Do you suffer from fatigue, stress, anxiety, or body pain? If so, you’ve probably been told to soak in a hot bath with Epsom salts. Or maybe someone told you to add essential oils to your tub. Well, what if you could get the natural benefits of all three healing ingredients–hot water, Epsom salt and essential oils–in one magical soak? You can!
Use the dermal maximum of each essential oil to determine how many drops should be diluted in 1 tablespoon of carrier oil. Add 1 tablespoon of diluted essential oil to 1-2 cups of Epsom salts. Add 1-2 cups of essential oil-soaked Epsom salts to a standard bathtub of hot water. Soak for at least 12-15 minutes.
You can combine the natural health benefits of Epsom salts and essential oils to provide maximum pain and stress relief with little to no side-effects. To do this, be sure you know how to use the essential oils safely. There are general principles to follow when making an Epsom salt bath with essential oils.
Benefits of Epsom Salt Bath With Essential Oils
Since ancient times, soaking in a hot bath has been used as a remedy for aching muscles, stiff joints, headaches, congestion, fatigue, stress, and anxiety. A hot bath is an inexpensive and effective remedy, free from side-effects, and easily accessible to most people.
Hot Bath Benefits
Hot baths work like heat packs, except the effects reach your whole body, not just a targeted area of pain or stiffness. A hot bath also triggers a combined nervous system and cardiovascular system response. This increases circulation and metabolism, thereby providing an overall positive effect on well-being. Read 20 Hot Bath Benefits to discover all the amazing things that a hot bath can do for your mind, body and soul!
Effects of Epsom Salt Baths
Epsom salt is also inexpensive and widely accessible. True, there has been little formal research on the merits of an Epsom salt bath. However, there is plenty of testimonial evidence of the benefits of adding Epsom salt to a hot bath.
Many athletes, hikers, and even doctors promote the use of Epsom salt baths for pain and stress relief as well as for detoxification, reduction of inflammation, and the treatment of some fungal infection.
Healing Powers of Essential Oils
Essential oils contain the essence of a plant’s healing properties and scent and are made by pressing roots, stems and berries. Scientific research on the benefits of essential oils is limited. Yet more and more people are turning to these oils for support of their general well-being because of their lived experiences with them. Have you noticed that it’s more popular than ever to choose aromatherapy over other pharmaceutical remedies?
In general, the use of essential oils and Epsom salt baths for children should only be done according to the instructions provided by a qualified health professional. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should avoid using essential oils unless your doctor expressly gives you permission.
That said, Neal’s Yard Remedies sells a Mother’s Bath Oil specifically designed for women who are expecting or nursing. It contains a nourishing blend of Bergamot, Ylang Ylang, and lavender essential oils.
Also, if you have a skin condition or chronic illness, also consult a doctor before using these powerful oils. (Read Essential Oils in the Bath: How to Do It Right for much more about how to use essential oils safely.)
Making An Epsom Salt Bath With Essential Oils
To make Epsom salt essential oil bath salts, it is better if you know the ratios to use. Then you can easily make enough for one bath or a month’s supply, and you can make your own mixes of essential oils to suit your preferences and needs.
Essential oils are potent and can irritate the skin. But carrier oils–for example jojoba oil, coconut oil, hemp seed oil or sweet almond oil–will dilute the essential oils. The carrier oil will also disperse the essential oil better throughout your bathwater. So when adding essential oils to the tub, you’ll always want to mix them with carrier oils first.
The Basic Bath Recipe
To make an Epsom salt bath with essential oils:
- Mix the dermal maximum number of drops of essential oil into 1 fluid ounce (2 Tablespoons) of carrier oil.
- Mix the 2 Tablespoons of carrier oil into one or 1- 2 cups of Epsom salt.
- Dissolve in a full tub.
- Optional: Dissolve ½ cup to 1 cup of baking soda into tub water.
- Soak for 10-20 minutes.
Ratio of Essential Oil to Carrier Oil
If you’re not big on doing math, memorize the next sentence and then skip to the next section about Epsom salts. Get an essential oil with a dermal maximum of 2%. Then just add 12 drops of essential oil to 1 fluid ounce (2 Tablespoons) of carrier oil.
Now, if too much math won’t hurt your brain, here’s a bit more info about how to mix essential oils with different dermal maximums together with carrier oils:
Dilute your essential oil based on the estimation that 600 drops of essential oil go into one fluid ounce (2 Tablespoons). For example, let’s say the dermal maximum of your chosen essential oil is 2% (check the bottle). Then you’ll add 12 drops (2% of 600 drops) of the essential oil to 1 fluid ounce (2 Tablespoons) of the carrier oil.
However, if the dermal maximum of your essential oil is 3%, then you’d add 18 drops (3% of 600 drops) to 1 fluid ounce (2 Tablespoons) of carrier oil. (Source)
Ratio of Oil to Epsom Salt
Add 2 Tablespoons of oil (carrier oil + essential oil) to one to two cups of Epsom salts.
Ratio of Oil-Soaked Epsom Salt to Water
Add one to one to two cups of diluted essential oil-soaked Epsom salts to a standard-sized bathtub of hot water.
Optional: Ratio of Baking Soda to Epsom Salt
Baking soda can be a great additional ingredient to add to your bath, especially if you tend to have sensitive skin. Baking soda (aka sodium bicarb) can reduce any irritation the salt may cause.
Use half as much baking soda as you do Epsom salt solution. So if you use 1 cup of oil-soaked Epsom salts, then use ½ cup of baking soda.
This said, be careful about adding baking soda to a mixture of Epsom salt essential oil bath salts because it’s possible that the baking soda can release gases that build up inside the jar, causing it to explode. Yikes!
Rather than mixing the baking soda in with the Epsom salt/oil solution, add it separately to your bath.
Excellent Essential Oils For Aromatherapy Baths
Do’s and Don’ts of Essential Oils and Epsom Salt Bath
A hot bath has no negative side-effects except for pruned fingers and toes and the occasional scald to unwary bathers.
Epsom salt also has few notable bad side-effects when used in a bath. However, if you have open wounds, don’t use any.
Also, it’s possible to over-detoxifying with excessive use of Epsom salts. I once went to a float spa where I soaked in a thousand pounds of Epsom salts. I got completely dehydrated and later passed out. You can read more about my experience and if a float spa can make you happier here.
But the point is even if you’re soaking in a few cups of Epsom salts, it’s a good idea to hydrate.
Now let’s talk about essential oils. These are extremely concentrated plant extracts, which are capable of causing toxicity in humans if they are used incorrectly. So unlike the other ingredients in your magical healing bath, you’ll want to be especially careful with the essential oils.
|Always dilute essential oils before allowing them to come into contact with your skin.|
This applies even if you are putting the oils into a bath. Remember, water and oil do not mix together, so the oil will amalgamate on the surface of the water, and your skin can come into direct contact with the concentrated essential oil.
Diluting an essential oil should be done according to the dermal maximum--the percentage of essential oil to a carrier oil that should not be exceeded if the essential oil is to be safely used on the skin.
|Don't use if you have open sores or infections.
Essential oils are not intended for internal use and this includes use on broken skin.
Epsom salts can irritate an open wound and worsen bacterial infections.
|Always perform skin patch tests with essential oils before using them in a bath. |
Before you put essential oil into a bath and submerge your entire body into that bath, you need to check that you are not allergic to the oil.
Use undiluted oil to do the patch test and repeat the test at least once if you showed no allergic response the first time.
The second test is important because some people may become sensitized on their first exposure, and all subsequent exposures will cause an allergic reaction.
|Don’t use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Limited research has been conducted on essential oil use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. If you take a bath with essential oils and then breastfeed, your baby could ingest them. This could be very dangerous.
If you want to have an Epsom salt bath with essential oils, first consult your physician.
|Start slowly with the baths and don’t have too many a week. |
Every person is different, and so they will respond differently to these baths.
Unless you are instructed otherwise by a medical professional, limit your Epsom salt baths with essential oils to a maximum of two a week, and don't do them on consecutive days.
|Don’t use for infants and children under 12 years.
Epsom salts and essential oils are not completely harmless. Children respond differently to adults when exposed to chemicals and compounds.
If you want to give an infant or child an Epsom salt bath with essential oils, first consult your physician.
|If you have been diagnosed with a chronic or severe medical condition, including skin conditions, consult a physician before taking an Epsom salt bath with essential oils.|
Many dermatitis conditions can be worsened by essential oils, even essential oils that are supposed to relieve irritated skin.
Epsom salts can irritate or dry out sensitive skin.
Aromatherapy can trigger migraines and headaches, even the oils that are supposed to relieve migraines and headaches.
Hot water causes vasodilation, which can negatively affect people with low blood pressure. If blood pressure drops low enough, a person can pass out—very dangerous in a bathtub!
|Don’t use essential oils that are likely dermal irritants.
Some essential oils are more likely to cause dermal irritation or even sensitization. These include cassia, clove, cinnamon, peppermint, sage, spearmint, and wintergreen.
|Always stop if you notice any adverse reactions.|
This may be a persistent headache, a skin rash, increased fatigue, etc.
|Don’t add the essential oil or essential oil-soaked Epsom salts to the running water.
If you add the essential oils to running water, they will evaporate before you have a chance to benefit from them.
Only add the diluted essential oils or the diluted essential oil-soaked Epsom salt once the tub is filled.
Gently stir the water by hand to dissolve the salt.
Have a quick shower after your bath.
Use some mild soap to remove the excess oil and salts from your skin.
Don’t store these bath salts in open containers.
The salts will clump when exposed to moisture in the air.
The essential oils will evaporate from the open container.
Take your Epsom salt bath with essential oils before going to bed.
These baths are so relaxing; don’t be surprised if you feel sleepy afterward.
Many people specifically use these baths for their soporific effect when they are suffering from insomnia or anxiety.
Drink water before, during and after a hot bath with Epsom salts!
How to Store Bath Salts
Once you mix up your Epsom salts with oils, you’ll want to store them safely. For much more on this, be sure to read Do Bath Salts Expire?
Take This Healing Bath!
The compounding benefits of a hot bath, Epsom salt, and essential oils make for a highly worthwhile soak in the tub, so carefully follow the do’s and don’ts of Epsom salt baths with essential oils and enjoy!
If you’re looking for other bath recipes with Epsom salt, try a moon bath. This post has four recipes, each for a different phase of the lunar cycle. You’ll get in touch with the universe and manifest your inner-most desires.
But if you’re like me and your inner-most desire always comes back to dark chocolate, consider making a chocolate bath with chocolate fragrance oil. You can add Epsom salts, too!