Your feet do the most work in your daily life, yet they receive the least care. It’s only when they begin to ache that we pay attention to them. But it does not need to be this way as your feet deserve care like your face. Foot care can improve your overall health and quality of life in many ways.
But how can I improve my feet health, you may ask! Well, the road to managing all your foot complaints isn’t that difficult as Epsom salt has you covered in this matter. Epsom salt soaks have become a popular remedy for numerous foot problems, whether stress, ache, inflammation, or fungal infections. People have used Epsom salt for hundreds of years as a natural remedy, and modern medicine has now begun to learn why (1)(2)! Yet most evidence for the effectiveness of Epsom salt remains anecdotal, and there are not many studies to support these claims.
What is Epsom Salt?
Epsom salt is a mineral with the chemical name Magnesium Sulphate. It is a naturally occurring mineral and got its name from a place called Epsom in England, where it was supposedly first discovered 400 years ago. While it resembles table salt, it has a bitter taste and is not meant to be consumed.
People usually dissolve it in their baths to relieve various health problems. Much of the benefits of Epsom salt are attributed to its Magnesium. Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body. It plays a key role in many functions of the body, such as regulating the function of many enzymes. Magnesium gets absorbed into the skin and shows its benefits without reaching any toxic levels in the body.
Why Soak Your Feet In Epsom Salt
Epsom salt foot soak has gained wide popularity in recent times. Once used by athletes to manage their foot problems, it now caters to the needs of people from all fields of life. Be it celebrities with their beauty concerns or everyday working people with their health complaints. It has become a self-care staple for everybody. And the hype is not baseless. Here are some of the reasons to soak your feet in Epsom salt!
Eases Pain And Inflammation
If you are like millions of people who find themselves working in a restaurant, a fast-food franchise, or any other place that involves standing or walking all day long, you know how stressed your feet get. Unfortunately, such work brings many problems for the feet, like muscle aches, strain, and inflammation. These conditions can make your walking impossible.
But Epsom salt foot soak may have the solution to these problems. It reduces pain and stiffness by managing inflammation– the root cause of many health problems related to bones and muscles. It is believed Magnesium penetrates the skin and restores magnesium levels in the body. Thus, it helps ease pain and tension caused by problems like arthritis.
One of the best ways to reduce muscle aches is to improve circulation. Epsom salt soak does the job for you. Improving blood circulation helps manage muscle cramps and inflammation in many ways. Increased blood flow provides the nutrients and minerals–the deficiency of which causes muscle stiffness. At the same time, the blood washes away the chemicals that mediate pain and inflammation.
Some people believe it’s the warm water of Epsom salt soak that improves circulation, while others say it’s the salt. However, it does not matter what gets the job done as long as the soak provides the relief you desperately need.
Helps treat Fungal Infections Of The Feet
Epsom salt soak might be a helpful remedy if you suffer from fungal foot infections like athletes’ foot or toenail fungus (onychomycosis). It does not provide any cure, though, but helps increase the effectiveness of antifungal medications.
According to the Epsom Salt Council, Epsom salt draws moisture out of the infected skin. Since fungus thrives in a damp environment, this has a solid antifungal effect. Epsom salt also prevents fungal infections in the first place.
Exfoliates Dead Skin
Your skin constantly sheds dead cells. These dead cells often stay on top of the skin and lead to grimy, unclean feet. Such feet look ugly and messy and can develop calluses (thickened, rough skin). An Epsom salt soak is an excellent way to exfoliate this dead layer of skin. Epsom salt softens the feet and decreases ruggedness as well as prevents it.
We all suffer from stinky feet after a long day in hot shoes. Epsom salt soak is an excellent way to rid your feet of this smell. It allows you to clean and sanitize your feet very quickly and easily. Thus, it reduces odor and prevents bacterial growth as some bacteria can not thrive in a salty environment.
How To Do The Epsom Salt Foot Bath?
To make a foot soak, follow the following steps!
- Fill a basin or a foot spa with enough warm water to cover your feet up to the ankles! Warm water not only provides soothing, but it also dissolves Epsom salt more effectively than cold water. However, make sure the water is not too hot by keeping the temperature between 92°F and 100°F.
- Add half a cup of Epsom salt to the basin or foot spa. You can also increase the amount to three-quarters of a cup if you think a higher concentration may give better results.
- For a better experience, you can also add essential oils like lavender, eucalyptus, jasmine, etc.
- Place your feet in the soak for about 20 to thirty minutes. You can increase the time up to 60 minutes if you think keeping feet in the soak longer provides better relief.
- Next place the feet in cold water for 30 seconds.
- Take your feet out of the soak, dry them thoroughly and apply a moisturizer.
How Often Should You Soak Your Feet in Epsom Salt?
Soaking your feet in Epsom salt every night is not good because it dries out your feet. It can be even more dangerous if you have dry skin, to begin with. While dry skin is mostly harmless, dehydrated skin can cause rash, cracking skin, and a skin condition known as eczema. A cracking foot skin is more prone to infections as the skin barrier is broken. Microbes can easily get into the skin and cause infection.
So to prevent dryness, you should aim at one or two sessions every week. It will provide the benefits without any risks. Always remember to moisturize your feet at the end of a session. It replenishes the fluid loss caused by the salt. However, if you are soaking your feet to treat fungal infections, you can go for two daily sessions.
Who Should Not Soak Feet in Epsom Salt?
Epsom salt is generally considered safe. Its baths or foot soaks do not have many health concerns. However, you should be cautious if you have certain disease conditions like diabetes. It may irritate the nerves and further deteriorate nerve health. In addition, Epsom salt soak makes the skin dry– making it prone to infections. If you have diabetes, you should be extremely careful. Epsom salt soak is not a good idea if you have any bacterial infections, open wounds, or burns. Bacterial skin infections can get worse with Epsom salt soaks.
Epsom salt can be even more dangerous if ingested. Some people try to treat their constipation, while others use it as a detox. You should avoid doing so unless you have consulted a medical professional. Taking Epsom salt orally can be especially bad for the health of your kidneys that have to filter this salt out of the blood. If you have kidney disease, it can make the condition worse. It can be harmful to heart health as well.
Where Can You Get Epsom Salt?
Although Epsom salt resembles table salt, its uses are different. So you will not find it with table salt! Instead, you can find it in a pharmacy, in the beauty section of a store, in health food stores, or online.
Before buying Epsom salt, read the label carefully as manufacturers add different substances to serve various purposes. Some brands add fragrances or additional substances to make their products more attractive. Be careful if you have sensitive skin or dry skin. You only want the benefits, not the side effects.
Epsom salt soak is an excellent complimentary remedy for various ailments of the feet. Epsom salt is inexpensive and easy to use. Except in certain health conditions like diabetes, foot burns, or bacterial infections of the feet, Epsom salt is safe to use. It can relieve the stiffness of your foot muscles and soothe your aching feet.
However, know that most of the evidence is anecdotal based on claims by many people who experience relief. More research is needed to support its claims and understand its mechanism of action.