When I was in undergrad, my first apartment was a cockroach-infested tiny studio on campus at Portland State University. It was very cool time in music and a great time to live in Portland, and although there were cockroaches, there was also a HUGE vintage bathtub!
This was when I discovered Epsom salt baths. Oh lordy, they are wonderful. Aside from the wonderful benefits of submerging yourself in water (hello oxytocin and stress relief!), when you add the Epsom salt something magical happens.
Magnesium sulfate is what Epsom salt is made of and we ALL need more magnesium.
Our soil is completely deficient of magnesium in this country, due to modern agricultural practices. So while we like to think that we can get all of our necessary nutrients from food, it’s not always possible.
Magnesium does many things in the body, but in regards to pain, this is what I share with my patients:
- Relaxes skeletal muscle and muscle spasms
- Relaxes smooth muscle (this is the muscular lining around your arteries, among other things, and is therefore beneficial for heart health).
- Decreases anxiety and stress
- Helps with bowel elimination (relieves constipation)
- Helps prevent osteoporosis– in fact more important for bone health than calcium!
- Helps prevent arthritis
- Helps reduce insomnia
- Improves skin issues
- Anti-inflammatory effects
- Fights depression
- Reduces insulin resistance
- Improves PMS symptoms
- Much more!!
I could go on. Magnesium is critical, it’s inexpensive, and it’s globally helpful in the body for optimal health and pain reduction.
As oral dosing of magnesium can cause diarrhea (I usually suggest upwards to 600 mg/day orally), I LOVE using it topically! I do both: I take what I can orally to bowel tolerance, then use a topical nightly to get even higher doses. Sometimes, if I have time, I will also soak in an Epsom salt bath.
When I do take a bath it involves several cups of epsom salts. I put enough in that my skin almost starts burning and I feel like I can float. I add this to tepid water (not too hot, not too cold) and enjoy the calm.