There’s nothing quite like immersing yourself in a warm bath after a long day.
There’s nothing quite like immersing yourself in a warm bath after a long day. Loved for its relaxing effect on both the body and mind, bathing has been a celebrated therapeutic ritual since our ancient beginnings.
More recently, we’ve seen the rise of saunas, magnesium pools, salt rooms, sensory deprivation baths and the like, used for the treatment of many issues. The potential benefits include alleviating aches and pains, lowering stress levels, increasing blood flow and circulation, and much more.
A very easy way to replicate this is to have a magnesium bath at home. And there are some very impressive health benefits of doing so.
Firstly, let’s be clear on the difference between magnesium salts, and the more common bath salts, epsom salts. Magnesium and epsom salts are different chemically, neither of them being ‘salts’ intrinsically. Magnesium salts (magnesium chloride flakes), are a compound of magnesium and chloride. Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) are a compound of magnesium and sulphate.
While both compounds contain a similar amount of magnesium, the benefit of choosing magnesium flakes over epsom salts is that magnesium chloride flakes are wholly soluble. The high solubility rate means that the magnesium can be more easily absorbed into the dermis and therefore utilised by the body.
Considering that most people are deficient in magnesium (you could be, too), adding magnesium flakes to your bath is an easy way to replenish your body’s magnesium levels.
Magnesium is the second most abundant element in the body, and it is responsible for over 300 enzymes and reactions within our bodies. Magnesium is crucial for many processes, some of which include adenosine triphosphate (ATP) metabolism, DNA and RNA synthesis, and protein synthesis.
Magnesium deficiency is usually associated with muscle aches and cramps. This is because magnesium is essential to regulate muscle contraction, as well as muscle relaxation. It also plays an important role in blood pressure, nerve transmission, and regulates energy production.
During exercise, we sweat out many electrolytes, including magnesium. Replenishing our magnesium stores post-exercise helps the muscles relax and recover, and counteracts the role that calcium plays in contracting the muscles.
Chloride (such as in magnesium chloride flakes) is needed to help to balance the electrolyte levels in the body. Electrolytes in the nerves and muscles help fluid to travel in and out of the body’s cells, keeping us hydrated and healthy.
It’s well known that magnesium is a muscle relaxant. As such, this can help to alleviate muscle aches, stress headaches, and to calm tension.
Magnesium deficiency is commonly found among adults, and this deficit is closely linked with increased stress and anxiety.
According to a 2017 study, orally-administered magnesium supplementation was able to greatly help people suffering from mild depression, with the volunteers reporting a significant improvement in depression and anxiety symptoms after just two weeks.
Considering this, soaking up magnesium in a bath seems like a very easy way to boost mood overall.
Research has shown that a deficiency in magnesium can lead to chronic inflammation and subsequent conditions.
Although much is still unknown about transdermal magnesium absorption, some studies suggest that transdermal magnesium may play an important role in treating symptoms of sub-optimal magnesium status. And although it’s not yet scientifically proven just how much magnesium can be absorbed through our skin, it’s clear that more studies are warranted to determine this, considering the propagation and long-term belief in it’s effectiveness.