Sore muscles? Try Epsom salts!

By: Dr. Peter Pain Dec 08, 2012

Here are a few reasons you may want to include Epsom salt baths into your health care regime.

Does an Epsom salt bath really help with sore muscles?

Has anyone ever told you to use epsom salts for your sore muscles? Especially after a deep massage or tough workout?

The Jury’s Out: Epsom Salt Baths for Healing
When you go for your massage therapy treatments, chances are your RMT has recommended an Epsom salts bath after your massage. Why does your RMT recommend this? Here is a littleinformation on Epsom salts, their origins, and how they work. Epsom salts were discovered in the 17th healing. They are composed of magnesium sulphate and the argument for their use is that the magnesium is absorbed through the skin. Is this really supported by research? And after it is absorbed, how does the magnesium help us?

Here are a few reasons you may want to include Epsom salt baths into your health care regime:

  • There is at least one study that shows that magnesium sulphate can cross the skin and raisemagnesium and sulphate levels in the blood.
  • Magnesium sulphate is an anti-inflammatory and is important for many aspects of health. Many North Americans are deficient in magnesium.
  • Increased adrenaline (due to stress) drains the body of magnesium, which is needed for basic chemical reactions in the body.
  • There is some evidence that magnesium may reduce pain as it is a calcium channel blocker.
  • Having salts in your bath makes the water feel nicer as your body floats more which can be relaxing.
  • There is lots of anecdotal evidence that Epsom salts have a positive effect on muscle pain.

There are also a few questions that are unanswered with regard to the use of Epsom salt baths:

  • Is it the salts or the heat of the water that is actually making you feel better?
  • Can the salts really cross the skin barrier? There is only one study that has shown this to be true. Other studies have shown the opposite.
  • If it does cross the skin, how does it actually work in your body to reduce muscle soreness? Is the amount absorbed enough to affect our health?

As you can see, there are more questions than answers when it comes to Epsom salts and their effectiveness. Why not try it and see for yourself? Do you own experiment – having baths with and without Epsom salts and see if they make a difference for you. If you do use Epsom salts, here are a few tips:

  • Use 2 cups of salts in warm water.
  • Soak for 20 minutes and then rinse well.
  • DRINK lots of WATER! Epsom salt baths can increase dehydration.

Dr. Peter Pain completed his undergraduate studies at Queen’s University with an Honors BSc. in Life Sciences, and his Chiropractic Doctorate at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in 1997. Constantly striving to give his patients the most up-to-date care possible, Dr. Pain will continue to attend post graduate courses in sports injuries, nutrition, pediatrics, whiplash, personal injuries and health and fitness.  Dr. Pain promises to always give you the excellent care that he is trained to within his scope of practice.