This morning at intervals, while we were catching our breath at the end of our one-mile repeats workout, we discussed our favourite ways to recover other than using The Stick or foam roller.
Many of the seasoned runners all agreed: Epsom Salt Bath was tops on the list. Recipes varied as to how much salts to add to the bath water, but the general consensus was “more isn’t a bad thing.”
Epsom salts, or magnesium sulfate, have been used for hundreds of years to ease aches and pains from muscle over-exertion. It draws out the toxins in our bodies, helps us to relax and promotes the absorption of essential nutrients. Yes, by soaking in a bath you can help your body absorb more nutrients from the food you consume – our skin is, after all, our largest organ and absorbs everything we put on it. This report from the Epsom Salt Industry Council shows that bathing in Epsom salts is an easy way to increase the levels of magnesium and sulfate in our body.
I piped up and mentioned that we receive added benefits by including baking soda in the bath water as well (it softens the water, neutralises the toxins that are being drawn out and allows us to better absorb the magnesium in the Epsom Salt). And if you REALLY want to detoxify, toss in some ground ginger which will cause a massive amount of sweating (beginners should add < Tablespoon of ginger, and work their way up with the amount).
The recipe I am most experienced with came from Mind Body Green and is included below:
- 1 cup epsom salt
- 1/2 c baking soda
- 4 T ground ginger (more or less depending on your tolerance)
- Essential oils of choice, optional (I used tea tree oil, but lavender is another good option)
Fill your bathtub with hot water – as hot as you can tolerate it. Once it fills about half way, sprinkle in your ingredients and give it a few big stirs with your hand to help it all dissolve. Once it’s full, get in and submerge yourself to your neck. Soak for at least 20 minutes but you can stay in as long as 40 minutes. The first 20 minutes is to extract toxins while the second 20 minutes is when the body begins to absorb the minerals. Beginners can soak for a total of 20 minutes and work their way up over time.
Once you’re out, simply towel off and rest for about 30 minutes before showering. Do NOT do this detox every day, but instead once or twice a week and build to three times a week from there if you want to do so.
The first time I did this bath I went for a full 40 minutes. I had a cold, and was really trying to rid myself of the mucous. I did not stay submerged the entire time, but moved around a bit. I recommend bringing a good book and a large bottle of cold water with you to keep hydrated. You don’t have to sit for 30 minutes post-bath, but know that you should rinse off before getting dressed and you will continue to sweat for a while after your bath is finished.
To your health and wellness, enjoy a little detox bath time!