I know that after your first ever kettlebell workout, you will want to help reduce any post workout muscle soreness (known as DOMS) in a warm detox bath.
Why do Epsom salts baths work? Both magnesium and sulphate play vital roles in our bodies – magnesium helps regulate enzyme activity while sulphate helps to form brain tissue and joint proteins. Sulphate also helps strengthen the digestive tract’s walls. It’s not a giant leap then to discover that Epsom salt – a magnesium sulphate compound – can help boost our body’s natural systems, especially if we are deficient in magnesium and/or sulphate.
Unlike many health supplements, Epsom salt doesn’t need to be ingested. In fact, because magnesium and sulphate can be dissolved in water and absorbed through the skin, an Epsom salt bath is a great way to reap its benefits.
Excellent for soothing dry, itchy skin, they can be especially helpful when managing the symptoms of skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
Another, more cosmetic, treatment is for wrinkles! Taking a bath to minimise the appearance of wrinkles may seem a contradiction but it really does work. Wrinkles caused by age, sun exposure or smoking are actually different from bath induced wrinkles, which (happily!) disappear after a few hours.
As skin ages, it loses some of its elasticity and fat and doesn’t produce as much oil as before – making skin dry out and wrinkles more visible. By having an Epsom salt bath, then moisturising afterwards, wrinkles can appear much less dramatic.
The take up of magnesium sulphate can also help detoxify the body through strengthening the digestive tract, increasing the number of digestive enzymes in the pancreas and purifying heavy metals found in the body – all making it easier to get rid of toxins and unwanted substances.
Here is the step by step by to do just that:
- Prepare your bath on a day that you have at least 40 minutes available. The first 20 minutes are said to help your body remove the toxins, while the second 20 minutes are for absorbing the minerals in the water, which includes magnesium which is great for joints and muscle pain.
- Plus, Add ground ginger or fresh ginger tea. While this step is optional, ginger can increase your heat levels, helping to sweat out toxins. However, since it is heating to the body, it may cause your skin to turn slightly red for a few minutes, so be careful with the amount you add. Depending on the capacity of your tub, and your sensitivity, anywhere from 1 tablespoon to 1/3 cup can be added.
- Optionally, for more of a detox bath add 1 to 2 cups or more of baking soda (a.k.a. sodium bicarbonate). Baking soda is known for its cleansing ability and even has anti-fungal properties. It also leaves skin very soft.
- Add Epsom salts (aka magnesium sulfate). Soaking in Epsom salts actually helps replenish the body magnesium level, combating hypertension. The sulfate flushes toxins and helps form proteins in brain tissue and joints.
- Fill your tub with comfortably hot water.
- Most people sweat profusely with the addition of the ginger, and if you wrap your body in a blanket immediately after getting out of the tub, you can continue to detoxify through perspiration for another couple of hours. This is especially beneficial if you are trying to get rid the body of a bug of some sort of disease, like the flu, or a cold.
- Add aromatherapy oils. Again optional, but many people love the fragrance of such oils and for many, the oils have particular therapeutic properties to take advantage of. There are many oils that will make the bath an even more pleasant and relaxing experience (such as lavender and ylang ylang), as well as those that will assist in the detoxification process (tea tree oil or eucalyptus). Around 20 drops is sufficient for a standard bath.
- If you prefer, you can use fresh herbs. Add mint leaves (warming), lavender flowers (soothing), chamomile (soothing), or anything else that suits your mood.
- Swish all of the ingredients around in the tub, then soak. Again, 40 minutes is recommended (the longer the better), but aim for at least 20. You should start sweating within the first few minutes.
- If you feel too hot, start adding cold water into the tub until you cool off.
- Get out of the tub slowly and carefully. Your body has been working hard and you may get lightheaded or feel weak and drained. On top of that, the salts make your tub slippery, so stand with care.
- Drink plenty of water. Any time your body detoxes (after this type of bath, a massage, or chiropractic work, for example), you need to flush out toxins. If you don’t, you will likely feel sick afterwards.
- After the bath, you might like to rub down your body with a loofah or vegetable bristle brush. This can help to stimulate the lymphatic system, which can aid with the release of toxins. Use long, gentle sweeping strokes aimed toward the heart.
I would love to hear how your bath went and if it helped you with soothing your newly worked muscles!