Epsom salt has long been touted as a natural, highly-effective, and convenient remedy to ease muscle cramps and joint pain.
In fact, Epsom salt baths are often recommended as the go-to solution for those suffering from sore, over-worked, and achy feet.
Simply pour 1/2 to 1 cup of salt into a tub or bucket with enough hot water to cover your ankles. Soak for 15 minutes to an hour. And say hello to relaxed, less painful feet!
The secret to Epsom salt?
It isn’t salt.
Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate - a pure mineral compound made of magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen (no sodium chloride - or salt!).
It originates from Epsom, England - a small town approximately 15 miles from central London. In the late 1600s, water from a saline spring in Epsom was boiled down to form magnesium sulfate and sold as a spa product with medicinal properties.
While magnesium sulfate does have an appearance similar to that of table salt, the term "salt" most likely refers to the specific chemical structure of the compound.
Hence the name. Epsom salt.
Despite the somewhat misleading name, millions swear by its healing powers. Many believe magnesium and sulfate are both readily absorbed through the skin to reduce inflammation, improve muscle and nerve function, flush out toxins, among numerous other benefits.
But what is even more controversial than its name is that no scientific research exists to support Epsom salt’s ability to relieve pain.
In fact many claim the use of Epsom salt as a pain reliever is a folk remedy that has stood the test of time.
Folk remedy or not, I am a huge fan of Epsom salt foot baths!
(Image courtesy of Salt Works.)