Most 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 the Following:
- 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!
Discussion (123 Comments)
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! 🙂
You can pick up negetive energy from crows? How is that? Ive never heard of that but would love to hear more.
hahahahaha i’m willing to bet she meant “crowds”
Ah hahaha you’re probably right! Once I was doing Tai Chi in a park…there were a bunch of crows up in the oak tree above me…I remembered this very comment so I was curious how the practice would go! It ended up being an especially therapeutic session so I decided crows’ energy was plenty safe for me! xD
Is it okay to wash your hair in a bath with magnesium flakes? Or should I wash separately?;
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?
Just the relaxation. Lavender is also good for the skin.
Cathy Bromley Long
I’m going to give this a try.. I do have some achy joints from time to time but really just want the magnesium.. I also take magnesium….this wouldn’t be to much would it?
It shouldn’t, but if you start getting loose stools, just reduce the amount you are taking a little bit.
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?
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.
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.
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!
You could use about half for kids baths, but for the first week or so, I’d use the full dose to get their levels up, or use more once a week or so.
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!
There is a link with bumpy skin on arms to Gluten….try google…
Both of my daughters and I have been diagnosed with the bumpy arms, thighs and cheeks. I started fish supplements and only use coconut oil for moisturizing our skin. We haven’t had any bumps in 5 years!!
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!
Have you tried probiotics with them? I open our capsules of probiotics and sneak them into my kids drinks during the day. I’ve had a lot of people say that it has helped with eczema and psoriasis. Here’s a link to epsom salts in bulk https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005HIOTEI/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ll1&tag=wellnessmama-20&linkId=4c5c94f1dfe731318984c848841fbb27&language=en_US and you may also be able to find them at a local store like Sam’s or Costco. This is the biggest magnesium flakes I’ve ever seen… https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001G8LKBS/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=wellnessmama-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B001G8LKBS
I have some “once daily- 5 billion CFU” Primadophilus Bifidus kicking around in my fridge, could I slip that into my one year old and 3 year olds food? Thanks for the links to the salt and such!
Absolutely… just open the capsule and put in smoothies, or sprinkle in applesauce or other foods.
Hi Katie. I get mine here: https://sfsalt.com/ San Francisco Salt Company. They have great products. Good luck!
I use Epsom salts in my baths but have not tried the magnesium flakes.
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!
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.
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
Hi, Michelle. Not sure about magnesium salt baths, but I’ve been using dead sea salt for quite some time. I had done research before, and found that many people who suffer from eczema have found dead sea salts work wonders for them. Dead sea salts are known to cleanse and detoxify the body, which is why it made sense for me to try. Sure, every body’s condition is different, but I’ve had great results, as have others.
Anita Baker Rozendaal
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.
I would hold at that for a while and see how you do. If you aren’t noticing any changes after a couple of weeks, up the dose, or try a transdermal dose..
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!!!!
You would not want to bath in or ingest epson salt if you have a CBS mutation. So I would not recommend it for everyone and if you feel different or wired afterwards you should stop! https://metabolichealing.com/metabolic-gateways-cbs-gene-mutations-glutathione/
Why would you caution against using Epsom salt in case of CBS mutation? Is it because of the caution in the article against particularly sulfur-containing foods? I don’t think INORGANIC sulfate (as in the case of Epsom salt, magnesium sulfate) is going to pose any particular problem for someone just because that person has problems metabolizing ORGANIC sulfur-containing molecules.
I will continue to try to find more info to explain but so far this is the best one I have found but there are many forums to read as well please take time to google why people with CBS and SUOX gene mutations should not use epson salt
” Detoxification strategies such as heavy metal chelators and Epsom salt baths should be avoided as well. Other supplements to avoid will be L-methionine, L-cysteine, L-taurine, glucosamine, L-glycine, DMSO, SAMe, methylcobalamine, methyl-folate, Betaine, HCL and choline.”
I asked for a simpler explanation to explain to people why it is not recommended that people with mutations in these genes not take epson salt baths and this is the answer I received ” check out Dr. Yasko’s literature..In short, Epson salt is magnisum SULFATE. CBS regulates the enzymes for converting homocysteine to GSH. Certain variants if expressing can divert the process causing high taurine levels ( associated w/seizures activity) and produce more sulfer from methylation.” The link included explains what themethylation cycle is http://www.heartfixer.com/AMRI-Nutrigenomics.htm
But you’ll notice that inorganic sulfate does not participate in the methylation cycle. Go over the diagram & you’ll see that at no point is sulfate ion an input to anything. Where sulfate is discussed is as an inactive product or byproduct OF this pathway, such that measurement of sulfate ion in urine may be diagnostic of some defects. So Epsom salt should have no particular adverse effect in persons with the defect described.
Don’t worry, I have a Ph.D. in biochemistry, so I’m used to analyzing such issues.
Hi Jobi, thanks for your initial link and Robert for the subsequent debate. It has helped me join up the dots as to what is going on in my body. I am waiting for genetic test results at the mo but can adjust my current nutrition and supplements in the meantime, based on the info in these articles 🙂
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.
.. 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.
If I take one Epsom salt bath, my hair becomes considerably more greasy a few hours later. If I take another Epsom salt bath the following day (or magnesium flakes–same result) my hair becomes literally matted to my head with grease (sebum. It’s awful and very hard to resolve. Plus I lose a LOT of hair. Is this because I am detoxing, or would it be a magnesium overdose? I have an extremely leaky gut (dealing with SIBO too) so I am uncertain about how to proceed, with transdermal magnesium being such an important intervention. Push through and see how long this terrible side effect persists, or refrain?
I have the same issue. Every time I take an espsom salt bath I lose TONS of hair. It’s horrible. I would love to hear the advice on this issue if anyone knows for sure why this is.
Are you wetting your hair in the bath? I had similar issues when I did wet my hair in the salt bath. So tangley and matted, so much hair coming out on the comb or brush.. I suggest no longer wetting it in the salt bath. I rinse my hair under the shower (we have a whole house water filter so no chlorine). Ithen wash my hair with a one part Castille soap to one part water solution. Then I finish with a one part apple cider vinegar to 5 parts water and 5 drops lavender essential oil rinse over my hair. This has been amazing for me as my hair is now growing to my waist since I eliminated gluten and made other dietary changes and I desire to have a natural, simple hair regimen. I hope this helps!
I as well have experienced the major hair loss, if any one cares to reply to us?
Magnesium glauconite not oxide is what you want to avoid the loose stool issue
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!