Epsom salts have been used to treat aches and pains for hundreds of years. Whether you pulled a muscle while exercising or had your arthritis flare up, a good old soak in the tub will wipe the discomfort away.
Although pregnant women have used it for years, there is not a lot of research that could vouch for its complete safety. It isn’t listed as dangerous either.
There is nothing to worry about even if there is no scientific measurement of its effectiveness in relieving aches and pains.
What is it?
It is not salt despite the word being part of its name. Salt contains sodium chloride, but this one doesn’t have any.
So what is it really? It is a crystallized version of magnesium and sulfate, two minerals that are naturally occurring.
And if you’re curious, it is not the same as bath salts. Although, it can come in packages mixed with colors, oils, and perfumes.
The reason it is called Epsom salt is it was discovered in a place in England bearing the same name. As mentioned earlier, it has been used for hundreds of years.
Where can you find it?
Epsom salts are available in many drugstores. They are usually placed together with aspirin and laxatives.
Some groceries and natural food stores also carry it. It won’t set you back a lot as a large box costs a couple of dollars. It’s also available on Amazon.
How is it used?
When dissolved in water, Epsom salts break down into magnesium and sulfate. It is believed that your body absorbs these minerals through your skin.
Although there is a lack of scientific measurement, soaking in warm water with Epsom salts can relax muscles and loosen stiff joints.
Epsom salt baths have been used to treat the following:
- Bruises and sprains
- fibromyalgia – this is a condition that causes ligaments, muscles and tendons to hurt, plus it also causes tender points all over the body
- Ingrown toenails
- Psoriasis – a disease that causes the skin to be itchy, red, and scaly
- Soreness resulting from diarrhea during chemotherapy
- Soreness resulting from a workout session
- Pain and redness caused by sunburn
- Swollen and tired feet
Despite the number of remedy claims, there isn’t enough science to back them up. Although most doctors agree that this kind of bath is safe, you can still check with your doctor if you have any concerns.
Benefits of Epsom salt baths during pregnancy
Pregnancy is a nine-month journey filled with all sorts of changes: a growing belly, changing breasts, and a series of aches and pains. But all niggles can be remedied by soaking in an Epsom salt bath.
Here are some of the benefits of doing so:
- It soothes the muscles. A lot of pregnant women suffer from leg cramps and rather than wait it out, a good soak in the tub might just help ease the discomfort. It can also help soothe sore muscles and ease back pain.
- It soothes the skin. It’s not just your belly that will grow or your breasts, your skin changes too! A lot of pregnant women will experience stretch marks, and a little Epsom salt bath can help if it hurts.
- It helps with digestion. Women who are carrying a child will often feel bloated and as a result, feel uncomfortable. Magnesium sulfate has been recommended for such issues because it aids in digestion and absorption of fluids.
- It reduces stress. Nursing mothers have said that soaking in an Epsom salt bath helped calm them down. Plus, it is believed that magnesium is a natural stress reducer.
- It replenishes salt. One of the health concerns in the US is magnesium deficiency. Epsom salt can replace what is missing in the diet, but it’s still best if you consult with a doctor first.
How to take an Epsom salt bath?
It doesn’t take long to dissolve Epsom salt in water. Plus, you can attend to some things before getting in for a good soak.
Here’s how to prepare an Epsom salt bath:
- Drop about two cups of Epsom salt into a warm bath.
- Allow it to soak for around 12 to 15 minutes.
- Make sure the water temperature is comfortable for you before getting in.
The last part is most important: Do not get into a tub that is boiling. This also means that you should avoid hot tubs during your pregnancy?
Why should that be the case? You want to avoid raising your temperature to high levels because it’s not good for your unborn child.
Have there been other uses for Epsom salts?
It has been used to treat preeclampsia in some women. A study on this was conducted and published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
The women in the study were given intravenous magnesium sulfate to treat preeclampsia, which is a life-threatening condition that develops during pregnancies (but only a small number).
For the study, women around the world were given magnesium sulfate as a treatment for preeclampsia. The results showed that more than 15% reduced their risk.
Then again, there is evidence for the use of magnesium sulfate in the treatment of preeclampsia dating back to the 1900s. What the study did was back up its decade’s use as a treatment.
Be careful with what you use Epsom salts for
As mentioned above, Epsom salts can be used to treat digestive problems. But this requires you to consume it orally.
The use of Epsom salts has been deemed safe in baths, and consuming it is an entirely different matter. The best course of action is to seek the advice of your doctor first.
The pregnancy journey is a beautiful one, but it can also be tough. It is a nine-month period where you have to be extra careful about what you eat, and what you do.
Epsom salt baths have been deemed safe, but you can always talk to your doctor if you have any reservations.