Updated: Jun 10
Epsom salts (also known as Magnesium Sulphate) is rich in magnesium and sulphur compounds. The relaxing effects of bathing in Epsom salts are assumed to be due to the impact of dissolved magnesium and sulphate in a solution being absorbed through the skins, hair follicles, and sweat glands.
Magnesium is a cofactor for more than 300 enzymatic reactions and is required by our cells in large amounts for DNA and RNA synthesis, reproduction, and protein synthesis. Magnesium is essential for regulating muscular function, blood pressure, insulin metabolism, cardiac rhythm, circulation, nerve transmission and neuromuscular conduction.
Adequate magnesium supply is essential for healthy pregnancy and lactation and in patients with diabetes and prediabetes. Magnesium supplementation is also beneficial when taking daily prescription medications such as diuretics and proton pump inhibitors. (1)
Sulphur compounds such as those found in magnesium salts are essential in the body's sulphation pathways in phase II liver detoxification. This assists with the transformation of many drugs, hormones, phenols, amines, and a variety of other toxic molecules produced in the body (even those made in the gut by bacteria, yeast, and other fungi) and chemical food additives. The addition of a sulphate group increases the water solubility of these molecules in preparation for their excretion in urine.
It is common to have these detox pathways blocked either through genetic abnormalities, nutritional deficiencies or not eating enough sulphur containing foods (broccoli, cauliflower, eggs, garlic, onions), perhaps due to an aversion or food intolerance.
An Epsom Salt bath may effectively allow sulphur absorption through the skin, bypassing the digestive system and directly into the bloodstream, which assists the liver's detoxification pathways.
As a traditional remedy, widely prescribed by naturopaths, Epsom salt baths may provide relief for various conditions. These include:
calming hyperactivity and ASD behaviour in children, especially after food reactions or chlorine swimming (chorine is known to block sulphur pathways)
A detox bath can help stimulate your lymph system and encourage increased oxygen and blood flow to all body tissues and is an easy way to add a health beneficial self-care ritual to your week and is also enjoyable for kids.
How to take an Epsom Salt Bath.
1) Add 1.5 - 2 cups Epsom salts to a full bath of tempered warm water (some people experience headache or nausea after their first bath - if this kind of detox is too strong, try the smallest dose possible and work up (start with 1-2 tblsp in a foot bath, or try a shorter soak of just 10 mins followed by a hot shower).
2) You may like to add a few drops of essential oils such as lavender, rose, sandalwood, peppermint, eucalyptus and tea tree oil to aid relaxation and sensory enjoyment. Be sure to dilute these oils in a few tablespoons of milk to disperse thoroughly in case of skin sensitivities.
It is most beneficial to soak in the detox bath for about 20-30 minutes. This allows for enough time for your circulation to remove toxins and absorb minerals in the water. For most beneficial therapeutic benefits, use twice per week and increase to daily for a 2-4 week detox program.
After The Epsom Salt Detox Bath
After the bath, you may want to rub down your body with a natural bristle body brush or loofah or a dry towel to aid in detoxification. This brushing stimulates the lymphatic system, which will also help release toxins—massage from the feet upwards. Apply a pure cold-pressed vegan oil to the skin to hydrate afterwards (such as shea butter, coconut oil, almond oil).
It is best to drink at least 2 glasses of water afterwards and allow yourself time to relax and not do any strenuous activity so that the body can continue its detox process.
Add a relaxing Epsom Salt bath to your health routine and experience the benefits. For best results, try it weekly over 12 weeks to observe the difference it can make to your wellbeing.