Epsom salt crosses skin barrier: a study

A study for those who cannot believe that soaking in Epsom salt can affect your magnesium levels.  So many people who wear patches to quit smoking or  lidocaine patches (or stronger) to control pain roll their eyes at the suggestion that soaking in magnesium sulfate could increase your levels of …magnesium and sulfate. 🙂 Here you go! Love this!! 

I have had slightly higher inflammation levels this week and I have been doing a lot of soaks.  Incidentally, when I first started to really improve after surgery, it was right after i started Epsom soaks several times a week.  I do not regularly do them several times a week but certainly when I feel a bit off and that my body is starting to feel more inflamed, I head to CVS for a big bag of Epsom Salts.  

This pops up as a pdf so here’s the meat of it:

Report on Absorption of magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) across the skin
Dr RH Waring, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham. B15 2TT, U.K.


Magnesium levels in blood are very tightly controlled. Of 19 subjects, all except 3 showed a rise in magnesium concentrations in plasma, though this was small in some cases. The values before the first bath were, mean 104.68 ± 20.76 ppm/ml; after the first bath the mean was 114.08 ± 25.83 ppm/ml. Continuation of bathing for 7 days in all except 2 individuals gave a rise to a mean of 140.98 ± 17.00ppm/ml. Prolonged soaking in Epsom salts therefore increases blood magnesium concentrations. Measurement of magnesium levels in urine showed a rise from the control level, mean 94.81 ± 44.26 ppm/ml to 198.93 ± 97.52 ppm/ml after the first bath. Those individuals where the blood magnesium levels were not increased had correspondingly large increases in urinary magnesium showing that the magnesium ions had crossed the skin barrier and had been excreted via the kidney, presumably because the blood levels were already optimal. Generally, urinary magnesium levels 24h after the first bath fell from the initial values found after day 1 (mean 118. 43 ± 51.95) suggesting some retention of magnesium in tissues after bathing as blood levels were still high.Measurement of magnesium levels in urine 24h after the 7th bath gave values almost back to control levels.

Free inorganic sulfate levels in plasma rose in all subjects after bathing in Epsom salts (mean pre-bath, 3.28 nmol/mg protein ± 1.40, 2h after 1st bath, mean 5.59 nmol/mg protein ± 3.08). In some individuals, the level post-bath reached > 9 nmol/mg protein. The plasma levels after 7 days showed a mean of 3.57 nmol/mg protein ± 1.70, lower than the peak value, suggesting that sulfate stores in the body were being filled. Analysis of the urine samples again showed an increase in sulfate concentrations (pre-bath mean 623.74 ± 352.34 nmols/ml, 2h post bath 1093.30 ± 388.79 nmoles/ml, 24h after 1st bath 899.83 ± 483.16 nmols/ml. Sulfate excretion in urine in some individuals was only slightly higher after 7 days bathing than the pre-bath levels.

 (1.) “Report on Absorption of magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) across the skin“, Dr RH Waring, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham. B15 2TT, U.K.

Mind and body

It’s an accepted notion in our society (both inside and outside the doctor’s office) that stress can harm a heart patient and potentially cause a cardiac event. That’s totally accepted and nobody assumes that person is bonkers – he just has heart trouble.

You can’t separate mind and body.  Stress will exacerbate pain. Don’t feel mental because of it. I actively work to reduce stress with qi gong, acupuncture, walking or epsom salt baths. It helps!

My pain levels are low enough now that i take no medications and i think a big part of that was due to me looking at my life differently. Some of that just came naturally as the last five years completely changed my view of the world.  I feel i have become a nicer, more compassionate person and my priorities just shifted on their own.   But I have also made a conscious decision to change how I react to things because nothing is worth egging myself into a pain cycle.


Day of full body massage: awesome

Night of full body massage: ut oh.

Next day after fully body massage: Sh*t.

I can’t WAIT to see Dr Lee today for some moving cupping to stop these spasms! Tried epsom bath last night and even added cucumber to the water for the extra magnesium. No dice.

Dr. Lee held out on me until recently with this where he puts some oil on my skin and lightly moves the glass bulb for cupping along my skin. Best feeling ever and knocks out the crazy spasms in minutes.

Not going to cancel my next massage because i want to see if i can desensitize the nerves this way. Massage then cupping if the spasms hit.