Soak and let toxins go with an Epsom salt bath
You’ve probably heard about how good calcium is for your bones and teeth — but did you know that calcium can only do its job if you have enough magnesium in your body? And one of the easiest ways to get that magnesium is by taking a bath — an Epsom salt bath.
Let’s look at some of the other things magnesium can do for you. Magnesium:
- Helps your body produce energy from the food you eat
- Keeps your nerves working properly
- Soothes muscle cramps
- Is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which regulates everything from appetite to sleep, mood and memory (and maybe migraines too)
- May ease anxiety and depression
If you happen to be going through a period of high stress, guess which mineral might help protect your body from stress’s ravaging side effects until you get life back under control again? That’s right — magnesium. And if you need any more proof that magnesium really matters take a look at this study, which showed that magnesium deficiency contributes to higher rates of all-cause mortality (death from any and all causes).
Where do you get magnesium?
If magnesium is so good for us, why aren’t we swimming in it? The answer is in our food. In the typical American diet full of fast food and simple carbs, we’ve gotten away from eating the whole grains, nuts and dark green vegetables that are rich in magnesium. (You’ll also find lots of magnesium in sea vegetables like seaweed, kelp and dulse, plus figs, shrimp, avocado, parsley, dandelion greens, and beans.
If you’re participating in the Fast Metabolism Diet you’re already well on your way to balancing that mineral intake through your healthful diet, but you can give it a boost with the aforementioned Epsom salt bath.
How to: Healing Epson salt soak
Epsom salts are actually magnesium sulfate. Your body wouldn’t absorb them very well if you took the Epsom salts orally — but soak in a warm, Epsom salt bath for 20 minutes a few times a week, and the magnesium will absorb right through your skin. These relaxing soaks are an especially good way to treat yourself during Phase 3 of the Fast Metabolism Diet, where it’s all about soothing stress so your body knows it’s okay to release and burn fat.
Soaking in a warm Epsom salt bath can ease muscle soreness or cramps, may help reduce restless leg syndrome, and it may help soothe any joint problems or arthritis you’re experiencing. (The sulfur is good for your joints and connective tissue too.) It’s also a great detoxifier for your liver.
Just add 1-2 cups of Epsom salts to your bathtub before you run the warm water. Then fill the tub and jump in. Soak for about 20 minutes for the best benefit.
You can make the whole thing even sweeter by adding a few drops of lavender oil for a relaxing pre-bed bath, or vibrant scents like eucalyptus and lemongrass for an invigorating, energizing soak.
If you’re taking antibiotics…
Even though your body needs magnesium — and most Americans need a lot more magnesium than they get in their diet — it can make it harder for your body to absorb some medications, especially antibiotics.
A good safety measure is doing your soak at least two hours before or after taking your medications — and talk to your doctor if you’re on antibiotics, high blood pressure medication or diuretics, or are worried that the magnesium might interact with any other medications.
If you’re diabetic…
Consult your doctor. The body can absorb magnesium from the Epsom salt, which is known to increase the release of insulin, which can cause a drop in blood sugar. Please talk to your doctor before trying Epsom salt baths.