Health Benefits of Salt Baths

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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

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!

Magnesium salt baths are wonderful for the skin and can help boost the body's nutrient levels while relaxing.

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


123 responses to “Health Benefits of Salt Baths”

  1. Kim Avatar

    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?

      1. JenniO Avatar

        Try making a magnesium lotion with the oil, no more burning 🙂 I found a recipe on Pinterest from modern alternative mama

      2. Drea Avatar

        Hi wellness mama,

        Thanks for that tip.

        Just curious why being “deficient” would cause that type of reaction?

    1. Brandon Avatar

      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.

      1. Miranda Alexander Avatar
        Miranda Alexander

        I was told that a bath is fine. Just no hot tubs or extremely hot baths.

  2. Shelby Chubb Avatar
    Shelby Chubb

    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!

  3. Tracy Yndestad Avatar
    Tracy Yndestad

    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.

  4. Cassie Oglesby Avatar
    Cassie Oglesby

    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 🙂

    1. Cassie Oglesby Avatar
      Cassie Oglesby

      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.

  5. Kimberly Mather Parkes Avatar
    Kimberly Mather Parkes

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

  6. Jamie M Senarighi Avatar
    Jamie M Senarighi

    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.

    1. Robert Avatar

      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.

    1. Heather Avatar

      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.

  7. Mo Avatar

    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).

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      I use epsom salts with some Himalayan or celtic salt added in for salt baths, but for eating, we stick to Himalayan.

  8. Lenka Avatar

    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! 🙂

    1. Liz Avatar

      You can pick up negetive energy from crows? How is that? Ive never heard of that but would love to hear more.

        1. Ana Rose Avatar
          Ana Rose

          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

        2. Kimberly Avatar

          Is it okay to wash your hair in a bath with magnesium flakes? Or should I wash separately?;

  9. Katieblume7 Avatar

    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?

  10. Cathy Bromley Long Avatar
    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?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      It shouldn’t, but if you start getting loose stools, just reduce the amount you are taking a little bit.

  11. Fina Avatar

    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?

    1. Jess Avatar

      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.

    2. Sheena Avatar

      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.

  12. Kathryn Avatar

    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!

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      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.

    2. Allyson Avatar

      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!

    3. Helen Avatar

      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!!

  13. Katie Avatar

    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!

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      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 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…

      1. Katie Avatar

        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!

        1. Wellness Mama Avatar
          Wellness Mama

          Absolutely… just open the capsule and put in smoothies, or sprinkle in applesauce or other foods.

  14. Cathy Avatar

    I use Epsom salts in my baths but have not tried the magnesium flakes.

  15. Lara Avatar

    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!

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      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.

      1. Michelle Avatar

        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

        1. Ricki Avatar

          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.

  16. Anita Baker Rozendaal Avatar
    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.

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      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..

      1. Adora Avatar

        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!!!!

          1. Robert Avatar

            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.

          2. Jobi Avatar

            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.”

          3. Jobi Avatar

            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

          4. Robert Avatar

            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.

          5. Sue Avatar

            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 🙂

    2. Jon Avatar

      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.

      1. Jon Avatar

        .. 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.

        1. Ana Rose Avatar

          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?

          1. Kasamom Avatar

            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.

          2. Maria Avatar

            Hi ladies,
            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!

        2. Debbie Avatar

          I as well have experienced the major hair loss, if any one cares to reply to us?

  17. Jess Avatar

    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!

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