An age old favorite that is making a comeback onto pharmacy shelves of “miracle working” rubs, sprays, lotions and potions, is good old Epsom Salts. Also known as Magnesium Sulphate.
For many years it has been known that a warm Epsom bath has numerous benefits for tired, sore runner bodies. The magnesium sulphate of Epsom salts is very effectively absorbed through the skin and has shown to speeds up muscle recovery by reducing swelling and inflammation, increasing circulation, relieving stress, softening the skin and improving one’s mood. Epsom salt baths have even been shown to be effective in alleviating muscle pain as severe as that found in Fybromalgia.The magnesium sulphate also facilitates the removal of acids through the skin helping to detoxify the body.
Epsom salt baths also have additional benefits for female athletes in assisting with reducing menstrual pain and mood changes.
How do the Epsom salts relax the muscles?
According to Ben Greenfield – Every muscle operates via a fine electrochemical balance, Greenfield said. The electrolytes in Epsom salt can help to displace some of the charges across the muscular membrane, particularly those from calcium, which he said causes a contracted muscle to relax.
How best to prepare an Epsom Salt Bath:
1. Add 2 to 3 cups of Epsom Salts (available in the baking aisle of your local supermarket) to a bathtub of warm but not too hot water. Stir the water to mix the salts in.
2. Increase the stress reduction effect by adding a few drops of an essential oil such as lavender, rose or chamomile.
3. Soak in the bath for about 15 minutes. If you soak longer you could end up reabsorbing the toxins eliminated by the Epsom salt.
4. Immediately after your bath, shower to rinse the salts from your skin to prevent your skin drying out.
If you are not that much into baths, then still try take some time out to take care of your feet. A great regular treat for your feet, which take a serious pounding when you run, is to give them a good Epsom salt soak. Especially after a long run. Add about half a cup of Epsom salt to a basin of warm water and soak your feet for 10-15 minutes.
These foot soaks are also a great way to assist with pain from plantar fasciitis, Achilles pain or ankle strains.
Simple, cheap, old fashioned, yet effective!