Health benefits of Epsom salt baths

Doctors cite many health benefits from either soaking your feet or taking a bath in Epsom salt, including relieving chronic pain, fighting off the cold and flu, soothing sore or inflamed feet, getting a better night’s sleep, and boosting your body’s levels of magnesium and sulfate.

Epsom salt baths for chronic pain

Pain expert and osteopath, Vicky Vlachonis, defines chronic pain as pain that has lasted longer than three months that’s not from an acute injury. One of the ways she recommends releasing chronic pain is a nightly soak she calls the Salt & Pepper Bath.

Here is her recipe:

  1. Add 2 cups of Epsom salt to your bathwater
  2. Add 3 to 5 drops of aromatherapy black pepper oil (not applied directly on the skin)
  3. Soak for at least 10 minutes

Vlachonis says this bath helps soothe muscles, heal the mind and lead to a deeper sleep.

She also recommends silently meditating in the tub, letting go of negative thoughts and thinking of a loved one. Learn more about her three-step process for releasing chronic pain.

Learn more about Epsom salt for chronic pain.


Epsom salt baths for the cold and flu

Dr. Theresa Ramsey, Dr. Margaret Philhower and Lisa Tsakos-Trepanier, a registered nutritionist, recommend Epsom salt baths as a home remedy for the cold and flu. They say that Epsom salt baths can help ease muscle and body aches, help improve sleep for a faster recovery, and even spur a process called vasodilation, which increases white blood cell production to help the body fight illnesses.

Dr. Philhower, a naturopathic doctor who has a private practice in Oregon and writes for, recommends the following recipe:

  • Add 4 cups of Epsom salt to your bathwater to help improve circulation and reduce the length of symptoms

For best results, Dr. Theresa Ramsey, cofounder of the Center for Natural Healing in Arizona, recommends taking an Epsom salt bath as soon as you feel yourself coming down with an illness.

Consult your doctor for serious or persisting conditions, if your temperature tops 104 degrees, or if you have a history of febrile seizure.

Learn more about Epsom salt for the cold and flu.


Epsom salt foot soaks for sore feet

Podiatrists Dr. Jeffrey Bowman and Dr. Suzanne Levine recommend Epsom salt foot soaks for easing muscle and joint pain, decreasing swelling and inflammation, soothing dry skin, reducing foot odor and helping draw out infections from feet and ingrown toenails.

Dr. Levine, one of America’s top podiatrists, recommends this foot soak recipe:

  1. Add half a cup of Epsom salt to a gallon of lukewarm water
  2. Soak your feet for 15 minutes at the end of the day
  3. Repeat at least three times a week

Dr. Bowman, an award-winning foot doctor, suggests people consult their doctors for serious or persisting conditions, and diabetics check with their physicians before soaking in Epsom salt.

Learn more about Epsom salt for foot care.


Epsom salt baths for magnesium deficiency

Most Americans do not get enough magnesium from their diets, a problem that causes a range of health risks, according to a 50-year veteran widely considered one of the world’s leading magnesium researchers.

In fact, Dr. Will Cole, a nationally regarded doctor, says that magnesium is one of the most overlooked deficiencies in conventional medicine, with an estimated 90% of people being deficient. However, magnesium spearheads more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Dr. Cole says the two most common signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency are muscle spasms and leg cramps, and migraines and headaches.

For magnesium deficiency, Dr. Cole recommends the following:

  • Take magnesium supplements
  • Eat more magnesium-rich foods, ex. pumpkin seeds, almonds, and dark, leafy vegetables
  • Soak in Epsom salt baths

Dr. Carolyn Dean, M.D. N.D., a member of the Magnesium for Health Foundation, recommends the following Epsom salt bath recipe for magnesium deficiency:

  • Add 1 to 2 cups of Epsom salt to your bathwater
  • Take Epsom salt baths daily

If you suspect you have a magnesium deficiency, Dr. Cole recommends getting lab work done and working with a practitioner to choose a magnesium supplement and the appropriate dosage.

Learn more about Epsom salt for magnesium deficiency.


Epsom salt baths for mental wellness

According to acclaimed physicians Dr. Bindiya Gandhi and Dr. Ellen Vora, magnesium supplementation and Epsom salt baths can help relieve stress and anxiety by helping you relax and get a better night’s sleep. Dr. Gandhi says magnesium can even help boost serotonin levels.

In addition to better sleep and reduced stress, Dr. Susan Albers, a nationally recognized psychologist, says that Epsom salt baths can help improve your emotional intelligence, increase mindfulness and help you make better food choices.

Here is her recommended Epsom salt bath recipe:

  1. Add two cups of Epsom salt and half a cup of olive oil to your bathwater
  2. Soak for 15 minutes

Learn more about self-care and burnout from international speaker Taylor Elyse Morrison.

Learn more about Epsom salt for mental wellness.