My favorite part of my recovery routine, is Epsom Salt Baths

img_2661 Growth is made during your recovery.  You work out hard, tearing your muscles down and your body rebuilds, stronger than before.  You should treat the recovery process with as much respect as your speed workouts and long runs.  The better you recover, the more you can push yourself during subsequent training sessions.  Since most of us are NOT professional athletes, waddling around the workplace like a duck because of soreness, is less than ideal. I rely on Epsom salt bath multiple times a week, to help me push through training and recover faster.

Benefits

  • Epsom Salt contains magnesium, the second most abundant element in your cells. Magnesium offers our body many benefits including; aiding in muscle control, energy production and helping flush toxin from cells which can help alleviate muscle soreness.
  • Stress Relief- A warm soak can be great for relaxing the mind and body. Taking a warm evening soak can be very helpful in getting a good nights rest.
  • Relieving muscle soreness and increasing flexibility. This is the main reason I take frequent soaks.

*There isn’t definitive research proving/disproving the efficacy of Epsom Salt baths.  Anecdotally, I have found Epsom salt baths to be extremely relaxing and very helpful in improving flexibility and aiding in relieving general muscle soreness.  If the benefits are only a placebo effect, it isn’t harmful.

When

               All the time! Ha. I like to take an Epsom salt bath the evening before my long runs and after any run that I felt was taxing.  This is usually two to three times a week, sometime more during especially draining weeks.  If, however, I have any visible swelling or inflammation, I will skip the warm baths.  I don’t want to do anything that would increase swelling.  Sometimes I will replace with a ice bath, but mostly I will just ice the specific area, in a moving/massaging motion.

 

How

               The directions on the packages vary, so I have played around and do what seems to work for me.  I will put four cups on Epsom salt into a tub and fill the bath with the warmest water that I can tolerate.  I will relax and soak for ten to fifteen minutes first and then start gently stretching in the bath for five to ten minutes. I will spend twenty to thirty minutes in the soak total. Afterwards I like to foam roll while my muscles are warmed up from the bath. This is an important step in maintaining the benefit I get from the Epsom salt soak.

 

Products

img_2655 I have two brands of Epsom Salts that I really like.  The first brand is Dr. Teals Epsom Salt.  I like to use the unscented kind and add in a variety of essential oils.  I have used this brand for the last year and a half, I started when I was training for my first marathon.   For general soreness, this is a great product that I would recommend.  It’s easily found locally and often on sale.

 

 

 

My new favorite brand is Epsoak, by S.F Salt img_2657Company.  I was participating in a twitter chat, for BibRave and was selected to receive a free product.  I chose the “energizing” eucalyptus and peppermint scented.   The first time I tried it, I didn’t seem to notice much difference between this brand and others.  The main differences I noticed at the time were the very strong smell (which I liked) and the smaller than usual salt grains which helped it dissolve faster.   A few weeks later I was feeling especially run down and I used the product again, and it was magical.  It relieved my soreness and achiness, so much better. When I was running with a head cold and feeling drained, I felt like the Epsoak really helped alleviate the symptoms and allow me to continue training.  So for general soaks, and soreness the two products seemed to perform similar, but when I am really achy and run down, the Epsoak gives an additional level of comfort and relief.  It does cost more, and I haven’t found it in stores.  I totally think the product is worth it, to order and have available.

Have you tried Epsom Salt baths?  What is your favorite part of your recovery routine?

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10 thoughts on “My favorite part of my recovery routine, is Epsom Salt Baths

  1. I always put a handful into the bath when I take a bath. I have a question for you. I often soak my legs in ice water after a long run. If I threw in a handful of Epsom salt into the iced water, would the effect be the same as in warm water?

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  2. I love Epsom salts baths, any excuse for a hot soak. I get my salts from a local agricultural supplier in 5k buckets…very cheap. I think they are intended for use by vets/farmers/racehorse trainers for injured horses but they work just as well on my legs!

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