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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Product Review-Wyldewood Cellar Elderberry Concentrate

Product Review-Wyldewood Cellar Elderberry Concentrate

Wyldewood Cellars Elderberry Concentrate

12.5 FL oz. bottle=$21.99 @ Natural Grocers (cost and availability at the time of writing review)

About this Product

  • Rich in Antioxidants
  • Natural Source of Ruthin and Vitamin C
  • No high fructose corn syrup
  • No added sugar
  • No Alcohol
  • Non-GMO
  • Pesticide Free

Know somebody dealing with a cough, cold or flu?  Of course you do, it’s going around like crazy right now.  Unfortunately, I was wiped out last week with a nasty respiratory infection and left unable to run.  My sister picked up a bottle of Wyldewood Cellars Elderberry Concentrate from our local Natural Grocers, so I could be on my way to a quick recovery.

Why Elderberry?

Elderberry is a dark blueish-purple berry that has many health benefits. Studies have shown elderberry to have a significant impact on respiratory health. Studies have shown that elderberry can shorten the duration and severity of cold, flu and sinus infections.  Elderberry contains more vitamin C than an orange and has the highest ORAC score of any fruit, three times more than blueberries.  Elderberry is rich in antioxidants that help protect the mucus membranes, and reduce inflammation. Elderberry contains magnesium, which also supports the immune system, increases energy and improves muscle and nerve function.  Elderberry contains anthocyanins, which protect blood vessels from oxidative stress/damage.  This is great for aiding runners and other athletes in recovery and improving circulation.

Product Review

This product is 100 % pure elderberry.  The recommended serving is 1 teaspoon a day.   While I was sick I upped my intake to 1 teaspoon twice a day.  The only ingredients for this product is elderberry concentrate and filtered water.  Because of this, the taste is very tart, not a hint of sweetness.  I wasn’t particularly fond of the flavor, so I decided to try a variety of things to mix it in.  These were some of my favorites

  • 8 oz. water, 1 teaspoon Elderberry concentrate + sweetener – I tried this diluted version with both Stevia and honey. Both tasted good, I preferred the Stevia a tad bit more over the honey
  • 1 can of lemon lime soda+1 teaspoon Elderberry Concentrate- This was my favorite of the different recipes that I tried. You can use any lemon-lime soda, my sister recommended Blue Sky Organic Soda as a healthier alternative to other name brand sodas and I enjoyed it very much.  As a runner, however, I do limit my soda consumption so I only tried this recipe once.
  • 8 oz. grape juice+ 1 teaspoon Elderberry Concentrate- This was the recipe I drank the most of. I used Knudsen Organic White Grape Juice, but I am confident this would mix well with any grape juice.
  • Added to smoothies- I added 1 teaspoon to my green smoothie that had mixed berries for added sweetness and I really enjoyed it. The flavor of the elderberry blended perfect with the frozen berries that I blended in. I will play around with more varieties.

Conclusion-

The taste of this product, by itself was tolerable. Considering the health benefits, I would have no problem taking it daily.  When added with the simple recipes I included above, I really enjoyed it.  All of them were extremely simple.  I would recommend.

I hope you liked this review! Check out my other posts!  I appreciate all feedback, likes, comments and shares! Have a great day!