Lifting heavy weights or extreme working out often results in muscle soreness, which is a result of muscle fibers being damaged. The damage results in muscle growth and is a good indication in most cases.
However, the pain can be managed with an Epsom salt bath. Baths using Epsom salt for sore muscles are very impactful as per observations, though there is no specific scientific reason for the same.
A 15-minute Epsom salt bath relieves stiffness and allows muscles to relax. This is a great solution for muscle sores especially in legs, back, shoulders, neck and skull.
How to Use Epsom Salt for Sore Muscles?
Muscle soreness is common among people, especially those who do heavy workouts. There are higher chances of muscles being sore if you’re working out after a long gap, while it may also happen if you exercise regularly.
In fact, some people do not consider a workout good enough if muscles are not sore after the workout. And it is partially true, as muscle fibers will be damaged if muscle growth is following, although this has not been substantiated with research.
However, the workout is not the only reason for muscles to be sore. There are other reasons as well and not sleeping in the right position may be one of them.
Epsom salt is basically magnesium sulfate heptahydrate, which we also call magnesium sulfate in short. It gets its name from the process by which it was obtained, by making mineral waters to boil in the town of Epsom in England.
It’s primarily a salt because of the chemical structure and not due to its properties. Epsom is easily available in regular drug stores, as well as several grocery stores.
So, can you use Epsom salt for sore muscles? The question has been debated over by many and while there is no conclusive evidence to believe that it does, there are several observances and instances that say that they do.
[Read: Essential Oils for Sore Muscles]
Did You Know?
- In addition to sore muscles, Epsom salt baths are also considered helpful for patients suffering from arthritis, sprains, ingrown toenails, insomnia, sunburn and swollen feet. There are healing properties in the compound and it usually does not have any side effects. However, if you’re doubtful because of a health condition, it is always better to consult the doctor first.
- Epsom salt is for external use only. While the term salt may draw relevance with table salt, Epsom salt should never be consumed even though it is very healthy. Do not apply this over an open wound as well.
Epsom Salt Baths for Sore Muscles
Well, contact with water allows Epsom salt to break into magnesium and sulfate. The popular conception is that when you take a bath with Epsom salt, magnesium(1) and sulfate individually enter your body through the pores of the skin.
Although this has not been proven scientifically, soaking in water containing Epsom salt does help in relaxing muscles and loosening up stiffness.
[Read: Heat or Cold for Sore Muscles]
How to Take Epsom Salt for Sore Muscles During a Bath?
There are some dos and don’ts that one must take care of while taking an Epsom salt bath for sore muscles. The water should not be very held or very cold. It should be just warm enough to be comfortable for the touch.
Epsom salt should ideally be added to the water while it is running to make sure that it dissolves properly. The amount recommended for an average size bathtub is 300g of Epsom salt, which may change based on the recommendation of the doctor.
Refrain from using Epsom salt in a hot tub or a whirlpool unless the packaging on the salt specifically mentions that it is okay to do so.
Once the bath has been prepared, keep your body part that hurts the most completely immersed in the water for at least 12 minutes. Try to relax and not have a lot of movements. Epsom salt also relaxed the mind, and it is suggested to keep the mind clear of chaos and problems.
Depending on the area where the muscles are most sore, the kind of match may change. And the second most common type is the Epsom salt footbath.
This is common because it is not only associated with sore muscles due to working out in the gym, but also with walking a lot which renders the foot muscles sore. In about 12-15 minutes of soaking the feet in Epsom salt water, the effect will be noticeable.
[Also Read: Natural Remedies for Sore Muscles]
Interesting Facts About Epsom salt
- Epsom salt is good for the mind as well as the body. It helps stabilize your mood, alleviates your senses and reduces anxiety, stress, and depression. In addition, it relieves muscle pain, especially around the neck, shoulders, back, and skull.
- Epsom salt acts very quickly and takes only 15 minutes to show results. Epsom salt bath for sore muscles will have an effect in merely 15 minutes if you put 300 g Epsom salt in a bathtub of water.
While Epsom salt baths do not have any side effects in general, it is suggested to consult a skin doctor to understand how your skin reacts to Epsom salt(2). It could be a possibility that the doctor does not suggest an Epsom salt bath in the winter, as the skin tends to be drier because of cold winds.
During the summers, there is a lot of humidity anyways and that is when Epsom salt baths are less likely to create any skin problems. Whatever the season maybe, when you start with Epsom salt baths, try to keep it less frequent in the beginning and depending on the reaction, you can increase the frequency. Maybe you should consider starting with doing it just once a week.
Although Epsom salt has been known to be beneficial for sore muscles, there are chances it won’t work like you’d expect it to, since there is no research to back the claim. If the muscle soreness is unbearable, it is better to consult a doctor.