Whether you’ve seen it on the grocery store shelves or have it in your bathroom at home, Epsom salt is a household staple. Most people dissolve Epsom salts in a warm bath to relax muscles, soothe the skin, and even relax the mind. But this isn’t the same as cooking salt—Epsom salt is a completely different mineral that offers several benefits. So, what is Epsom salt, and how does it work? In this guide, we’ll explain how Epsom salt differs from regular table salt, why float therapy centers always use Epsom salt, and the various benefits of this natural mineral.
What Is Epsom Salt?
Epsom salt is a naturally occurring compound made of magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen. Also known as magnesium sulfate, Epsom salt is rich in magnesium, a mineral that offers various benefits to the human body. In fact, healers have used Epsom salts for centuries. Epsom salts got their name from a town in Surrey, England. In the early 1600s, locals distilled Epsom’s spring water and discovered the amazing benefits of soaking in these salts. Soon enough, Epsom’s wondrous salts drew travelers eager to heal skin ailments and soothe sore muscles. Word of the salt’s remarkable properties spread, and soon, it became a sought-after remedy across Europe. Historically, healers have used Epsom salts for everything from constipation to insomnia. While some of these older practices don’t hold up in the face of scientific research, some contemporary research suggests that there is some truth to Epsom salt’s reported healing powers. Epsom salt is rich in magnesium, an essential mineral for hundreds of enzymatic reactions in the human body. From muscle function to energy production, magnesium plays a vital role in our health. Today, more people are magnesium-deficient because of modern diets and lifestyles. Fortunately, Epsom salt provides an alternative way to replenish this vital mineral directly through the skin.
Using Epsom Salt for Float Tank Therapy
Bathing in Epsom salt—also called balneotherapy—is a popular treatment for arthritis, muscle pain, and minor skin disorders. Float therapy centers like Krysus HP took the concept of balneotherapy and combined it with the sensory deprivation experience of a float tank to create a truly unique way to experience the benefits of Epsom salt. At Krysus HP, each float tank contains over 1,000 pounds of dissolved Epsom salts. This is necessary to help your body float in the water, but we also use it for the added benefits. Some people like to use Epsom salts at home in the bathtub. This is a fun way to relax after a long day, but it isn’t the same as going to a float therapy center. Float pods contain a significantly higher concentration of Epsom salts than typical bathtubs, intensifying the therapeutic effects.
Epsom Salt Floats Versus Regular Salt Baths
Despite its name, Epsom salt isn’t like the table salt you add to your food. Common table salt is sodium chloride, while Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate—chemically, they’re two different things. Unlike regular salt, Epsom salt has a crystalline structure. This is an important difference because when you dissolve Epsom salt in water, its structure disintegrates, releasing the magnesium and sulfate ions into the water. This makes it much easier for your skin to absorb the Epsom salts and soak up all the benefits. While both types of salt will help you float, Epsom salt has more positive effects on your body. It’s one of the reasons why floating in the salty ocean isn’t as relaxing as floating in a pod.
The Physical Benefits of Epsom Salt
Epsom salt is excellent for both the body and the mind. Let’s look at how Epsom salt supports your physical health.
1. Muscle Relaxation and Recovery
Magnesium sulfate is the secret to Epsom salt’s benefits. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant. When you absorb magnesium through your skin, it helps reduce the buildup of lactic acid, which is often the cause of muscle soreness and fatigue. This is very beneficial for anyone who’s feeling tense or for people with chronic pain. But muscle relaxation isn’t just for pain relief. Epson salt is also great for athletes looking for faster post-exercise recovery. A dip in a concentrated Epsom salt bath provides instant relief and accelerates recovery between intense workout sessions.
2. Better Sleep Thanks to Magnesium
Remember, magnesium plays a role in hundreds of functions in the body. One of those functions is sleep. Magnesium helps regulate neurotransmitters that send signals to your brain and nervous system. This regulates melatonin, the hormone responsible for sleep-wake cycles. It isn’t a cure-all for insomnia, but Epsom salt baths can boost your magnesium levels and help you fall asleep more quickly. Many floaters report deeper, more restful sleep—and some get so sleepy after a float that a friend has to drive them home!
3. Medication-free Relief
Float tank therapy and Epsom salts aren’t a substitute for proper medical treatment. They also can’t cure or treat disease. However, if you suffer from chronic pain or conditions like arthritis, regularly floating in Epsom salt could offer relief. If you want to extend the benefits of your medical treatments, Epsom salt floats are an excellent, drug-free alternative. There’s no need to pop a pill—just float in the serenity of the float pod and allow your body to rest.
4. Cosmetic Benefits
This is minor, but it’s still a benefit. Some people say their skin feels softer after a float. Others say floating reduces minor skin inflammation and irritation—although we caution against floating with open cuts or wounds. If you want more volume and definition to your hair, some studies suggest Epsom salt is good for nourishing your hair and scalp.
The Psychological Benefits of Floating in Epsom Salt
The physical benefits alone compel thousands of people to use Epsom salts every day. But did you know that Epsom salt—combined with the power of float tank therapy—can work wonders for the mind, too? Let’s look at just a few ways Epsom salt can benefit your mental health.
1. Lower Stress
Cortisol is also known as the “stress hormone.” If you have elevated cortisol levels, it can wreak havoc on your well-being, which leads to feelings of anxiety, irritability, and overwhelm. The magnesium in Epsom salt plays a role in regulating your body’s stress-response system. While it won’t cure serious conditions like anxiety or depression, immersing yourself in a tank of Epsom salt water can decrease your cortisol levels. The combined float tank sensory deprivation and the relaxing effects of magnesium absorption offer an immediate sense of tranquility. Enjoy weightlessness and silence, devoid of external stimuli, to reset your mind and embrace true relaxation.
2. Enhanced Mental Clarity and Creativity
Epsom salt alone can’t sharpen your mind, but when you combine it with float therapy, you’ll notice big changes in your mindset. As the Epsom salt helps your muscles relax, the float tank will put your mind in a relaxed state. Floating in a tank saturated with Epsom salt helps you enter into a meditative state. The isolation from external disturbances gives you time for introspection. Many floaters report clearer thinking and problem-solving skills after a float session. Plus, with fewer nagging distractions, you might even feel more creative and imaginative after a restful float. Writers, artists, and even CEOs tout the benefits of float tank sessions for unlocking their creative potential. The true “magic” is likely a break from distractions and allowing the body to rest, but even so, plenty of floaters feel more clarity after an Epsom salt float.
3. Reduced Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression
To be clear, Epsom salt and float tank therapy can’t treat or cure mental disorders. However, if you’re in treatment for mental health struggles and you want drug-free relief to complement that treatment, Epsom salt floats are a great option. The sensation of floating, which feels almost like being cradled, taps into our deep-rooted need for comfort. This sensation, combined with the physical benefits of Epsom salt’s magnesium, can significantly reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Safety Considerations With Epsom Salt
For most people, Epsom salt poses no threat when you use it as directed. People have used it for centuries as a home remedy. While Epsom salt is usually harmless, your body is still absorbing this mineral through your skin. Like any mineral, it’s important to consider potential safety issues before submerging yourself in a float tank.
Always shower before and after using a float tank. Showering before your session prevents contaminants from accidentally accumulating in the float tank. But showering after the float also helps wash off the high concentration of Epsom salt from your skin. Because float tanks use such a high concentration of salt, this is a necessary step to avoid skin irritation. This is also why Krysus HP asks all guests to wear swim caps during their session—this reduces the amount of saltwater that comes into contact with your scalp and hair.
While people love Epsom salt for its soothing properties, it isn’t so soothing if you have open wounds or skin abrasions. The salt can sting even the smallest paper cut, although this usually subsides after a few minutes. Even so, it’s a good idea to reschedule your float if you have skin issues, just in case. People with certain skin conditions might experience more intense skin irritation because of the high concentration of Epsom salt in the water. This includes conditions like severe psoriasis and eczema. When in doubt, consult your dermatologist for guidance on whether float tank therapy is a good fit for your skin.
Float tank therapy and Epsom salt are perfectly safe for most people. However, there are some rare cases where float therapy isn’t a good idea. For example, people with epilepsy and kidney disease should avoid floating. You also should avoid Epsom salt floats if you’re taking medication that interacts with sulfate or magnesium. If you have any questions about whether it’s safe to float, always check with your doctor before scheduling a float tank session.
Epsom Salt Baths Versus Other Treatments
Plenty of spa treatments are gaining popularity for their purported benefits. So, how does Epsom salt floating stack up? If you’re looking for more natural solutions for mental or physical ailments, here’s how Epsom salt floating differs from other treatments.
- Saunas: Saunas use either steam or dry air to make you sweat, which opens up your pores. This can help with circulation and muscle relaxation. Epsom salt baths, on the other hand, primarily relax you through magnesium absorption. This also gives you the added benefit of better sleep and medication-free pain relief.
- Aromatherapy massages: These massages use essential oils to soothe your body and mind. Many people find the combination of touch and scent to be very relaxing. Float tanks give you a solitary experience without external stimuli, including scents. The benefits come from magnesium absorption and the stimuli-free experience of floating in a sensory deprivation pod.
- Hot stone therapy: In hot stone therapy, smooth, heated stones are placed on specific parts of your body to promote relaxation. Epsom salts focus more on holistic relaxation of the entire body and apply the benefits evenly. If you’re going for a more encompassing experience that targets both body and mind, Epsom salt floats are the way to go.
See the Benefits of Epsom Salt Firsthand: Float at Krysus HP
Epsom salt has a history that dates back well over 400 years. This natural mineral certainly isn’t a cure-all, but it does have plenty of physical and mental benefits. It’s so beneficial that most float therapy centers, including Krysus HP, use Epsom salt in their float tanks. While Epsom salts at home can provide some relief, there’s nothing like a sensory deprivation float at Krysus. The Epsom salt-saturated water and soothing surroundings make for an unforgettable, relaxing experience. See the benefits of Epsom salt firsthand: Book your Krysus float pod session now.
Epsom Salt FAQ
Can an Epsom salt detox bath get rid of toxins? No. There is no scientific evidence that Epsom salt aids in “detoxification.” The human body naturally rids itself of toxins through the kidneys and liver. What are the benefits of Epsom salt in float tanks? Epsom salt offers both physical and mental benefits, including:
- Muscle recovery
- Better sleep
- Medication-free pain relief
- Minor cosmetic improvements
- Lower stress
- Enhanced clarity and creativity
- Reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression
What are the differences between a regular salt bath and an Epsom salt float tank session? Both Epsom salt and regular salt baths are relaxing, but they have a few notable differences:
- Composition: Regular salt is sodium chloride, while Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate.
- Buoyancy: Epsom salt tanks have a much higher salt concentration than typical salt baths. This creates a weightless environment where you can float with ease.
- Sensory deprivation: Float tanks are designed to reduce external stimuli. You’re in a dark, quiet space and floating in body-temperature water. This provides a unique form of relaxation that a regular salt bath just can’t provide.
- Duration: Float tank sessions are typically longer and more immersive than a regular salt bath. You have much more exposure to Epsom salt, which amplifies its therapeutic effects.
- Health benefits: Both types of baths come with benefits, but Epsom salt soaks have a wider range of benefits.