Epsom Salt For Athletes - Benefits and Research for Pain Relief
Regardless of whether it’s an ice bath or a hot bath, there’s nothing better than a good soak to help tired muscles recover after a workout.
But have you ever tried using Epsom salts in your bath? Epsom salts have numerous benefits for athletes and have become widely popular today.
Epsom salts have been around for hundreds of years and are known to ease all kinds of pains, aches, skin issues, and general conditions. Our team at FinditHealth has found that using Epsom salts for athletes can tremendously help muscle performance and recovery. Keep reading to learn more about Epsom salts and the benefits they provide.
Epsom Salts Benefits
Despite the name, Epsom salts are called salts because of their chemical structure. The “Epsom” part is a place in England where they’re found in natural springs. Epsom salts are fine crystals of magnesium sulfate, which, when added to water, dissolve into two separate components.
Magnesium is known to increase relaxation, reduce inflammation, and aid in muscle and nerve function.
They are very accessible and can be found in most drugstores with a large box only costing a few dollars. Epsom Salts are super easy to use, and the best way to receive the benefits is to take an Epsom salt bath.
Taking an Epsom salt bath can be a wonderful thing in general to add to your self care benefits. Real self-care means truly taking care of yourself and taking up any activities that keep you happy and healthy. This is also why an Epsom Salt bath is the perfect form of self-care for athletes. Keep reading below to find the key benefits of Epsom salt for athletes.
Reduces Inflammation & Swelling
Epsom salt can stimulate circulation in the inflamed area to promote the rate of healing and reduce swelling. It also improves overall skin health by stripping away dead skin cells.
From sore quads to a sprained wrist, we’ve all had a time of looking for pain relief. The analgesic properties of a warm Epsom salt bath can help relieve pain for hours. The salts when combined with warm water help calm and soothe the aches and pain, and relieve muscle tension.
Epsom salt is also fantastic for those with arthritis. If you are still having pain, massages can be wonderful as well after a soak in an Epsom salt bath.
An Epsom salt bath can also be a great way to strengthen your mindfulness practice or even begin a daily mindfulness practice. The mind-body practice of Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of and accepting the present moment.
Being mindful makes you happier because it makes it easier to savor the pleasures in life as they occur. Mindfulness can also improve physical health by relieving stress, lowering blood pressure, improving sleep, and reducing chronic pain.
If you are stressed, you will not perform your best athletically. Regular Epsom salts baths can be a great remedy for reducing stress and anxiety.
Epsom salts help to balance electrolyte levels and promote proper nerve function in the body. The nervous system relies on balanced electrolytes so the body can pass messages and signals effectively, which can aid in improved muscle function and even promote cognitive activity.
This can promote hormone balance and increase neurotransmitter movements that improve your mood and overall attitude. After your bath, we recommend having a meditation journal nearby so you can write down the thoughts and emotions that came up for you. Meditation journals can be a great tool to strengthen your awareness of mindfulness.
Improves Sleep Quality
For those who have trouble sleeping or suffer from insomnia, an Epsom salt bath before you go to bed may be a great solution. Magnesium is a mineral already present in our body’s cells and plays an integral part in neurotransmitter production.
By adding extra magnesium via Epsom salts, your body receives excess magnesium. This excess magnesium allows the body to convert more serotonin from tryptophan which aids in regulating your natural circadian rhythms.
This, in turn, will help aid in more restful sleep. Your circadian rhythm is a natural internal process that tells your mind and body to sleep and then wake up. The rhythm repeats itself approximately every 24 hours.
These processes include your appetite, hormone levels, energy levels and alertness, body temperature, blood pressure, and the most noticeable, your sleep/wake cycle. By using Epsom salt baths to regulate your natural circadian rhythm you are allowing the body to produce more melatonin which is the hormone that makes you sleepy.
Detoxifies the Body
Epsom salt can speed up the body’s detoxifying ability because of its impact on the body’s electrolyte levels.
When your body is hydrated, and electrolytes are balanced, it can process more fluids which results in storing fewer toxins and eliminating them faster. They aid in reducing inflammation and strengthening the immune system.
How To Take A Epsom Salt Bath After A Workout
Taking an Epsom salt bath after a workout is the best way to maximize the benefits for athletes and help sore muscles. To make an Epsom salt bath, follow the below steps.
Fill your bathtub with warm water until it’s deep enough to cover your entire body. If you want to soak just your feet, only add enough water till your feet are protected. Remember to not make the water too hot as this can damage the skin. Using too hot water removes natural oils from the body and prevents the Epsom salt from working.
Depending on the amount of water required to fill the tub, you will need 1-2 cups of Epsom salt per bath. Allow the Epsom salt to dissolve in the water for five minutes before you enter the tub.
For added relaxation or aromatherapy boost, add a few drops of lavender, eucalyptus, or rose essential oil to the bath. To deepen the healing benefits, you could also meditate with stones in your bath. When you meditate with stones, you are trying to connect to the healing energy these gemstones possess to strengthen your intention for the setting. You can hold these stones in your hand or place them on your body chakra points.
Remain in the tub for 15-30 minutes, trying to keep your body as relaxed as possible. When you leave the tub, there may be some white residue on your skin, and this is normal. We advise taking a shower to rinse the white residue off. After rinsing off, moisture your entire body.
Epsom Salt Bath Side Effects
Epsom salt baths are relatively an excellent and safe option for the majority of people. The few side effects that exist are diarrhea and dehydration.
Extended exposure to magnesium sulfate can have a laxative effect, but if you avoid taking excessively long baths, this shouldn’t be a problem. Because the water has a high salt content with Epsom salts, it will soak some of the moisture out of your skin which can dehydrate the body. This is why it is recommended to limit your Epsom salt baths to two to three times per week.
Frequently Asked Questions for Sports
Who should not use Epsom salt?
Epsom salt baths are generally very safe and suitable for anyone. There is no downside to taking a warm bath unless you have low blood pressure because hot water can temporarily lower blood pressure.
People with diabetes, kidney disease, heart problems, or pregnancy should consult with their doctor first before starting an Epsom bath. Last, if you experience pain or redness with an Epsom salt bath, it is best to stop and consult with your doctor before you continue.
How often should you soak in Epsom salt?
An Epsom salt bath is generally safe to use two to three times a week for 20-30 minutes at a time.
Do you have to rinse after an Epsom salt bath?
Taking Epsom salt baths regularly may help keep skin soft, but the key is to rinse away any salt left on the skin after the bath. Before you dry out, rinse your body quickly with some cool water to remove any excess salt and dry with a soft towel.
Should you moisturize after an Epsom salt bath?
Yes, this kind of soak can cause dry skin. To prevent cracked skin and irritation, be sure to moisturize your skin after an Epsom salt bath. Body moisturizer or nourishing skin oils will intensify the healing and hydrating properties of the bath.
Any meditation will assist with anxiety, but mindfulness meditation is the best because of the specific way it impacts the brain. Mindfulness meditation is the practice of clearing and bringing your mind and body to a standstill. The goal is to keep your mind clear and focused with no thoughts or feelings. This allows you to get deeper into your consciousness to find the root cause of your anxiety.
Conclusion – Research by Findithealth.com
Research from our team at Findithealth has found that Epsom salt can be a safe complementary home alternative to medication for minor aches and pains for athletes.
They are relaxing, soothing, and there is minimal downside to using Epsom salts in a bath. Using Epsom salt baths for athletics can soothe tired muscles and promote muscle recovery, ease stress, and promote healing for better athletic performance.
Luz Chacon is a Health Educator, Wellness Coach, and EFT Tapping Practitioner with 30+ years in health advocacy. Specializing in stress management, wellbeing, and holistic health, she created a 40% stress reduction employee program. Luz is dedicated to helping busy individuals prioritize self-care, break patterns, and reach goals. She offers programs for organizations and individuals. Luz is passionate about sharing her health research and guiding informed choices!