Life Balance Jumpstart: The Wellness Make-Over

Looking for a relaxing way to counter the winter chill?

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Try taking a warm bath enhanced with Epsom or Dead Sea salts.

It’s common knowledge that a bath can be calming and even meditative, but did you know one with the right salts can be a therapeutic remedy?

I wish I had a tub to soak in when I lived in Astana, Kazakhstan in 2007.

I wish I had a tub to soak in when I lived in Astana, Kazakhstan in 2007.

Here’s why:

Evidence suggests Dead Sea salt soaks can relieve minor aches and pains, as well as rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis, all conditions that can be exacerbated by the cold.  Additionally, the high concentration of magnesium found in Dead Sea salt has been proven to help improve skin hydration, reduce inflammation, and soothe skin disorders such as dryness, acne, and psoriasis. On top of this, studies suggest bathing in these salts can help prevent wrinkles.

Epsom salt, which is composed of magnesium sulfate, shares the same therapeutic attributes as Dead Sea salts. The name is derived from magnesium rich salts once distilled from springs in Epsom, a town in Surrey, England.  Epsom salt is also known for its disinfecting qualities.  As a child, anytime I got an infected toenail or a splinter in my foot, my mother would prescribe an Epsom salt soak and any pain and inflammation would subsequently subside

Dead Sea salts on the left, Epsom salts on the right.

Dead Sea salts on the left, Epsom salts on the right.

I prefer using these simple salts in baths over pre-made bath salt mixes for a few reasons.

The first is how inexpensive they are.  You can find two pounds of Epsom Salt for just $6 and the same amount of Dead Sea salt for about $10. Pre-made bath salt mixes, on the other hand, usually cost far more, even though their ingredients are very basic.

Secondly, a number of natural, store-bought bath salts I’ve tried include dyes that lingered on my tub’s enamel and required a lot of elbow grease to scrub away. I can’t imagine these dyes are good for one’s skin, either.

Thirdly, it’s so easy to spruce these salts up with a few drops of your favorite essential oil. You can also add nourishing body oils, such as jojoba, almond or coconut. There are no shortage of good DIY recipes online.

From an eco-aware standpoint, baths do use a generous amount of water. They’re more conservative than a drawn-out shower, however. To make up for the baths, maybe keep those showers brief.


~Sophie Slater

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