The most shared piece of health advice I have been spouting out lately is to take a bath. When another friend and I get to talking about our bathing rituals, we gleefully share oil recommendations and essential oil additions, while one of our other companions usually scowls.
“I don’t have a bath/fit in my tub/I’m too tall for a bath/ain’t nobody got time for that” and a plethora of other reasons why they can’t sit in a tub come forth from their lips. I always plead my bathing case, musing on how much more alive I have started to feel now that I sit in a HAB (hot-ass bath) for 45-ish minutes at least once a week. Between all the sweating, the cornmeal, the Epsom salts, and the different additives I use to treat whatever is ailing me that week (hypochondriac much?), I always feel like a new woman the day after Bath Night.
WELL, DO I HAVE A SIMPLE TRICK FOR Y’ALL BATHLESS MASSES!
Epsom salts are the biggest source of my love and appreciation for baths. When you add a cup or two into your bathwater, rainbows shoot out of the water and a blue fairy flies over and smacks you in the face with her wand of good health.
Just kidding. What I am trying to poorly illustrate in Lisa Frank imagery is that using Epsom salt, aka magnesium sulfate, in your bath is like stepping out of your tornado-tossed home into a peaceful, serene Oz. I felt immediate and drastic results, as well as a reduction of some of my more common health complaints, most of them stress-related--namely fatigue, aching muscles, eczema flare-ups, and insomnia.
Magnesium deficiency is slowly becoming a more common occurrence, and the lack of magnesium also messes with your vitamin D and calcium absorption, so you really don’t want to toy with this. Being a mildly paranoid person of the vegetarian persuasion, I know that I have had some severe vitamin D lows in the past. If it was connected to my complete lack of Epsom salt baths (and also ocean swimming, which is also not typically done during the winter), I will never know, but the verdict is in for me. I fall asleep faster and easier after an Epsom salt bath, my body breakouts ease up, and my perpetually sore shoulders are softened for at least 24 hours afterwards.
I feel for anyone without at least periodic access to a bath. Perhaps a once monthly spa bath visit? Hotel room? A very cheap option would be to bribe a friend, though if I were you, I would clean the tub first.
However, there's another way. One step up from being the poor sap who scrubs their friend’s tub: a DIY magnesium oil spray!
This method is super-easy: equal parts water to Epsom salt (or magnesium flakes--I’ll explain the difference shortly) heated in a pot to dissolve the crystals, cooled, and poured into a spray bottle.
This solution can be sprayed over the skin for transdermal absorption of the minerals that help everything work all optimum-like. This can also be used to soften the skin, help with itching and other skin issues, as well as a stress-reducer and sleep aid.
This can sting a bit sometimes, and they (bloggers and doctors) say that it is your body getting used to the magnesium, so feel free to further dilute your solution if it bothers you too much. Another awesome tip: dilute it with some of your very own DIY hydrosol for a scented treatment.
Who knows why this is called an "oil" since it really is just a solution of magnesium and water, but nonetheless, this stuff is actually sold pre-made. It can feel oily on the skin, but not overly so. The difference here is the presence of sulfate. Epsom salt, which is magnesium sulfate, is said to have a more temporary effect when compared to magnesium flakes, which are magnesium chloride. Though I would love to purchase the pricier magnesium flakes, the claims are of the more "woo" variety.
I really don’t want to bark up the detox tree, since HABs open up the pores and increase circulation enough to help promote this function that the body already naturally carries out. Until I see hard science on detoxing, I won’t really say much about it. The effects I achieve from frugal ol’ Epsom salt are powerful enough for me to figure the nicer product probably works better, but I am currently satisfied with my level of efficacy.
I'll leave you with one more tip: if you notice any dryness when using this remedy, rise off after 30 minutes and apply your favorite actual oil. I like the extra richness of coconut after any magnesium exposure.