Dec 8, 2014

My New Favorite Thing

One of my big take-aways from going to the Weston A. Price Conference was the importance of using epsom salts in my bath.  Usually I'm not a big bath taker.  Showers are much faster.  After being at the conference I decided that I would try at least once a week to take a 20-minute bath with 2 cups of epsom salts.  For bonus points, use your favorite essential oil.  

Time and time again I heard people give kudos to this inexpensive additive to your bath (both attendees as well as presenters.)  The below 10 pound bucket came from Sam's Club and was about $7.
Why is epsom salt so good for the body?

The chemical name is Magnesium Sulfate.  Many people are deficient in both magnesium as well as sulfur.  We theoretically could get those minerals from our food... 

- if we didn't have compromised guts from taking rounds of antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals
- if we only ate biodynamic, nutrient-dense, organically raised foods (and no processed foods)
- if conventional farmers used soil amendments other than N, P, and K. (Since the introduction of synthetic fertilizers in the 1950's, magnesium in vegetables has decreased 25-80%.  Buy local and organic when you can.)
- if we lived stress-free lives (Stress influences digestion --upset stomach anyone?)

The skin is the biggest organ.  For better or worse, you are absorbing all kinds of things around you.   When you soak in a bath of epsom salts the body is getting a healthy dose of magnesium and sulfur.

  {disclaimer:  I'm not a doctor or scientist.  Do your own research.  The following is my limited and simplified understanding.}

Magnesium is needed by the body for almost every cellular function.  It is a cofactor for over 300 enzyme systems in the body.  A few of the systems include protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, glucose control, and blood pressure regulation.  If you consistently just don't feel good --you quite possibly could be magnesium deficient.

When you sweat (exercise or menopause), you are loosing a lot of magnesium.  Ever have muscle cramps?

Some people tell me, "Oh, I'm taking a magnesium supplement" (or calcium and magnesium supplement).  That could be helpful, depending on your gut health and the quality of the supplement.  You could also be throwing your money down the proverbial drain if you are not absorbing it.  

You've read in this space before: compromised guts will not absorb as many minerals as a healthy gut. That is, minerals from food or supplements.

People who are extremely deficient in magnesium may find that a transdermal application of magnesium oil helps even better than a pill form.  The higher quality magnesium oils can be expensive.  Epsom salt doesn't break the bank but requires time to soak.

{side note:  several friends of mine swear by Calm and drink it as a night cap before going to bed.  They say it helps them fall asleep and stay asleep.}  
This 4 pound bag of epsom salt from Kroger was only $3.

What about sulfur?

Stephanie Seneff, PhD, argues in this article that sulfur deficiency could be a cause for obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer's and chronic fatigue.  She was a speaker for 6 hours at the conference this year.  She also spoke last year (6 hours on sulfur alone!)  One conferee told me the one big take away he remembers from last year's talks on sulfur was: 

When you’re getting sick-- cold, flu, cancer even! produces sulfur.  The body allows this to stabilize blood chemistry.  Take an Epsom Salt bath to give the body sulfur.  Or eat high sulfur foods (like garlic, onions, broccoli or cabbage). 

Since going to the conference, when family members feel a little under the weather and complain, I send them straight to the tub with instructions to use epsom salt.  My dad says he remembers his grandmother burning a sulfur candle (stinky!) in the room of an invalid.

Does it help?

It doesn't hurt.  It is not expensive.  And it doesn't stink.

Again, I feel the need to say I'm not an expert.  But I heard several people at the conference say that epsom salts (or sufficient levels of magnesium) will help you detox.  The word "detox" is somewhat of a buzz word these days and I confess I'm not sure what all it means or how the body detoxes.  

However, I do know that I want to help my body in every way possible to rid itself of toxic substances.  Another theme I kept hearing at the conference was "the reason we are so sick (as a culture) is because of all the toxins (like heavy metals) that are staying in our bodies and not being eliminated."

If taking a 20-minute bath in epsom salt relaxes my mind and heals my body, I'm in.  Bonus that it's not toxic or expensive.


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1 comment:

  1. I love the big tub of it from Sams. This is a must to treat yourself regularly to this.



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