Epsom salt is called that because it was first produced from natural springs at Epsom, England, around 1618, and from 1695 chemists and pharmacies were selling purified “bitter salts” all over England. For three hundred years since it’s been used to cure just about anything, from muscle aches to skin health, foot odor, wrinkles, psoriasis, eczema, mosquito bites, bruises, inflammation, hangovers, migraines, constipation, and the common cold.

Do any of these really work? Let’s look at the science.

Chemically speaking, Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, MgSO4. Magnesium and sulfates are both ingredients in essential biological processes. Both are available in many foods — especially green leafy vegetables — but both can have issues with absorption in the digestive tract.

 

Magnesium

According to the National Institutes of Health, magnesium is a component or co-factor in more than 300 critical body processes:

  • protein synthesis

  • muscle and nerve function

  • blood glucose control

  • blood pressure regulation

  • energy production

  • oxidative phosphorylation

  • glycolysis

  • the structural development of bone

  • synthesis of DNA, RNA, and the antioxidant glutathione

  • transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes, and thus: nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, and normal heart rhythm.

Further, studies consistently show that Americans do not get their recommended  intake of magnesium. Indeed, the availability of magnesium in the food supply may have decreased substantially over the past century, though I can’t find a proper source for that claim.

Magnesium deficiency leads to fatigue, weakness, and eventually loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting.  It may also be a contributing factor to certain heart arrhythmias, blocked arteries, high blood pressure, diabetes, weak bones, migraines, insomnia, pre-eclampsia, and muscle cramps.

People particularly at risk of magnesium deficiency include:

  • People with gastrointestinal diseases such as Crohn’s, celiac disease, and regional enteritis can have difficulty absorbing enough magnesium from food.

  • People with insulin resistance or type-2 diabetes can have excessive magnesium loss in urination.

  • Those taking diuretics or antibiotics.  Additionally, some medications for chronic diseases interfere with magnesium absorption.

  • Older adults may experience decreased absorption and increased excretion of magnesium.

  • People with alcohol dependence can have a whole spectrum of problems causing magnesium deficiency (among other things!)

A review from the American Academy of Family Physicians[1] recommends that magnesium is an effective treatment for:

  • eclampsia and preeclampsia,

  • arrhythmia,

  • severe asthma,

  • migraine,

  • dyspepsia, and

  • constipation;

and is possibly effective for:

  • lowering risk of metabolic syndrome,

  • improving glucose and insulin metabolism,

  • preventing osteoporosis,

  • improving symptoms of leg cramps in pregnant women, and

  • alleviating dysmenorrhea.

Sulfate

Sulfate is equally essential to life — it’s critical to the functioning of the central nervous system, to the mucus membranes lining the digestive tract, to producing digestive enzymes, and in lubricating the sliding surfaces of our joints.

Under normal circumstances, the body can manufacture about 80% of its own sulfate needs.  The remainder needs to come from external sources, generally foods such as meat, fish, and eggs. Most people have no trouble.

However, direct absorption of sulfate is slow at the best of times, and can be easily interfered with by bowel diseases.  Also, people are not all equally efficient at manufacturing their own sulfate needs. Reduced efficiency, leading to sulfate deficiency, is a risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis and primary biliary cirrhosis.

Rejuvenate jet Lag
cardiovascular
Sport Performance
Sports Injuries
Muscle Rejuvenation 

Commonly we see the use of floating in a Float tank being widely used within the following sports:

  • Long distance runners

  • Yoga, Cross fit athletes,

  • MMA fighters

Benefits of using a float tank in sport

  • As a matter of fact the AIS (Australian Institute of Sport) sees flotation tank use as integral to the training regimes that their athletes’ follow. Some benefits of using floatation therapy are:

  • Accelerates the recovery from injury

  • Increases energy (ATP)

  • Ideal space for visualisation and mind setting.

  • Boosts the immune system

  • Reduces Lactic acid levels in the body

  • Aids in facilitated rest, improving athletes exposure to fatigue.

  • Facilitates the reduction of muscle soreness (DOMS)

  • Gravity isn’t a factor in the float tank. The complete relaxation that it provides, gives all the muscles the much-needed break they need.  When the person is in the tank, every single muscle in the body gets the rest it needs and the time to recover. The benefits are truly impressive!

 

Gravity isn’t a factor in the float tank. The complete relaxation that it provides, gives all the muscles the much-needed break they need.  When the person is in the tank, every single muscle in the body gets the rest it needs and the time to recover. The benefits are truly impressive!

Furthermore epsom salts are a magnesium and sulphate – a muscle relaxant and a protein builder for your joints. Not only can you truly decompress in the float tank, you absorb the minerals whilst you float directly into your muscles, allowing you to be noticeably less tense as soon as you get up!

Recovery Time Frame

When the athlete is in the flotation tank, the actual rate of recovery post physical exercise is enhanced beyond recognition. Since floating in  water that has high concentrations of Epsom salt reduces the stresses of gravity, the weight and pressure is taken off strained muscles, joints and bones. This increases the efficiency of the blood circulation right through the body. It also significantly improves the recovery time after injury.

The body has amazing pathways set up, to alarm it of pain or injury, hot or cold etc. When the brain receives these signals, it can then react and adapt accordingly. However this mechanism is not just designed to cope with injury. All positive signals of relief experienced whilst floating also go into the brain, producing a very profound, complete state of relaxation that is not to be dismissed.

Sports Performance Improvement

Athletes that use this float therapy in combination with visualisation techniques experience a very significant improvement in their performances. As the person’s brain transitions into a theta state, it becomes much more open to suggestion. The CNS (central nervous system) can essentially be effectively trained to produce ‘perfect performance’. Today a number of top athletes across Australia and the U.S use this technique to relax and up their performance in their chosen sport.

Working Against Gravity

While floating, gravity pressures gets taken-off the muscles and joints & the entire body is put in to a state of high physical relaxation. The blood pressure & oxygen intake reduces but the blood flow and distribution of red blood cells increases. These combined effects are especially beneficial to athletes, as it speeds the recovery from injury & assists in flushing-out cortisol, lactate & adrenaline that might have built-up either via training or performance.

Reduces Injury Risk

Float Therapy loosens the muscles & gives athletes a higher degree of control in their nervous systems. In effect, this reduces injury risk during training/competition. Floatation accelerates the athlete’s recovery process and releases large quantities of endorphins (natural painkiller of the body)

By being in an environment that facilitates sensory isolation, which is another component of floatation, the athlete truly has the space to reach the level of concentration required to have a tangible effect on his/her performance. Many modern training methods are focused on helping athletes master their “inner game.” This assists in developing perfect synchronicity between body, mind and emotion and where better to find yourself then in a setting that is designed to help you lose yourself?

Floatation is also used by many people in helping them identify areas of tension that they were not previously aware of. Many people report being able to have a heightened sense of a certain body part whilst floating. This sense helps draw awareness to an area that may require additional attention in the form of stretching, massage or treatment.

When are you going to hop into the float tank?

What are you waiting for?  Improve recovery,  manage pre-injury,  reduce muscle tension and out perform competitors by harnessing the under-utilised power of relaxation in sport. When are you going to float?

Thanks for reading,
Paramount Health, (02) 9719 2060

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