As tempting as it may be to pop a few steroid-loaded painkillers, they will not provide complete or permanent relief to a person with fibromyalgia. As mentioned before, there is no cure for the chronic illness; it’s the therapies and smart living that help. And soaking in an Epsom salt bath.
Although there is no scientific study that proves Epsom salts are beneficial for pain relief, they have been recommended to treat aches and pains for several hundred years owing to the key ingredient — magnesium, a compound that occurs naturally in the body.
Now here’s the truth of the matter.
Going by popular culture (and good old internet knowledge), ‘Epsom’ gets its name from Epsom, a town in Surrey, England, where this particular compound is first said to have been discovered. Commonly known as bath salts, these aren’t like table salt, Himalayan pink salt, or Kosher salt. Epsom salts are a chemical compound made of magnesium, sulphate, and oxygen. It is the magnesium provides this product with its healing properties. Because of their chemical properties, these salts are used for medical, agricultural, chemical, construction and other purposes.
But we’ll stick to the medical aspect, specifically fibromyalgia, because that’s what we’re here for.
How does magnesium sulphate benefit fibromyalgia?
Epsom salts release magnesium and sulphate ions when dissolved in warm water. When you soak yourself or the feet in this water, your body absorbs some of these ions, which then work their magic.
Magnesium helps with several bodily functions related to nerve receptors, blood flow, pain sensitivity and detoxification — all of which help reduce pain, muscle soreness and sensitivity, conditions that plague people battling fibromyalgia. Which means, an Epsom salt/magnesium sulphate soak will…
- Creates a buoyant effect in the body that reduces gravitational pull on the body, thus allowing muscles to relax
- Improves blood flow in the body, thus reducing pain, especially when mixed with warm water during wet and cold seasons
- The combination of magnesium and warm water soak reduces muscle soreness and stiffness
- Epsom salts reportedly regulate electrolytes in the body that help with better functioning of enzymes
- They also flush the body of harmful toxins that may be hampering several bodily functions
- Physical pain is related to mental health and vice versa - relaxed muscles reduce stress levels that ease muscular and joint pain
- Increases the level of the happy hormone ‘serotonin’ that makes you feel relaxed and happier
- Magnesium also pushes the brain to produce neurotransmitters and melatonin that help with regenerative aka deep sleep
And can we add that a few minutes - or should we say 20-30 minutes, until the warm water turns cold - of ‘me time’ to unwind and de-stress can take the sting out of the day’s hard work and excruciating pain.
How to do an Epsom salt bath/soak
- Most importantly, make sure the temperature of the water is to your comfort level!
- For a foot soak
Fill your bath or a deep tub with warm water. Drop about 4 tablespoons of Epsom salt (or you could use the RELIEF OR SLEEP BATH + FOOT SALT SOAK and dissolve. Plop yourself on a comfortable seat, place a mug of CALMING BREW OR CHAI MASALA HOT COCOA, switch on your favourite music from our Spotify Music Channel or Reading List and let the salts pull the tired out of the throbbing feet and calf muscles.
- For a bath
Fill your bathtub with slightly hot water. Add ¼ cup of Epsom salt or the RELIEF OR SLEEP BATH + FOOT SALT SOAK to the running water and let it dissolve as you wait for the bathtub to fill for a full submerge. Light your favourite aromatic candle - we recommend the ROSE SOY CANDLE or CONFIDENCE SOY CANDLE, sip on a mug of PLUM + ROSES BREW, play the “SOUNDS OF NATURE” playlist from our Spotify Channel, choose a light read and immerse yourself in the water for at least 20 minutes.
You can also check out some more tips on ways to bathe and soak in Epsom salt water at here.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes pain in the bones and muscles. The medical community finds the condition difficult to diagnose due to its similarity with other chronic pain illnesses like osteoarthritis, bursitis, and tendinitis. The difference between these conditions and fibromyalgia is in the areas of pain – in the former, you are racked with pain in specific areas, but in fibromyalgia, the pain is widespread. That’s why diagnosis is made by the process of elimination. Here’s an interesting fact: records show over 90% of fibromyalgia sufferers are women.
DISCLAIMER: All opinions and suggestions shared are from our Founder’s detailed research and experiences in managing symptoms in her own battle with fibromyalgia
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