Baths are a luxury these days! We simply don’t seem to have time for them, or at least I haven’t anyway. However, recently I have been making an effort to make time to enjoy the relaxing benefits of an epsom salts bath. They are great at any time, but especially helpful when suffering from aches or muscle strain. Due to their high magnesium content, Epsom salts promote the release of lactic acid from muscle tissue. So, this means that is would also be beneficial to have an epsom salts bath the evening after you have had a massage which would release built up lactic acid. Without this, you may experience temporary generalized soreness following the massage treatment of a particularly tight area. The magnesium is also helpful if we are having trouble sleeping. An epsom salt bath before bed may help us to relax and support a better nights sleep.

Muscle Tension

When we are moving our muscles, they use oxygen and nutrients and then produce carbon dioxide and waste products. The main waste produced by muscle metabolism is the aforementioned lactic acid. The nutrients and wastes are transported to and from our muscles by the circulation of our blood. So, this system is very dependent upon good blood flow. Poor or insufficient blood flow causes a build up of lactic acid, and this in turn produces tension in our muscles.

Muscle Pain

There are many types of muscle pain, but we are all familiar with the stiff, achy feeling of a muscle, after an unusual level of exercise, a chronic strain or build up of stress-related tension. This achiness or stiffness is caused by the development of lactic acid residues, or build up, in the muscle tissue. To add insult to injury (!) a tight muscle clamps down on its supplying blood vessels, and so makes it even harder for the drainage of its own tissue to take place.


Massage is a super therapy to help relieve tight achy muscles in several ways. It helps to relax tension and spasms, and promotes the release of the lactic acid from the tissue. This relaxing action then enhances the function of the supplying blood vessels, allowing the system by which nutrients are delivered to the muscles and waste is taken away, to work properly again. In addition, massaging actively increases the rate of blood flow to and from the surrounding area.

Epsom Salt Bath

Epsom salts have been used for many years and are widely available at your local pharmacy. In order to get optimum benefits for your muscles, add 2-4 cups to a full bath. The temperature should be as hot as you can tolerate comfortably. It would be beneficial to soak for a minimum of 20 minutes, without adding anything else to the water, including oils and soap, as they would alter the chemistry of the water. After soaking for 20 minutes, you can then wash or rinse off.

As the water is hot, you might perspire so it would be a good idea to have a glass of cold water to sip as you soak, to replace the fluid you lose. When you are finished, get out of the tub slowly and carefully, as with any hot bath.

CAUTION: If you are over 50 or have diagnosed heart trouble, you should moderate the water temperature and avoid submerging your body above heart level. You should definitely use a cold towel around your neck, keeping a bucket of cold water available beside the tub for wringing. If you have any concerns about whether a hot bath will affect you adversely, please consult with your doctor before using the Epsom salts bath.

Other Resources

Epsom Salts Uses & Benefits

Web MD Guide to Epsom Salts

Lyn Sharkey Nutrition
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