Epsom Salts and Other Remedies for Muscle Ache and Pain
You have probably seen them on the supermarket and pharmacy shelves dozens of times, without stopping to think how a simple product can help so tremendously, especially on days when the weather, hormones, a minor injury, or too much exercise take their toll on your body with allover aches. They are Epsom salts, named after the small town they were originally found in about four centuries ago (Epsom, England). In that location exists a natural source of warm, salty water. At first, only local inhabitants used it, that is until the spring’s fame as a source of healing began to circulate. The spring helped purge the body while reducing body pain, making Epsom a favorite spa resort destination of aristocrats. (1)
The chemist Dr. Nehemiah Grew realized the wonderful properties of this spring were attributed to the magnesium sulfate content, which helps reduce inflammation and pain. In 1695, he considered how useful it would be to make the healing benefit a reality for anyone worldwide, and so began an arduous battle to obtain the patent for Epsom salt manufacturing, packaging, and sale. Since then, the fame of these salts has only grown more. (1)
At the beginning of the last century, articles appeared in magazines and newspapers praising the amazing results of this simple home remedy, used topically in combating pain, inflammation, and muscular discomfort. As a result, some doctors began using it at hospitals to treat discomfort associated with diseases like rheumatism. (2)
The scientific evidence
Although the evidence is not yet as conclusive and definitive as for other natural remedies, the truth is that a common product so easy to find and very affordable can solve problems such as:
Inflammation and leg and foot pain.
Muscular tension and joint pain.
Discomfort from fatigue or excessive exercise.
Minor concussions and sprains.
Arthritis or arthritis-like pain.
Difficulty relaxing muscles.
As Dr. Grew discovered, Epsom salts contain magnesium sulfate which is indispensable to the contraction and relaxation of muscles. (3)
According to several studies, magnesium sulfate may be more effective when applied through the skin than consumed orally because it is better absorbed and shows fewer side effects due to not passing through the gastrointestinal tract. Epsom salt baths help increase magnesium sulfate levels in the body. (3, 4)
Epsom salts also contain sulfur, which has anti-inflammatory properties that help treat rheumatoid arthritis and sports injuries, among others. (5)
Here is a simple way to use Epsom salts:
Epsom Salt Anti-inflammatory & Analgesic Bath
2 cups of Epsom salt per gallon of warm water
Bathtub with warm water, or a large container
Dissolve the Epsom salt in water, either prepared in the bathtub or in a container big enough to soak your feet. Enjoy for 30 minutes.
If you prefer, prepare the mixture in a bowl, and soak a towel in it. Use the soaked towel as a compress to place on the inflamed or hurting area for 30 minutes. Do this up to three times a day for as long as you feel discomfort.
- Do not do this without first consulting your doctor if you suffer from diabetes or have magnesium issues.
Beyond pain or discomfort
In general, constant or excessive muscle pain has underlying reasons that have to do with the deterioration of different parts of the musculoskeletal system, which includes muscles, tendons, bones, and joints. In addition to treating the temporary discomfort of the moment with a bath or salt compress, it is advisable to dig into the root of the problem and attack it there.
Aside from a check-up with your doctor to request tests that can give you a ‘full picture’ of the health of your bones, muscles, and joints, you can incorporate the following into your care routine:
Glucosamine has a therapeutic effect by relieving pain and promoting joint recovery, thus preventing musculoskeletal deterioration and disability in the face of diseases such as osteoarthritis. (6)
Collagen: There is sufficient evidence showing how the consumption of the collagen protein improves health and slows joint and musculoskeletal tissue deterioration, which is especially important for patients with osteoarthritis (7). A small, 24-week clinical trial also proved collagen’s benefits in improving joint pain in athletes, supporting joint health, and possibly reducing the risk of musculoskeletal deterioration. (8)
Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium and other minerals in the bones, and bone density is highly dependent on sufficient levels of this vitamin (which we do not always get enough from the sun). (8)
Let's get healthier together.
Your Santo Remedio Team
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