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The What, Why, and How of Epsom Salt Baths

Epsom salt is an ingredient used in a soak to treat minor aches and pains. It’s thought to soothe tired muscles and reduce swelling.

As a medication administered intravenously, it can stave off premature birth and alleviate seizures caused by several conditions, including magnesium deficiency, preeclampsia, and eclampsia.

The most popular use for Epsom salt is in baths.

While there isn’t strong scientific evidence supporting its effectiveness, many people say they feel relief for a multitude of symptoms by soaking in an Epsom salt bath.

Let’s look at how you can use it and how to make an Epsom salt bath

Epsom salts dissolve in water. Enthusiasts believe this allows magnesium and sulfates to be readily absorbed into skin. Whether this is sufficient for various treatments or not, Epsom salt is considered safe. It is easy to use, easy to find, and inexpensive .

There really is no downside to taking a warm bath, although it’s important to check with your General Practitioner first especially if you have low blood pressure. This is because hot water can temporarily lower blood pressure.According to The Mayo Clinic recommends adults can use two cups of Epsom salt per gallon of warm water. More than that can make the water feel slippery. It may also cause drying of the skin.

Lower concentrations you can try are:

  • 300 grams (1.5 cups) of Epsom salt to 1 gallon of water

  • 1 cup of Epsom salt to 1 gallon of water

  • 2 cups of Epsom salt added to your bathtub of water

Soak for at least 15 minutes. If you’re soaking in an Epsom salt bath for aches and pains, make sure not to use water that’s too hot. This might worsen instead of reducing swelling.

Other ways to use Epsom salt in a soak:

Many Epsom salt advocates believe the amount of magnesium able to enter the body through the skin is sufficient for reducing swelling and relieving aches. It is also thought that Epsom salts are effective for soothing skin and reducing irritation and itching.

Epsom salt bath side effects

When used as a soak, Epsom salt is generally considered safe.

If you’ve never had an Epsom salt bath, consider testing a patch of skin with magnesium sulfate and water first.Avoid submerging broken skin in an Epsom salt bath.

Stop use if you experience:

  • itchy skin

  • allergic reactions, like hives or rash

  • skin infection

Why Epsom salt?

Research has shown, according to Gröber,U, et al(2017) and Proksch,E MD(2005) found magnesium salts can be effective for dry skin and for reducing inflammation. However, the study doesn’t include the number of study participants analyzed. As a traditional remedy, Epsom salt is used on a widespread basis to provide relief for a variety of conditions. These include:

  • itching caused by poison ivy

  • skin irritation and inflammation

  • sore feet

  • sore muscles

  • sprains

  • stiff joints

  • stress

  • Sunburn

Doctors also administer it intravenously, according to Trevino, H, T(2021) because It has been shown to be effective in;

  • control rapid heartbeat

  • relieve migraine headaches

  • postpone premature birth

  • prevent seizures caused by preeclampsia and eclampsia

  • reduce swelling in the brain

  • treat barium poisoning

  • treat muscle spasms and seizures caused by magnesium deficiency

It is also used orally to treat:

  • constipation

  • low magnesium levels in blood

A study conducted in (2016 ) on the dietary magnesium intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and all-cause mortality, showed that magnesium taken orally has a positive effect for several conditions, including:

  • stroke

  • heart disease

  • diabetes

It is, however, also possible to take too much magnesium by mouth.

Always check with your doctor before using Epsom salt by mouth. Follow the package instructions exactly. Too much magnesium can cause an irregular heartbeat and low blood pressure.

More about Epsom salt

Epsom salt’s chemical name is magnesium sulfate. One theory about magnesium sulfate takes place in the Epsom region of England. During a drought in (1618), a local cow herder named Henry Wicker bent down to drink from a pool of water in Epsom Common. He found the water acidic and bitter.

As the water evaporated, Wicker noticed white residue left behind and realized after drinking the water it had a laxative effect. Epsom’s salts became a sought-after cure for constipation for hundreds of years following this happenstance discovery.

In (1755), a British chemist and physicist named Joseph Black(1728—1799) conducted experiments on the chemical properties of magnesium sulfate. He proposed that magnesium be classified as an element.Magnesium is essential for every life form on the planet. In the human body, it’s necessary for muscle and nerve function and maintaining a healthy immune system. It is also needed to maintain a regular heartbeat, sufficient blood glucose, and strong bones.


Epsom salt baths can be relaxing and soothing. The benefits of a soak in Epsom salt-treated water have not been proven scientifically yet, but many people swear by this traditional remedy. There is very little downside to using Epsom salts in a bath.Baths in general can be meditative and are a great way to take a break from daily stressors. Epsom salt may help your bath become more relaxing by soothing tired muscles and easing stress.


Joseph Black ( 1728—1799) cited in

Dietary Magnesium Intake, The Risk of Cardiovascular Disease And Type 2 diabetes. National Library Of Medicine(2016) cited in

Magnesium. Health Library Proksch,E. MD, phD, Nissen. H,P, phD,M,Bremgartner MD,C.(2005) Cited in

Myth or Reality-Transdermal Magnesium? Gröber,U1, Werner,T, Vormann, et al( 2017) cited in

Magnesium Sulfate(2022) cited in

What Does Magnesium Do for Your Body?Raman, R. MS, RD(2018) cited in


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