Friday, June 28, 2013

Epsom salts, old timey + wonderful, dust 'em off from under the sink

Over the past few years I have become a really poor sleeper.  That being said, I don't use any prescription sleep medication, and I'm pretty cautious about over-the-counter sleep aids.  My friend Barb (Leah's mom) has moderate to severe arthritis and she suggested an Epsom salt bath to help me recover from races as well as help in the sleep department and so I bought some and tried them and love them and I wish I had started using them ages ago.  I just wanted to tell you about them in case your mom hadn't told you!  Also, it's summer and overexertion is now in season and this might just be the thing to soothe your aches and pains.

Epsom is a town in England with a preponderance of magnesium salt springs.  Epsom salts and bath salts in general are just magnesium sulfate.  Medically, magnesium is very useful.  At home, you can drink it, bathe in it, or you can make it into a paste and apply to bruises and sores joints or muscles.  

I might just move to Epsom, that's some nice running weather!
 A study of people with arthritis demonstrated that a daily 12-minute epsom salt bath greatly improved arthritic pain relief and without prompting, the study participants all commented on significantly improved pain.  

Per the Epsom Salt Council, bathing in magnesium sulfate is also a way to absorb magnesium which is good for our bodies (if we are deficient).  This stuff has lots of good uses in the garden too. I used to have a garden, and then I got some chickens.  These entities are mutually exclusive.

Anyway, Epsom salt also removes "impurities" but my internet research failed to define what those impurities* might be.

For $0.88 at Walmart I bought a carton of Epsom salts which lasted about 3 baths.  I didn't measure it as I poured it into the bath so it may last even longer.  The package suggests 2 cups of salt for a regular bath tub.  Or do it like I do and just dump some salt in the bath until you think it looks good and salty.

To expand my bath repertoire, I next spent $4.88 on this larger bag of scented Epsom salts, also from Walmart.  I like this particular scent, it is fresh but not too minty or eucalyptic so it doesn't smell medicinal.
Yes you can store your Epsom salts on a pile of dirty laundry
 It makes the whole room smell nice, too.  See in El Paso, in our small home, we don't have a bathroom door, I think this is "a thing" here because at friends' homes, there are no bathroom doors either, I mean, the toilet and shower area are separate and have a door but no joke, our bedroom has an alcove with 2 sinks, a mirror, and a bathtub (well, and a giant laundry monster) but still, that's strange, right?  I digress...anyway I for sure pour too much of this scented salt mixture into the bath each time.  It dissolves well and I notice that it effervesces a tad more than the plain salts.

In all honesty I like the store-brand, unscented salts just as much as the scented ones.  They both work the same, dissolve well and I am a sleepy bunny shortly after bath time.  It's nice to have the scent, but it's nice to save money, too.  I choose the salt bath route about once a week, for after longer runs or when I just can't sleep.

Another Epsom fan
 I haven't noticed yet if the salted bath is better than a plain bath for pain reduction in achy joints and sore muscles but I am not yet facing severe osteoarthritis, either. For me this foray into salt baths started as a sleep aid.  Osmotically it makes sense that a salt bath would draw out fluid from swollen joints etc but I am probably not so in tune with my body that I'd notice.

*By "impurities" I think they euphemistically mean doodoo.  Magnesium salts (like magnesium citrate and magnesium sulfate) are laxatives so I suppose if you were feeling a little constipated you could use the plain Epsom salts and mix a magnesium cocktail per the directions on the package.  I haven't tried it...pre-op bowel prep is no party, this is about the same.  Absolutely do not try this if you have kidney impairment or diabetes or high blood pressure etc.  Actually, don't do this at all unless your medical provider suggests it...please...I don't want to lose my job already :)  And I am 80% sure the paper carton from Walmart does not have a medical license.

Does anyone else like these simple salts as much as I do?  Or do you have your own go-to homeopathic remedies?  Or are you from Epsom and can share its history?

Mommy we took care of that pesky garden for you!