If you’re dealing with mild foot pain, muscle soreness, or other discomforts, you’ve probably considered any number of treatments to find relief. Soaking feet in Epsom salt and water could be the remedy you’re looking for.
An Epsom salt foot soak has several potentially helpful properties, allowing your body to absorb beneficial minerals and relax with the soothing effects of hot or cold water.
Learn more about what Epsom salt does and how you can use it in a relaxing foot soak.
WHAT IS EPSOM SALT?
Epsom salt is a naturally occurring mineral salt, which comes in much larger granules than the table salt or sea salt you’re used to seeing. The name “Epsom salt” refers to Epsom, England, a town with popular mineral springs. It’s another name for magnesium sulfate, a compound that’s comprised of the mineral magnesium and sulfate.
Primarily, Epsom salt is a topical treatment for soreness and inflammation. As part of your relaxation routine, it may help soothe aching muscles and relieve feelings of tension.
Magnesium is an important dietary mineral that helps your body build proteins, regulate blood sugar, and maintain muscle and nerve functions.However, research has found that 68 percent of adults in the US get less than the recommended daily allowance of magnesium.
Magnesium deficiency is one cause of fatigue, nausea, and general weakness. A more severe magnesium deficiency could cause muscle cramps, tingling, and abnormal heart rhythms.
Magnesium naturally occurs in many foods, from fish and edamame to almonds and kidney beans. Fortunately, your body can also absorb the mineral. Soaking your feet in Epsom salt—which contains the magnesium—may help your body absorb some of the magnesium ions and relieve muscle aches and other pains.
EPSOM SALT FOR FEET
With various purported health benefits, from migraine relief to muscle relaxation, Epsom salt is a popular ingredient in foot soaks for pain, swelling, and relaxation.
Epsom salt releases magnesium ions when you soak in a bath with it. Magnesium ions relieve aches by affecting the way the nervous system detects pain. The soothing effects of magnesium ions are why many people use Epsom salt foot baths to help relieve sore, tired feet. In addition, the sulfate in Epsom salt may help reduce joint pain.
Using Epsom Salt in an Ionic Foot Bath
Ionic foot soaks are popular devices that many people use for taking warm, soothing foot soaks. Epsom salt has become a popular ingredient in these detox foot baths for its anti-inflammatory properties and potential pain relief.
Ionic foot baths use Epsom salt (or, sometimes, another salt) as a part of the chemical reaction that’s meant to remove toxins from your body through your feet.
Unfortunately, there is not yet enough scientific evidence to support the claims that the ionization in a detox foot bath with Epsom salt has any detoxifying effects. The body already has two organs—the kidney and liver—that are dedicated to removing toxins.
While you may see the water in an ionic foot bath changing color, this is actually a result of the electrodes rusting due to the chemical reaction. Although researchers have not confirmed Epsom salt’s detoxification properties, a foot soak with Epsom salt could still be a relaxing and beneficial treatment for muscle aches and foot pain.
Finding Relief from Foot Pain
Foot pain has a range of potential causes, from sore muscles and improper arch support to osteoarthritis and plantar fasciitis. Understanding what may be causing your foot pain is important for properly treating it.
For example, foot inflammation calls for a cold water bath with Epsom salts, while arch pain may be a sign that you need better shoes or arch support inserts.
Fortunately, an Epsom salt foot bath has many potential benefits, including relieving those general aches and pains you might feel after long days on your feet.
BENEFITS OF SOAKING FEET IN EPSOM SALT
While scientific research has not yet proven that there are any detoxifying effects of using Epsom salt, this mineral salt may promote some of the following positive effects when used in a foot soak and as part of a healthy lifestyle:
Inflammation, Aches, and Pains
One of the most common uses for anEpsom salt foot bath is to soothe tired or sore feet. If your feet are inflamed, a cold water foot bath with Epsom salt may help reduce inflammation, providing relief for aching, swollen feet.
A warm Epsom salt foot soak can also help relieve pain. Thanks to the magnesium that your body will absorb from the Epsom salt in the foot bath, you may experience short-term foot pain relief and reduced soreness. Additionally, soaking feet in an Epsom salt foot bath could help heal stubborn bruises.
Athlete’s Foot and Toenail Fungus
Athlete’s foot is an irritating, itchy foot condition that can cause chronic discomfort. The cause of athlete’s foot is a fungal infection, which often starts between the toes.
While an Epsom salt foot bath won’t cure athlete’s foot, it may help relieve irritation and soothe your feet. Epsom salt could also help relieve irritation from an infected or ingrown toenail.
An Epsom salt foot bath can be a refreshing part of your daily or weekly exfoliation routine. As scented Epsom salt dissolves in warm water, it will release its soothing fragrance.
Soaking in the water softens the often rough, calloused skin on the heel, ball, and sides of your foot. That prepares your skin for an exfoliating treatment with a brush or pumice stone after the foot bath.
Soaking your feet in an Epsom salt foot bath can also be a refreshing part of your cleansing routine. Keeping your feet clean is essential to preventing foot odor, which could also be related to a fungal infection. To combat smelly feet, start with an Epsom salt foot soak. Then, use your favorite scented soap or body wash to clean your feet and toes and kill odor-causing bacteria. Let them dry thoroughly before you put on shoes.
Some research has suggested that magnesium could be an important nutrient in helping people with treatment-resistant depression. Additionally, there is evidence that adequate brain magnesium promotes higher serotonin levels, potentially improving a person’s mood.
Applying heat is an effective way to increase blood flow. A warm foot bath with Epsom salt can help improve circulation in your feet and legs. The anti-inflammatory properties of the magnesium in Epsom salt could also promote improved circulation.
Enjoying a foot bath with Epsom salt is a simple way to relax and soothe your tired feet after a long day. Put on some calming music or white noise, add some of your favorite essential oils, and let yourself rejuvenate after a long day. For even more relief, you can use a foot bath with a sea grass surface or massaging feature.
HOW TO MAKE AN EPSOM SALT FOOT SOAK
You can make a simple Epsom salt foot soak by filling a tub with enough warm water to fully cover your feet and adding about 300 grams of Epsom salt. Mix in the Epsom salt and gently place your feet in the tub.
Soak your feet for 15 to 30 minutes, relaxing in the warm water. After the soak, you can use an exfoliating scrub and your favorite soap to clean and exfoliate your feet.
For an even more soothing experience, choose an Epsom salt with your favorite scent. Using a massaging or bubbling foot bath can improve the experience even further. Foot baths with hydrotherapy massage features may further alleviate aching feet by using gentle pressure to relieve the tightness you might experience in tired or sore muscles.
Precautions for Taking an Epsom Salt Foot Bath
Don’t use Epsom salt in an area where you have an open wound. You should also avoid using Epsom salt if you have a skin infection.
RELIEVE AND RECHARGE WITH AN EPSOM SALT FOOT SOAK
Foot pain and irritation are more than merely annoyances—they can negatively affect your mood, prevent you from enjoying some activities, and signal fungal infections.
While the sweet smell of a scented Epsom salt foot soak can help you relax after a long day, this mineral salt also delivers the relieving properties of magnesium.
To start treating yourself to foot relief, look for a soothing and refreshing foot bath and spa to use at home.