Did you know all salts are NOT created equal? It’s true. When we think of “Salt”, we often think of that white granulated stuff on the table, that if we dare reach for it, someone, somewhere, is going to tell you exactly what their cardiologist would say.
In reality “Salts” are just ionic compounds bound together by (+) and (-) charges. That’s to say, there are lots and lots of different types of salt; and each reacts differently with your body.
Table Salt is sodium-chloride (NaCl) and is typically mixed with other chemicals, like aluminum, to keep it from sticking together in the box. As Americans, we eat entirely too much salt, which has led to a whole host of cardiovascular diseases.
“But I like to taste my food.”
Me too! Those who know me, know I’m a bit of a “foodie”. My wife and I watch the cooking shows and are always looking for new healthy recipes we can cook at home. Luckily, Phoenix is packed with great restaurants, many of which, serve up extremely healthy fare; like True Food. True Food is a collaboration with Fox Restaurants and Dr. Andrew Weil. Dr. Weil (pictured with me above) is a medical doctor out of the University of Arizona and can be regularly seen on Oprah, Larry King, Joy Behar and countless other shows as an expert in health and wellness. I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Weil who began Pita Jungle, It’s a Wrap and Zoe’s Kitchen. My wife and I love visiting these places and going home to recreate our favorite meals.
We, like these restaurants, use Sea Salt instead of regular table salt. Real Salt is a company that makes Sea Salt. I like “Real Salt” because it shows the trace minerals and their amounts on their packages. Rather than just having sodium and chloride, it also has Magnesium, which helps regulate blood pressure and muscle relaxation. It contains Zinc, which is essential for your immune system. It also has Copper, which is necessary for strong tendons and ligaments, and many more essential minerals. One of the easiest ways to make a change towards better health, is replacing your sodium-chloride table salt with Sea Salt.
While Epsom Salt can be ingested, as it’s FDA approved as a laxative, Epsom Salts are better used when absorbed through the skin in an Epsom Salts Bath. Epsom Salts are not actually made of “Epsom”. Epsom is simply the area in Great Britain where they originate. The salt is actually made up of Magnesium Sulfate. Despite having been around for many years, there is very little research in the area of whether or not Epsom Salts can alleviate muscular pain. However, in my years of seeing patients many have found relief through a Hot Epsom Salts Bath, an easy and affordable way to achieve pain relief. I usually recommend the following:
- Run a bath with the water as hot as you can stand without injuring yourself. 100 degrees should suffice.
- Add 2 cups of salts to the bath. Adding the salt while the water is running helps it dissolve quicker.
- Create a relaxing atmosphere. All pain has a mental stress component. Dim the lights or light a candle. Put on some relaxing music. Have a glass of ice water to sip.
- Soak in the tub for about 12 minutes.
- Drink lots of water before, during and after.
For an added benefit, I often recommend making a “burrito” of salts by putting salts in a wet washcloth and rolling it up. Place the “salt burrito” where the pain is. DO NOT EAT THE SALT BURRITO!
The theory here is that by absorbing the magnesium through the skin, the magnesium will relax the muscles and the heat will increase circulation. It has been my clinical experience that this can help expedite the healing process. But, after you take your first Hot Epsom Salts Bath, you’ll hardly need low back and neck pain as an excuse to take your next one.
Ask me about Sea Salt and Hot Epsom Salts Baths on your next visit.
IF you have questions regarding low back or neck pain call our office at 623-587-7463 or check us out online.
Dr. Aaron L. Wiegand, DC