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Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Epsom Salts

 A Miracle Cure that Seems to Work!

Epsom salts or more accurately Magnesium Sulphate is the second-most abundant element in human cells and the fourth-most important positively charged ion in the body, so it's little wonder this low-profile mineral is so vital to good health and well being. Magnesium, the major component of Epsom Salts, also helps to regulate the activity of more than 325 enzymes and performs a vital role in orchestrating many bodily functions, from muscle control and electrical impulses to energy production and the elimination of harmful toxins.
Believe it or not but you can increase your magnesium levels from soaking in a bath enriched with magnesium sulphate crystals, commonly known as Epsom Salt. Information obtained from The Epsom Salts Council.

Finding epsom salts in reasonably large quantities is often tricky, the chemist usually sells it in 50g to 100g quantities, which is really too small for bath salt making.You should try Googling for a mail order company that sells it in 2kg packs or more - anything less is really not useful.

When I was a child, Epsom Salts were used in my home as a cure for the common cold. A very hot bath laced with a large handful of Salts was prepared, the idea being to immerse in it for as long as it was possible, with top-ups of very hot water to ensure that the temperature of the body was kept high. Copious sweating is the result. After a while the sick person is dried off and wrapped in thick blankets and put to bed with a warm bedpan for company and hot toddy (whisky, lemon and hot water... if you were an adult), the sweating no doubt continues and upon waking in the morning the cold has miraculously disappeared. 

We now know that extremely hot water is not good for the skin, it accelerates the aging process and should be avoided if at all possible. But certainly Epsom salts dissolved in the bath in large quantities will make you sweat copiously and I know in our house many a cold was cured in this way. (NB. It is not a good idea to use very heavy doses of salts in your bath if you suffer from high blood pressure or a heart condition, if in doubt check with your doctor). 

While increasing your magnesium levels, Epsom Salt also delivers sulphates, which are extremely difficult to get through food but which are readily absorbed through the skin. Sulphates serve a wide variety of functions in the body, playing a vital role in the formation of brain tissue, joint proteins and the mucin proteins that line the walls of the digestive tract. Sulphates also stimulate the pancreas to generate digestive enzymes and are believed to help detoxify the body's residue of medicines and environmental contaminants.

A variety of factors contributes to a magnesium deficiency. Intensive farming practices deplete magnesium from the soil, and magnesium is not a standard component in most fertilizers. Therefore, a diet that would have supplied enough magnesium a century ago may not supply enough today.

Of course it isn't simply the salts that work their magic on you. Full immersion of the body in water at least once a week is, in my opinion, a necessity for continuing good health. There are documented health benefits to full immersion (hence the continuing popularity of spa’s and resorts like the dead sea) however few of us have access to a bath large enough for this in our own homes. Discounting any medical benefits, bathing is mentally calming and restorative, a bath before bed helps aid restful sleep and promotes a feeling of well being. For more information on water and it's benefits take a look at the post on toning the skin.

It may be a tall tale that Archimedes leapt out of the bath shouting eureka ‘I’ve found it!’, but it is very understandable. How many really good ideas surface while lounging in a warm bath? It is a truly meditative environment which can effect not only the health of the body but also the soul – and sometimes it’s the only place to get any peace from our busy lives.

I do not agree with taking the mobile phone into the bathroom, I also do not think you should be able to see a television from the bathtub! A little restful music, or even thought provoking radio will not interrupt or spoil the occasion in any way and adding a beneficial substance to the water can only enhance the experience.

Use Epsom salts alone or mixed with appropriate essential oils to help with jetlag, vdu stress and general overwork and tiredness. Although the amount required is actually quite large. I have found that even very small amounts taken in a regular daily bath will have a cumulative effect. If you have any health concerns at all do check with your health professional.

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