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The Health Benefits of Epsom Salts

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Benefits of Epsom Salts

We’ve all heard of Epsom salts but few of us know what it is actually made from – the answer is  magnesium sulfate, a mixture of the mineral magnesium, and the compound, sulfate. It’s famous for adding to bathing water, in order to supplement the body’s levels of its two main natural chemical ingredients, because absorption through the skin is the best way of getting these essential substances into the human body. The health benefits of Emspom Salts are remarkable. 

The history of Epsom Salt

Epsom Salt originally came from a fresh spring in Epsom, Surrey, England, where the water rises up through the layers of porous chalk and nonporous London clay, which form the hills in a region known as the Epsom Downs.

The history of Epsom Salt started with its discovery back in 1618, when a farmer in Epsom realized that his cows weren’t too keen to drink the water on his farm because it tasted so bitter. He also came to realize that this same bitter water also seemed to have the power to speed the healing of scratches and skin ailments such as rashes. Word spread slowly, and Epsom Salt was born.

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Epsom became one of the first ever Spa towns, although in later years it was overtaken by towns whose spa water springs produced greater quantities of water. The term “Epsom Salts” was first coined by a chemist called Nehemiah Grew in the book he wrote in 1695 on the subject of “bitter purging salt”.

Looking and feeling good

For many years the benefits of Epsom Salt has been renowned both for its benefits in beauty treatment, general health and well-being. It’s this health and well-being aspect that is of particular importance in terms of following a holistic health lifestyle – though of course there’s nothing wrong with a little beauty either!

Benefits of Epsom Salt as a beauty treatment

The two main uses of Epsom Salt as beauty treatments are for enhancing skin health and improving the quality of your hair.

Epsom Salt and skin health

Our bodies are constantly producing new cells. Old cells die and new cells replace them at a rate of about 1 million per day. Although it’s somewhat of a revolting thought, the majority of the dust you find in your house is made up of your dead skin cells. Over the period of one year, we each shed approximately 8 pounds of dead skin, and this is what the dust mites in our houses live on – us – or rather bits of what once was us!

The outer layer of your skin in constantly covered in dead skin cells. If these don’t get fully removed, they can remain on your body and clog up your new skin cells. That’s why we exfoliate. Exfoliation is the way that we slough off all of that dead skin, leaving behind healthy new skin cells that can breathe freely. That’s why exfoliated skin looks so clean and healthy – it’s because it is!

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Epsom salt is a great exfoliator

In order to exfoliate successfully, you need to apply something slightly abrasive. Not too abrasive or you’ll make your skin too sore. The best way is to apply handfuls of Epsom Salt to wet or damp skin and rub it well. Afterward, you can shower down, or for even more health benefits (which you can read later on in this article), relax in a nice warm Epsom Salt bath. Another great tip for skin health – add some olive oil to your bath water – it acts as a skin moisturizer. You can add up to ½ a cup into a tub full of water. Find the level you feel comfortable with depending on your skin’s natural oil content.

Epsom Salt as an acne treatment

Oh yes, one other thing. It’s great for acne, too. The exfoliation aspect is important because it helps to clean your skin’s pores, and the antimicrobial content of the sulfate means that Epsom helps to fight off any acne bacteria.

Epsom Salt as a hair care treatment

You can also use Epsom Salt as a hair care treatment to remove toxins, clean your scalp, and add volume to your hair. Simply add to hair conditioner in equal amounts; apply, working well into your scalp, and leave in for 20 minutes before washing out with warm water.

The benefits of Epsom Salt for health and well-being

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As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the most effective way of getting the maximum general health benefit from Epsom Salt is to add it to your bath water – approximately 2 cups per bathtub will do fine.

The roles of magnesium and sulfate

Magnesium is an essential element that has multiple roles in helping to keep your body systems working to their optimum. It’s an important element in the regulation and activity of over 325 enzymes, some of which are responsible for reducing inflammation, enhancing muscle and nerve function, and reducing the hardening of your arteries. In addition to the many benefits of magnesium, the sulfate element in Epsom Salt helps to increase your body’s absorption of nutrients, as well as being able to promote detoxification. Acting in harmony, these two important compounds of Epsom Salt provide many health benefits, including:

  • Prevents hardening of the arteries
  • Helps to prevent blood clots from forming
  • Helps to relieve joint pain
  • Soothes and relaxes sore muscles
  • Soothes sprain pain
  • Helps to lessen bruise inflammation
  • Relaxes tension and stress
  • Helps the body to detox
  • Improves bone integrity
  • Helps to prepare your body for a good night’s sleep
  • Reduces the risk of diabetes through enhanced insulin management

All of the above-listed health benefits of Epsom Salt are accessible just by taking a bath 2 to 3 times per week. There are other health benefits that Epsom Salt can offer when administered differently:

  • Foot health: add half a cup of Epsom salt to a bowl of warm water and soak your feet in it to soothe foot pain; nullify any odor, and soften any hard and rough skin.
  • To treat constipation: Epsom Salt can be used as an effective laxative to help treat constipation by adding 1 teaspoon to a glass of water. The magnesium sulfate that Epsom Salt contains has the ability to draw water into the bowel, which then softens any stools, making them easier to pass. It is recommended that you check with your doctor before using.
  • Bug bites and skin inflammation: Dissolve one tablespoon of Epsom Salt into half a glass of warm water and allow to cool before applying to the affected area.
  • Mild sunburn: the same solution as described above can also be used to soothe mild sunburn.

Make room for Epsom Salt in your holistic health medicine cabinet

Finding natural remedies for certain conditions and improving your overall health and well-being are key in helping you to achieve a holistic health. Epsom Salt, whether administered in a soothing, relaxing bath or prepared in one of the other ways described above, can be a great help. So, always make sure you’ve got some in your medicine cabinet.

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