Pampering your feet with a warm foot soak is not only great for relaxing after a busy day but comes with numerous other benefits, too. The best part is that you don't necessarily need to go to a fancy spa for pampering your feet. It's easy to prepare one at home with easily-sourceable ingredients - and at a minimal cost, too!
Using Epsom salt for feet is very popular, thanks to its reputation as a healing agent. In fact, this magnesium-based compound has been in use for treating numerous health issues for centuries. While the scientific evidence for this is rather lacking, people have reported positive results after using an Epsom salt foot soak.
For those unsure of whether or not using this ingredient is a good idea, below is everything you need to know about Epsom salt and its potential health benefits.
What Is Epsom Salt?
Epsom salt is entirely different from regular salt - and no, you can't use it for flavoring your food! This natural mineral compound has a crystallized structure and is made up of magnesium sulfate. Unlike table salt, it has a rather bitter taste, which makes it more popular as a soaking ingredient than an oral remedy.
The use of Epsom salt isn't anything new. In fact, there is evidence that it was used for treating external inflammation as far back as the early 1600s. It is named after Epsom, a town in England where a spring containing this salt was discovered. It didn't take long for the people nearby to identify the healing effects of the spring water, which was used as a medicinal bath for years.
While there is a lack of research that can prove that soaking feet in Epsom salt can increase the levels of magnesium in the body, the positive effects of doing so are undeniable. In fact, using Epsom salt for feet has both internal and external benefits.
Benefits of Soaking Your Feet In Epsom Salt
The health benefits of using Epsom salt for feet are numerous. Of course, the absence of scientific evidence does restrict us from making these claims with absolute certainty. But if we are to go by the statements of people who have used this mineral compound for soaking, here are some of the ways you can benefit from it.
It Reduces Stress and Aids in Relaxation
Foot baths in general are perfect for relaxing your tense muscles, and using Epsom salt for feet helps immensely as you’re unwinding at the end of the day. Soaking feet in Epsom salt has been found to aid blood circulation, too.
The warm water infused with the mineral salt works wonders in improving blood flow, leading to an almost immediate reduction in your stress levels. In fact, people suffering from symptoms of anxiety or depression have often found Epsom salt baths helpful in stabilizing their mood.
It Can Relieve Pain
While more research is needed, it is generally accepted that soaking feet in Epsom salt and warm water can help relieve pain arising due to multiple reasons. This is especially beneficial for athletes who are prone to regular muscle aches and strains.
Apart from that, people suffering from bone-related diseases like arthritis can also benefit from soaking their feet in Epsom salt water. The properties of the compound can help manage swelling or stiffness in the joints that result from such ailments. Additionally, people suffering from regular foot cramps can also try going for an Epsom salt foot bath.
The use of this compound can also help in combating swelling in the feet - both due to injuries or any medical condition. For example, a study found that the use of Epsom salt was more effective than foot exercise in reducing foot edema in pregnant women.
Can Help Treat Skin Disorders
Epsom salt has been used to heal skin disorders ever since its discovery in the 17th century. It can help heal wounds and skin infections faster, although it's not recommended for certain types of skin issues.
If you have been suffering from fungal skin infections such as athlete's foot, a long soak in a basin of warm water mixed with Epsom salt is just what your feet need. While this won't directly kill the fungus responsible for the skin condition, it helps draw out moisture from the infected area, helping in the healing process.
Doctors often suggest using Epsom salt for feet in addition to the usual medications prescribed for treating feet and toenail infections. Additionally, there are several claims that soaking your feet in the magnesium sulfate solution can help reduce inflammation.
Cleans and Softens Skin
What can be better than a warm Epsom salt foot soak to keep your feet happy? Pamper your skin by occasionally indulging in long foot soaks that make you feel like you've just had a pedicure done.
The mineral particles in the soak help loosen the dirt around the nails, leaving your feet super clean. It also inhibits the growth of bacteria around the toes, reducing the chances of getting infections.
Moreover, a warm Epsom salt soak can leave you with skin that feels noticeably softer and well-exfoliated. So if you have rough feet or dry, cracked soles, you know what to do!
Aids in Odor Removal
Last but not least, an Epsom salt bath can help remove foot odor. If you partake in regular exercise or tend to sweat a lot in general, you might end up having smelly feet. Soaking your feet daily in warm water mixed with Epsom salt can help you deal with the odor, thereby helping you avoid embarrassing situations.
Moreover, the antimicrobial and cleansing properties of Epsom salt ensure your feet stay healthy and free from infections, too.
How to Prepare An Epsom Salt Foot Soak
Preparing an Epsom salt foot bath is super easy - and the best part is that you can end up with spa-like treatment without needing to leave the house. Here is what you need to do for making an Epsom salt foot soak.
1. Fill a basin with enough warm water to cover your feet till at least the ankles.
2. Fill a cup with Epsom salt till it's around half or three-fourths full, and add it to the warm water and mix well.
3. Soak your feet in the warm water solution for at least 20 to 30 minutes. You can soak longer for better results, too.
4. Make sure to dry your feet thoroughly after the soak, and don't forget to moisturize well.
The reason why the last step is necessary after the soak is because Epsom salt can dry out your feet easily. And moisturizing it can help prevent dryness, irritation, or cracked skin. It’s best to stick to soaking your feet in Epsom salt just once or twice a week as daily soaking can cause your feet to become dry.
If you are soaking your feet to help yourself relax, try adding in a few drops of essential oil or one of our soothing bath bombs to maximize the effect.
Things To Keep In Mind Before Using Epsom Salt For Feet
While using Epsom salt for feet is totally safe in general, it can have an adverse effect in certain situations. For example, if you have dry skin, it's best to avoid soaking your feet in Epsom salt solutions for too long as this can dry it out further.
Additionally, it's a good idea to consult with your doctor first before you start using Epsom salt, especially if you have open wounds or sores on your feet. You see, the particles present within the compound may do more harm than good in certain types of infections, prolonging the time needed for healing.
Also, not all Epsom salts found in the market may be suitable for human use. You see, Epsom salt is used for many different purposes, and while it will still contain magnesium sulfate, the grade of the compound may differ depending on the intended application. Make sure you buy one only after confirming that it meets the FDA safety standards for human use.
Usually, you can get good quality Epsom salt for soaking your feet at pharmacies, as well as online and offline stores.
Summing It Up
While there is a lack of research-based evidence on the benefits of Epsom salt, it doesn't deny the possibility that the skin can absorb magnesium from a foot bath. Generally, it is found helpful in reducing pain, inflammation, skin infections, and stress - and that too without posing any health risk.
But, it may not be suitable for all. For example, diabetic patients and pregnant women should proceed with caution while using Epsom salt for feet. If in doubt, it's best to talk to an experienced medical practitioner who can inform you if using Epsom salt is risky or not depending on the specific health condition.
But, if you are looking to treat minor issues like foot odor, swelling, muscle strains, etc. an Epsom salt bath is a safe and effective home remedy that you can try without second thoughts.