Bath Time Salts and Soaks

I’ve recently seen this quotation circulating the Internet and it gave me pause ” … of course her kids come before you! Hell, her kids come before her.” …. In my experience, the majority of moms put their children and spouse first, only getting around to themselves after a long list of necessary errands and chores. Pondering the quote inspired me to look at ways that we, as role models and the mainstay to our families, can take time-out of our hectic, crazy, wonderful days to relax, reduce stress and be better to ourselves.  Other than enjoying a glass of Chablis with a cherished friend or taking the dog for a “very” long walk, the idea that seemed to make a great deal of sense was to pencil in time every couple of days for self-care in the form of a long, warm bath to ease tense muscles and improve both physical health and mental well-being.

As a follow up to my bath and shower sugar scrubs posted for Mother’s Day, this article focuses on bath salt recipes and benefits. I find that these make splendid gifts for a girlfriend’s birthday, Mother’s Day, Christmas, or in a jar on display when we have guests staying so they can relax and rejuvenate after the wear and tear of travel.  Equally important, they are invaluable to have on hand when one of the family is in need of calming or pampering.

The main ingredient in each of the recipes is Epsom salt. I know Epsom salt has been around forever; my grandmother used it, my mother swore by it and now I’m supporting it.  I really didn’t know much about Epsom salt other than I was told there were medicinal and relaxation qualities when added to a bath …. so off I went to satisfy my curiosity, and hopefully, yours.

Origin: Epsom salt, named for a bitter saline spring at Epsom in Surrey, England, is not actually salt but a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate.  Long known as a natural remedy for a number of ailments.  Studies have shown that magnesium and sulfate are both readily absorbed through the skin, making Epsom salt baths an easy and ideal way to enjoy the associated health benefits.  Magnesium plays a number of roles in the body including regulating the activity of over 325 enzymes, reducing inflammation, helping muscle and nerve function, and helping to prevent artery hardening.  Sulfates help improve the absorption of nutrients, flush toxins, and help ease migraine headaches.

Some of the countless health benefits include relaxing the nervous system, curing skin problems, soothing back pain and aching limbs, easing muscle strain, healing cuts, treating colds and congestion, and drawing toxins from the body.  One of the simplest ways to ease stress and stress-related problems is to soak in a tub full of hot water with a few cups of Epsom salts.   Some of the notable benefits of Epsom salt include:

Eases stress and relaxes the body: Stress drains the body of magnesium and increases levels of adrenaline.  When dissolved in warm water, Epsom salt is absorbed through the skin and replenishes the level of magnesium in the body.  The magnesium helps to produce serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of calm and relaxation.  Research shows that magnesium also increases energy and stamina by encouraging the production of adenosine triphosphate, the energy packets made in the cells. Experts believe that bathing with Epsom salt at least three times a week helps you to look better, feel better and gain more energy.  Magnesium ions also help you relax and reduce irritability by lowering the effects of adrenaline.  They create a relaxed feeling, improve sleep and concentration, and help muscles and nerves to function properly.

Relieves pain and muscle cramps: An Epsom salt bath is known to ease pain and relieve inflammation, making it beneficial in the treatment of sore muscles, bronchial asthma, and migraine headaches.

Helps muscles and nerves function properly: Studies show that Epsom salt can help regulate electrolytes in your body, ensuring proper functioning of the muscles, nerves, and enzymes.  Magnesium is also known to be critical in the proper use of calcium, which serves as a main conductor of the electric impulses in your body.

Helps prevent hardening of arteries and blood clots: Epsom salt is believed to improve heart health and help prevent heart disease and strokes by improving blood circulation, protecting the elasticity of arteries, preventing blood clots, and reducing the risk of sudden heart attack deaths.

Makes insulin more effective: Proper magnesium and sulfate levels increase the effectiveness of insulin in the body, and can help to lower the risk or severity of diabetes.

Eliminates toxins from the body: The sulfates in Epsom salt help flush toxins and heavy metals from the cells, easing muscle pain and helping the body to eliminate harmful substances.  Your skin is a highly porous membrane and adding the right minerals to your bathwater triggers a process called reverse osmosis, which actually pulls salt out of your body, and harmful toxins along with it.  For a detoxifying bath, at least once weekly add two cups of Epsom Salt to the water in a bathtub and soak for 10 minutes.

I must run now …. the dog’s been walked, the kids are out, my husband’s golfing, so I’m going to take my book and slide into a Hot Spice Bath Salt Soak Mmmmm!

Fast and Easy Bath Salts

Ingredients and Materials

  • 2 1/2 cups Epsom salt
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups sea salt
  • food colouring optional
  • your favourite essential oil
  • 1 jar, small scoop and label

Cold, Flu and Sinus Bath Salts

Ingredients and Materials

  • 1 cup Epsom salt
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 5 drops eucalyptus mint essential oil [as decongestant]
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract [as relaxant]
  • food colouring optional
  • 1 jar, small scoop and label

Simple Spice Cake Bath Salts

Ingredients and Materials

  • 2 cups Epsom salt
  • 1/4 cup Himalayan pink salt
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 5-10 drops spice cake essential oil
  • food colouring [only 1 or 2 drops] optional
  • 1 jar, small scoop and label

In a medium mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix until well combined.

Optional: Add one drop of food coloring, then mix thoroughly; continue adding one drop at time until you’ve arrived at the color you wish.

Spoon prepared salts into small jars, add your customized label and finish with a small scoop either tied to the lid by a slender piece of ribbon or placed nearby.

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