The Benefits of Epsom Salts
Epsom salts are a mixture of magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen (magnesium sulfate) that occurs naturally in the soil. Since ancient times, magnesium sulfate has been used for a variety of health-related purposes, most notably as an anti-inflammatory agent that is believed to soothe sore muscles. The trend of bathing in dissolved Epsom salts continues to grow in popularity, but is there any scientific evidence to back up its therapeutic effects? Actually, and perhaps surprisingly, there is very little.
In fact, there is some evidence to suggest that magnesium sulfate cannot pass through the skin barrier. This means that Epsom salts likely have a negligible effect — if any — on muscle soreness or injury recovery time.
With that said, Epsom salts are pleasant to use, relatively inexpensive, and do not have any known harmful effects. Most people agree that magnesium sulfate makes their bath water feel slicker, smoother, and silkier. And, because salt naturally increases the density of water, it makes the body feel lighter and floatier. In fact, this principle is regularly used in flotation therapy to promote deep relaxation — a very real benefit, albeit unrelated to soothing sore muscles (at least directly).
While it’s important to understand that bathing in magnesium sulfate is not a miracle cure, there is no reason not to do so. In addition to sore muscles, some people enjoy using Epsom salt baths as a home treatment for:
- Arthritis pain and swelling
- Sprains and bruises
- Ingrown toenails
- Sunburn pain and redness
- Tired, swollen feet
Of course, if you have any health concerns, you should talk with a physician before using Epsom salts. You are always welcome to chat with the medical professionals at South Tampa Immediate Care – and you don’t need an appointment to do so. Just stop by our walk-in clinic, which is conveniently located on South Howard Avenue in Tampa, FL.