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Epsom Salt Bath Makes You Less Anxious

Epsom Salt Bath Makes You Less Anxious

Anxiety is a natural human emotion. It’s usually caused by our mind entering the ‘fight or flight’ response when situations occur. For some, it can be a fleeting feeling felt when big changes occur in our lives such as starting a new job, speaking in public or getting married. But for others, it can be a daily ongoing mix of fear, worry, and uneasiness. The constant nervousness and inner turmoil can be uncomfortable and tiring. Sleep patterns can become disturbed and concentration wanes. In terms of the mind, it does not only deplete our happiness but it can also cause physical symptoms like headaches, muscle aches and tension. There are many ways to cope with anxiety issues but daily relaxation techniques can help calm the inner turmoil, help you sleep better and give you a greater peace of mind. Many people suggest taking a bath using Epsom salt as it is known to relieve symptoms of anxiety and actually improve our mood. But what is Epsom salt and how does it work?

How Is Epsom Salt Different To Other Salt?

Epsom Salt is not like sea salt or regular table salt. Although the crystal structure looks similar, Epsom salt is a mineral compound made up of magnesium and sulphate unlike other salts that are almost entirely made up of sodium chloride. Another huge difference is that sea salt, when left on the skin, will dry it out pretty quickly and leave a residue whereas Epsom salt actually rinses off and leaves the skin soft. So because of its specific structural composition, the way Epsom salts work are greatly different to other salts and the benefits are far greater.

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How Epsom Salt Baths Work – The Science

Mention an Epsom salt bath to anyone and they will probably conjure up thoughts of a hot, steaming bath – a welcome delight at the end of a hard, stressful day. But an Epsom salt bath is actually unlike a normal one. Remember the magnesium that makes up most of its compound? Well it’s this that gives you the great health benefits that can relieve anxiety issues. When we’re feeling stressed, our magnesium levels are decreased and depleted. Magnesium is a mineral that is important in the production of serotonin – the feel-good hormone – so less magnesium equals less serotonin. Serotonin is crucial for enhancing our mood and sense of wellbeing so without it, anxiety attacks can seem worse and prolonged.

A study, conducted by researchers at the School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, showed that a certain amount of magnesium in Epsom salt is readily absorbed through the skin. They studied a group of participants before and after being immersed in a bath with dissolved Epsom salt and found that their magnesium levels had risen without any adverse effects. Therefore using Epsom bath salts is an effective, yet-gentle, way to raise magnesium levels without taking supplements.

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How To Make Your Own Epsom Bath Salt

There are many ready-made Epsom salt products in stores but they can prove costly. Plain Epsom salt usually comes in bigger packs and is more economical. But why not try making your own? It’s actually very easy and fun to do and you can make your own varieties. All you need is:

  • 1/2 cup of Epsom salt (magnesium sulphate)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • A small cup or bowl
  • Food colouring (optional)

What to do:

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  1. Boil the water and stir in the 1/2 cup of Epsom salt for around a minute in the cup or bowl. This creates a saturated solution, meaning no more salt can dissolve in the water. (Some undissolved crystals will be at the bottom of the glass.)
  2. Choose a food colouring and add a couple of drops to give them a nice vibrant colour. (optional)
  3. Place the cup or bowl in the refrigerator straight away as the solution needs to be cooled down rapidly.
  4. After a few hours, check it to see the cup full of crystals. Pour off any remaining solution.

Your end result should see small, thin, and numerous crystals which you can add to your bath. Although you can create a scent-less bath salt mixture, adding essential oils creates a calming atmosphere when you take your bath and will help you to relax a bit more. Just combine your favourite essential oil and leave it to infuse in the cup or bowl before adding it to your bath.

How To Use Epsom Bath Salt

The ideal concentration for using Epsom salt baths to raise magnesium status, according to the study, is approximately 500 grams, or 2 cups, of Epsom salt dissolved in 15 gallons of water – the amount that can fit in a standard-sized bathtub. Ideal amount of time spent soaking is 10-20 minutes, two to three times per week.

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While an Epsom salt bath is generally a safe and gentle way to raise magnesium levels, it is good to check with your doctor before using it to treat any medical conditions or using it while pregnant.

Featured photo credit: Matt_Weibo via flickr.com

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on October 14, 2019

10 Simple Ways To Increase Metabolism Without Working Out

10 Simple Ways To Increase Metabolism Without Working Out

When it comes to increasing your metabolism, getting a good workout a couple of times a week is only one of many players. If you’re not a fan of lifting heavy stuff, then you’re only expending extra energy for that, say, one hour of that specific day. But what about the remaining 23 hours? How can you make sure you’re burning blubber all throughout the day? Here are 10 simple ways to increase your metabolism without working out.

1. Stand More

Many health practitioners claim that sitting is the new smoking. We sit in the office, we sit in the car, we sit when we get home. It’s not only terrible for your health and posture, but you require a lot less energy when seated. So, a good way to ignite the furnace a bit is to stand as much as possible through out the day. You work in an office? Put two boxes under your keyboard or laptop. There are many free solutions to making a standing desk—so you have no excuses. When you’ve gotten used to standing while working you will quickly find that it’s easier to stay engaged as well—you’re less inclined to drift away mentally. In fact, this post was written standing.

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2. Gamify Your Life

Toys such as the Fitbit or Nike Fuelband, or apps like Argus, can help you increase your metabolism by giving you an incentive to walk more. Argus, and other apps like it, use the accelerometer in your smartphone to measure your steps and let you know when you’ve hit your daily goal. Fitbit and the Nike Fuelband do the same, but have a host of other functions to make being healthy a tad more fun.

3. Eat Your Veggies

Fibrous vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli increase your metabolism by putting your digestive system on overdrive. It just simply requires more energy to break down the tough fiber of these nutritional powerhouses. You’ll also start feeling like a rock star from the overload of vitamins and minerals from eating more vegetables.

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4. Eat Protein

This is one of those rules that’s not to be misunderstood. While it does boost your metabolism to eat more protein, it should be instead of other foods, not on top of other foods. If you’re stuffing your face with a chicken breast when you’re not hungry just to boost your metabolism, you’re doing it wrong. Of the three macro-nutrients—fats, carbs and protein—protein is the one that requires the most energy to break down. So, if you switch out some of those cheese sandwiches with a few hardboiled eggs you’re on the right path.

5. Drink Loads Of Cold Water

Drinking a few glasses of ice-cold water in the morning can boost your metabolism quite effectively. Your body expends energy on constantly staying in homeostasis when it comes to temperature, so if you chug a bunch of icy water you’re making your body expend more energy on keeping itself at the same temperature. Using temperature to expend more energy is called thermogenesis and it’s one of the most efficient ways of cranking up your calorie burning—more on this further down.

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6. Spice Up Your Meals

Spices like cayenne, chilli, ginger and turmeric ignite your metabolism and make your meals a bit more exciting. If you make it a habit to add a little bit of spice to each of your meals it can be a habit that turns you into a fat-burning furnace.

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    7. Drink Caffeine

    No, drinking loads of coffee is not bad for you. The sugar and heavy cream you could be inclined to chase it down with might be though. Caffeine helps mobilize—that is, get rid of—adipose tissue, or fat. It also helps athletic performance, and some individuals report it to have appetite-curbing effects. If you’re very sensitive to stimulants, try not to have caffeine too close to bedtime though, as it can mess with your sleep.

    8. Plan Your Meals Around Exercise

    I know the title of this post says “…Without Working Out” but this trick technically is more a nutritional trick than an exercise-related one. When you’ve exerted yourself and, hopefully, broken down some muscle fibers, your protein synthesis, or the rate at which you build muscle, increases. So, having heavy meals after a workout will make sure those calories get stored in the right places. This is one of the reasons it’s a good idea to get a heavy session in before the Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

    9. Do Intermittent Fasting

    It’s long been said you should always eat a heavy breakfast as it kick starts your metabolic rate. There hasn’t been any study proving this though. There have only been behavioral studies correlating obesity with breakfast skippers, but it’s always been a case of confusing correlation with causation. It’s not the fact that you skip breakfast that makes you fat; it’s the poor food choices you make throughout the rest of your day. Studies have shown that fat burning increases the longer you get into a fast, obviously depending on the body fat level of the individual. In fact, in one study lowered metabolic rate did not occur until 60 hours into a fast. Intermittent fasting is very much one of the bigger wins when it comes to increasing your metabolism.

    10. Use Cold Exposure

    For some reason it’s been common knowledge for a while that sweating increases metabolic rate. Scientist have known for a while though that the opposite is actually true; exposing yourself to cold temperatures increase your calorie burn significantly. Just slight shifts in your home temperature can mean pounds lost or gained when you gather the numbers yearly. How else do you think swimmer Michael Phelps is able to eat 12,000 calories a day? Obviously, he swims hours each day, but it’s not just the exercise he gets from swimming that allows him to consume such quantities of food, it’s also the amount of energy the body has to expend to keep itself at its baseline temperature in the cold water. So, taking ice-cold showers, decreasing the temperature of your home, or swimming in cool pools will help you burn a lot more calories.

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