Having grown up in the suburbs with weekends on our family farm, my family were no strangers to Epsom salt soaks. Whether it was my Gran soaking her feet in a bucket, or my siblings and I being sore after hours on horseback, we all knew how good we felt after that warm bath. As an athlete, you can use Epsom salt baths to make your muscles feel better and possibly reduce recovery time.
Fall has arrived, and with it the thought of a warm/hot bath starts to come to mind. This is the time of year I start recommending soaking in Epsom salt to all my clients. We can use them year-round, but like a crackling fire, something about the cold weather just brings it to mind. After a client last week said, “Uhm Coach? What is an Epsom salt bath?” I knew I’d better explain what the heck I was talking about.
As are most Americans, you are most likely deficient in Magnesium. Magnesium helps regulate the activity of more than 300 enzymes in the body. Athletes have a faster turnover of energy, use their muscles more, put greater stress on their bones and sweat more. As an athlete, you most likely require more magnesium as it is involved in optimizing strength, energy metabolism and protein synthesis – all key factors for athletic success.
There is research that shows when you soak in an Epsom salt bath, magnesium can be absorbed through the skin, potentially making it a safe and easy way to increase the body’s levels of both magnesium. As little as a 12 to 20 minute soak and voila, you feel better! Look how smart Grandma is now!
Some of the things Epsom salt baths (soaks) are commonly used for are:
- Sore Muscles & Stiff Joints
- Arthritis Pain
- Trouble Sleeping
- Swelling and Swollen Feet/ Ankles
Epsom salt costs only a few bucks and you can get it at most grocery stores, Target, or Walmart. There isn’t a need to spend more money for a fancier version with fragrances and dyes unless that’s your thing, and don’t waste your bath bubbles during a soak because they’ll all fuzz out with the magnesium sulfate mixture.