I commonly see clients after a big race or event or even a training block and they complain of their legs feeling “like lead” or “full and tight”. This is usually due to a buildup of metabolic wastes and toxins that your muscles produce that, quite literally, gets “stuck” in the tissue because (*there are a number of potential reasons) but most likely is that the tissues are unable to “push” it out due to over-work. When these wastes accumulate, they cause your legs, arms, or glutes to feel heavy and lethargic, which makes doing much in the way of moving very difficult. Also, if you have been lifting and not-so-committed-to-stretching-after, you may get this buildup over time, as well.
I catch myself continuously asking these same clients if they have taken an Epsom Salt bath, and more commonly than not–they have not. Most think that something as simple or silly as a bath cannot be helpful for THEM. Or my other favorite is “I don’t like baths”. Well, get over yourself. If you want a good way to help yourself in a passive way–try this bath.
Here’s all the scientific mumbo-jumbo for what and why it can work for you that I found on the Epsom Salt Council website:
Studies show these benefits from the major components of Epsom Salts baths:
*Ease stress and improves sleep and concentration
*Help muscles and nerves function properly
*Regulate activity of 325+ enzymes
*Help prevent artery hardening and blood clots
*Make insulin more effective
*Reduce inflammation to relieve pain and muscle cramps
*Improve oxygen use
*Improve absorption of nutrients
*Help form joint proteins, brain tissue and mucin proteins
*Help prevent or ease migraine headaches tell clients to try an Epsom salt bath
I will add that taking an Epsom Salt Bath does cost you some down time in the tub, but you will feel so much better when you go to move around later!There are a few notes that I would like to add to heighten your enjoyment and knowledge of this awesome event.
*Make sure you HYDRATE–this means water–before, during and after. The metabolic waste and toxins will be pulled out of the tissue, but so will valuable water that you need to replace to get the full effect and benefit.
*Epsom Salts usually come in 3 sizes at any drug, grocery or health store. Small milk carton, large milk carton and 6 pound bag. If you are a fairly active person and don’t really like running to the store every time you may need to take a bath, do yourself a favor and buy the 6 pounder. I think the last time I checked it cost about $6.
*Use twice to three times what you think the instructions are telling you. I believe it reads something like “2 cups per gallon of bath water”–how many gallons is YOUR tub? Unless you are bathing in a Pyrex bathtub and know the exact amounts to use, let me help you out. For most tubs and baths so that the water covers up to your waistline–use most if not all of the small milk carton size of salts. This does mean that you use roughly half of the large milk carton size of salts if you bought that one and so on.
*Use water as hot/warm as you can handle and let it cool as you soak. BEFORE GETTING IN THE WATER, pour the salts in and stir/swish/mix the salts around until you don’t feel them anymore!! DO NOT SIT ON SALT CRYSTALS, they really won’t be effective unless they are dissolved into the water.
*Plan on hanging out in the tub for about 15-20 minutes to really let them soak.