Health Benefits of Salt Baths

is salt healthy importance of salt 300x224 Health Benefits of Salt BathsMost people are deficient in Magnesium… in fact, you probably are too.

Magnesium is the second most abundant element in our bodies, and is used in regulating over 300 enzymes and reactions in the body.

I’ve written before about how the depleted magnesium levels in our food and water, and the imbalance of nutrients in the foods that we eat have left most of us dangerously deficient in Magnesium.

Most of us also have too much calcium in our bodies, relative to our magnesium levels (thanks to fortified foods and imbalanced soils).

Many forms of magnesium are difficult to absorb when taken orally, especially for those with a damaged gut (that is most of us too).

Here is where Magnesium Salt Baths and Transdermal Magnesium Oil can make a big difference…

The skin is the body’s largest organ, and as such, has an amazing ability to absorb, filter toxins, and deliver nutrients to the body. It is also a visible sign of the health of the body as a whole.

When the skin has rashes, eczema, psoriasis, dry skin, acne, or other problems, this is often a sign of deeper issues within the body. As the skin is also an elimination organ, the body will push out toxins through the skin when the other organs of elimination (gut, liver, kidneys, etc.) are taxed or burdened.

A damaged gut can also make absorbing magnesium and other minerals through the digestive system more difficult, so topical magnesium oil or magnesium baths are a great solution.

Magnesium/Salt Baths are great for…

  • Stress relief
  • Muscle aches
  • Increasing insulin sensitivity
  • Improving circulation
  • Better nutrient absorption
  • Headache relief
  • Speeding up wound healing
  • During illness, especially respiratory illness
  • For children to help mineral absorption and improve sleep
  • For acne, eczema or other skin problems
  • For joint pain relief
  • To help relieve poison ivy or skin reactions
  • Improving skin hydration

How to Incorporate Magnesium/Salt Baths

I regularly add a cup of epsom salts or magnesium flakes and a few tablespoons of Himalayan salt to my kids baths. When I have the time, I take relaxing baths in this mixture also.

When I can’t take the time for a bath, magnesium oil also helps. Amazingly, I notice the benefits of transdermal magnesium (baths or magnesium oil) much more quickly than when I take internal forms of magnesium.

My Favorite Magnesium Salt Bath Recipe

  • 1-2 cups of epsom salts or magnesium flakes(magnesium flakes are absorbed much more easily)
  • 1/2 cup Himalayan or Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp of natural vanilla extract
  • 10-15 drops of essential oil of choice (I love lavender and mint)

I mix the salt and magnesium flakes and then sprinkle with the vanilla and essential oil. The whole mixture gets added to a warm bath, and I soak for at least 20 minutes, though 30 is preferable.I try to make time for this at least once a week, though my kids get it added to their bath each night.

For intensive therapy (illness, eczema, etc.) these baths can be done daily, though you should check with a doctor if you have any medical conditions.

Do you ever add magnesium to your bath? Will you try it? Share below!

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Reader Comments

  1. Jess @ Crunchy Hot Mama says

    Love this recipe!  My massage therapist told me about doing 2 cups of epsom salts, 1 Cup hydrogen peroxide, & 1/2 cup of baking soda in a bath to relax sore muscles.  I like your idea of adding the vanilla though…may make me hungry 😉  So glad I found you from Everyday Paleo!

  2. says

    I did start to take magnesium about a week ago. I think I read somewhere to take larger doses when you begin and to reduce them when the stools get loose.  It’s been a week and I couldn’t really say I’ve had a “loose” stool. I’m not bound-up at all, but not loose. So…. should I increase the dosage? The recommended dosage is 3 tablets and I’m taking 4.

      • Adora says

        I use epsom salts internally and externally,I put some in my kids baths regularly too. But I hear Magnesium flakes are less toxic. I use both. I find it more economical to make the magnesium oil spray myself and spray it on my body after a shower then rub my oil or lotion on top.
        After a workout I pray it on my muscles and rub it in and I have hardly any muscle pain since doing this. It is also very deodarising and refreshing. I add tiny peices of orange peel and essential oils. My skin always feels softer and smoother after this and I do add this mix to my very thick mango butter lotion, it make it runny and last longer and I put a few flakes in my bath wash.
        If you have muscle pain or headache spray it on that specific area and rub it in, repeat several times, you will feel better.
        If I have wind or/ and bloating I spay it on my tummy several times a day, massaging it round my waist to my back, it helps loads.
        The safest mesurement if you want to make your own for the 1st time is 20% flakes to 80% spring water in a spray bottle, if it stings dilute, but it may tingle a bit at 1st. Never apply to freshly shaved or waxed areas trust me it will STING!!!!

    • Jon says

      You do not get loose stool from magnesium baths or via other techniques of topical supplementations, you might get it from oral supplementation: However, it is not a benchmark for how much your body needs. This is a misunderstanding. In fact, loose stool is a sign that the particular type of magnesium is either overdosed, or that you body does not absorb it as it should.

      It is a different story for vitamin C therapy. Here you are correct. To find the sweet spot for what your body needs and can administer, getting close to the limit of getting loose stool is a low tech way of pin pointing this spot. But as I say, this logic does NOT apply for magnesium.

      • Jon says

        .. and I should add, unlike vitamin C, our bodies not build to handle magnesium overdosing, so one should not experiment with oral supplementation (and try follow the recommendations). Topically the risk is considerably lower though.

  3. Lara says

    I’m ordering the epsom salt and himalayan salt right now for my kids’ baths. My youngest has persistent (though not terrible) eczema. And, anything to help the kids sleep better is worth trying!

    • says

      I noticed a definite diference about a week in. Our don’t have eczema, but they sleep much better. It has helped clients and some of my relatives a lot with eczema and psoriasis.

      • Michelle says

        How does adding salt like this to a bath help eczemA? I thought salt dried out the skin? I’m very interested as a lot of my family has eczema

  4. Katie says

    Where do you buy the salt in bulk?  I have one baby with  eczema and one 3 year old with psoriasis on her scalp.  I thought not eating grains and raw milk would take care of that, but it hasn’t.  I would bathe my 4 kids twice daily if I thought it would help them sleep better.  :)   Thanks of the tip!

  5. Kathryn says

    This looks great!  I am always on the lookout for help with clearing up my daughter’s skin.  We eat a pretty clean diet and she still has bumpy arms and cheeks.  I have tried everything and am definitely going to try this.  Tell me, how much do you add to your kids bath?  Do you add that whole recipe?  It just seemed like a lot to me (2.5 cups or so) but perhaps not.  Thanks!

    • Allyson says

      It may not be eczema. My daughter has what is lamenly called “bumpy skin”. It’s an excess of skin build up at the follicle. Basically, she doesn’t shed well. She also has sensitive skin and can’t tolerate typical exfoliation. I have found, shea butter with almond oil, and several combinations of essential oils that are known for skin regeneration with beeswax into a lotion bar have worked better than anything else. I tried every DIY combination I could find for eczema, and nothing has worked for her. That’s because I found out recently that it wasn’t eczema:-) Also, milk baths exfoliate very gently, just be prepared to shower after the bath!

  6. Fina says

    I’m new to your site and love it! Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I’m a huge fan of salt baths but love to add bubbles. Do you have a natural bubble bath recipe that could be added to the salt baths?

    • Jess says

      As I understamd, adding synthetic chemicals to the bath will interefere with the magnesium molecules’ ability to pass through the skin. You can add some things, but skip the commerially made products, at least. They are almost always “bad medicine” regardless.

    • Sheena says

      I’ve read that soap in an Epsom salt bath can render it useless. I usually give my toddler her salt bath then right before she is done wash her bum and rinse and get out. Keeping the soap to a minimum. Also bubbles aren’t exactly good for you even natural ones they can cause yeast infection etc.

  7. Katieblume7 says

    I do a salt bath every night although I only use Epsom salt…maybe I need to switch to flakes and also add the himalayan salt too.  Any health benefit from the vanilla and essential oil except smell?

  8. Lenka says

    Great advice! I’m a massage therapist and I teach my clients about the benefits of epsom salt baths, but I love the idea of the transdermal magnesium. The other thing I tell them about salt baths is that they are able to pick up any “energetic junk” that gets stuck to sensitive people when they’re around stress, crows or negativity–for me it helps to do this 1-2 x/week, and works w/ epsom or dead sea salt (but more muscle relaxing benefits from the epsom, so that’s what I usually go for). BTW–Thank you Katie for all of your hard work on this amazing website! :)

  9. Mo says

    I am so sold on Himalayan salt that I use Sole water in the morning, and use the fine ground Himalayan salt in all my cooking (looks pretty in pink in a little ramekin next to my stove top).

    • Heather says

      My research suggests that magnesium oxide is poorly metabolized by the body. One site said only 4% to 50% of the m.o. gets absorbed when taken internally. transdermally is much more effective, but use magnesium flakes or Epsom salt.

  10. says

    I don’t have a bathtub so I use epsom salts in the shower…I put about 1 cup epsom salt in a cup and add a liquid soap to it and then scrub up. I suppose a shower isn’t the best way because you don’t actually soak in the water. It sure has made my skin nice and soft.

    • Robert says

      If you get Epsom salt & liquid “soap” to mix, then it’s not real soap. Real soap & Epsom salt would form magnesium soap, which doesn’t dissolve in water.

  11. Kimberly Mather Parkes says

    Would this be okay for my 5 month old girl who has some eczema? What are some causes of eczema.

  12. Cassie Oglesby says

    Hello! My 9 month old son has been having an eczema flare up the past few weeks….It initially appeared when he was a month old but we got it under control with your lotion bars and switching to a goat’s milk formula. I was wondering if it is ok for him to take this salt bath or use the oil? Or if you have any ideas for salves, etc…I appreciate any advice! Thanks :)

    • Cassie Oglesby says

      Oh, it is worst in the folds of his arms, behind his knees/thighs, and he has learned to scratch the outsides of his ankle area with his toes so that looks pretty bad too. The past 2 days he has gotten light splotches all over his torso.

  13. Tracy Yndestad says

    I have eczema, I’ve kept it under control for 3 years with steroids and body creams. I’m working to reduce the toxins in my life so II started adding Epsom salt to my baths. and using coconut oil instead of vani cream. No new break outs and I feel like my skin looks healthier. plus Epsom salt baths are so relaxing.

  14. Shelby Chubb says

    I started training in the Krav Maga discipline last year and was be incredibly sore all week for the first few months. Then, I started taking epsom salt baths after my classes and the soreness went away almost immediately! It was such a great relief to not be in pain so often bc I really love my Krav training!

    • Brandon says

      No, baths are not recommended for women while pregnant. This is because the fetus has not developed any intrinsic mechanism to manage its own temperature. Temperature regulation for a fetus is done passively through the amniotic fluid. When a pregnant woman submerges in warm water, the temperature of the amniotic fluid increases in relative proportion to the water temperature, leaving the fetus unable to escape or compensate for the elevated temperature of the womb. Although magnesium baths for transdermal absorption may be beneficial, the risk to unborn fetus outweighs any of its benefits absolutely.

  15. Kim says

    I tried a magnesium oil spray and it burned the first application then I broke out in a rash. The only ingredients listed are water and magnesium. Have you ever heard of something like this happening?

  16. JT says

    Magnesium is not “the second most abundant element in the human body” it is not even close. Hydrogen, Carbon, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Sulfur, Phosphorous all come before it, as well as others I believe.

  17. Joseph Wooten says

    For magnesium, it is best to use magnesium chloride on your skin (transdermally) or in bath. Magnesium has to be bound to another atom to be utilized, so there is no pure magnesium. The most effective way to get it is through your skin because your body can directly absorb it without having to digest it. Plus magnesium has to stay in your intestines for as much as 12 hours before absorption, and with its potential laxative effect it normally does not stay that long. It’s benefits are indeed powerful. Magnesium sulfate (epsom salts) is a good source but the sulfate makes it easily excreted by the kidneys. Magnesium chloride is so much more absorbable
    which is why it requires a much smaller dose in the bath.

  18. Karen H. says

    i am allergic to Sulfa/Sulfate. Epson salt has sulfa in it ad makes my skin itch. So, is there another option? Would the Magnesium flakes be sulfate free? Is there a magnesium supplement that you would recommend?

  19. Sharleen says

    Wellness mama does it again 😉 I have heard about the detoxing affects of Epsom salts but I’ve never had it explained in regards to magnesium specifically. I am eight months pregnant and I am eating foods rich in magnesium but I am also doing this bath tonight to help with any magnesium that I may need as well as relax my muscles. Thanks so much for posting! I would definitely recommend this to other moms during the pregnancy.

    Sincerely,

    Charlie

  20. Liz says

    Soo doing the salt baths for the kiddos and have a few questions. After soaking can we lather and rinse? How about rinsing after the salt bath? Also i have magnesium oil and it makes me itch terribly. Any reason for that? Thank you :)

    • says

      You can totally lather and rinse in the salt baths. And you can rinse, although if I am just soaking, I don’t always do so. With the itching… Many people experience a tingling sensation. You might just be getting an itchiness instead.

  21. Jennifer says

    Hi Wellness Mama, My 5-year-old has eczema which is currently presenting itself behind and around her ears, and on her scalp. Would just soaking her body in Magnesium flakes and Himalayan salt take care of this, or is there anything you would put directly on the ears and scalp? Thank you.

  22. lee says

    since I can’t get to a lovely bath every night…would soaking my feet in epsom salts work….I could do that every day….

  23. Maria says

    I took a bath last night and the direction on my Epsom salt bag said to add 2 cups per gallon of water. I added the whole 4Ib bag and stayed in about 45 mins. Was this too much and can it be toxic?

  24. Cynthia says

    I have been using a tablespoon of sodium sesquicarbonate (the ingredient that old fashioned bath cubes were made from) in my bath. Would adding magnesium flakes be a good idea or not?

    • Robert says

      Depends what you want to do. Magnesium chloride & sodium sequicarbonate will react to form magnesium carbonate, which will be like chalk in the water. If your idea is to have the magnesium available for absorption from the water, that’s the opposite of what you’d want to do. Also, if your object in adding sodium sesquicarbonate to the water is to “soften” it for use with soap, adding magnesium chloride would be the opposite of what you’d want to do, too. However if your object is to moderate the alkalinity of the sodium sesquicarbonate, you would achieve that by adding magnesium chloride.

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