Dr. Michel Daignault
“Add two spoonfuls of Epsom salt to a warm bath. Soak for 20 minutes then rinse under a cold shower. Repeat every night as needed.
I often recommend Epsom salt to patients I see in the ER for a variety of reasons, including lower back pain, muscle strain, work-related aches, or as a way to reduce stress at the end of the day. It is inexpensive, available over the counter, and does not interact with medications people take for other chronic medical conditions.
The therapeutic benefit of Epsom salt soaking does not require metabolization or detoxification by our liver or kidneys like pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen do. And unlike more powerful narcotic medications, Epsom salt is not habit-forming or addictive. It’s a great option for almost anyone.
However, diabetics should exercise caution with Epsom salt baths. Diabetes can increase the risk of nerve damage, poor circulation and open sores, which make it difficult to measure bath temperature and lead to burns. People with low blood pressure should also exercise caution, as hot baths can lower blood pressure even further.
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Where does Epson salt come from?
Epsom salt is actually magnesium sulphate, a water-soluble salt that takes its name from a saline spring in Epsom, England. It was accidentally discovered centuries ago, produced naturally in springs from the combination of porous chalk from the North Downs and clay from London.
Why use Epsom salt?
Anyone who has ever soaked in an Epsom salt bath can testify to both relaxed muscles and calmed nerves. It’s up there in the pantheon of home remedies passed down from generation to generation. Soaking in an Epsom salt bath has long been touted for muscle relaxation and pain relief throughout the body. Additionally, it has been used to relieve stress and anxiety.
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But surprisingly, scientific evidence for these claims is lacking. Currently, there are no studies evaluating the effectiveness of Epson salt baths for any of these conditions. Why? This can be due to various reasons. Epsom salt is a cheap, accessible remedy that carries little risk – and there’s no money in it. Researchers are probably not interested in studying it.
Yet we know that people deficient in magnesium can experience painful muscle cramps and chronic inflammation. Scientists have postulated that there is sufficient evidence that inadequate dietary magnesium is a potential cause of treatment-resistant depression. Some researchers have gone so far as to suggest that taking magnesium by mouth increases serotonin – a key neurochemical responsible for happiness and relaxation. And studies document intravenous treatment with magnesium sulfate for a variety of emergencies we see in the ER, including acute asthma exacerbation, pre-eclampsia and eclampsia, and irregular heartbeat. dangerous.
How does Epsom salt work?
We don’t really understand or know how Epsom salt works. Multiple hypotheses on the subject have been refuted. The main theory holds that the relief of aches and pains is due to the absorption of magnesium which is released when Epsom salt is dissolved in water. But the science linking low magnesium levels to pain is sketchy. And while we could absorb magnesium by bathing in it, a much more effective and easy way to boost your magnesium levels is to get it through food.
This could be a case where we have to trust 400 years of anecdotes to see that a simple, inexpensive home intervention can improve our well-being and have a therapeutic effect.
Maybe it’s the simple act of decompressing at night and having a relaxation regimen; to put away the electronics, light a few candles, and relax our minds without distraction.
Interestingly, the addition of salt prevents the puckering of the skin that occurs after prolonged baths. And the skin is definitely silkier and smoother after an Epsom salt bath.
Epsom salt is worth trying
The bottom line is that a large bag of Epsom salt should be a staple in your home medicine cabinet.
Epsom salt baths are a safe option for most people and provide benefit without any adverse effects. Rarely, some people may find that Epsom salt irritates their skin.
First, test with a small amount of Epsom salt or place some salt on your skin to see if there is a reaction. And always have water on hand to rehydrate during or after your bath.
Do you suffer from lower back pain? It might be time to get out of the medicine cabinet.
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