Now I’m retired I spend my time pursuing mostly physical interests. Yoga, martial arts, skiing, hiking, camping, and kayaking are pretty much what I do. In order to keep vigorous and resilient I have a regimen. To stay healthy, I eat right and get plenty of sleep, regular massages, and take at least one Epsom salt bath a week. Especially when I‘m sore, or better yet if I think I’m going to be sore, Epsom salt baths soothe my muscles and joints. They really work.
According to the Epsom Salt Council, Epsom salt is used to relieve sore muscles, help remove splinters and fade bruises. It can be used as a beauty product. Athletes use it for pain relief and gardeners use it to improve crops. It is also an effective treatment to relieve the pain and discomfort associated with bee stings, mosquito bites, sunburn and poison ivy.
Not only effective, Epsom salt is relatively cheap. You can buy it in cartons or bags at places like Bi-Mart and Rite-Aid, and sometimes it’s on sale so you can stock up. My hairdresser told me about the Grange Co-op where I can get a fifty pound bag for $21.99 – a steal! I keep a jar of salt by the bathtub and fill it up from the bag in the garage. So nice!
Epsom salt has been traditionally used as a component of bath salts. For relief from muscle pain, Epsom salt is commonly added to bath water before soaking for a minimum of 12 minutes. For other localized treatments, Epsom salt can be mixed with water and soaked into a washcloth or towel to apply directly to the skin. I dissolve the salt in a bucket of water after hiking to soothe sore feet. Also, Epsom salt is composed of both magnesium and sulfate, and soaking in the dissolved salts can help raise the body’s level of both of these vital nutrients.
Epsom salt take its name from a bitter saline spring in Epsom in Surrey, England, where the salt was produced from the springs that arise where the porous chalk of the North Downs meets non-porous London clay. Now it is on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines, the most important medications needed in a basic health system, so you know it’s good stuff.
I highly recommend that kayakers keep a supply of Epsom salt handy. There’s nothing like a hot Epsom salt bath after a long day on the cold water. Even in warmer climes than ours here in the Pacific Northwest, an Epsom salt bath can soothe your pain away after a heavy workout. It’s my belief that repeated usage keeps the body flexible, strong, and pain-free. Haven’t tried them yet? You don’t know what you’re missing!
Do you use Epsom salt? How do you like it? Share you story here.