I possess a natural empathy and a desire to help people; whether that is to help ease the pain of chronic tension, to soothe the muscles following over-exertion or simply to relax and take away anxiety. I treat people holistically and as individuals

Amy Phillips - 07800 636266

Dekker Road, Dulwich Village. London. SE21 7DJ

thedulwichtouch@me.com

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 Wellbeing

A long hot soak…Epsom salts

“I am sure there are things that can't be cured by a good bath but I can't think of one.”
― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Having a long hot bath has always been a daily necessity for me. It’s complete ‘me’ time, when I can lie back and let my mind wander, or indulge in the pleasure of a great book whilst the hot water soothes me and my muscles can relax. Epsom salts have been a fairly recent discovery for me, but they have changed that daily routine into something even more special. When my muscles are aching after a hard day of working out other people’s knots, my good friend, the Epsom salts are at hand to give me relief, and with the addition of some essential oils, I can’t think of anywhere that I’m happier.

Epsom salts are not just for soothing muscle aches and pains though; they have powerful detoxifying properties and can help with high blood pressure and heart problems as well as constipation (when taken internally). They are made of the mineral magnesium sulfate and are also a sedative for the nervous system. 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. Stress can deplete the body of magnesium and increase levels of adrenaline, so soaking in an Epsom salt bath replenishes the magnesium and also acts as a mild sedative, decreasing stress and aiding relaxation.
Even if you are one of those people who just ‘don’t do baths’ a simple foot soak can be highly beneficial as the healing minerals are absorbed through the skin, into the body. They can also help the healing process if you have cuts or bruises, fungal infections, smelly feet and they can even help draw out splinters. Rubbing your feet (or preferably getting some else to!) can also help in the relaxation process as the feet represent all parts of the body, so just rubbing them can have an all-over effect. Add half a cup of salts to a large enough tub of hot water and mix well until they absorb, sit back and relax for 12-15 minutes or longer.
To have a full-on bath experience, put 2 cups of Epsom salts (around 200g) under running water- this should be hot, as hot as is comfortable! And then just lie back and enjoy for a minimum of 12 minutes. Experts recommend doing this 3 times per week, but maybe more if you are particularly active; athletes often use them as part of their training routine to help detoxify the muscles after exercise and replenish magnesium levels. You might also try adding baking soda (bicarbonate of soda), which is highly alkaline and promotes an ideal pH for healing, detoxification, and optimal cellular function. Around a quarter to a half cup is sufficient, and it can help soothe sensitive skin as well! After the bath you may feel a little drowsy or light-headed, so get out slowly and rest (preferably lie down or sit) for a few minutes before doing anything
Adding essential oils to the bath is also highly effective, just 6-8 drops is sufficient, and make sure you mix the water very well or the oil may sit on the top and can make you horribly itchy. You can even mix the essential oils with a tablespoon of carrier oil as well, If you have sensitive skin anyway, only use 2-3 drops and if you do become itchy, get out immediately and shower off. I tend to mix the oil with the salts before putting in the bath, which seems to help mix it all up well. Some ideas of which oils to use: Rose, lavender, sandalwood or neroli for relaxation and calming; Cypress, Fennel, Grapefruit for detoxification (with grapefruit and all citrus oils only use 2-4 drops) or for a real muscle warmer try using: Eucalyptus (2-3 drops), Juniper and/or Rosemary. Always use oils that appeal to you and that you like the smell of- an oil will never relax you if you don’t like it!

• Pregnant women should ask their doctor before using Epsom salts or essential oils.
And finally, there are many varieties of Epsom salts on the market, many of them already have essential oils or other scents mixed with them. I would avoid these, they tend to be very overpriced. I usually buy mine in 3kg bags from my local chemist (for £6) and this will last me a few weeks/months. They can also be bought in small or large quantities on the internet.
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