The Benefits of Epsom Salt
Before I worked in a float center, Epsom salt reminded me of my grandmother. She would take an Epsom salt bath every other day, claiming that hour as self care time. She swore that Epsom helped her feel relaxed and rejuvenated, that it helped her sleep better and feel more rested the next day. I knew nothing about what Epsom was, and I wrote her claims off to simply soaking in warm water. Years later I began to learn that some cultures use salt for purification and protection rituals, and it is often connected in modern times to detoxing. As my interest in health and detoxing grew over time, Epsom salt’s benefits and healing properties became an important resource, though much of it was still shrouded in mystery for me.
So what is Epsom salt exactly? If you’ve ever gotten some in your mouth in a float tank, you know that Epsom is slightly bitter and not wholly salty. Epsom salt is chemically composed of the mineral magnesium and sulfate, a salt that is highly soluble in water --- both are naturally occurring in geological environments. But where does the “Epsom” part of the name come from? The magnesium sulfate was originally obtained from Epsom, England, where water containing it was bubbling up from a spring. The water became renowned for its healing and purging properties, and people traveled from all over the world to visit the spring. When the water was evaporated, it left behind what we now call Epsom salt.
Epsom salt is used internally and externally for a variety of purposes. It has two main internal purposes; the first is occasional purging and relief from constipation, as it is a natural laxative, and the second is to bring magnesium into the bloodstream to maintain a sustainable homeostasis, similar to the other minerals the body needs to survive (such as potassium and calcium). If you are planning to take Epsom salt internally, please be sure to use an Epsom salt that has been approved by the FDA for human consumption and do research to find the correct dosage. Externally, Epsom salt is considered safe and is most commonly used in warm baths. Some benefits you may see from taking Epsom salt baths or floats are improved sleep quality, pain reduction, increased healing, muscle recovery, and stress reduction. There is nothing more relaxing than soaking in warm salt water! Epsom salt can also be used as an exfoliant for the skin, although the coarser the salt, the more careful you want to be not to damage your skin barrier.
One of the main ingredients in Epsom salt is magnesium, which is used in 325 different biochemical functions in the body, and it is one of the most common deficiencies due to a diet high in processed food. Deficiency in magnesium could be responsible for muscle cramps, fatigue, mental disorders, osteoporosis, migraines, irregular heartbeat, and high blood pressure. It is common for medical practitioners to suggest a daily magnesium supplement to many of their clients. Magnesium is best absorbed trans-dermally, which means through the skin, and Epsom salt baths or Floats are an excellent way to boost magnesium in your system if you are depleted. Because your body has natural processes to balance magnesium, it will only absorb what it needs, making it impossible to “overdose.”
Surprisingly enough, Epsom salt also has uses in the garden: it can be used as a low cost fertilizer and soil enhancer. It is often used to replenish magnesium and sulfate in the soil, resulting in more vibrant and proliferate flower blooms. Though some plants will happily grow in soil that is low in magnesium, other plants, such as tomatoes, peppers, and roses, require normal to higher levels of magnesium. Two tablespoons dissolved in a gallon of water is suggested for watering plants. Please check your gardening sources online before giving any salty water to your plants!
Epsom salt can easily be found in any drugstore and is widely available. Due to the growth of the float industry, Epsom salt is in high demand. Each of our float tanks contains 1000+ pounds of pharmaceutical grade Epsom salt from Epsoak, a company based out of San Francisco. Bulk 50 pound bags (the same ones added to our tanks) are available for purchase in our shop, and Healing One will soon be releasing our line of custom scented Epsom salt, enhanced with fresh aloe vera and vitamin E. Soon you can take a PEACE of Healing One home with you!