Can Epsom Salt Relieve Pain? But Not In A Way That You Think.

Yes!  But not in a way that you think.  

Can Epsom Salt Relieve Pain? But Not In A Way That You Think. Science has not proven that soaking in Epsom salt relieves pain. But it may have other benefits.

What is Epsom Salt?

Also referred to as Epsoms Salt or Epsom Salts.  The most common usage is Epsom Salt.  And, it’s not actually a salt.  It is a compound of magnesium, sulfur and oxygen.  It gets the name Epsom from the town in England, where it was first discovered.  

Can Epsom Salt Relieve Pain?

Because of the way the compound looks, it was labeled with the name salt.  And this became known as bath salts.  It has a bitter taste, so it usually isn’t consumed internally.  But some people do consume it.  Check with your doctor before you do so!

The compound is promoted to have many health benefits, among them being relief of pain.  That is why I decided to research the topic.  It fulfills my requirement of being natural and you don’t even have to ingest it to experience its benefits.

What Kind of Pain Will Respond To This Treatment?

I am interested in treatment of my chronic pain.  If you have pain every day, throughout the day, then you want relief.  Will epsom salt help my buttock pain (like sciatica) that is caused by spinal stenosis?  Probably not. 

The common use for epsom salt is to pour it in a warm bath. The claims are that it relaxes muscles so the soreness and ache goes away.  This soreness is usually due to overexertion from exercise.  However, I have sore muscles too so maybe I will get some relief.  

But doesn’t the effect come more from the warm bath than the salt?  Good question.  The answer is more than likely yes.  The warm water has a wonderful relaxing effect and therefore soothes the aching muscles.  

So what does the epsom salt contribute?  Not much, it seems.  There just isn’t enough evidence to support the popular claim that epsom salt has a therapeutic effect.  

So What Does Epsom Salt Do?

The prevalent claim is that the magnesium in the epsom salt soaks into the body through the skin and relaxes the achy muscles.  These claims are not substantiated and therefore merely unproven opinions.  

So you will find many blogs on the internet claiming how Epsom salt can help you feel better, but there is no proof of the effects.  I researched this topic because I wanted to see if it actually helped.  But I was saddened to see there is no science to back up these numerous claims.  

Can Epsom Salt Relieve Pain?

How Should You Use Epsom Salt?

If you want to use epsom salt anyway, despite the fact that there isn’t scientific proof that it helps manage pain, the best way to use it is in a warm bath.  

Make sure you pour the salt under a running faucet, so the crystals dissolve.  Then soak for up to 20 minutes.  A word of caution.  Soaking in hot water can raise your blood pressure and make you feel faint, so maybe start with five minutes and work up.  I’m not a medical professional, but I know those warnings are on hot tubs.  

It is my opinion that the true medicinal relief is from the warm bath.  Soaking in warm water has a relaxing effect, both on the muscles, and the mind.  Warming your body up on a cold night with a warm bath can wrap you in a cozy cocoon and promote a calm mind. This should lead to a better night’s sleep.  

Is There Science To Back It Up?

A study published in 2011 in the National Center for Biotechnology Information states what I have been saying.  There simply isn’t enough evidence to back up all the claims about epsom salt relieving pain.  

This article does report that the body does need magnesium.  However, it is not going to acquire it through soaking in epsom salt.  We get magnesium through food.  Some individuals will benefit from a supplement.  But you should talk to your doctor before starting this supplement.  

It is especially indicated to assist with a healthy pregnancy and lactation. It also helps patients with diabetes and prediabetes.  This extensive report from Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute reports on these findings.  

You should be able to maintain a healthy magnesium level by eating leafy greens in a salad, and having a potato now and then.  These foods contain magnesium.

Are There Side Effects?

There appears to be hardly any side effects to using epsom salt in the bath.  It is recommended that you rinse your body after soaking in the bath.  The residue of the salt may dry out your skin.  If you do develop a rash after soaking, chances are you may have a sensitivity to the salt and may want to avoid using it.

Also, ingesting it can have side effects.  One of these is diarrhea.  So please talk with your doctor.  

Other Suggestions To Manage Pain

I have numerous articles about how to manage pain, or find some relief from pain.  One of my articles is Relaxation Techniques For Pain.  If you are looking for a way to relax, you should read about these suggestions.

Or if you want to use a natural product to assist you in relaxing and feeling better, then lavender has been shown to have some effect on pain relief.  I wrote Can Lavender Soothe Chronic Pain? Yes, According to Science!  

These two articles should provide some ideas for you to try to manage your pain.  


From the research that is available to us, science concludes there is no actual measurable proof that epsom salt promotes pain relief.  So don’t waste your money on this product if you are seeking to relieve your pain.

Your thoughts and comments are welcome.  Please let me know what you think.  And if you have any questions, leave them here and I will do my best to answer them.

Can Epsom Salt Relieve Pain?
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8 thoughts on “Can Epsom Salt Relieve Pain? But Not In A Way That You Think.”

  1. My grandmother suffered from arthritis, and she used to use Epsom salt. Her primary doctor would tell her it didn’t work, but she still used it since her friends did. She claimed it had some benefits on her health, but again, we’re not sure it was the result of using Epsom salt.
    Personally, I’m all for natural remedies. If it doesn’t have any side effects, then I don’t see any harm in using it. However, if it’s going to affect me in a negative way, then it’s preferable to stay away from it.
    Thanks for sharing such an informative article.

    • I love your grandmother! I’m sorry she suffered though. I admire her doctor for telling her the truth, but also her for continuing to use it, because she believed in it. Now that I know the truth about the science, I am not going to bother with buying Epsom salt, but will continue to soak in a warm bath. That helps me in so many ways. Thanks for reading! Barbara

  2. Growing up I was always told to go soak in a bath of epsom salts for my achy body. Now I realize it was probably just the warm water that soothed my aches and pains. Either way, it still feels good to relax in a bath full of warm water and epsom salts. This post brings me back to when I was younger and did this frequently. Unfortunately I do not take many baths now. Maybe I need to get back into the practice just for relaxation purposes. Thanks so much for this post. It was very well written and covered facts I didn’t know like where it got its name!

    • Thank you for your comment Nina. I’m glad the information taught you something! I also believed that the Epsom Salt had some magic power. But now I know differently. And so I’m not wasting my money. I highly recommend warm bathes for a number of reasons. A warm bath helps my achy body to feel better. And it relaxes me so I can sleep better. So I do it before bed. I hope you can experience some relaxing baths! Barbara

  3. Very interesting article! I personally never used Epsom salt as remedy for pain but I do recommend the use of it for the intestinal/liver detoxing – it works as laxative alongside other elements.

    I would love to hear your personal experience with it though! Through experience I don’t just dismiss something because of the lack of scientific evidence or study. The world is pretty much controlled by the pharmaceutical industry so they will only backup things/studies that make financial sense to them or that supports the industry. I overcome chronic fatigue, pain and IBS through unconventional medicine using treatment which you’ll find lack scientific evidence to be promoted by the conventional medicine as it often contradicts it.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Yes, I have heard that it can be used for intestinal health. I would love to read one of your articles about treating chronic fatigue and pain by using unconventional medicine.

  4. I always say “it’s hard to argue with science”. I often hear about the therapeutic effects of Epsom salts, but if like you say, it’s not really backed by science, then my guess is it’s just placebo. People tend to think it works for them because they hear it works for others or something.
    It’s an eye opener.

    Thanks for this. I hope more people take time to research these popular treatments we all indulge in. We do need to be careful and be sure of whatever we do that affects our health.


    • Thank you for your feedback, and support of my conclusions. There are so many articles out there that proclaim Epsom Salt promotes healing. But there just isn’t proof! I wish it did, because I am always looking for relief from my pain.


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