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Epsom Salts – Baths and Beyond


Epsom salt bath

There is nothing better in winter than a nice hot bath.  And a bath that was prescribed by your Naturopathic Doctor is even better.  Just tell your partner, roommate or kids that you *need* to spend 20 minutes enjoying a quiet soothing bath – your doctor told you to do it.

Why take an Epsom Salts bath?

An Epsom salts bath releases toxins and metabolic waste by enhancing perspiration.  Epsom salts also contain magnesium sulfate, which when absorbed by the body promotes muscle relaxation and relieves stiff, aching and cramped muscles.

Epsom salt baths can also be used to treat specific conditions.  Dry skin can benefit from Epsom salt baths as can genital herpes outbreaks.

The Epsom Salts bath

Step 1: Add two cups (approximately 600g) of Epsom salts to a hot bath (38 to 44 degrees Celsius or 100.4F to 111.2F).  Soak in the hot bath for 15 to 20 minutes.

Step 2: While in the bath wrap a cool wet towel around your neck (a hand towel dipped in cold water works well) and drink cool filtered water to replace fluids that are lost.

Step 3: When finished the bath, cool your body down with a cool shower or a cool sponge bath – starting from the feet and moving upwards.

Step 4: Rest for 15 to 30 minutes after the bath for maximal relaxation and therapeutic impact.

Additional notes:

  • Do not use soaps while in the Epsom salt bath.
  • Taking an Epsom salt bath after a massage can enhance and lengthen the effect of a massage.
  • Take an Epsom salt bath two to three times per week for best results.

Other Uses for Epsom Salts

Epsom salts can be used to treat acne and skin blemishes.   Mix 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts in ½ cup of warm water.  Wash face with the mixture twice daily.  Use just once daily if you have very sensitive or dry skin.  Discontinue use if skin irritation occurs.  You could also use a poultice and apply just to blemishes (see below for instructions on how to make a poultice).

A Epsom salts poultice can also be used to draw out boils, carbuncles or abscesses.  The salts are a natural antiseptic and antimicrobial and help to absorb the moisture from the area, drying out the boil.  Use a poultice and apply to the affected area for 5 to 10 minutes then rinse with cool water.


Place 1 to 2 tablespoons of Epsom salts in a glass bowl

Add just enough warm water to make a thick paste

Apply to blemishes, boils, carbuncles, abscesses or herpes outbreaks once to twice daily

Leave on skin for 5 to 10 minutes then rinse off with cool water


Epsom salt baths are relaxing to your body and mind but are stimulating to your circulatory system.  It is not recommended for people with high blood pressure or severe varicose veins to use Epsom salt baths.


The advice provided in this article is for informational purposes only.  It is meant to augment and not replace consultation with a licensed health care provider.  Consultation with a Naturopathic Doctor or other primary care provider is recommended for anyone suffering from a health problem.


Boyle, Wade and Saine, Andre.  Lectures in Naturopathic Hydrotherapy.  1988.

Rosemary Waring Absorption of magnesium sulphate through the skin (republished by the Epsom Salt Council), 2004

Lisa Watson

Dr. Lisa Watson is a Naturopathic Doctor practicing in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She is a passionate writer and speaker and encourages her patients and readers to embrace their full, amazing, health potential. You can follow Dr. Watson on twitter at @drlisawatson or contact her at

9 thoughts to “Epsom Salts – Baths and Beyond”

  1. You made a few excellent points there. I did a search on the subject and barely found any specific details on other sites, but then happy to be here, seriously, thanks.

    – Lucas

  2. Why is an Epsom salt bath not recommended for people with high blood pressure? Evidence shows that an Epsom salt bath reduces blood pressure.

  3. Great question Marcia.
    I don’t recommend people with high blood pressure use Epsom salt baths unless they have discussed this option with their Naturopathic Doctor or Medical Doctor. Magnesium can impact the rate at which the heart beats and in people with an established history of high blood pressure it is better to err on the side of safety. In some people it may be safe – best discuss this option with your health care provider to determine if it is safe for you.

  4. Thank you for your article……gonna have to try it!! I have tried everything under the sun for my problem and nothing short of death works!! A friend recommend epsom salt baths for my Staph Infection I received from a hospital 2 years ago. Sometimes I get 40 or more boils all over my body (especially my buttocks) at a time. Sometimes I just want to die from all the pain. Hopefully, this helps……thanks again!!

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