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An award-winning doctor and best-selling author says he recommends soaking in Epsom salt to help improve sleep, fight the cold and flu, soothe sore muscles, relieve itchy scalps and reduce discomfort in the eyes and neck.
“Epsom salt has so many beneficial uses,” says Dr. Mao Shing Ni, author of the best-selling book Secrets of Longevity and cofounder of two Southern California institutions – Yo San University , a leading school of Traditional Chinese Medicine that’s on the forefront of integrative healthcare education, and the Tao of Wellness, an acclaimed center for nutrition, Chinese medicine and acupuncture.
“It’s such a benign substance, but it has so many healing properties.”
Dr. Mao’s recommendations are highly regarded. He’s a 38th-generation doctor of Chinese medicine, an award-winning expert who’s regularly featured in national media outlets and author of a new book, Live Your Ultimate Life – Ancient Wisdom to Harness Success, Health and Happiness. He’s also earned two impressive nicknames. On the show “Sex and the City,” he was affectionately called “Dr. Wow.” Others call him “Doctor to the Stars,” and the covers of his books include testimonials from Robert Downey Jr., Jim Carrey, Helen Hunt, Arianna Huffington and Dr. Oz.
Dr. Mao often recommends Epsom salt, which is actually magnesium sulfate, as a home remedy. He suggests adding 1 to 2 cups in a bath (2 or 3 depending on the size of the tub and the amount of water) and soaking daily for 15 to 20 minutes. You can also add lavender to increase the calming, relaxing benefits, he says.
The magnesium and sulfate is easily absorbed through the skin, Dr. Mao says, comparing the baths to hot springs in Europe. He says soaking in Epsom salt offers several health benefits, including:
For arthritic patients, Dr. Mao says soaking in Epsom salt improves circulation. “This becomes a daily part of the health regimen. I recommend it for everyone.”
“Sulfur compounds are, in fact, used in antibiotics for a reason,” he says. “For people with common colds, this can shorten the duration of the ailment.”
“It helps people relax not only their bodies,” he says, “but also their minds.”
“It acts as an exfoliant,” he says.
“It’s proven in my practice to be extremely effective,” Dr. Mao says. “We check blood pressure before and after, and, lo and behold, it drops by eight to 10 points.”
“The results are pretty stunning,” he says. “Within 10 minutes, there should be a visible decrease in the pain.”
Epsom salt can also be ingested to help with constipation. Dr. Mao doesn’t recommend consuming it on a regular basis, but for a temporary laxative, he says people can add 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt to a tall glass of water. Depending on the results, people can either add or subtract Epsom salt, he says.
Note: For human use, the Epsom Salt Council recommends only Epsom salt with the USP designation.