Written by Dr. Taz Bhatia, MD
If you could soothe your aching muscles, rejuvenate your tired feet and reduce your stress levels in just 20 minutes, would you do it? A good soak in warm water infused with Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) can provide both physical and emotional relief.
Restoring Magnesium After Exercise
Strenuous exercises like running, lifting weights or a vigorous vinyasa flow can deplete your magnesium stores. This depletion can reduce muscle performance, so it’s wise to continually rebuild your mineral levels.
There are several ways to boost your magnesium.
1. Eat plenty of magnesium-rich foods, such as dark leafy greens; legumes; nuts (properly soaked and dehydrated for maximum absorption); and whole, unrefined grains.
2. Since soil levels of magnesium are not what they used to be, magnesium levels in produce can be low. If you’re concerned you might be magnesium deficient, talk to your doctor about whether you should take supplements.
3. Many people report relief from soaking their aching muscles in an Epsom salt bath. Fill up the tub with very warm water and add one to two cups of Dr. Teal’s Epsom salt. Keep your heart above water while soaking for about 20 minutes and feel the tension melt away.
Soaking the Feet
There are few things more luxurious than a “salty” foot soak after being on your feet all day. Fill up a small basin with hot water. Add and dissolve half a cup of Epsom salt. You can move your tub anywhere and even read, knit, or (if you must) catch up on emails while you soak! Do this three times a week for best results.
Dips in your magnesium levels don’t only cause physical malaise but can put you in a vulnerable place physically and emotionally. Many of my patients notice a marked improvement in their symptoms, from general irritability to sleeplessness, once we up their magnesium stores. We do this through diet, supplementation and–always a favorite–Epsom salt baths. If you are using these therapeutic mineral baths to ease stress, play some soft music and pour yourself a magnesium-rich green juice while you are at it!