Therapy comes in all sorts of packages and is good for the mind, the body, and the soul. Sea Salt in all of its simplicity is more than just a seasoning, but historically a very powerful and therapeutic substance. Popular and pricey at Spas, a rejuvenating Salt Water Bath is at your fingertips, but it’s more affordable to do at home.
Salt Water Therapy, the combination of sea salts and water, provides a medium for deep relaxation and is the basis of numerous therapeutic treatments administered at spas, ayurvedic, and holistic centers. Sports Therapy clinics use Hydrotherapy Baths to help clients recover from joint and muscle injuries. Dermatologists recommend Dead Sea Salt baths for patients with psoriasis, eczema, and other dry skin conditions. Estheticians emphasize the cleansing properties of a sea salt bath and salt scrubs to clean the pores and detoxify the body.
A SWAT assists in the rejuvenation of cells and induces a healthy exchange of minerals and toxins between the body and the warm sea salt bath water. Minerals such as magnesium and potassium are drawn from the warm sea salt bath into the body, while toxins are actively drawn out for elimination. Mineral rich Sea Salts are recommended for SWATs, as opposed to rock salt or common salt (sodium chloride), which are depleted of nourishing minerals. Therapeutic effects of salt from the Dead Sea have been renowned and praised for centuries. It is unique in comparison to other sea salts because of its high concentration of salt (27% as opposed to 3% in normal sea water), and the composition of the brine is also unique. While sodium accounts for approximately 80% of the salt content in normal seawater, it comprises much less of the salt from the Dead Sea. The balance of the salts are magnesium, potassium, calcium chloride, and bromides. These minerals are an important element in the therapeutic process. Sodium is important for lymphatic fluid balance. Magnesium combats stress and fluid retention, slows skin aging, and calms the nervous system. Potassium energizes the body, balances skin moisture, and is a crucial mineral to replenish after intense exercise. Calcium prevents water retention, and increases circulation while strengthening bones and nails. Bromides help ease muscle stiffness and relax them. Dead Sea Salt can be obtained online, but is a bit pricy at around $14.00 for a 5 lb. bag ($2.80 / lb.) prior to shipping and handling.
Epsom Salt, a wonderful alternative to higher priced sea salts, contains magnesium sulfate which helps alleviate pain from muscle aches, sprains, and bruises. Readily available, a 4 lb. carton will cost around $3.00 ($.75 / lb. landed) at your local drug store. To initiate a SWAT, add 1 – 2 cups of Sea Salt or Epsom Salt to your bathtub. Optionally, add a few drops of an essential oil (highly concentrated distilled plant extracts) such as Lavender for additional relaxing aromatherapy benefits. Fill the tub with LUKEWARM water to dissolve the salts. Of note is the temperature of the bath water. It is recommended to use lukewarm water, or water that is about 2 degrees warmer than body temperature. Hot bath water will cause the skin to eliminate rather than absorb (think Heat=Perspiration), thereby inhibiting the absorption of therapeutic minerals from the bath water. Turn on relaxing music, dim the lights, and light a few candles, sink in and soak for 20 – 30 minutes. Pat dry when finished, and wrap yourself in a warm robe. You’ll feel like a million bucks, for just a little more than three.
As always, talk to your doctor before using SWAT if you have any pre-existing conditions such as; kidney disease, being on a magnesium or sodium restricted diet, you are pregnant or taking prescription drugs. Because salts actively draw fluid out of the body, please be sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after any SWAT.
By: Lisa Irish // Image by: Stephanie Pino