For those of you that know me well, you may know that I tend to “burn the candle at both ends” (as my Mom used to say when I’d ask her to drive me from school to rehearsals to friend’s houses to study groups). I not only over-commit socially, but I’ve also been known to overdo it at the gym from time to time. Because of that fact, I’ve had to learn to balance my life by making myself relax.
Fortunately, this comes pretty naturally to me. In fact, I’m kind of a pro when it comes to relaxation. You name it, I’ve tried it and I probably do it on a regular basis. Massages, yoga, herbal tea, poolside naps…I’m there. One common theme in my relaxation regimen is the actual benefit these methods have on my physical and mental well being. And before you judge too harshly, poolside naps are full of Vitamin D! One preferred method of daily relaxation is an epsom salt bath. I started soaking in hot salt baths about a year ago when I began training for my half marathon. I found that the hot water was soothing to my sore muscles, the salt allowed me to sweat out nasty toxins and there’s just something about soaking that brings me to a whole different level of calm.
I know that a lot of my friends dislike baths for a number of reasons, but before you write this entire post off, take a minute to learn of some facts about epsom salt. Magnesium sulfate (epsom salt’s scientific name) is a chemical compound made up of magnesium, sulfur and oxygen. Magnesium is the second most abundant element in human cells, regulates over 300 enzymes in the body and is vital for overall health and wellness by controlling many bodily functions such as muscle control and the elimination of harmful toxins. Unfortunately, most Americans are magnesium deficient, according to The National Academy of Sciences, which is a contributing factor to our nation’s high rate of heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, arthritis and numerous other maladies. But, don’t worry, there’s good news! A salt bath, one made with magnesium sulfate, is one of the BEST ways to increase magnesium levels in your body.
There are a host of benefits to soaking in epsom salts on a regular basis. The increase in magnesium can help ease stress, muscle and joint aches, help prevent artery hardening and blood clots, and reduce painful inflammation. The increase in sulfates from one of these baths can help flush toxins, improve absorption of nutrients, form joint proteins and ease migraines. If you ask me, those are all pretty brilliant effects of something that requires a nearly negative effort!
Now, the really fun part: make your own epsom salt bath soak!! Although you can buy a bag of epsom salt at the pharmacy, I find that a salt bath is made even more enjoyable when it smells delicious and makes your skin silky smooth. It’s an incredibly easy project and the scent options are endless. Check it out!
What You’ll Need:
- 1 bag epsom salt
- Baking soda
- Sea salt
- An assortment of essential oils
- Mixing bowls, cups and spoons
What To Do:
- Mix 4 parts epsom salt with 1 part sea salt in a large mixing bowl
- Add 1-2 tablespoons baking soda and stir
- Add 1 tablespoon glycerin (optional) and 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oils and stir well. Experiment with different scents and research their benefits and uses to achieve optimal results. My favorite combo right now is lavender and rose. Continue adding drops of oil until you achieve that perfect blend!
- Store in an airtight container. I like to place the mixture in a mason jar with a fun tag and give as a gift! (picture at the top of this post) You can also place the salt in a ziploc bag for easy storage and pouring.
- Pour about 1 cup of your salt mixture into a hot running bath.
- Soak for at least 20 minutes
- Relax and enjoy!
(More information about epsom salt and its benefits and uses can be found here.)