Self-care is more important now than ever before. But despite the fact that we’re all at home — many of us with nothing but time on our hands — it can still be hard to prioritize our wellness. Yoga classes, massages, acupuncture appointments, and long walks with friends are currently out of the question. Instead, we’re forced to find ways to wind down and relax within the walls of our homes.
Enter: Epsom salt baths. This form of magnesium therapy is the perfect self-care ritual to lean on right now. Here’s why you need to add them to your grocery list today.
Why Epsom salts are the perfect “stay at home” remedy
Epsom salt baths are an age-old healing and self-care tradition. Their use dates back to the 1700s when the residents of a small town outside of London found that bathing in and drinking from the nearby saline spring improved their health — helping with anything from skin issues and wound healing to constipation.
Today, hundreds of years later, you can find Epsom salts in every major grocery store and pharmacy. Both alternative and conventional doctors and health experts agree that Epsom salts, which are really just magnesium sulfate salts, are a worthwhile home remedy.
Why? Because magnesium, which is what Epsom salts are made from, is a mineral that many of us are deficient in. And it plays a role in over 300 crucial biochemical reactions in the body, which control anything from protein synthesis and blood sugar regulation to energy production and muscle and nerve function. Knowing this, it won’t surprise you to learn that magnesium deficiencies are thought to play a role in anxiety, depression, headaches, muscle spasms, and even chronic pain.
Being aware of the benefits of magnesium is particularly important right now since many of us are looking for simple, inexpensive, no-frills ways to support our mental and physical health. The best part? An entire bag of Epsom salts costs less than $10 dollars and is enough for multiple baths.
How to use Epsom salts for quarantine aches and pains
If that was enough to convince you that Epsom salts are worth adding to your grocery list, I promise, you won’t regret it! That said, you still need to know how to use Epsom salts the right way.
The first rule of magnesium bathing is that its best done without technology, which means leaving your computer, the iPad — and yes even your phone! — outside the bathroom door if at all possible. Next, light some candles or dim the lights as much as possible while you fill your bathtub with hot water and add in at least a cup of Epsom salts. It feels like you’re putting in too much but if you want the full benefits, you can’t skimp on the serving size. It’s also recommended that you soak for at least 15 minutes — but preferably more like 30.
If you’re looking to supercharge the healing benefits, you can also add a few drops of lavender essential oil or some Manuka honey to the bath for extra relaxation and skin-soothing benefits. Most people prefer to soak at night before bed since magnesium has shown some promise for fending off insomnia, but don’t underestimate the benefits of morning baths, either. Our cortisol levels are highest in the morning and we haven’t moved our bodies in hours; as a result, many people experience pain, stiffness, and anxiety when they wake up.
This is, arguably, one of the hardest and strangest events many of us have ever experienced. But closing the door, lighting some candles, and soaking for 30 minutes in a magnesium-rich bath can be a game-changer. Don’t forget to snag some Epsom salts on your next grocery store run.
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