Since the time it got discovered, people have been turning to Epsom salt as a corrective measure for all types of diseases and health conditions. Named after a location in England where it got discovered, Epsom salt has been in use for more than 400 years.
The potential of Epsom salt baths for providing health benefits is debatable. It is believed by many that when you bath with water which has Epsom salt dissolved in it, your skin absorbs the ingredients sulfate and magnesium .
Those who believe in traditional medicine system feel that these ingredients induce many health benefits like weight loss.
As per a review published in “Journal of Nutrition and Food Services,” in 2016, it is reported that there is no scientific backing that magnesium can be absorbed through the skin.
It has been noted by the researchers that the only study which has shown that skin can absorb magnesium is small, has not been reviewed by peers, and cannot be replicated.
Also, a small study in 2009 found that magnesium did not get absorbed through the skin.
On the contrary, a study conducted in 2017 found that those individuals who applied creams containing magnesium had greater concentration of the mineral in their urine as compared to those who did not apply any such cream.
There are conflicting studies but if you want to try out Espom salt for weight loss and other health benefits, you should not hold yourself back since it is low risk and must be given a try.
Benefits of Epsom salt
The benefits of Espom salt are due to its ingredients . Epsom salt may seem similar to table salt but actually it is a very different compound. Table salt’s composition is sodium as compared to Epsom salt which is magnesium and sulfate. The minerals contained in Epsom salt are important minerals and may not get adequately supplemented through only diet. So, Epsom salt bath is a way for absorbing the mineral.
It however does not mean that Epsom salt bath will bring about drastic weight loss. But it can for sure support your healthy lifestyle. When combined with other weight loss techniques, Epsom salt may help you in achieving your weight loss goals. Epsom salt baths might help in weight loss as:
- It improves the intake of nutrients
- Lowers the likelihood of metabolic syndrome
- Supports the detox system of the body
- Alleviate constipation
- Using baths as a measure to relax in stressful times instead of emotional eating
A review that come out in 2009 reported that the levels of magnesium found in food are decreasing. This means that you should try look out for this mineral through other ways. The body functions that depend on magnesium  for proper working are:
- cardiac and circulation
- nervous system
- mood-stabilizing and serotonin use
- insulin use
- calcium and electrolytes
- detoxification and flushing of heavy metals
Epsom salt has sulfate as well. These are important for:
- Formation of brain tissue
- Adequate muscle protein
- Digestive tract function
- Health joints
- Detoxification of pancreas
So, this is how Epsom salt is beneficial for your health and supports weight loss. But more research must be done to understand how well people can absorb magnesium and sulfate from bath water. Other benefits of Epsom salt are:
- Alleviating muscle soreness and swelling
- improving blood circulation
- Inducing better quality of sleep
- Healing the skin
How to make Epsom salt bath?
- Fill the tub with warm water and its temperature should range between 33 degree Celsius to 38 degree Celsius
- Add two cups of Epsom salt
- If you want, you can even add 2-3 drops of essential oils. Don’t use too many oils and also avoid the ones that result in sensitivity
- Let it soak in the bath for 12 minutes. Sometimes it is recommended for 40 minutes. Start with lower time intervals and know how it feels
- Both pre and post Epsom salt bath, keep a glass of water in the washroom for drinking to prevent dehydration and help in detoxification
When you are buying Epsom salt, choose one labeled with USP which implies United States Pharmacopeni and one which has drug facts labeled on it. These indicate that the product is regulated for its safety.
Frequency of taking Epsom salt bath
You can take an Epsom salt bath every now and then but not every day. You don’t want to be overexposed. The body has the natural process of detoxification. Healthy habits maintain and support these natural processes, but they are not necessary and more may not be better in this case. When you take an Epsom salt bath, the body reacts to increased magnesium and sulfate and this might cause a detox reaction. The body tries to maintain the balance of minerals and nutrients. Too much exposure can result in toxicity or stress out the body. So, people who are diabetic or have kidney disease should not take Epsom salt bath.
If you want to make it a regular part of your lifestyle consult a doctor. A doctor will study your history and is in a better position to tell if it is safe or dangerous for you.
Risk of Epsom salt bath
Despite the fact that Epsom salt contains important active ingredients like sulfates and magnesium, the body requires only the right concentration of it and not too much. Overdosing of magnesium from Epsom salts is not common but excess magnesium can cause:
- muscle weakness
- cardiac arrhythmia
- respiratory depression
Since processing of magnesium is done by the kidneys, those with kidney problems should not have Epsom salt and speak to a doctor before consuming magnesium supplements. These baths may not be good for you if you have diabetes. When you soak in the tub, the skin on the feet may be damaged.
We cannot say for certain if Epsom salt baths can cause weight loss and the results may not be reliable. The risk is less for people who do not have specific health conditions. And there is nothing to lose while taking a warm, soothing bath. It will only relax you.