Pain and inflammation are treated with one of many options, including integrative medicine. This is an alternative option that involves a different approach. While it may not deliver effects for all medical conditions, it is known to be relatively effective in pain management. One of the methods is the use of Epsom salts in a salt bath or in a drink. Following subsections offer a detailed view of the salt and its effects, to help users steer clear of the possible undesirable outcomes from epsom salt bath side effects.

Overview of Epsom salt

Epsom salt is a natural, colorless crystal that is known to possess properties that deliver remedies for conditions such as inflammation in the body, pain in the muscles and stress. It is typically used in a salt bath as a form of relaxation. It may also be consumed when dissolved in a glass of water. The salt chemically comprises magnesium sulfate, and it is also known as an electrolyte replenisher. The mechanism of action of magnesium sulfate helps in alleviating convulsions during pregnancy.

It is necessary to note that there the salt is the subject of heated discussions regarding the benefits. While there are claims of proven benefits, there are counter claims stating that the salt does not promote or deliver benefits. The latter category rests the point on the ability of the skin to absorb ions, and different studies have provided different results. However, users of the salt have concluded that there are distinct benefits from its use, and that is the basis for its continued use.

Composition of Epsom salt

The salt contains a structure that is more or less the same as regular table salt, though it contains oxygen, magnesium and sulfur.  It has a bitter taste, and this is one of the reasons why it is not found to be suitable for use in cooking as an ingredient. It is mainly used for the therapeutic effects. The salt, when dissolved in water, promotes absorption of magnesium through the skin. The increase in magnesium helps the body, by improving various functions. For instance, it helps heal or control inflammation, improves recovery of muscles, and improves nerve function.

Tips on using Epsom salt in a bath

Here are simple tips that can help the uninitiated in using the salt in a bath. It is to be borne in mind that these are only recommendations, and the actual use may differ depending on various factors. It is necessary to seek advice of specialists in integrative medicine before trying out the bath, if in doubt. Typically, around 2 cups of the salt are used in a bath that is of the regular size. The salt is mixed with running water, and the water is to be warm. Cold water and Epsom salt are not the best combinations. To enhance the experience, or to achieve additional relief, other essential oils may also be sometimes added in the bath. This includes essential oils such as lavender, eucalyptus, jasmine, rose, and bergamot.

Tips on using Epsom salt in a drink

As outlined above, Epsom salt is also dissolved in water and used as a drink. The intended outcomes from consuming Epsom salt in a drink is mainly attributed to the electrolyte replenishing property, in addition to the laxative properties. This makes it an effective option for treating constipation in individuals. Ideally, between two to six teaspoons of Epsom salt are added with one cup of water, measuring around 230 ml. It is necessary to note that Epsom salt, when consumed in moderation will not trigger any side effects, however, when it is consumed in excess, there is the likelihood of it causing undesirable effects.

General precautions about use of Epsom salt

To avoid any possible Epsom salt bath side effects, it is necessary to know about conditions that make it unsuitable for individuals to take the salt in any form. For instance, the salt is not to be taken by individuals with any form of renal disorder. Similarly, it is not suitable for patients with heart ailments, apart from pregnant women. It is also not recommended for use by children. As it does not belong to the category of products that are regulated by the US FDA, users are advised to take a measured and balanced decision when opting for the product. This includes looking for products of the best quality, and products that have been assessed or standardized.

Commonly known benefits of the salt

There are claimed benefits and there are documented benefits of the salt. Various products all over the world often get cult status, and are promoted with imaginary and unproven benefits. It is important to take an informed decision and verify the benefits from reputed sources, and not from untrusted online sources. There is a possibility of commercial interests projecting the product as a silver bullet for all maladies, and this could end up as an unwanted problem.

Documented benefits include improvement in performance during workouts and post-workouts. This is primarily attributed to the effect of magnesium on lactic acid, that builds up in the muscles during a workout. When the lactic acid is removed or neutralized, the individual gets to workout harder and build better, longer, stronger muscles. This also helps improve performance in sporting activities. Various studies have demonstrated that the use of Magnesium has helped individuals perform better during workouts. It is also known to help during recovery after exercise. This is a very important part of workouts, as faster and effective recovery is essential for continued performance enhancement. Soreness in the muscles is always one of the reasons for individuals to avoid or delay the next session. When soreness is eliminated, there is a possibility of better performance.

Alleviation and relief from pain

Pain and cramps are linked to individuals who do not intake adequate levels of magnesium. This may also be accompanied by inflammation, that could be either acute in nature or chronic in nature. This is often attributed to certain underlying health conditions; for instance, individuals with Type 2 Diabetes, or patients with Gastrointestinal conditions may end up with magnesium deficiency due to the reduced absorption of magnesium. Specifically, diseases such as Crohn’s and Celiac disease are known to have an impact on the ability of the body to absorb magnesium. The use of Epsom salt in a bath is known to offer soothing relief form sore muscles and from inflammation.  

Stress busting property of Epsom salt – truth or hype?

Another condition that is often touted as a benefit of Epsom salt is the stress busting property. Many are skeptical if Epsom salt can actually deliver relief from stress, or if the experience of sitting in a bath, without any other disturbance is the reason for stress relief. While this argument may appear valid on the face of it, it is necessary to add that there is some evidence to show that magnesium has a role in neurotransmitters and this in turn could have an impact on the signals exchanged in the body between nerve cells. Consequently, this is known to help individuals experience some kind of relief from stress, and could help improve sleep, concentration levels and could enhance the mood of the individual.  Lower levels of magnesium are known to have a direct impact on sleep, and when Epsom salt in a bath helps in delivering magnesium through the absorbed magnesium, there is a possibility of it improving healthy sleep.

Effective in treating constipation

As outlined earlier, Epsom salt is effective in treating constipation. This is because of the laxative properties, in addition to the electrolyte delivered by the salt. This helps in treating the condition, and patients with chronic or acute constipation may find significant relief from it. However, this is to be used only when it is regarded as the safest or most effective option among all options. This is not be used as a regular or routine solution, unless specifically recommended by an expert. To prepare the solution, mix the required quantity of Epsom salt in water, let it dissolve, and drink the mixture.

Commonly reported Epsom salt bath side effects

All products come with the possibility of undesirable effects. Most individuals incorrectly assume that OTC products, or herbal concoctions, or alternative medicine may not cause unwanted outcomes. However, contrary to all perception, the chances of experiencing side effects exist even with the above-mentioned products. However, these products may be relatively safe, and the most effects may be experienced only when the intake is excessive. Limited or moderate intake may not always cause any undesirable outcomes. However, certain categories of individuals will be at a higher risk of experiencing undesirable effects; for instance, patients with kidney related problems.

Possible effects when used in a bath

Epsom salt bath does not typically cause any reaction; however, individuals with a skin problem or individuals with sensitive skin may end up with outbreak of rashes or may experience contact dermatitis.

Possible effects when consumed

When consumed in a mixture containing water, individuals may experience dizzy feelings, or may feel faint. Similarly, there is every possibility of a stomach upset and patients may end up with possible diarrhea. Other effects that could be experienced include diarrhea, while some are likely to experience blurred vision. There is also the possibility of an impact on the bladder, and this could disrupt routines. Individuals are also known to experience some changes in heart beat rate, while some may experience difficulty while beathing. Weakness or fatigue in the muscles may also be experienced, and this could also have an effect on routine actions.

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