Epsom Salt Council Co-Sponsors the 2010 Boston Arthritis Walk.

Goal is to Get People Moving Every Day, Experts Say Soaking in Epsom Salt Helps Sore Muscles Recover, Keeps You Moving

To encourage people to move every day—helping prevent osteoarthritis or treat any type of arthritis—the Epsom Salt Council will co-sponsor the 2010 Boston Arthritis Walk on Sept. 19. Years ago, people with arthritis were told to limit their activity to avoid damaging their joints further. Today, moving is considered the best medicine, and soaking in Epsom salt helps sore muscles recover, allowing you to keep moving.

“Epsom salt baths have got to be one of the cheapest and most effective forms of recovery,” says Joe Dowdell, a personal trainer and co-owner of Peak Performance Gym in Manhattan who, along with Dr. Brooke Kalanick, recently wrote ULTIMATE YOU: A 4-Phase Total Body Makeover for Women Who Want Maximum Results.

“Any time you are exercising, you should be recovering, and Epsom salt baths are really easy,” says Dr. Kalanick, a naturopathic doctor who has a private practice in Manhattan treating hormonal issues, women’s health and fat loss. “Not only is it good for recovery, but everybody is just plain stressed out. It has such a good affect from both a muscular and physiological standpoint.”

The theme of the Arthritis Walk is “Let’s Move Together.” The Arthritis Foundation suggests 30 minutes a day of physical activity – walking, swimming, dancing or other forms of movement – to reduce arthritis pain, improve flexibility and mobility and strengthen the muscles that support the joints. Bill Turner, the President and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation Massachusetts Chapter, has run 25 marathons, and he uses Epsom salt while training.

“It allows me to recover faster so I can get back on the road for another run,” Turner says. “It makes a big difference.” Epsom salt, actually magnesium sulfate, can be absorbed through the skin, researchers have found.

Among the benefits:

  • Easing stress and improving sleep, which Dowdell and Dr. Kalanick say is another important part of muscle recovery.
  • Helping muscles and nerves function properly.
  • Reducing inflammation to relieve pain and muscle cramps.
  • Improving absorption of nutrients.
  • Helping form joint proteins.

“The magnesium that is in Epsom salt is wonderful for your muscles,” says Nancy Welker, a multi-certified master trainer and CEO of Nutrabeautiful, a fitness and beauty company. “It has always been my definite, go-to remedy for overworked muscles.”

To soak, experts recommend adding two cups of Epsom salt to a standard-sized tub (double the amount for an oversized garden tub) and soaking for 15 to 30 minutes.

For a foot bath, you can also add a cup of Epsom salt to a small tub of warm water for aching feet.

“It works, it reduces soreness,” says Alix Shutello, editor-in-chief of Runners Illustrated and a certified running coach. “It’s an easy home health remedy, and it’s easy to find.”

Before soaking in Epsom salt, people with chronic diseases or who are taking medication should consult their doctors.