There are few better ways to relax and unwind after a hard day’s work than a long soak in a warm bath. Studies have shown that taking a bath can have a range of benefits for our health, from flushing out lactic acid from our muscles to reducing stress. And if you’re looking for a way to boost the therapeutic qualities of a soak, it’s hard to look past Epsom salt.
A soak in an Epsom salt bath is an incredible way to relax and reduce stress. Take a look at what it can do for you.
Epsom salt is an incredible mineral, and we think every household should have some on hand at all times. Let’s take a look at how it can help with relaxation and stress relief, and some tips on how you can use it.
What Is Epsom Salt?
Ok, it’s likely that you’ve heard of Epsom salt. But did you know that it actually isn’t a salt at all? In fact, it is a naturally-occurring pure mineral compound of sulfate and magnesium. It gets its name from where it was first discovered - a rural community 15 miles southwest of London, near a town called Epsom - and its similarity in appearance to grains of rock salt. Locals who first discovered the Epsom salt-rich springs initially found that their water had a profound purgative effects when consumed. However, people soon discovered a myriad of other benefits (and more springs around England and beyond) and before long it was available to buy over counter around the world.
How Can a Epsom Salt Soak Help With Stress Relief
There are a number of ways that an Epsom salt soak can help relieve stress and anxiety, and improve overall mental wellbeing. And it all starts with magnesium.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays an important role in over 300 biochemical functions in the body. However, it is also one of the most common deficiencies found in adults, and this is closely linked with increased stress and anxiety.
Magnesium helps allay stress in a number of ways: it restricts the release of stress hormones and prevents them from entering the brain. It also helps stabilise blood sugar (glucose) levels which, when depleted, can stimulate the release of epinephrine and cortisol, both of which can contribute to contributes to stress, anxiety, insomnia and depression.
Once absorbed, magnesium also aids with the conversion of tryptophan, an amino acid, to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which conveys sensations of satisfaction and relaxation.
Magnesium also helps relax and revive the muscles, which in turn will help relieve stress. A soak in an Epsom salt bath will help replenish blood magnesium levels directly via the skin, helping to relax muscles, reduce cramping and spasms, restore red blood cells and reduce inflammation. This can help alleviate stress headaches and calm tense joints and muscles.
And, to top it all off, Epsom salt increases the buoyancy of the water, which will make you feel lighter and even more relaxed. In fact, Epsom salt is what is used to fill flotation tanks used for flotation therapy!
How To Use Epsom Salt To Relieve Stress
For a relaxing bath soak, add roughly two cups of Epsom salt to warm water in a standard-sized bathtub. Double the amount for an oversized garden tub. Soak for 20 minutes or more. For specific symptoms, repeat 3 times per week for 2-4 weeks.
For a restorative foot bath, fill a tub with warm water, add roughly ¾ of a cup per 10 litres. Once the granules have dissolved, immerse your feet for 20 minutes or more then pat dry with a soft towel. Again, if you have ongoing symptoms, repeat 3 times per week for 2-4 weeks.(Note: If you enjoy a very hot bath, tone it down if you’re using Epsom salt as this can affect the efficacy of the minerals).
If you’re chasing an even more relaxing experience, we recommend adding some essential oils to your Epsom salt bath. Lavender, rosehip oil, frankincense and chamomile are all excellent choices. This adds an element of aromatherapy to your soak, which will make it an even more soothing experience. Simply add a couple of drops to your next bath, sit back and relax.