Most magazines are ablaze with health tips in January, with many recommending ways to detox, and lose weight and to get you back on track for the year ahead. Seeing as there is already an abundance of dietary advice for you all to absorb, I wanted to offer a different, less punishing method to help purge the sins of Christmas past. Though this is especially useful when you’re bored, trying to reign in your social life in January, it is also good for you pretty much throughout the year and can make a perfect addition to a relaxing weekend or holiday. If you aren’t partaking in dry January, it’s also excellent for a hangover.
Most people have heard of Epsom salt baths, with Grandmothers the world over being perhaps their biggest advocate (apart from me). An old school pastime in Britain, Epsom salts have been added to baths as a restorative, healing tonic for hundreds of years, and how right our ancestors were to do this. It may not seem like much, but bathing in these salts is a powerful way to support the whole body and promote detoxification.
Epsom salts are comprised of magnesium and sulphate – two essential nutrients that are both well absorbed through the skin. The benefits of these include:
- Relieving Aching Muscles – As magnesium is a muscle relaxant, bathing in epsom salts before bed relaxes muscles and calms the nervous system. Ideal if you have worked out or have aching muscles to speed up recovery and reduce injury.
- Calming a Busy Mind – Magnesium plays a number of important roles within our brain chemistry, helping to enhance the production of feel good hormones, sertonin and dopamine. It can help to calm the adrenals glands, relieving stress and quietening a busy, tense mind. All perfect before you hit the hay to help you drop off and stay asleep.
- Aiding Detox Processes – Sulphur is incredibly important for the detoxification. Given it is tricky to absorb through the gut, bathing in Epsom salts is a great way to get this often deficient nutrient into the body to support liver function. Perfect if you have overindulged or want to boost detox after few drinks.
- Brightening Skin – Sulpur is also one of the most important structural components in our skin and joints. Helping us to make collagen and naturally boosting MSM, bathing in salts can help improve skin’s integrity – making it more supple and resistant to aging.
- Hormone Support – Sulphur helps the body excrete excessive oestrogen, helping to harmonize hormones in women and men. I tell many clients with oestrogen dominant conditions such as PCOS, endometriosis and PMS to bathe regularly. This can also help to clear up skin, since hormonal strife can lead to acne.
Best place to buy the salt is online – super cheap, widely available and means you don’t have to lug it around. Health food stores and pharmacies also sell it. Start by adding 200g (2-3 large handfuls) of the salts to hot water and soaking in the bath for 20-30 minutes, scrubbing the skin to promote circulation. Take care when stepping for the bath in case you feel light headed. Over the course of around a month, this can be built up to around 400-500g, or more depending on your size. Stay in for a minimum is 20- minutes, and if you have the luxury of time then relax in the misty warmth for longer.
Wrap up in a dressing gown straight afterwards and be careful as you step from the bath (it can make your feel uber relaxed!). Be sure to drink water/herbal teas to replace lost fluids and support detoxification processes.
Best before bed as it can make you sleepy and relaxed. Enjoy!
P.S. – Don’t be tempted to drink it – it’s a potent laxative and not recommend.
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Disclaimer: Pregnant women and anyone on medication should always consult a doctor before embarking on a change to diet. As with all articles on www.alicemackintosh.com, this is no substitution for individual medical or nutritional advice.