I am enjoying going back to old and sometimes overlooked traditions right now, and this week re-living the wonder of Epsom Salts.
Named after Epsom in England from the springs where it was originally discovered in the 17th century, funnily enough it is not actually a salt. Instead it is a naturally occurring mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate that contains over 325 enzymes, and is an amazing stress and pain reliever.
For me it was such a gift when I was suffering fibromyalgia many years ago as it eases inflammation, and while it's great for chronic pain sufferers, anyone in this high paced world can reap the benefits from the soothing properties of Epsom Salts.
Often when we are stressed our bodies are deficient in magnesium, that helps to produce serotonin, which in turn elevates our moods, and also promotes calm and relaxation in the body. It also abates high states of adrenalin and therefore reduces stress.
It can relieve insomnia by having a sedative effect which gives a more restful sleep. Also brilliant when coming off a long haul flight for those jet lag sufferers.
If you have worked extra hard at the gym it is a wonderful way to ease sore muscles and also assist with any sprains or bruising. Additionally it can alleviate back pain and soothe abdominal cramps.
Epsom Salts draws out harmful toxins from our bodies, while diminishing bloating and reducing puffiness. (Great if you want to squeeze into that tight dress girls!)
It is said to soothe psoriasis and skin issues, plus assist with fungal infections as the sulfates are necessary for healthy joints, skin and nervous tissue.
A natural deep cleanser, you can also use it as an exfoliator by mixing it with olive or coconut oil and rub it on the skin while showering.
If you are suffering from a cold or bronchial asthma it can relieve congestion, and if you have diabetes it helps increase the effectiveness of insulin in the body therefore lowering the risk and severity. It is also believed to abate migraine symptoms.
The best way to use it is a couple of cups in a warm to hot bath a few times a week, as the body absorbs the minerals because our skin is a highly porous membrane. Ideally you would soak for 40 mins as the first 20 mins removes the toxins, and the second replenishes the body with the minerals. However if you don't have the time a minimum of 12 mins can have amazing benefits.
Don't have a bath like me here in Copenhagen right now? A footbath can also work the magic, just reduce the amount of salts to half a cup and soak for around 20mins as the body absorbs the minerals through the feet. It is also softening for the skin so a perfect time to use a pumice and remove callouses.
The beauty of bathing is it is also a natural relaxer in itself, and you can add some extra oils to the bath to give an increased effect on wellbeing. Lavender is a great one, but use any oil that you prefer, light a candle, lie back and enjoy!
Where to find it? It is that easy that you can buy it at the supermarket... and it's cheap!
So if you are feeling a little stressed, tired and in need of a boost, give the old Epsom Salts a try.
Please Note: If you are pregnant, dehydrated, have open wounds or burns on the skin, or if you are suffering cardiovascular disease it is recommended to ask your doctor prior to using the salts.