You may have enjoyed the feeling of taking a long, quiet bath to help you recover from a stressful time, but did you know a bath can help you recover from a tough workout, too?
When you tackle new exercises, increase your resistance, or exercise a bit longer, you might experience deep muscle soreness afterward that an Epsom salt bath can help.
It might seem like old-fashioned advice when someone suggests you take a warm bath with Epsom salts to help you feel better. But the mineral compound that the “salts” are made of can actually do a body good.
Magnesium sulfate is the scientific term for Epsom salts. They’ve enjoyed a long history of medicinal usage, and are known for their anti-inflammatory qualities, and support for muscles and nerves. That matters to your body after a workout, because it is inflammation that actually causes much of the muscle soreness we experience in recovery. Research has shown that, compared to rest alone, the effects of magnesium sulfate can lead to a more robust muscle recovery process.
The science behind the salts in your bath is that the mineral compound is readily absorbed through your skin. Magnesium on its own is known for its role in regulating hundreds of enzymes in the body. Sulfates may help flush toxins and ease headaches as well.
The Wonder of Warmth
The actual warm temperature of the water has its own therapeutic effects, as witnessed in the tradition of natural mineral baths or hot springs found in nature. Hot, mineralized water has bubbled up from deep within the Earth for thousands or millions of years, and been enjoyed by many generations across the planet. Today, many mineral baths in nature have been turned into swimming pools, public baths, and spas.
It’s no wonder that so many enjoy the effect of a bit of quiet time, and the gentle support of warm waters surrounding the body. Just that much can help you relax, inside and out. Fortunately, preparing a mineral bath for yourself is easy, with a stock of Epsom salts, found at most drug stores.
How to Draw Yourself a Recovery Bath
1. Fill the tub with very warm water, if your skin allows. Natural hot springs often are measured at over 100 degrees, but you might want your home bath to be a bit cooler than that.
2. As the water is running into the tub, add 1 to 2 cups of Epsom salts. It’s possible that the more grueling your workout, the more benefit there is to a well-mineralized bath.
3. Once the tub is full and the salts are dissolved, get in and soak for at least 10 minutes. No need to stay in much longer than 20 minutes, but warning: you might find that the comforts of a warm Epsom salt bath call you to recline back and lose track of time!