Holistic pain relief can take many forms. In my years as a massage therapist, I’ve explored a wide variety of alternatives. By explored I mean both tried these methods myself, and recommended them to clients. Lately I find myself recommending Epsom salt baths to friends and clients on a regular basis. There are so many options for pain relief, but taking a warm bath with naturally pain relieving stuff in it is one of the most satisfying options. No side effects, just relief!
What’s the best way to try this? You only need a few ingredients:
- Epsom salts (2 cups)
- Baking soda (1 cup)
- Tub with warm or nearly hot water (to your own temperature preferences)
The following ingredients are optional, but can be wonderful if you’d like to try:
- Essential oils
- Bentonite clay
- Powdered ginger
So what is it about Epsom salt that’s helpful for pain relief? They’re actually magnesium sulfate. As I’ve mentioned before, Americans are woefully deficient in magnesium. While getting enough magnesium from food sources is ideal, that’s not the only way. You can absorb magnesium through your skin, including while soaking in the bath.
Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant, plus it’s anti-inflammatory—both positives for holistic pain relief.
Simply fill up your tub with water (as hot as you can safely enjoy), adding the two ingredients and soak for 15-20 minutes. There’s no real benefit in a longer soak, plus the water starts to get chilly.
About the optional ingredients—you may find some benefits but it’s up to you whether you add them to the bath. Essential oils like lavender will add to your relaxation and possibly help you sleep. Bentonite clay can up the detoxification effects of the bath. Powdered ginger spice (yes, I got mine at the grocery store) is also anti-inflammatory and detoxifying.
While these are all readily available ingredients and likely to have no side effects, if you’re living with any chronic or acute conditions you should discuss regular use of Epsom salt baths with your health care provider.
Happy soaking and here’s to pain relief!
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