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. abee Avatar

    Hi , my son is 10 years cp kid and has epilepsy. Is Epsom salt bath will benefit him ?

  2. Oze Avatar

    Hi, we dont have any chlorine filter installed. Can we still add this mixture in regular tap water. Thx

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      I use it for one because it’s the most concentrated. You could use it for multiples, but it won’t be as concentrated and so won’t get the full effect…

  3. Stephan Avatar

    Hi. Do you mean you put the entire mixture in a single bath? It seems like a lot, and it’s not exactly inexpensive, so just checking.
    We’ve been having difficulty getting our 2 1/2 year old to sleep, so were thinking of a sea salt water drink and/or bath to help.
    What do you think?

    1. Adora Avatar

      Try adding lavender and chamomile essential oils to his bath. Just afew drops and you wouldn’t need more than a tablespoon or 2 of the salts as it is really strong and can sting if you use too much. Also put the chamomile and lavender essential oils in Hus lotion and put that on after his bath. Maybe make a spray with the salts and lavender and spray his bed and nite clothes lightly.

  4. Krystal G Avatar
    Krystal G

    Since magnesium flakes absorb easier and are smaller in comparison to the salts, would you still use the same amount in your recipe or should you use less if using flakes?

  5. jemma murphy Avatar
    jemma murphy

    Hi I know this is an old post but im searching for remedies for my 6 year old son who has cycles of tic behaviour, hes asthmatic and has alegies to grass pollen and green pea. Is it safe to use magnesium flakes with my little boy to help with his tic.

    1. Robert Avatar

      Safe, surely. Effective I couldn’t vouch for. If what you’re seeing is not actual tic behavior, but twitches originating in the muscles, there’s a chance that correcting Mg deficiency would fix them.

    2. Adora Avatar

      Yes, the salts may be benefical. Lavebder and chamamile essential oils are also good. If he is not allergic to coconut oi, that can be very healing too.You could also try the salt pipe and salt lamp for his various allergies. Also nettle capsules, tablets, tea and tincture are great for Allen goes. Just be patient and let it build up in your system.

  6. Anna Avatar

    when I had really bad Exczema I used sea salt in my bath and made a honey body scrub with it, it really helped heal my skin, so I can only imagine what you are doing will be exstreamly beneficial to your sons skin and health, I also put the Magnesium flakes or Epsom salts in my body wash and and I made a skin spray of 10% magnesium flakes and 90% water, with essential oils as it makes an excellent body spray/deoderant and its great for easing DOMs after a good work out.

    1. Christy Allred Avatar
      Christy Allred

      My thirteen year old son has really bad eczema on both his legs and arms. I mean… bad! We’ve tried everything the allergist and dermatologist suggested and the only thing that has helped is steroids, but those can only be used part time. I need to pull out all the stops to help this boy. I cry when I think about what he must be going through physically and socially at school. He has to wear long pants and long sleeve shirts to cover the lesions.

      Can you explain what was in your honey scrub? Can anyone share what the recipe would be like? And what should I use as a moisturizer after his baths?

      1. Adora Avatar

        I had really bad eczema, head to toe. Get bath was shampoo that has no sodium laureth sulfate or parbens etc, you can use shampoo as wash. Stay away from Shea,coco butter and nuts that can be in products in case he is allergic.
        For the bath magnesium flacks or Epsom salts and a bit of baking soda are great. You can add essential oils like lavender or chamomile.
        Before the bath cover your skin in a natural oil like coconut oil or olive oil. Even the cheapest ones work for bath and skin as long as they have no other ingredients.
        Soak in the bath for at least 10mins, pouring the water over the skin.
        With the scrub, it is best to use in a quick shower, once over, rinse off then have the bath as above for maximum results. Or you could alternate between these 2 methods.
        The scrub could be: fine sea salt, Epsom salts. About half the jar. Then add 3-7 table spoons of honey, 3 to 7 tablespoons of olive or coconut oil or equal amounts of both. Lavender or chamomile essential oils about 7-12 drops. You could add a large table spoon of magnesium salts to some water mix that in the jar of scrub too. Yes you need a big glass jar! I also had bits of orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit skin…if your not allergic. It is all very healing.
        For moisturizers mix: lavender and chamomile essential oils with coconut and olive oil, palm butter from Amazon website, aloe vera gel. A tiny bit of magnesium oil…to make that put flakes in water….a 500ml bottle wld be 2 teaspoons of magnesium salts and fill with water, only add less than quarter of this to the moisturiser. You could also try apricot oil, really nice.
        Put all the ingredients in a bug bowl, use ab electric hand blender, whip til fluffy or creaming, put in jars and set in the fridge or freezer.
        You can add or omit, experiment with ingredients, but these are the basics that will help to heal externally.
        Are there food allergies? Gluten is what causes my problems. It lowers my immune system and causes the eczema. Even oats! I have to buy a gluten free version.
        Hope this helps, it is rather long!

      2. Victoria Avatar

        Kindly look into internal detoxing. Give parasite cleanse a serious consideration. Research it and go that route. Do not be surprised when your son’s conditions disappears, they usually do after parasite cleanse. Cleanse his Howell, don’t be surprised at that NHS that come out, and then do candida cleanse. You can check, read the testimonials by people with such conditions, and then make your decisions, then take it from there. Your son will be alright.

    2. Adora Avatar

      I use the salts etc same as you, for myself, all that you said is true

  7. Emily Avatar

    I gave my son his first epsom salt bath tonight. I put on his regular skin cream after the bath (I washed his hair and body in the bath but rinsed with the salt water). Will leaving the salt water on him make him itchy? Is it okay that I put his cream on him? He has some eczema, but it is well controlled right now. Are there benefits to leaving the salt water on? It is easier not to rinse him with other water. The main reason I looked into magnesium baths for him is because he is having some anxiety issues and also holding his bowels. I tried giving him some CALM (magnesium), but he wouldn’t drink it. I read the comments above, but I guess I am confused as to the uses for magnesium. I thought one of them was to calm and another was to loosen bowels. He is potty-trained but not poop-trained (now withholding). I am waiting to get into a specialist, but I know they will go the MiraLax route. Thanks for your comments!

    1. Robert Avatar

      Most people can have simple inorganic salts like magnesium sulfate dry on their skin from water without becoming itchy, but it may make some people feel uncomfortably dry. There is no benefit to leaving the salt water on & walking around damp & dripping, so why not dry him off? Magnesium sulfate on skin won’t loosen bowels; it draws water into the stool if swallowed or given as an enema.

  8. Cynthia Avatar

    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?

    1. Robert Avatar

      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.

  9. Maria Avatar

    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?

  10. lee Avatar

    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….

      1. lee Avatar

        that sounds wondeful but my next question is does the magnesium absorb through your feet as well as soaking in a bath?

  11. Steve McLerie Avatar
    Steve McLerie

    Hi Wellness Mama, I like to know can Epsom Salts be added to magnesium chloride for our bath salts?

  12. Jennifer Avatar

    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.

  13. Liz Avatar

    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 🙂

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      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.

  14. Sharleen Avatar

    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.



  15. Karen H. Avatar

    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?

  16. Joseph Wooten Avatar
    Joseph Wooten

    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.

  17. JT Avatar

    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.

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