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Monday, November 26, 2007

The Why, When, and How of Epsom Salts Baths

So, I commonly see clients after a big race or event or even a training run and they complain of their legs feeling "like lead" or "full and tight". This is usually due to a buildup of metabolic wastes and toxins that your muscles produce that, quite literally gets "stuck" in the tissue. When these wastes accumulate, they cause your legs, arms, glutes to feel heavy, lethargic, and makes doing much in the way of moving very difficult. Also, if you have been lifting and not so commited to stretching after, you may over time get this buildup too.

I catch myself continously asking if they have taken an Epsom Salt bath, and more commonly than not--they have not. Most think that something as simple or silly as a bath cannot be helpful for THEM. Or my other favorite is "I don't like baths". Well, get over yourself. If you want a good way to help yourself in an easy, passive way--try the bath.

Here's all the scientific mumbo-jumbo for what and why it can work for you that I found on the Epsom Salt Council website:

Studies show these benefits from the major components of Epsom Salt may:

*Ease stress and improves sleep and concentration
*Help muscles and nerves function properly
*Regulate activity of 325+ enzymes
*Help prevent artery hardening and blood clots
*Make insulin more effective
*Reduce inflammation to relieve pain and muscle cramps
*Improve oxygen use

*Flush toxins
*Improve absorption of nutrients
*Help form joint proteins, brain tissue and mucin proteins
*Help prevent or ease migraine headaches tell clients to try an Epsom salt bath

I will add that taking an Epsom Salt Bath does cost you some down time in the tub, but you will feel so much better when you go to move around later!

There are a few notes that I would like to add to heighten your enjoyment and knowledge of this awesome event....

*Make sure you HYDRATE--this means water--before, during and after. The metabolic waste and toxins will be pulled out of the tissue, but so will valuable water that you need to replace to get the full effect and benefit.

*Epsom Salts usually come in 3 sizes at any drug, grocery or health store. Small milk carton, large milk carton and 6 pound bag. If you are a fairly active person and don't really like running to the store every time you may need to take a bath, do yourself a favor and buy the 6 pounder. I think the last time I checked it cost about $5.

*Use twice to three times what you think the instructions are telling you. I believe it reads something like "2 cups per gallon of bath water"--how many gallons is YOUR tub? Unless you are bathing in a Pyrex bathtub and know the exact amounts to use, let me help you out. For most tubs and baths so that the water covers up to your waistline--use most if not all of the small milk carton size of salts. This does mean that you use roughly half of the large milk carton size of salts if you bought that one and so on.

*Use water as hot/warm as you can handle and let it cool as you soak. BEFORE GETTING IN THE WATER, pour the salts in and stir/swish/mix the salts around until you don't feel them anymore!! DO NOT SIT ON SALT CRYSTALS, they really wont help you since they haven't dissolved into the water.

*Plan on hanging out in the tub for about 15-20 minutes to really let them soak.

That's pretty much all my wisdom when it comes to this Epsom Salt Bath topic. Let me know if you have any other questions and I will attempt to get you the correct answer!

Written by Kate Ripley LMT, CNMT, NCTM


Anonymous said...

I think you will be surprised if you see this. Anyway this is great to know. I used to hear my mother say things about epsom salt for soaking but I believed it was probably an old wives tale or whatever the more proper term is. Thanks for the tip! I am glad to know it even if I am never going to be in a marathon or anything strenuous~

Anonymous said...

Hi! I found your site via the job bank listing over at AMTA and thought I would pop by and say hello. I love love love this post and wish to everything holy that my clients would listen to me when I offer the same advice. I can't believe it sometimes when clients will tell me that they "hate baths" or "haven't taken a bath since they were a child." Like you said: get over yourself.

I swear by Epsom salt and use it for my children as well.

Happy blogging :)