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Epsom Salts were named from a town in England where the salt was produced. The salt is highly soluble in water and is known to have medicinal effects.
Epsom salts is hydrated magnesium sulfate. Many people can be deficient in magnesium and soaking in an Epsom salts bath is a good way to increase magnesium levels. When taken externally in a bath it has the effect of a muscle relaxant, and can be particularly helpful for muscle and joint pain.
Researchers and physicians suggest these health benefits from proper magnesium and sulfate levels, as listed on the web site of the Epsom Salt Industry Council. Read more >>
Another reason for decreased magnesium levels has been our focus on getting enough calcium. Calcium depletes magnesium yet calcium functions best when enough magnesium is present.
Some studies suggest that taking a calcium supplement without enough magnesium can deplete both nutrients. US research found that many Americans have five times as much calcium as magnesium in their bodies, although the proper ratio for optimum absorption of both minerals is two to one.
Magnesium is not easily absorbed through the digestive tract. Although magnesium supplements may sometimes be helpful, the presence of specific foods or drugs, certain medical conditions, and the chemistry of a person's stomach acid can render magnesium supplements ineffective. (Magnesium and Calcium should be taken together when used as a supplement)
Epsom salt is rich in both magnesium and sulfate. While both magnesium and sulfate can be poorly absorbed through the stomach, studies show increased magnesium levels from soaking in an Epsom salt bath. Magnesium and sulfate are both easily absorbed through the skin.
Sulfates play an important role in the formation of brain tissue, joint proteins and the proteins that line the walls of the digestive tract. They stimulate the pancreas to generate digestive enzymes and are thought to help detoxify the body.
Epsom Salts are available here at the clinic (the bags are on a shelf in the waiting room) for $15 for 2.5 Kg.
It's best to buy your Epsom Salts from a supermarket or a garden center. The small (500g) sized bags in (larger) pharmacies (due to limited shelf space) would only be enough for one or two baths, and this works out rather an expensive way to buy them. Radox and other commercial bath salts also use Epsom salts as their main ingredient.
However, to use sufficient quantity, this also works out a little expensive. You are paying for the brand and the perfume!
If you're worried about any impurities and find yourself very sensitive to this, or want to use Epsom Salts for young children (they can have a laxative and possible sedative and relaxing effect) then try this supplier (naturopath) for ultra-pure Epsom Salts, with no (or minimal) impurities. Slightly more expensive — but probably they also might keep your bath cleaner, without a scum ring appearing at the water's brim — although this is likely to be your body-salts and grime and film washing off from your own skin, rather than any (organic) impurities in the salts.
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