding Epsom salt can be a part of a healthy relaxation routine.