You see the blue bags of Epsom salts gracing nearly every drugstore’s shelves. What is this stuff, and what can it do for your health?
Epsom salts have earned a reputation for multiple uses since their discovery in a pool of water from which cattle refused to drink. It didn’t take people long to realize the laxative benefits, with other uses soon to follow in external applications.
You might see this remedy mentioned as part of an internet detox. Is it worth the hype? Can Epsom salt detox the body, and if so, how? Here are the facts versus the myths.
Does Epsom Salt Absorb Toxins?
Recipes for detox baths online might lead you to assume that Epsom salts absorb toxins. It helps to know what the stuff is made of — it isn’t your typical table salt. Rather, Epsom salts consist of magnesium and sulfate, while the seasoning you sprinkle on your french fries is sodium. It supplies impressive health benefits even if it doesn’t act as a sponge.
Historically, people used Epsom salts as a laxative, making their reputation as a cleansing agent easier to understand. Magnesium makes it easier to go, but you’re better off meeting your dietary requirements through nuts, seeds, beans, legumes and dark, leafy greens. However, Epsom salt offers impressive benefits even when used externally, as a recent study confirmed it is absorbed through the skin, as some internet detox gurus have claimed for years.
Healthy magnesium levels do quite a lot. They help regulate your mood by moderating the effect of several essential neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. Additionally, they can decrease the headaches, nausea and fatigue associated with alcohol detox, and many migraine patients swear by it for reducing the frequency and severity of their attacks.
Consider these other impressive benefits of magnesium if you need more reasons to soak in the tub with some Epsom salts tonight:
- Provides more energy: Magnesium helps you convert food into fuel.
- Boosts athletic performance: Magnesium plays a pivotal role in muscle movement.
- Improves PMS symptoms: Magnesium levels fluctuate throughout your cycle, and regulating your intake can help keep you balanced.
- Promotes bone health: About 50%-60% of your body’s magnesium is in your bones.
- Helps neurological functioning: Magnesium is critical for a healthy nervous system.
How Do You Use Epsom Salts for Detox?
Are you ready to indulge yourself by adding this miracle mineral to your life? Here are five ideas for using Epsom salts for detox.
1. Soak in a Bath
Did you hit it hard at the gym and feel unbearably achy? A long soak in a bath filled with Epsom salts can reduce the swelling and inflammation caused by microscopic tears in your muscle fibers that make you stronger when they heal.
2. Invest in a Foot Spa
As lovely as baths are, you don’t always have the time. However, you can pick up foot spas for less than $50 at many drug stores. Soaking your feet is a blissful alternative at the end of a long day, regardless of how many toxins it draws through your skin.
3. Make Homemade Balms for Sores
Did a close encounter with poison oak leave your skin irritated and red? You can mix a paste of Epsom salts and water and apply it to rashes or bug bites to make the body’s nerves fire less rapidly, easing the itch while reducing inflammation.
4. Ease an Angry Sunburn
The anti-inflammatory benefits of magnesium in Epsom salts extend to sunburn. Mix it with cold water and add a towel, placing it in the refrigerator to cool if you live somewhere like Arizona, where your faucets only run hot in the summertime. Drape the soaked towel over the affected area.
5. Exfoliate Dry Heels
Do you have cracked, dry heels? Mix a teaspoon of Epsom salt with a teaspoon of olive oil to make a healthy exfoliator to remove flakes and moisturize what lies beneath.
Using Epsom Salts for Detox
Epsom salts are ideal for detox because they include magnesium, which is a miracle mineral for multiple reasons.
Epsom salts might not absorb toxins as popular recipes indicate, but they supply the body with an essential nutrient. They’re safe, natural and inexpensive, so enjoy a long, hot bath today and reap the health benefits.
Beth is the Managing Editor and content manager at Body+Mind. She shares knowledge on a variety of topics related to nutrition, healthy living, and anything food-related. In her spare time, Beth enjoys trying out new fitness trends and recipes.