Epsom salt detox is a warm bath with Epsom salt that may help improve the body’s natural detoxification process and promote healing.
A salt detox isn’t the same as pouring table salt into your bathtub. Salt detox baths are usually made of Epsom salt, which allows for minerals to “draw out” toxins from the body.
Supporters may claim that soaking in an Epsom salt bath can remove harmful toxins and balance the body. They may also say that it helps with:
- weight management
- gaining relief from sore muscles
- increased health
Epsom salt looks similar to table salt, but it’s a completely different compound. Epsom salt is made of both magnesium and sulfate, whereas table salt is sodium.
Epsom salt has reportedly been used for over 400 years, ever since an English farmer discovered that the “bitter water” in his wells had remarkable healing properties on skin rashes and injuries. Read on to learn about the benefits of Epsom salt and how to use it in a bath.
What are the benefits of an Epsom salt detox?
The two main ingredients of Epsom salt are magnesium and sulfate. It is believed the combination of both ingredients stimulates detoxification pathways.
Magnesium is a natural substance that aids a variety of bodily functions, including the removal of toxins. Sulfate can strengthen the walls of the digestive tract and make releasing toxins easier.
There is little scientific research documenting the detoxifying effects of Epsom salt. However, advocates of it argue that an Epsom salt detox bath may have the following benefits:
Soothe the skin
Epsom salt bathwater can soften rough, dry skin, and exfoliate dead skin cells. It may also soothe skin affected by skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis.
It is a good idea to check with a doctor before soaking in Epsom salt if a person has a skin condition, as it may make the symptoms worse.
Reduce soreness and pain
An Epsom salt bath may provide pain relief and reduce swelling in people living with certain types of inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, gout, and psoriatic arthritis.
Low levels of magnesium can ease the pain in people with arthritis. Epsom salt contains magnesium and may help the body get rid of toxins responsible for exacerbating inflammation while also reducing swelling, stiffness, and pain.
Healthy magnesium levels can boost brain neurotransmitters that are responsible for inducing sleep and reducing stress. Magnesium may also promote melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone.
People feeling stressed and overwhelmed may benefit from taking an Epsom salt bath. Some research has found that people who are suffering from mental and physical stress benefit when their magnesium levels are managed. While the study looked at oral supplements, Epsom salt could have a similar effect.
Taking a warm bath can also help a person relax by allowing them to release muscle tension and recuperate after a long day.
Promote foot health
Epsom salt may help treat athlete’s foot and ingrown toenail infections. A person can bathe in a tub with Epsom salt water or soak feet in warm water and Epsom salt to help feet heal faster and relieve itching.
Soaking the feet in Epsom salts may also help reduce foot odor.
Draw out splinters
Splinters can be difficult to remove without pushing them further into the skin. Soaking in an Epsom salt bath for a few minutes can reduce inflammation in the affected area, soften the splinter, and make it easier to remove.
How to make an Epsom salt detox bath
To make an Epsom salt bath, you can:
1. Use 2 cups of Epsom salt for a standard-sized bathtub with warm water (never more than 101.5 to 102° Fahrenheit).
2. Pour the salt under the water spout. This allows for the salt to dissolve faster and mix fully into the bath. The water mixture should feel soapy.
3. Soak in the tub for at least 12 minutes (or 20, for constipation).
For added aromatherapy benefits, add essential oils like lavender, peppermint, or tea tree to your bath. Or take more than 12 minutes to really relax and enjoy some personal time.
For smaller applications, you can make an Epsom salt paste. If you want to use the salt on certain parts of the body, you can make a paste with a small amount of salt and water and spread over the affected part of the body.
You can purchase Epsom salt at a health food store, grocery store, or online. Avoid using Epsom salt in hot tubs, jet pools, and tubs with jets unless the manufacturer says it’s OK.
Risks and side effects of Epsom salt baths
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have about an Epsom salt bath. The risks of side effects from an Epsom salt bath are low. Your body won’t absorb that much magnesium through your skin.
An Epsom salt bath is also relatively safe for children, but you should take extra precautions to prevent your child or infant from drinking Epsom salt water.
Pregnant women, children, and people with impaired kidney function should avoid taking oral magnesium. If your kidneys are not working at their optimal levels, your body may not be able to get rid of excess magnesium, putting you at risk for serious health complications.
Side effects of magnesium overdose, usually from ingestion, include:
- blurred vision
- dizziness or fainting
- breathing problems
- increase or decrease in urination
- slow heartbeat
- muscle weakness
Side effects are rare in people with normal kidney function. See a doctor if your symptoms continue or don’t get better.
All you need to know about Epsom salts
Check with your doctor if you have any concerns about taking an Epsom bath due to magnesium overdose. While there need to be more studies to prove the effectiveness of Epsom salt baths or magnesium absorption across the skin, people still report benefits.
For the average person, a salt bath detox may have more external benefits than internal. You will likely leave an Epsom salt bath feeling more refreshed, less sore, and with softer skin.
Although an Epsom bath is unlikely to help with weight management, it can be an enjoyable experience after a long day of sitting at work or after the gym. A hot bath in itself is a great way to reduce stress and spend quality time relaxing.
Meanwhile, more research is needed to prove the benefits and detoxifying effects of Epsom salt baths.
However, people who use Epsom salt baths for detoxification believe in their benefits, such as relaxation, pain relief, and softening the skin.
Warm baths can help to reduce stress and promote better sleep. Adding Epsom salt can be a part of a healthy relaxation routine.