How did I circle the sun 43 times before I learned to appreciate Epsom salt?
I’d always been a bubble bath gal. As kids, my sister and I never got the coveted Mr. Bubble because my mom was an Avon Lady—ours came in a nondescript, tall bottle with rounded bumps along the sides. The soap was pink, at least.
I thought that a bubble bath was the only kind of bath one could have. I’d heard of Epsom salt but it seemed like one of those old-fashioned things people used to do, like take castor oil. Anyone on television who was bathing was always covered in rich lather. It never occurred to me that this was done solely to make it possible to have a naked woman on prime time TV.
I hadn’t taken many baths as an adult; I’m only 5’3” but even my tiny frame barely fits in a shower-insert tub, so it didn’t seem worth the trouble. However, the house Mike and I currently rent has a big ol’ claw foot tub, so I’ve been trying to take advantage while we’re here. I have to give Mike credit; he bought a bottle of bubble bath from the organic section of our grocery store (after first considering Mr. Bubble!) and poured my inaugural bath.
It wasn’t until some friends gave me a jar of “bath salts” for my birthday about ten years ago that I was even aware of such a thing. I was suspicious of it, and my doubts were confirmed when I dumped a bunch of the powder into the bath. No bubbles. What was the point? It smelled good, at least.
But bath salts are not Epsom salt, which isn’t salt at all. Originally extracted in the English town Epsom, magnesium sulfate is a special combination of minerals that soothes muscles, improves circulation and moisturizes your skin. It even has nutritional value, for crying out loud.
I went skiing on a weekend in March, and the following Monday was totally wrecked. My legs were sore, of course, but the pain in my shoulders was creeping into my neck and threatening to immobilize my head. I happened to have recently purchased a package of Epsom salt, intending to find out what it was all about. It is about MAGIC, dear readers! Two cups in a warm bath, and my neck and shoulders unclenched completely. My quadriceps were still sore on Tuesday, but I was no longer walking like Frankenstein.
It may be hard to give up the aesthetic appeal of a bubble bath. There are even bubbles in the bath on the official Epsom Salt Council website! But after a day of bucking hay or digging garden beds, you are going to very pleased I introduced you to your new best friend, Epsom salt.