Lasting weight loss is a slow, and often frustrating endeavour that involves a lot of hard work, and a heaping spoonful of stick-to-itiveness. That being said, despite best efforts, sometimes a big event, or beach vacation sneaks up, all with the promise to yourself of wanting to look your best. Sometimes a person can benefit from a nudge in the right direction care of mother’s little helper, or in this case grandmother’s little helper, since Epsom salts have been boasted as a possible weight loss solution since the 1900’s.
While there is limited scientific evidence of Epsom salts for weight loss; a number of celebrities and models (namely Gwyneth Paltrow, Elle Macpherson and Victoria Beckham) swear by these baths to help them lose water weight and bloat to look lean and mean for photo shoots or red carpet events.
Dalton Wong, who is a health and fitness expert, and personal trainer to the stars, recommends a 20 to 30 minute Epsom salt bath a couple of days before a big event, saying, “The salt pulls the water out of your body, It takes all the toxins and excess water out of your system so that you’re looking the best that you can.” It is said, at the recommendation of Wong, Jennifer Lawrence bathed with a couple of cups of Epsom salts an evening or two before the 2013 Bafta Awards to help get rid of any bloating, so she’d look great in her strapless Dior gown.
Wong notes this isn’t a weight loss tool that should be used more than about once or twice a week.
What is Epsom salts?
Despite their name, Epsom salts aren’t actually salt, they are a chemical compound comprised of magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen, and named after a saline spring in Epsom, Surrey, England. Epsom salt is commonly used by people for bath salts, and for isolation tanks (or floatation tanks to make the body more buoyant).
Are Epsom salts right for you?
A UK based biochemist named Rosemary Waring conducted research on the absorption of the minerals magnesium and sulfate during an Epsom salt bath, and determined the increase in these two minerals (provided by a bath) can help the body remove environmental toxins, a definite benefit of the “salty” soaks. This also means it isn’t just the tighter tummies that celebs and Epsom salt fans benefit from, but there are many other benefits to be enjoyed. Besides, who doesn’t love a nice, relaxing 20 minute soak anyway? There are a variety of positive reasons to consider adding an Epsom salt bath into your weekly health and beauty routine including:
- Stress relief and relaxation
- Speedy recovery from sore muscles and minor strains
- Soothing of sunburns, itchy skin, poison ivy and bug bites
- Cure for jet lag (allowing you to relax and get better rest while on the road)
- Swelling reduction (when used as a foot soak after a long day)
- Lessening the appearances of bruises
- A hair treatment to help soak up extra oil
- Skin exfoliator
- A solution for dry lips
How to prepare an Epsom salt bath
- While some, like trainer Dalton Wong, recommend diving in with two cups of Epsom salts per 20-25 minute soak, others suggest taking a slower approach to the bath beginning with only one or two tablespoons for the first bath and gradually increasing the amount each week.
- To start, consider bathing 15 to 20 minutes while you relax, gradually working your way up to a 20-25 minute soak.
- Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate! Remember to drink some water before you step into the bath, to sip on some H20 while you soak, and to drink some extra water following the bath to ensure you don’t get dehydrated.
- If you find the bath to be exhausting, or you’re experiencing other negative symptoms following this detox bath such as mood swings or feeling hyperactive, reduce the time spent or amount of Epsom salt for your next soak.
- Many believe amounts over 600 grams of Epsom salts for a bath will not provide any additional benefits, so save yourself some money and don’t put in too much!
Note: Those who have high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, kidney stones, heart disease, or are pregnant should not take an Epsom salt bath for weight loss. Anyone with specific health concerns, particularly surrounding potential effects and interactions with other treatments, should consult with their health care practitioner before taking an Epsom salt bath.
RD Neha Kava
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