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Epsom Salts Bath? October 7, 2009

Posted by Richard Lowe in Thoughts & Musings.
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Lately, the idea of taking an epsom salts bath after a run has come up in discussions among my running friends and the question is mainly: What The Heck Does It Do? Well, I decided to do some research.

Apparently, epsom salts get the name because it was originally found after boiling down water in Epsom, England. Makes sense! It differs from regular table salts in that it is actually made of magnesium sulfate, whereas cooking salt is sodium-based. Epsom salts (yes, plural!) is widely regarded for it’s multitude of uses, including agriculture and medicine. In agriculture, it is added to magnesium-deficient soil, since magnesium is an essential element in the chlorophyll molecule. Medicinally, farmers would add 1/2 tsp to chicken feed to cure chicken diarrhea and it also apparently cures dropsy in fish. (Dropsy? What a great Scrabble word!) But while those uses are good and interesting, what we’re concerned with is how it can be used for runners!

According to this article by Care2.com, a wonderful green-living website,

When magnesium sulfate is absorbed through the skin, such as in a bath, it draws toxins from the body, sedates the nervous system, reduces swelling, relaxes muscles, is a natural emollient, exfoliator, and much more.

So this makes sense! After a long run, a nice warm bath with added epsom salts will help relax tense muscles and reduce swelling. While I love a hot shower after a run, it doesn’t quite have the same medicinal effects as an epsom salts bath would. Perhaps, as my runs get longer (or I start farming, raising chickens with IBS, or curing bloated fish), I should invest in some epsom salts…

You learn something new everyday!

Read more on Wikipedia’s entry about epsom salts.



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