How to Take Epic Epsom Salt Baths

For years, Epsom salt baths have been encouraged by several top natural health leaders. In my previous article on Epsom salt baths, I reviewed the science of why Epsom salt baths can help health. If you need a quick refresher, just remember these three points:

  1. Increases magnesium levels in the body, which is important for great health and sometimes hard to get via diet alone (even a real food diet).
  2. Increases sulfate levels in the body. Sulfate is needed for proper liver detox, which is a good idea in our ever toxic world.
  3. Lowers stress hormones. This has yet to be tested in studies, however those who’ve done an Epsom salt bath know it is a relaxing and calming ritual. For me, it’s not a huge logical jump to assume that sitting in a hot bath, breathing and thinking, without technology, will lower stress levels.

In general, the science on the health benefits of Epsom salt baths is nowhere conclusive or complete at this time. However, lack of proof is not proof against and with the low risk of side effects and the benefits possibly very high, I think it’s a great therapy to add to any natural health program.

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Important Qualities of an Amazing Epsom Salt Experience

Most people think of taking Epsom salt baths in a bathtub. And that’s typically what I do. But just because you don’t have a bathtub doesn’t mean you have to skip this article. You can get many of the same benefits by soaking your feet in Epsom salts. In other words, anyone can find a plastic tub or bucket and take Epsom salt foot baths. No excuses, but from here on out I will assume you have access to some kind of tub of water to submerge your body in.

First, let’s talk about a few factors that will influence your Epsom salt bath experience.

  • Temperature – The temperature of the bath or foot soak will affect the therapeutic effect of the bath. This has been my experience and it’s reported from many who practice regular bathing. The hotter the water, the more of an effect these baths seem to have. I usually draw water that is hot enough to sting as I ease in. My body seems to adapt pretty fast and heat is lost rapidly through most bathtubs, so if it’s too hot just wait a bit or add some cold water.
  • Solution Concentration – I get all excited about making an Epsom salt bath because it takes me back to chemistry class. A bit of this and a bit of that and BOOM. Yep… I had fun in that class. Anyways, what I’m talking about here is how much Epsom salt to put into your bath, because this determines the strength of the soak. The more Epsom salt you dump in, the stronger the solution will be. And don’t forget about the size of the vessel you’re pouring the salt in. If you have an extra-large tub you will need more Epsom salt to create the same strength solution as someone with a standard size tub. And if you’re using a foot bath, you need much less.
  • Environment – Part of the benefit of the Epsom salt bath is lowering stress hormones. So, the environment in which you take these baths is worth mentioning. If possible, make sure everyone is going to leave you alone… especially if you have kids. Let them know this is mommy time unless some life threatening problem arises. Later, I will talk more about this, but you can also enhance the environment using music, candles and essential oil scents.
  • Raw Materials – Luckily it doesn’t appear that there is much variation in the Epsom salt market. I’ve tried a few brands and didn’t notice a difference in the results or quality of salt. My current favorite for price and value is here (a steal if you have Amazon Prime shipping). There are plenty of Epsom salt blends in which the companies add in additional herbs or scents. I’ve tried a few and I’m not a fan. They tend to be priced really high and if you don’t like the blend strength (high/low) you can’t do much about it. Save your money and make your own.
  • Water Quality – If you’re like me and will be relying on unfiltered city water, it’s likely you might want to take a few extra steps to improve the water quality. The first one is Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C powder). In this article, Chris Kresser breaks down why you want to remove chlorine and chloramine from your water. I use about 2000mg per bath. Next, you might test adding a ¼ to 1 cup of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to raise the pH of the water, which will possibly help to fight skin infections. I haven’t jumped into the rabbit hole of high pH water and health, but I do know from testing the baking soda that my skin is less red, so I keep using it.
  • Time – How long are you going to soak? Well, it would appear from an informal survey of the internet, the time spent in the water should be anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes. The sweet spot for me is 20 minutes. 15 minutes seemed too short and 30+ felt the same as 20. So, my goal is always 20 minutes and if I’m really relaxed and enjoying myself I just turn the alarm off and stay soaking till I’m bored. That could be another 2 minutes or 10+, it just depends. I think there is some logic that staying in longer might help, but don’t make this a sticking point. Shoot for the minimum effective dose to get most of the benefits, which for me is around 20 minutes.

Okay, so to sum it up, to create an EPIC Epsom salt bath we should think about the following factors: water temperature, solution concentration, environment, raw materials, water quality, and time. Now, I’ll run through the steps you can follow to get started.

Creating an Epic Epsom Salt Bath Experience

Why do I keep saying Epic? Well, you could just dump Epsom salt in the bathtub and jump in. There’s really no right or wrong way here. But for me, that’s too basic and I like to take it up a few levels.

So, what takes a normal Epsom salt bath to Epic levels? A few of the ingredients listed below.

Water Enhancers – Ascorbic Acid and Baking Soda will help reduce skin irritation and, in my experience, actually help my skin look and feel better.

Essential Oils – Yes, these do have merits and for those who think they lack actual scientific facts let me clue you in on a few that do.

essential-oil-epsom-salt-bath-recipe

  • Cypress Oil – Is great for activating natural killer (NK) cells, which are a very important part of the immune system (especially for tumor killing). It also appears to lower stress hormones like cortisol.
  • Rose Oil – Has been touted for centuries to have amazing health benefits. Here’s an interesting study showing rose oil lowering salivary cortisol in humans.
  • Lavender Oil – Appears to be good for your brain and helping with sleep quality. As it’s used in many multi-oil studies, my bet is it also lowers stress hormones, but I can’t find a good study on it.
  • Eucalyptus Oil – The study of cypress and eucalyptus oil showed reduced cortisol and this study links to several studies showing possible anti-inflammatory and pro-immune system benefits.
  • Frankincense Oil – One of the active compounds in Frankincense is Incensole Acetate, a neuro-active chemical that has a profound effect on emotions. It’s believed to be able to communicate with the limbic system to influence the nervous system and has been shown in animal studies to relieve anxiety and depression. Read about the many benefits of Frankincense here.
  • Tea Tree Oil It’s extensive anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties make it one of the most researched oils on the market. It’s stimulatory effect on the immune system, as well as it’s powerful role in healing skin conditions makes tea tree oil a great addition to your bath time routine

  • PeppermintThis study shows it is effective for the treatment of tension headaches, which often occur as a result of stress. Peppermint produces an analgesic effect, increases blood flow to the area, and helps to decrease smooth muscle contractions associated with tension headaches.

  • Ravintsara – Known as the oil of meditation and purity, this earthy eucalyptus-like medicinal oil calms the nerves, reduces pain, and promotes sleep. Ravintsara is high in the compound 1,8 cineole which has been studied for ability to aid in respiratory issues like asthma and COPD.

Note: Make sure that you don’t add your oil until you have finished running the water or you will lose much of the oil’s benefit to evaporation.

So, let’s say you want the ultimate anti-stress bath – you may want to use Lavender and Rose. Or say you really want to boost your immune system, then grab some Cypress and Eucalyptus. Start by using a total of 6-12 drops of the oils. You may like more, so play with the combinations and amounts.

Just like with supplements, not all essential oils are created equally. If you want the benefits of the oils we described above, you have to use high quality, pure essential oils (not cheap blends!). I’ve tried a lot of brands – from the inexpensive, mass-produced ones to those only sold through independent distributors – and I can say my absolute favorite are Rocky Mountain Oils (RMO). They do third-party GC/MS testing and offer a S.A.A.F.E. Promise™, which really sets them apart from other brands.

Special Note from Our Readers: We recommend you don’t use soaps with essential oils. Make sure you mix the oil well into the bath, or you may experience a burning sensation from the oil sitting on the top of the water.

Mood Music – You may have a specific artist that really makes you happy so put that on loud enough to drown out the world. Or try a meditation track off YouTube. This one is a current favorite of mine. Lastly, there are times when a stimulation break is needed and earplugs are the perfect ticket. After trying many, these are my favorites. Just put them in and enjoy the lack of sound.

Mood Lighting – I don’t go this far, but for those who have the time and space, test it out. Candles! Lots of them… enough that you can dim or turn off the lights and just chill with the soft light of a candle.

Now that I’ve talked about the finer points of creating an Epic Epsom salt bath, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty.

How to Take Epsom Salt Baths

I have a fairly standard-sized western bathtub. When I fill it up and sit in it (with my legs on the bottom of the tub) the water barely reaches my belly button. So, to get another 2-3 inches out of the tub I picked up this cheap little widget and it works great.

So, let’s break it down to simple steps so that everyone can partake.

Step 1. Draw the hottest temperature bath water you can stand. Make sure to put this nifty device in place to get more out of the tub. And if it’s too hot then just add some cold water. Don’t make this harder than it is.

Step 2. At some point while it’s filling up, start to add your epic ingredients. I’ve learned to wait at least 5 minutes for the various products to dissolve into the water.

  • Add 1-3 cups of Epsom salt. Start at 1 cup if you are very sick. (2 cups seems to be about the standard amount.) And working up to 3 is the advanced range. This wiki page suggests using ½ cup for children under 60lbs and 1 cup for children between 60lbs – 100lbs. I haven’t seen anything to contradict this for children, but I have no experience so hopefully someone in the comments will give theirs.
  • Add ¼ – 1 cup of Baking soda (I usually use ½)
  • Add 1000-2000mg of Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C powder)
  • Add 6-12 drops of essential oils (mix the water up before jumping in)
  • Ready the environment. I like to use relaxing music, set a timer on my iPhone and sometimes put in earplugs.

Step 3. The soaking part. If you’re lucky, your bathtub might be deep enough to allow the water to cover your whole torso almost up to your head. If you’re normal, you’ll have a choice to either soak the legs or soak the upper body. If you’re minus a bathtub, then it’s just your feet and you can skip this section. But the rest of us, we have a decision. I like to spend the first 5-10 minutes or so soaking the lower body and then spend the rest with my upper body under water and lower body wedged up on the wall. And if you’re someone like me who has had skin issues on your face, you might want to go all-in and spend part or the entire bath with your head halfway under water, leaving just your nose/mouth out to breathe. This will allow the skin on your face time to soak up these great nutrients and usually leaves mine looking great and feeling smoother.

Step 4. The meditative part. As I’ve said, there’s really no right or wrong way to do an Epsom salt soak but I want to provide a couple ideas that work well for me. The first is to do meditative deep breathing. There’s about a million ways to do this and I think one of the easiest is to try 5-5-5 triangle breathing. Inhale for a count of 5, hold for a count of 5 and breathe out for a count of 5. You might want to spend part of the bath remembering times that you are grateful for, saying a gratitude list out loud or replaying the day… making sure not to judge it and just to digest it. Lastly, if you didn’t think I was weird enough I seem to do some of my best thinking in water environments. So, I sometimes use these baths as time to brainstorm, create or dream up ideas I’m thinking about. If this happens for you, don’t forget to keep a pen and paper handy or take audio notes on your phone when the bath is done.

Okay, now that I’ve taken a simple and easy idea like an Epsom salt bath and messed it all up with my endless thinking and testing, tell me about yours. Do you take the simple approach or do you have a complex ritual like mine?

The final take home point is to just do it. Whatever that means for you, Epsom salt baths don’t need to be complex. But if you want to go further… I say do it. I’ve found added benefits.

-Steve

Steven Wright

About Steven Wright

Steve Wright is a health engineer and author. In 2009, he reached a breaking point when IBS took over his life and the doctors didn't know how to help. Since then, he has transformed his health and started HealthyGut.com to help others naturally heal stomach problems. You can check out his story here and find him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

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128 thoughts on “How to Take Epic Epsom Salt Baths

  1. Avatar

    As I write this, I’m lying in an Epsom Salts bath and have been for about half an hour or so. I also added bicarb and some essential oils (lavender, rosemary, lime and bergamot). The bath was warm, but not hot, when I got in (got a bit distracted beforehand, so got cooler than I would have liked). Its now lukewarm. My back started burning about 5 to 10 minutes ago, and although I sat up in the water just after starting to write this, the burning has become quite painful, especially where my wet long hair is hanging against it. I’m going to finish my bath and get out as soon as I publish this, but I wanted to find out if you could tell me why I would have this problem. Could the Epsom salts cause it? If so, why?

      • Avatar

        Thanks, Lori. I’ve tried an Epsom salt bath without the essential oils, as you suggested, without any problems, as well as one with the addition of lavender, which was also fine. So, the culprit is probably one of the other essential oils I tried before.

        With regard to your recommendation about making the bath as hot as is bearable, I have found I cannot tolerate a very hot bath. I’ve started with the water at a lower temperature and then added hot water when I was in the bath. I felt quite ill very soon after I raised the temperature of the bath, and had to get out quite quickly. It definitely wasn’t relaxing, unfortunately!

  2. Avatar

    Hi Steven…Great article.Very informative.I have been diagonised BPH.Since last 2 weeks am taking sitz bath along with prescribed medicine.I added Epsom salt..its great.I do kegel exercise while seating in Epsom hot water.Found very invigorating soothing and beneficial for bph.

  3. Avatar

    Wat all you is correct but i have a question.
    I wanted to use epsom salt daily for my bath purpose but without using soap daily it seems to be incomplete for me. But it is clearly mentioned not to use soap so am really confused how to use epsom salt daily?

    • Avatar

      HI Charani, we don’t recommend adding soap to the bath while you are soaking, but you can wash off with soap at the end of the bath. More research is needed regarding how soap effects the role of the oils so it’s best not to mix the two while actively soaking.

  4. Avatar

    This was my second time using Epsom salts in my bath. I used two cups. After about 20mins, I got a sharp cramp on the left side of my torso. I had to immediately sit down, felt very dizzy and nauseous. This stopped after about 5/10mins. I then felt a pain in the lower right hand side of my back (kidneys). My hands and feet were very cold. I decided to go to bed for a few hours. I still have the pain in my kidney! Can anyone let me know if they have had this type of experience. Thanks Suzanne

  5. Avatar

    I disagree with the water temperature. When the water is very hot, a person begins to sweat so at this point no magnesium is able to absorb into the body. If you do use very hot water make sure you stay I the bath until it cools so the body can absorb all the minerals.

  6. Avatar

    Good article. Every holistic practitioner I have ever seen has recommended Epsom salt baths. The problem in my area is that the mental midgets in government require fluoride added to the water supply, so I avoid all baths and have even changed my showering habits. I do have a four-stage water filter that removes 98% of all fluoride from my drinking water, but this does not affect my bathing water.

    I may try to heat some filtered water on the stove for a foot bath. Our legislators truly are our worst enemies. Please just leave us alone. Sorry to be negative, but this one really sticks in my craw. The government forces us to PAY to poison ourselves. See the recent international study in the UK linking fluoride to hypothyroidism. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism just a few years after fluoride was mandated in my water supply, so this is a particular sore spot with me.

  7. Avatar

    YL has a detox Bath recipe that I use. It recommends mixing Epsom salt with baking soda and adding your favorite essential oil to that mixture and stirring. That will keep the essential oils from floating on the top of the water and affecting the more sensitive parts of your body. I will be looking for the vitamin c to add to the mix.
    Thanks for the article!

  8. Avatar

    I too have a really complex ritual like you.
    Generally on weekends after a hectic week I take some time off. And pamper myself.
    I light up plenty candles and first soak myself in raw milk bath with some Rose petals… It feels wonderful with my favourite playlist on the background… Then I soak into Epson salt and create ideas..

  9. Avatar
    Trinity rose says:

    Hi everyone. Just wanted to give you some more info on your great epson salt baths. First, if you have sugar diabetes Do NOT use this! My brother did and it caused him to get holes in his feet that never healed. On the back of the bag it say not to use if you have this disease. My pain doctor said you did NOT have to have your whole body in the bath. Just taking the bath affects your complete body. He said it with all the science facts, but all I can remember is just take the bath and all of your body will be happy. I was worried about getting my neck ( have had several surgeries on it) and my low spine which has had problems. So happy bathing! It works wonders for me!!

  10. Avatar

    Hello! So I can’t believe I just read every single comment/question here while soaking in about 3 to 4 cups of Epsom Salt! Lol At first I was trying to stay in for ten minutes, then 15 and I just realized it’s been an HOUR!!

    Anyway, I decided to soak today because I strained a muscle in my lower back. It happened a few weeks ago but because I’m Type 2 diabetic, everything takes FOREVER to heal!

    My skin does feel smoother; as the water level has dropped I’ve had a chance to feel my stomach and arms and they are nice and smooth.

    I will definitely have to buy the overflow cover, it’s already in my cart. What’s the point of trying to get all the benefits if the whole reason you’re doing this gets drained right away? (Actually, I’ll need to buy two, because even the drain stopper slowly passes water through!)

    I’ll try to follow up later or tomorrow and let you guys know how it went. I’m sure it will go fine. I’ve done E.S. Baths before and they felt great for general back fatigue and pain but never an hour and now 5 minutes!

    Thanks for the great article, you guys rock!

  11. Avatar

    Just wondering if you have read anything about taking a bath with the full concentration of 2 cups of epsom salt per 1 gallon of water? I know this is good for a small amount. Have you read anything that says a full bath with that much epsom salt can be harmful?

  12. Avatar

    Hello. I’m new to the forum. I’m about to to try the Epsom salt bath for the first time. It was recommended to me after it was found that I have high levels of metals in my body that are even considered poisoning. My only concern is that the metal toxicity has given me fluctuating levels of blood pressure in which I am on two medications to treat this. Is this still safe for me to do given my scenario?

    • Avatar

      Hi Sean – thanks for commenting. Epsom salt baths can lower blood pressure in some people. If you have any concerns or are taking blood pressure medications, it is always a good idea to run any new practices by your doctor first. After your doctor gives you the go-ahead, we hope you enjoy a nice warm soak 🙂

  13. Avatar

    Do you think that following the bath with massaging some coconut oil infused with some essential oils on the feet and shoulders and other parts of the body would be counterproductive? I love finishing up with a nice coconut oil/essential oil massage but if this could potentially clog pores and compromise the effects of the detox bath I’ll begrudgingly quit doing it;)

    • Avatar

      Hi Jen – we don’t think so! We say if you enjoy the coconut oil massage afterwards, go for it! Massage has tons of therapeutic benefits. The main benefits of the salt come from absorbing the magnesium in the epsom salt through the skin – having massage oil on your skin AFTER the bath won’t impact this! Have a great bath!! 🙂

      • Avatar

        I love Epsom salt baths, but recently noticed that my ‘lady parts’ are very tender. Could it be the Epsom salts were not dissolved properly? Does this take some time? Also I read somewhere of a woman taking an Epsom salt/bubble bath. Sound great but would the bubble bath negate the Epsom salts?

        • Avatar

          Hi Cassandra – thanks for replying 🙂

          I always add my salts hen the bath is filling and give it a good stir (with my hands) to make sure they are dissolved. I don’t add bubble bath but a couple drops of essential oil are a great addition!

          As another commented mentioned, adding a lot of baking soda could potentially alter the pH of your vagina – but we don’t have first hand experience with that. I’ve never heard of epsom salts causing pain or tenderness, but it is always best to use your own experience as a gauge of what does and doesn’t work for you

  14. Avatar

    I discovered Epsom salts bath about 2 years ago after a bad marathon race. My feet and legs hurt so bad after the race. Between yoga and baths I am recovered. Now it’s part of our routine. Every other day, my husband and I bathe together in Epsom salts, baking soda, coconut oil and lavender oil. We do not rinse off after. Our primary concern is to soak our midsection belly. It’s been a blessing for our health and our relationship. It’s our time to connect and unplug from the computers. We practice gratitude verbally during the baths.

  15. Avatar

    My name is Amy. I’m a full time waitress and single mom of 2 kids.. I work 9-11 hours a day / 5-6 days a week. Last Friday my heel went out on me and I’ve now been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis which I’m learning is very common with waitresses. My co-workers have all told me to do an Epsom bath for my feet. Monday I was given a cortisone shot and I’m still feeling pain in my heel. I’m limping. Wednesday I went back to the foot dr and he gave me a brace and boot. I also have a high arch and an instep… Please tell me if this will reduce the pain so that I’m not on my tiptoes. I also now get charlie horses from the plantar issue.. And I have IBS and restless leg syndrome.. Will any of these issues help with the Epsom eucalyptus salt bath??? I’ve been a server 21 years… Amy

    • Avatar

      Hi Amy – plantar fasciitis is no fun at all!! We’re so sorry to hear you’re going through that discomfort.

      Epsom salt baths can definitely help- and they’re almost free and VERY relaxing! You can soak just your feet or soak your entire body. Epsom slat baths may also help with the charlie horse cramps as well – they are an amazing tool!

      Since you have IBS and restless leg syndrome too, we think it would be crazy not to at least give epsom salt baths a try. You can find the salt at most grocery and drug stores.

      Hope you’re feeling a lot better very soon!

  16. Avatar

    Great article and comments! Extremely helpful. Thanks so much for posting. I’m actually going through Topical Steroid Withdrawal (TSW) and Red Skin Syndrome (RSS), and bathing in epsom salts has been talked about in various blogs that I’ve researched. I took my first epsom salt bath yesterday (09/26/15) afternoon for about 20 min. It was just a combo of 2 cups of epsom salt, plus 1/2 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar mixed in. I submerged my entire torso, legs, neck and only the chin area (under the bottom lip). I didn’t digest any of the bath water. Unfortunately, between 1:10 am to 2:30 am, I had a massive GI episode (similar to food poisoning – two separate rounds of vomiting and diarrhea combo. I felt so much better after the second round with no additional episodes). My husband and I theorized that it had to do with the bath, not food related (otherwise, he and my kids would’ve had issues, too, since we all ate the same things all day). Only way to prove it is to repeat the same batch concentration. Anyone know if there could be a correlation to the bath and side affects I experienced? I’m still researching, but all I’ve found so far were side affects relating to “ingesting” (not bathing in) the salts. Thanks in advance!

    • Avatar

      Hi Jocelyn – we’re so sorry you experienced this! We aren’t familiar with this kind of reaction to an epsom salt bath. Magnesium (in the epsom salt) can have a laxative effect in higher doses, but we aren’t aware of any instances of a bath like the one you’re describing causing diarrhea and vomiting!

      We hope it doesn’t happen again. If you’re continuing to feel unwell, we recommend you seek out medical advice.

      Maybe some other commenters can share some insights.

    • Avatar

      It is my understanding that ACV is NOT to be combined with the salts, just as you should not ingest probiotics within an hour before or after the bath. Try the bath with just Epsom salts and see how it goes. Hope this helps!

  17. Avatar

    Hi
    I came across your article because I was researching the Internet to find out why the inside upper part of my thighs developed a burning sensation while I was taking an epson salt bath.

    I mixed 2 cups of white mountain epson salts with 1/2 cup of Dead Sea Magnesium Salts, a few drops of orange citrus essential oil and a few drops of rosehip oil.

    So I quickly got out of the bath rinsed in cool water. The area was still burning and rashy until I dabed some apple cider vinegar on it.

    The burning sensation has subsided but there is still indication of a little rash.

    Any insight as to what the cause may have been?

    Thanks much,
    Nalini

  18. Avatar

    Hi there,
    Sorry this may have been answered further up in the comments, but are the positive effects of Epsom salts lost at all if I soak in the salts briefly, then add my regular body wash to wash myself properly? I’m aware some of the ingredients are not 100% natural, but I’m mainly concerned about diffusing the strength of the salts or the salts losing their effective properties if mixed.

    Please advise,

    Thanks!

  19. Avatar

    I just wanted to say that my massotherapist said it is good to take an epson salt bath after his therapy. You should wait at least one hour or take the bath before bed. He said you do not want to go to sleep without taking a bath because the toxins may be absorbed. When you do soak, you should soak under 20 minutes,15 to 18 is good. This allows the toxins to leave the body. He said that if you soak longer, the toxins may reabsorb.

  20. Avatar

    Im hoping someone can help me out as I’m a newbie to Epsom Salt baths. I suffer from a chronic pain condition and someone told me that these salts can help ease pain. My question is whether or not there’s a time frame for bathing in them? Its not unusual for me to spend 3 hours in the bath, as it helps with my pain a little. Would it hurt to stay soaking in Epsom salts for 3 hours, or would I just reabsorb all the toxins I previously released?

    • Avatar

      Hi Amber, thanks for reaching out! Go ahead and try soaking for 30 minutes to an hour and see how you feel. You can then slowly increase the time and monitor the affects on the body to help you gauge the right length for you.

  21. Avatar

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  22. Avatar

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  23. Avatar

    Heya just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of the pictures
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  24. Avatar

    GREAT site … I like your style … simple and approachable. AND, thank you for the details about the epsom salts bath. I bought some lavender oil in Eze, France at Galimard (a wonderful fragrance company in Eze and Grasse), which I’ve tried in the bath. It’s great. And thanks for the tip on epson salts from Amazon, which I’ll purchase though your link. Stay well and happy!

    • Avatar

      This question was first asked September 1st 2013(see above)…

      I answered it based on what I knew then.

      After further research to date, there isn’t anything conclusive on one way or the other. Your skin will feel chalky in all likelihood after you dry off. It is a matter of personal preference.

      I enjoy a cool shower rinse because I am typically begging for ice water afterwards and the cool shower is similar. I have read many different things over this topic. There was one person that made some claim that it is a must, but the raw data out there overwhelmingly counters such a claim.

      Here is my bottom line, I don’t like feeling chalky, especially if it the start of the day. At night however, especially if your adding a something like lavender, I like to think that not rinsing off adds further therapeutic comfort/benefit. I am extremely analytical person and distance runner, so these baths are my treasure indeed. They have become a part of my way of life.

      • Avatar

        I should add for further clarification sake, if you don’t want to feel chalky (and dry skinned, etc.) then you are to rinse off(in a shower).

        But if you crawl out of the bath without rinsing to a bed, then my friend, you are in for a good sleep. 🙂

        Be well,
        Mark

  25. Avatar

    I am so excited to try this epsom salt bath. My neighbor said he took a bath with magnesium crystals and felt AMAZING. Is that the same thing as Epsom Salt, or should I use that too? Also, if I use Vitamin C crystals, would I need one of those chlorinater balls also??? Or just one or the other???

  26. Avatar

    Steven, do you know if it is true that after so much time of soaking that we eventually reabsorb the toxins back into our body that were released? I noticed on a couple of occasions when I stayed in way too long that I ended up with a pounding heart? Have you had any experience with this or know why it happens?

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    My aunt dropped off a 3kg bag at my house and told me to try it. Just searched the web for some info on dosage etc and came across your page. Since my tub is gigantic I used about 2.5 cups of salt and soaked for like 20 min. After I got out I drank quiet a bit of water and went to sleep as it made me really tired. I felt ok after sleeping for like 2hr and hit the weights a bit later. Not sure if you are supposed to feel tired after but I cant say that it was great. However I did release quiet a bit of toxins I think and will do another bath in a week.

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    Great article. The picture belongs in photoshop hell, though. The woman has an extra arm coming out of her right shoulder. Or it’s a mega-epic salt bath that is so effective new limbs grow.

    • Avatar

      Hahaha, I had to look at the picture above(near the title of this article) after this comment.

      It is funny how are brains work. You see a women with extra arms, I see her left arm crossing her chest such that her left hand is being placed on her right shoulder. That arm is in the form of ‘V’ shape you see. While here right arm is just extended out forward normally.

      Jason, just read your history on scdlifestyle.com/steve/ , very awesome story/advice. I have recently fixed a 3 year long cyclical bacteria overgrowth that I didn’t know I had. Turns out many people develop some form of it post H-Pylori(which I was misdiagnosed as having just GERD for 2 years until after the 3rd Emergency Room visit resulting a “GI cocktail”[a white drink the size of a shot glass consisting of a numbing agent, omeprazole and something else] a nurse tested my blood for the bacteria, this happened through 2008-Jan 2011 and the link to “GERD” like symptoms and H. Pylori is a new medical development I believe only released and propagated around the year 2000, some doctors are likely to still be in the dark. Further, a pessimistic slant of me would consider the GERD pharma industry to be BIG business and omeprazole is a best seller, rather than address root possibles causes why not suppress symptoms and keep customers, but that is a rather cynical/pessimistic slant I admit, however, I digress) triple antibiotic treatment(a 2 week indiscriminate eradication of all bacteria) .

      As of this past month, after only 2 weeks of cutting out beer(which is a buffet/breading-grounds for bad bacteria) and taking lots of probiotics(good bacteria that was directed by Dr’s order, post triple treatment) and Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (I started and have maintained 2+ tablespoons right in the morning and once at night, though it was recommended to initially start at less and build to 2 tbs) It should be further noted that you shouldn’t take probiotics within an hour before and after the vinegar.

      I am a new person. I haven’t had any GI issues, which have been persistent over these past 3 years orders of magnitude less so than 2008-2010 which caused physical pain that could wake me up and I described it as a burning in my gut that could only be quenched by food every 3 hours(this being the result of H. Pylori as I am subject to the 10-20% hereditary non-asymptotic category, on this point since I was treated in 2011, 3+ of my family member have also developed and was treated in the same way for the bacterium).

      As such, I feel like I am walking on top of the world(as I first did only after 1 hour of the first dose of antibiotics in 2011, immediate seemingly 300% improvement of health), you know in the clouds! I have so much energy which I spend at the gym and am looking more like 21 again(currently 28.5). I am training now for an ultramarathon(Dean’s book is also inspiring, I’ve got a while before hitting a 100 mile mark) in a year or two. Anyways, you have seemingly inspired me to write my story to help others. Thanks man! I will let you know when I get around to publishing articles. Knowledge is contagious and you have made some friend here. Thanks again and take care, Mark (my apologies for being off topic and all these parenthetical break points and aside, it is 1:30 AM and past my bedtime)

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    I’ve read the article and all the comments and still don’t know if I can use soap in the bath with Epsom salts and baking powder. Please just tell me yes or no regarding soap. Thanks

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    Just took an epsom salt bath in a jet tub after a run. A little concerned that the water around my hands and feet turned yellow. Is this normal? I am also a smoker.

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    Hi… 😀 I took my first Epsom salt bath and feel good, but next time I will make the water hotter for more effects!

    Please…could you tell me…do Epsom baths (fully emerged foot) help with swelling and puffiness (edema)??

    I have plantar fasciitis (bottom of foot ligament) and working (stand/walk) is making my ankle/foot/even my toes (a little) SWELL….

    Any experienced Epsom advice on the puffiness? My ankle looks like a marshmellow! 🙂

    Thanks to Everyone!!
    Michelle

    • Avatar

      I to have had planter fasciitis but since I tried Jordens idea and SCD lifestyle a little bit of fish every day say for breakfast and a no nightshade foods I’m off all supplements for pain. I was purchasing 2 bottles of USANA brand Proflavinol C for natural pain management but now I don’t need any. A save of over $100 , I now put that into buying a full salmon cutting it into my size portions to freeze and having this every day has got rid of most of that hideous pain. Now I sleep better too. It’s worth a try. I think Jordan suggested shrimp. I take it any deep sea fish would do it.

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    Thanks for the entertaining read Steven, I myself am a mood-setter as well. 🙂 Yesterday I might overdid it, I stayed 40 min, the bathroom got so steamy I couldn’t breathe! I felt that I had plenty to let out… I highly recommend having drinking water nearby, to avoid passing out.

    I did notice though, red blemishing around my nose, mouth, and chin. No pain, no itchiness just a little red. My assumption is that is related to smoking, what do you think?

    Thank for taking the time to share your knowledge.

    Nelson 🙂 <3

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    A while back, I read to soak in pretty hot water with MORE epsom salts that I previously thought…like 7 to 10 cups (I have a jacuzzi.) Drink a lot of pure water before and during. You soak for 20 minutes wearing a towel wrapped around your head. You get out and put on a thick bathrobe, knee socks (prepare this all ahead of time), then after 20 minutes of soaking, you get into your towel-lined bed with a heating blanket from the knees down. Keep the towel around your head. You bundle up and SWEAT like a son-of-a-gun for 20 minutes; even your hands will sweat. Your heart will pound—you breath deeply and drink lots of water. RELAX and breath slowly and deeply for 20 minutes. I actually felt my left sinus cut loose and DRAIN…it has been full with pressure for months. Keep your self covered and just visualize your sweat bringing out toxins… and sweat for 20 minutes. Your heart will pound and send extra blood to all places. Then you hop in the shower. This time tonight, I ran my hands over my stomach and discovered that every pore seemed to have a tiny grain of ‘sand’ which I scrubbed off. Hurray… detox seems to work! Exfoliate everywhere, not necessarily using soap, just get your skin scrubbed and rinsed off. Every time I do this I feel ten years younger.

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    What are the side effects of Epsom salt baths? I currently have 2 boils and mrsa? I’m wondering if it will help. Also I take phenobarbital. Are there any interactions with that?

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      Wow you have mrsa also. I’m sorry to hear that. I’ve only known a few people that had mrsa and amputations and a couple that have healed it 100% with Cannabis oils. Look up Rick Simpson oil or canna is oil mrsa. Besides a new ocean sponge found this year in the Antarctica , Cannabis oil is one of the only things in the world that kills mrsa. Which is why it’s so abundant in hospitals. If big pharma has medicine that worked on mrsa we would already know about it. Good luck with your health

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    Hi Steve,
    Have you heard of very long baths? Like 3, 6, 9 and even 12 hours duration, soaking in water only? I was researching the net on long baths and found you here.
    I’m reading a book from 60 years ago, by a German priest in South America, and he recommends very long baths, kept at normal temperature – 37 degrees – to clean and detox even the internal organs, like the liver. He mentions that the water will turn yellow or even brown, and stink really awful. I would love to try it, but I’m too scared.
    This priest also suggests to keep a slow fire under the bathtub, to keep the 37 degrees of the water. He also warns against too hot water. Actually, cold water appears to be always needed in the body after every kind of bath. Any thoughts???

    • Steven Wright

      @Bea – I haven’t are you saying 37 degrees C or F? Sounds interesting that’s for sure, if you give it a shot come back and let me know what happens. I like old school ideas because typically they were only adopted because they produced results.

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      Great question Vicki, I am not the expert here, but I would say yes. I’ve gone to Radiance Herbs in Olympia Washington and I didn’t rinse off after doing their soak. I’m quite sure I was instructed not to.

      I am no expert, this is a question better suited for Steven(thanks by the way for the great advice!), but I would think it is personal preference. It is mentioned above that if you are using oil not to use soap. It is implied that this is referring to after the soak/bath.

      I often do not and prefer it that way since it seems to offer further therapeutic conditioning.

      Sorry I cannot give you anything scientifically substantial. I think this is a great question.

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    Can my son use epsom salt baths to help heal his road rash (16% of his body) after wrecking on his motorcycle when he hit and killed a deer? He’s starting the itching stage but still lubing up with lots of triple antibiotic ointment.

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    I came across the benefits of epsom salt via floatation tanks (look them up and give them a try if you don’t know) which use a massive amount of salt, enough for the body to be buoyant. After coming out of a session I noticed a tremendous improvement in well being and in my skin. I was wondering if anyone here uses large amounts of epsom salt in home baths (normal size tub) and how much they use. 1 – 3 cups doesn’t seem to do it for me.

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    I just started the Epsom salt baths while on the gaps diet. It is really helping with my eczema almost immediate relief apof the crazy itching and now it’s healing. Does anyone know if it’s safe to take an Epsom salt bath every day? And does anyone have any experience with eczema and baking soda.

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      Annika, just took my first epsom salt bath andimmediately noticed thatperisistent patches of eczema were no longer itchy or inflamed…wow, an added benefit to the relaxation and destressing

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    I have used epson salt bath for sciatica and lumber pain severe, following 20 mins bath I was sweating heavy with short of breathing , please let me know why? After 1 hr I felt ok with much less pain , how often should I use for severe sciatica? And back pain and how long for.

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      I know this is old post but I have gotten very sick after epsom salt baths. A few times I felt dizzy and in a cold sweat and not well, and recently I got a very bad headache, my eyelids swelled up and I realized I overdosed on Epson Salts magnesium baths. I read that the antidote to magnesium is calcium so I’ve been drinking milk the last 24 hours with a little salt and I feel much much better, though still slightly unwell. So i don’t care what the doctors or convention says, you CAN take in too much magnesium from a bath. My advice is to start with just a little with WARM water and just soak for 10 minutes. See how you feel, drink water and also eat something (don’t do this when fasting), and then wait several days to a week and try again, the same amount/time or increase SLIGHTLY. Everyone has a different disposition. I am really sensitive to things and really do best by getting my nutrients from whole foods.

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      Flibberdejibbet says:

      I have the same problem. I have even passed out on occasion. Apparently it is due to having low or high blood pressure. There’s heaps of info if you google it, but definitely talk to your doctor about it. Although I have been recommended to have Epsom salt baths, I can only have the water lukewarm and someone has to be home at the same time (so I don’t faint and drown). Hope this helps

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    Just wondering what is the effect of interreactions between the various ingredients
    e.g. ascorbic acid and baking soda. And what are your comments on the ionizing
    foot baths touted around?

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    Women will need to be careful about how much baking soda they add to the bath and how frequently they do so. It can change the normal pH of the vagina and encourage yeast infections. I have never had an issue with epsom salts by themselves. But, I did with the addition of baking soda, I used too much too often the first few times I used it.

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    I would add one element to your process. Remember that in baptism, we became children of God. I use my bath/shower as a time to renew those vows by asking God to strength my resolve to turn away from anything that interferes with that relationship, and to turn me towards living the life that God has planned for me.

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    Should washing with soap be done before, during, or after bath or doesn’t it matter? And do I rinse off in the shower after the salt bath or is it better not too? Thanks guys!!

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    If you use essential oils make sure you use therapeutic grade that is safe for internal consumption. Most of the oils you buy at Whole Foods etc. are not safe for internal consumption. I suggest Young Living. Their oils are the best. Have any questions or want to order? Let me know.

    • Avatar

      Since “therapeutic grade” is not a standardized term it means nothing, just like “natural” on all the food and body care products out there. I’d love to see DoTerra and Young Living come up with some 3rd party studies showing that their products are some how purer, safer, and more effective than all the others out there, as they claim to be. Then I could justify their higher costs.

      • Avatar

        Actually, there are plenty of third party studies on Young Living oils that show just that.
        As far as their effectiveness goes, all it takes is trying them. I wasn’t able to heal my daughters ear infection in 3 days with nothing more than Lavender oil for nothing. They truly are second to none.

      • Avatar

        NOW’s essential oils are reasonably priced, widely available in health food stores and gas chromatograph tested for purity. Additionally, NOW meets the stringent quality standards required to belong to the United Natural Product Alliance group. I’m well pleased with the vibrational level I experience, and the resulting therapeutic benefit. No more multi level marketing prices for me. I’m not affiliated with NOW in any way, whatsoever. Just a satisfied customer. 🙂

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    You did a great job on this Steve, thanks! The details are terrific.

    I usually just pour a couple of handfuls of Epsom salts in my tub and a few drops of lavender, turn the jets on and sink in till I’m bored. I will try the baking soda now too.

    I’m also lucky enough to have a sauna and I use essential oils in the water you use to throw on the stove to make steam. I don’t suppose there would be a way to know if you can absorb magnesium through steam, is there?

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        Sheridan Jackson says:

        The heat of vaporization for magnesium would be hundreds or thousands of degrees, so at bath temperature it would remain behind as the water molecules vaporize. However, if you use an ultrasonic vaporizer, dissolved salts would be carried along in the microdroplets emitted. This could be a problem if you use tap water, as you would be introducing into your lungs all the contaminants that might be present. This could be avoided by using distilled water (not “purified”) to make your magnesium solution.
        Incidentally, hot tubs are regulated by law to be no hotter than 105F, as cell damage occurs at higher temperatures.

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    Great input about Epsom Salts! Interesting that your recipe ends up being very similar to a recipe my favorite natural herb store gave me for a detoxifying bath that I have been using for years. If you do this bath (and I imagine this will work with any Epsom salt recipe like the one you gave us) when you first feel the effects of flu or any other ailment coming on, it will “take it out at the pass” and put you back onto a more healthy road.
    Detoxifying Bath Formula
    Temperature: as hot as you can stand it
    Time: 20 minutes or until you begin to perspire
    Blend: 1 cup Epsom salts, 1/2 to 1 small box baking soda, 1 TBS powdered ginger. (The ginger increases circulation, so it helps your body’s natural defenses kick in.)
    Situation: This well may make you feel as if you need to lie down afterward, so it’s best to time this so you have time to get back into bed for at least a nap if you want.

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    Linda Campbell says:

    For those who have no bathtub, does an epsom salts foot soak provide similar benefits? I’d love to know what benefits one could expect and an idea of what amounts of epsom salts, vitamin C and essential oils should be used.

    Namaste………Linda

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    Hi Steve, I took my first Epsom salt bath the other night. It was fabulous. I used 2 cups of Epsom Salts and rose oil. I have a large round tub, but I’m short, so I managed to get most of my body to soak for the whole 25 minutes. The best feeling was when I managed to lower my head so the water was covering my ears and I could hear myself breathing and my heart beating. And my arms were floating, which felt very nice.

    Next time I will try adding baking soda, since I was a little red when I came out. And some mood lighting since my bathroom has those awful globe lights. One of the most amazing aspects is the exfoliation effect. As soon as I got up and started rinsing myself off with fresh water, a lot of dead skin just came peeling off of me. My arms and legs now feel smooth and moist. I will have to try submerging my face to get that effect on there too.

    In 12 years in this house, I rarely used the bathtub and resented all the room it took up in the bathroom. Not any more!! I intend to make this a weekly ritual.

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    This is great! I’ve looked many-a-time online for recommendations about epsom salt baths, but could never find consistent information or the specific information I was looking for, and now you’ve compiled it all in the same place.

    For your Australian readers, I’d encourage them to look at the salts at Blants. The reason I like to buy from them is that they are a reasonable price, and they seem to be an ethical company. We have a dryland salinity problem in Australia (from clearing land for agriculture), and they play at least a small part in combating that by getting their salt from the Murray Darling Basin (http://www.blants.com.au/grades_analysis.html).

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