Take A Bath

I know, you love your shower. It’s even been praised as water saving and good for the planet, low flow shower head and all. But I’ve got a pretty good reason for you to take a bath.

Seems that when I said the recent family medical problem was ‘all behind’ them now, I was wrong.

(Now all those people who wonder what I do when I’m wrong can see a clear example. I was, quite clearly, and quite simply wrong. We were not on a strong uptrend, but a strong cycle that turned back into a downturn – gee, that sounds familiar ;-) So we recognized that fact and changed what we were doing. We went to the hospital. But that’s a story for later.)

The Issue had only taken a break, and returned in force. So off to The Doctor. Who was sure it was the same thing I thought it was, though a worse form. But had some concerns about some of the more variable symptoms and that it could take a half dozen or more tests to sort it all out, so he chucked the patient into the Cat Scan. And found a completely unexpected cause. Every thing turned out for the better, so we were sent home with 2 mild medicines, some instructions, and a new found appreciation for the benefit of a modest dose of radiation that can get you to an answer Right Now. (9.6 mSv or about 200 chest X-rays). But that will be for Another Posting. This one is about me.

My Habits

So as The Patient hits the sack, medicated. I hit the web, soaking up all possibles and how to sort them. Along the way I run into Magnesium. The Doctor had said “Milk of Magnesia” was one of the things to add to the mix, and here I was looking at a bunch of secondary and tertiary effects of magnesium on The Culprit. I discover that Epsom Salts in a bath are absorbed through the skin to a modest degree (and that they also can work as a poultice on some kinds of acne).


After initial pilot studies, all volunteers took baths (temperatures 50-55°C) and stayed in the bath for 12 minutes. They added varying amounts of magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) to the bath before entry and ensured that the salts were completely in solution.
There was a wide individual variation in this parameter. However, all individuals had significant rises in plasma magnesium and sulfate at a level of 1% Epsom salts .This equates to 1g MgS04/100ml water; 600g Epsom salts/60 litres, the standard size UK bath taken in this project (~15 US gallons). However, most volunteers had significantly raised Mg/S04 levels on baths with 400g MgS04 added. Above the 600g/bath level, volunteers complained that the water felt ‘soapy’.

Personally, I like that soapy slippery feeling and think it a feature…

Although this project did not specifically set out to answer the question of how frequently baths should be taken, the results are consistent with saturation of the skin (and possibly the gut ) transporters .These proteins are not well understood or described but, at least for sulfate, they are believed to be high affinity but low capacity.The values obtained suggest that most people would find maximal benefit by bathing 2 or 3 times/ week, using 500-600g Epsom salts each time.
Bathing in Epsom salts is a safe and easy way to increase sulfate and magnesium levels in the body.

OK, we don’t have an Milk of Magnesia in the house but we do have Epsom Salts. A box from 20 years or so ago that has sat in the Bath Closet since used as a comforting bath when we had newborn children…. “Longs Drugs” brand. A company now mergered by CVS and no longer in existence. It being about 2 am, and me feeling pretty crummy, and remembering when I was about 4 years old and Mum gave me a bath in Epsom Salts, and how nice it felt… (it makes the skin feel particularly silky and soothed). I decided to “test the waters” with a bath in the stuff myself. It had been a long day, the run to the Hospital was before I got my turn in the shower, I could use a good scrub, and besides, I’d managed to “sprout” a couple of pimples on my face and had some “rough spots” on my skin elsewhere that might benefit. That, and I usually want to assess symptoms from any proposed treatment via myself as guinea pig before inflicting them on others. I’d had enough “challenging” trials that way, maybe I deserved a pleasant one for a change!

So I took a bath. A nice hot one.

First off, it was all I remembered. Soothing, and with that luscious slippery silky feeling all over the skin. I soaked for about 20 minutes. Much of the cares and worries of the day melted in the warm water.

But wait, there’s more…

Over the years, I’ve picked up some very minor “skin defects”. A wart here, a “scaly patch” there (likely some bug or other making a home on a dime sized spot of skin. It doesn’t grow of move, so I’ve not been aggressive about it. If it’s just “hanging out” and not doing any damage, I’m not really excited about other things living in my space ;-)

Epsom Salts are “exfoliative” in a very mild way. While rubbing a bit of the stuff as a paste onto some of the rough spots (after soaking a while) I noticed that a couple of minor warty spots had the warty part rubbing off (with a bit of vigorous rubbing).

Furthermore, there was a significant shift of “mood”, and not just from being warm and washed. I could feel the skin tone changing and something was shifting in the blood chemistry. The stuff was “soaking in” and doing good things on the way.

When I got out of the bath, I felt much more relaxed AND energized. I just flat out felt GOOD.

This Morning

OK, I got to sleep about 5 AM and woke up 4.5 hours later. Not exactly your formula for feeling great. Yet I do.

I’ve got a spring in my step that has been missing for a couple of years, and I’m not feeling tired at all. Lately I’ve felt more tired than not. Some of the “rough skin spots” are simply gone, others improved. The pimples are well on their way to healing (these tend to be the deep persistent kind that wax and wane over weeks to months, now headed to just gone overnight).

But the surprising bit is the aches and pains.

I’ve had an ‘on again off again’ issue of some sciatica pains and a shoulder pain. Just writing it off to “old age and arthritis”. Sometimes the neck to shoulder area gets involved. I’d had a ‘flare up’ two days ago that had not resolved (even with being careful about the diet again… cutting back on beef and tomatoes). Two days ago I’d awakened with a significant pain in the shoulder and couldn’t really put that arm straight up due to how it hurt. While there is still a bit of “tightness” this morning, the pain is effectively gone. Arm goes straight up. No pain.

Similarly, instead of a slow, crawl from the bed, careful not to twist the hips the wrong way and set off the lower back / sacral pain… I just jumped out of bed. No pain. No tenseness. No discomfort.

This is all a complete surprise.

Mg Deficiency


Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include: hyperexcitability, muscle weakness and fatigue. Severe magnesium deficiency can cause hypocalcemia, low serum potassium levels (hypokalemia), retention of sodium, low circulating levels of PTH, neurological and muscular symptoms (tremor, muscle spasms, tetany), loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, personality changes and death from heart failure. Magnesium plays an important role in carbohydrate metabolism and its deficiency may worsen insulin resistance, a condition that often precedes diabetes, or may be a consequence of insulin resistance.

That “muscle weakness and fatigue” part was familiar. I’d felt very “run down” for a while. While I’d had none of the dramatic symptoms (vomiting, tremor, etc.) I had been “off my feed” as things had tasted a bit funny and I had noticed I wasn’t as “steady” as I had been in prior years. Today? The coffee tastes great, I’m looking forward to my next meal for the first time in months, and I’m feeling “rock steady and ready to rumble”. It’s been a long time…

Furthermore, the “to tired to do” {whatever} and the “can’t I just sit a while?” feelings are just gone. I’m a bit antsy that there are a couple of errands I have to run before I can grab that shovel and go turn over the garden square that, until now, I’ve been dreading. (Bermuda grass has taken it over. “Lawn Bamboo” is what I call it. Digging a square of lawn bamboo is not an easy task…)


61% of the US population does not meet the US RDA for levels of magnesium. The kidneys are very efficient at maintaining body levels, but not in cases where the diet is deficient.

So about 2/3 of us are in some degree of “deficit”. Well, that’s not good…

And that’s for the US RDA that is typically set at the lowest level of something that prevents clinical illness, not at the level for optimal health.

OK, I’m not going to belabor the point much more. (Heck, I’ve got a whole day full of things that want doing and I’m looking forward to doing them!)

The bottom line is pretty simple. It costs hardly anything (or nearly nothing). It’s worth it just for the pleasant experience. And if you are in the 2/3 of the population that is Mg deficient, it might just “make your day”. So go get some Epsom Salt and go take a long slow warm bath. You deserve it!

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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42 Responses to Take A Bath

  1. Jason Calley says:

    Some years back, folk in Australia realized that ranchers and farmers in a region near Canbera had animals that live up to twice as long as in other areas. The researcher linked below thinks it is due to the natural magnesium carbonate (aka dolomite)found in the local water. It would be interesting to see whether people and animals living in the Italian Dolomites mountain range have similar health benefits. His research indicates that Epsom Salt (magnesium sulphate) has almost as good effect as dolomite. One would think that ingesting small doses of magnesium sulphate would be more cost effective than soaking — but not as sybaritic. :)

    “A Sydney soft drinks producer has been inundated with demand for his latest product, a mineral-rich water which doubles the life of cattle and is claimed to cure ailments like arthritis and osteoporosis. Developed by former vet Russell Beckett, who has a doctorate in biochemical pathology, “Unique Water” has just gone on sale after testing by 100 Australians. One is Paul Sheehan, a respected Sydney journalist, who said in the Sydney Morning Herald at the weekend how it has cured him of a series of long-term autoimmune diseases. A letter from Sheehan’s doctor said: “He has anklyosing spondylitis, and is now undergoing investigation for lupus erythematosis. He suffers constant back and neck pains, florid facial rash, extreme fatigue and shoulder pains.
    The illness is incurable and requires constant treatment. But Sheehan said after taking Beckett’s water for two years, he was no longer consuming drugs of any kind, suffered no back or neck pain nor any of the other symptoms of the diseases. “For someone with a cocktail of chronic conditions, I feel suspiciously normal and relatively pain-free,” he said. A number of prominent people are said to have undergone similar cures since starting to drink what they call “magic water”, which is richer in some minerals and found naturally in some places. None has a financial interest in the product.”


  2. George says:

    Taking a bath is better than a shower for other reasons, too. It gives you an “artificial fever” and helps maintain health. Look at how many cultures have some form of giving themselves an artificial fever in their normal routines or even spiritual rituals. Native Americans had their “sweat lodge” before the hunt. The Scandinavian countries have their sauna. Hot springs have been used as “medicinal baths” for thousands of years in various cultures.

    Now why is this?

    Imagine there are two cultures in a given area. One has a “hot water” tradition of some sort, even if it means a cultural propensity for taking a hot bath once in a while for hygienic reasons. I suspect that over a period of hundreds of generations, the culture with the hot bath tradition begins to out-populate the culture without one. The reason is that this artificial fever might knock out small bacterial infections or reduce virus populations before they become a problem. If this prevents even one day of illness, it could be a huge deal if that day is the day the hunter would have bagged a deer and fed his family just a little bit better. Better nutrition means more resistance to disease. This means it is more likely that a child lives to reproductive age.

    If the tribe that engages in the ritual has even one child more than the neighboring tribe reach reproductive age, this is huge over a large number of generations. Eventually the population that does not follow the ritual either dies out or adopts it themselves.

    I believe that the reason we have this cultural affinity for taking an occasional hot bath is simply because cultures that didn’t survive as well to modern times.

  3. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jason Calley:

    Yes, you can swallow it. But 1 teaspoon is a “loosener” and 1 tablespoon is an “emptier right quick” that they call “cathartic”… I don’t know how much you soak in through the skin, but it ought not to make you ‘loose’ ;-)

    The “magic water” sounds interesting. Also that list of symptoms, minus the lupus and spondyitis icky stuff, is sounding familiar (though more extreme)…

    At any rate, Mg via bath or beverage is on me “to do” list…


    Ah, you missed a great opportunity for a “vision quest”!

    How about the guy who’s so laid back from the bath that he stays home with the Mrs making Guy Jr. indead of being all cranky and going out with the Neighbor Grumpy Gus who want’s to pick a fight with someone (and ends up not surviving and taking the prospective Gus Jr. with him…)

    So nature and baths will have selected for folks who like to party more than fight. A clear survival feature ;-) (In the Darwinian sense…)

  4. Chuckles says:

    E.M. In a comment on the Japan Nukes thread I mentioned (as wildly off topic) the Gros Barmen Spa in Namibia with about 2 tablespoons per litre of epsom salts in the spa waters (amongst other minerals of course), and the discreetly placed notices warning against swallowing too much of the ‘health giving waters’.

    That said, the waters there had a decidedly silky/soapy feel, very pleasant, and I can confirm that a persistent wart I had had on the back of one hand for several months, had completely disappeared within a week or so of ‘taking the waters’ there.

  5. Another Ian says:

    Magnesium seems to have a role in dealing with cramps too.

  6. Verity Jones says:

    I think you’re really onto something here. I can feel a bit of my own experimentation coming on ;-)

  7. E.M.Smith says:


    Well, you will have to post a photo essay on the resuts ;-)

    @Another Ian:

    Mg seems to be involved in regulation of a bunch of other salts, that can then have a load of other problems. That “hypocalcemia” symtom ought to have sequale of cramps IIRC.


    I remember the comment. It was amusing, but I didn’t see any direct relevance to me, so had just noted it as an amusing sidebar and moved on… I now wish I’d thought about it just a tiny bit longer… Ah, well…


    FWIW, the spouse took her turn this morning and is reporting similar, if less dramatic, results. With luck, it will cause a reduction of calcium loss (hypocalcemia implies you’ve been dumping it…) along with some joint aches of hers resolving.

    I’d love to find out that epsom salt is a simple curative for a load of what ails … but will be somewhat annoyed if it is that simple and doctors are not noticing…

    At any rate, for the next week or two, we’ll be on the “2 such baths a week” plan and see what happens.

    I know, it’s a terrible sacrifice, but I’m “Doing it for science”

  8. E.M.:

    Get your milk of magnesia (I make it with a good natural Magnesite-Magnesium Carbonate-free from heavy metals) add some citric acid to reach pH=7,0, then add a little more to make it a bit acidic.
    You can take up to 1 gram of magnesium daily.

  9. NZ Willy says:

    I’ll attest to that magnesium fixes up cramps directly, and seems to help ileum-cecal pain related to gluten intolerance — which also creeps up on us bread-enjoying middle-aged guys.

  10. E.M.Smith says:

    @NZ Willy:

    If you want some “Gluten Free” recipes, I’ve a gluten intolerant friend and we’ve worked up a fair number of “work arounds”… (Decent coffee cake with sorghum and brown rice flour, for example).


    I’ve bought a jug of “Walgreen’s Finest” ;-)

    That the Magnesium Sulphate in Epsom Salts can be taken in a 1 tsp dose as a laxative is, er, “useful information”…

    Though frankly, I liked just soaking in the stuff ;-)

    Both zits have now drained and are in the healing process. Something that often took a week to achieve. I had a deep sound nap this afternoon (catching up the missing 1.5 hours…) whereas I’d had more “fitful” naps other days recently (when needing a catch up bit).

    I’m pretty sure from the general effects that I was Mg deficient. Such is life…

    Maybe some day “they” can bioengineer a row of colored dots on the top of the foot where each one shows a vitamin or mineral status. If a spot turns red, you need to tank up. It would be a lot simpler ;-)

  11. P.G. Sharrow says:

    My wife and I will test this theory this evenings bath. We have a box of Epsom salts and a deep soaking tub. We are both suffering fatigue and pain. After a day of gardening I could use a good soak.
    We will report observations tomarrow. :-) pg

  12. John F. Hultquist says:

    A couple of years ago, because of a horse with a sore foot, I was instructed to obtain Epsom salt, put some in warm water, and insert said foot. That part is easy – keeping the foot therein was an issue. A very tough plastic bag and duct tape help. However, at the time I wrote in our horse club’s newsletter: “I can’t find out what Epsom salt actually does or whether some other chemical or substance would do as well. For instance, would table salt, baking soda, Tabasco sauce, ground newt, or some other chemical do just as well? ”
    Apparently not. So thanks for the medical info.

    At the time, I also found out the long history of using Epsom Salt. And it is this: “The town of Epsom, 18 miles SW of London, existed as a small village since back when dates needed only three numbers. Following the discovery of springs containing sulphate of magnesia in 1618 the village developed as a spa destination. An expanse of open, high, grassy land known as “the downs” is found here, referred to as the North Downs. This area became and still is one of the centers of English horse racing. Epsom Downs Racecourse hosts the Epsom Derby, Epsom Oaks, and the Coronation Cup – all top tier events on a difficult, undulating course. This once quite open and accessible venue is no more. The area is now part of Greater London.”

  13. Verity Jones says:


    Photo essay on the results – you gotta be joking – besides I was thinking about the internal not external effects!

    “At any rate, for the next week or two, we’ll be on the “2 such baths a week” plan and see what happens.”

    As long as there’s plenty of snowpack in the Sierras and no water shortages in CA! (just a reference to the frequent exhortations that showers use less water)

  14. E.M.Smith says:

    @John F. Hultquist:

    I always used to wonder who Mr. Epsom was and why he had made “Epsom’s Salt”… wasn’t until sometime in college figure it out ;-)

  15. E.M.Smith says:


    I was thinking photos of the salts dispensers and room decor… what where you thinking?

  16. Verity Jones says:

    LOL. Salts dispensers – you mean the packet I chuck into the bath or the mineral water I decide to consume regularly?

  17. pascvaks says:

    (;-) On) For those who wish to gain the many benefits of Long Soak Mg Bath’s but just don’t have the time to sit in a nice tub and soak it up, now comes “The Magic Shower Attachment of the Century”(;-)

    PS: Sounds like we need some of this too.

  18. Keith Hill says:

    Always have loved my baths after sport. The hot water itself does a good job of soaking the soreness out but I remember Epsoms Salt baths were all the rage many,many years ago and it’s time I tried them again.

    I used to suffer violent cramps, mainly in my legs but I took a course of Magnesium Tablets as recommended by my GP and rarely have any trouble now. If I have to do ladder work or any unusual physical activity, I take a couple as a precautionary measure.

    Magnesium Tablets are freely available at health stores or chemists.

    Wildly O/T EM and others but for a new look at the devastating environmental problems being created by
    the increasing use of Wind Turbines :-

    Google “Baotou and pollution” and check out the report by the UK Daily Mail Live team.

    (Baotou is described as the rare earth capital of the world)

  19. Chuckles says:

    E.M. I would hope that you took the original comment on the spa waters as a slightly amusing aside, as that was all it was intended to be.
    But perhaps we are seeing a small bit of James Burkes ‘Connections’ at work?

    To add further anecdotal evidence to your musings above, we visited the hot springs spa at Ais-Ais a few weeks before our visit to Gros Barmen. The water there does not contain such high levels of epsom salts, and had absolutely no effect on the wart that I mentioned.

    And no, this was not some deranged ‘spas of the world’ tour, the Ais-Ais visit was more for the spectacular scenery, and Gros Barmen simply a convenient overnight stopping point.

  20. E.M.Smith says:


    As stated above, yeah, that’s how I took it. Interesting sidebar.

    In this case the reminder to look at the epsom salt came from the directions of the Dr. He had said “milk of magnesia” but I knew if was for the magnesium and that epsom salt was MgS04 and “put it together”, then looked into “dose” and found the “absorption” link…

    Well, maybe someone OUGHT to organize a “Spas of The World Tour”! It sounds like a fine idea to me ;-)

  21. P.G. Sharrow says:

    We tried the “spa” soak. Not sure at this point how well the “Epsom salts” worked but the hot soak in a tub that I can float in did wonders. :-) And we will do this again Friday night. pg

  22. E.M.Smith says:

    @P.G. Sharrow:

    Well then. Your first experiment was a success and you need to do many more, with careful variations, to sort out the exact causal agent!

  23. DirkH says:

    Re the muscle cramps, this can also be caused by simple Sodium deficiency. Some people avoid salt where they can to the point that they don’t replenish what they lose in sweat.

    I noticed this two years ago when doing a lot of bicycling. For some reason i began adding a boiled egg with salt to my breakfast and noticed any muscle cramps vanish. Also, some twitching of the legs in bed vanished.

  24. Judy F. says:

    Where I live on the High Plains of the American West, folk wisdom recommends adding Epsom salts when you plant your tomatoes, to ensure fruit set. (I usually add about 1 Tbl. per plant). It can also be side dressed later in the season, or dissolved in water and used as a soil drench. ( I haven’t personally tried the last two options.) Our soils here are mineral rich but sadly lacking in organic matter. I don’t know why Epsom salts seem to help with tomatoes, but I am not going to argue with success.

    We can’t set out our tender plants until mid May at the earliest, so I may have to set up an experiment this year- “with” and “without” salts and compare. However, between the expected grasshopper infestation and normal hailstorms, tomatoes may be at a premium at my house this year.

    I ran across your website recently, and I am amazed at the variety and depth of your articles. Thanks for your insights.

  25. Verity Jones says:

    I Just realised that Epsom Salts bath article was by Rosemary Waring who is well known for metabolic research on Autism spectrum disorders.


    Her interest lies more in sulphate metabolism. Abnormal Sulfation Chemistry in Autism http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=zXaP2Uc39KwC&pg=PA197&lpg=PA197&dq=rosemary+waring+autism&source=bl&ots=9e1gYGYoqe&sig=9RpowQawMVh-QXGe5IcD8Z7-p3M&hl=en&ei=0Am2Tei6DMamhAe7zPWGDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10&ved=0CF0Q6AEwCTgK#v=onepage&q=rosemary%20waring%20autism&f=false

    Immune system links come up again and again, food intolerances and she has also tended to test non-affected family members and siblings with Aspergers.

  26. H.R. says:

    @P.G. Sharrow

    We tried the “spa” soak.

    We? How big is your tub? ;o) {jus’ teasin’ ya}

  27. E.M.Smith says:

    @Judy F.:

    I’m learning a whole lot about Magnesium lately (due to the latest round of Dr. visits…) and it is involved in just about every possible metabolic pathway in living things.

    Just amazing. From the DNA / RNA on out to individual enzymes and even the ATP energy carrier is actually Mg-ATP.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that it is possibly the most important mineral we’ve got. ( It also sits at the heart of Chlorophyl and plants will “mine” the Mg from dying leaves and move it to new ones if they have a shortage…)

    I’ll be trying an Epsom Salts spray on part of my garden “soon” (using a “Miracle Grow” spray attachment that dilutes solid fertilizers).


    And sulphate is poorly absorbed in the intestines (which is why MgSO4 is a laxative)… yet it IS absorbed through the skin (via the mechanism described above as poorly understood!)

    Also, Mg has a directly modulating impact on oxalate and calcium absorption and excretion. In the gut, Mg will bind with oxalate and help prevent the absorption (as does Ca) while Mg also slows Ca absorption (leaving more in the gut to bind to yet more oxalate…). It can lead to “hypocalcemia” in the limit case. (And if one is dumping too much calcium in the urine and making stones then cutting that level way back just might be a good thing…)

    Now this matters to me as the “medical issue” I’m rapidly learning about is “kidney stones”. Most of which are Calcium Oxalate. So take Mg, and you cut the oxalate absorbed from food (so less to excrete in the kidneys) AND you put more Mg in the urine (with Mg Oxalate being 600+ times more soluable than Ca Oxalate…) while overall having less Ca and Oxalate being dumped out the kidneys and more dumped out the “other pipe”…

    It’s looking to me like some Mg deficiency in the diet (for sensitive individuals) could be a contributory factor to lithiasis. Add some SO4– to dump via urine and it’s looking to me like a nice way to maybe reduce existing stones a bit… (via an equilibrium reaction that makes some amount of Mg Oxalate and Ca Sulphate, both more soluble than Ca Oxalate,… and washed out with excess water)

    (I’ve already started the patient on a low oxalate diet with added Mg. We’ve suspended oral Vit-D and raised the UV-based Vit-D [ due to another article about their differential modes of action…] and boosted the citrate intake “a lot”. More on this when I’m ready for the article to be written… but if folks are wondering why I “went quiet” on new articles, it’s because R&D time right now is focused on this particularly difficult problem. At any rate, so far so good. Things are better than expected, though not yet a ‘miracle cure’…)

    FWIW, in the “experiments” on me, added MgSO4 via bath and also a small amount via mouth have had beneficial effects on some other systems (aches, pains, etc.) as noted above. While hard to quantify, I also just feel more “at peace”… like some subtile irritation has been removed.

    At any rate, I can’t say if it’s metabolic or just that a warm soak does that for you. Frankly, I don’t care. I just like it.

  28. Verity Jones says:

    Well I’ve started oral Mg. Warm soaks aren’t possible at the moment as our heating system out of action awaiting a new pump.

    Yes I feel calmer and have slightly more energy, but that could just be the effect of a few, much needed, days off that have allowed me to catch up with sleep.

  29. E.M.Smith says:

    @Verity Jones:

    Well, do tell us how it works out.

    Oh, and you could always go back to boiling pots on the stove… 5 gal at the boil will give a warm 10 to 15 gallon bath… once diluted.

  30. E.M.Smith says:

    @R. de Haan:

    Beans in long term storage “become hard”. Peas even more so. They take a very long time to cook soft enough to eat.

    My recommendation is to turn them over inside 3 or 4 years max. (So if you store 30 lbs of them, expect to eat 10 lbs / year).

    FWIW, lentils have a higher resistence to hardening. I mostly have lentils in my ‘stored legumes’ as they seem to hold their quality much longer. Even sprouting after 16 years in room temperature storage in a jar.

    White rice keeps a very long time. Brown rice has oxidation issues (i.e. a bit of rancidity) in long term storage. Then again, we eat enough of it that having it turn over once every year is not that hard…

    In a true emergency, being able to make “sprouts” for the added vitamins is also valuable. Mung beans store well and sprout for years…

    And this probably belongs on some other thread, but “oh well” ;-)

  31. N.M. says:

    “After initial pilot studies, all volunteers took baths (temperatures 50-55°C) and stayed in the bath for 12 minutes.”

    That seems like an awfully hot bath – even dangerously hot?
    Personally I can’t take a bath much hotter than 39°C and Yes, I do use a thermometer.

  32. E.M.Smith says:

    39 C is barely over 102 F. Not even in the “warm” category for some of us.

    50 C to 55 C is in the 122 – 131 F range. Nice.

    At about 145 F it’s “too hot” for prolonged immersion IMHO. (I’ve run a bath that hot before. Had to ease into it slowly…) Then again, they didn’t say how fast their bath cools off or if it is held constant. I keep the water heater about 145 F to 150 F and when the bath starts to cool just run about 1/3 of that into it…

    Heck, I was in a “hot tub” in Phoenix one summer where the health regulations say it can’t go over something like 104 or 105 F and the thermometer in the hot tub reported 104 on the dot. The pool next to it (that had dark tile stripes on the bottom for solar heating) was warmer. Air temperature was about 114 F that day IIRC and the pool was about the same. It was nice, but not soaking hot bath nice, while the hot tub felt more like a ‘cool pool’ in comparison…

    Then again, folks in the Desert Southwest have a different idea about what makes for “hot” ;-)

    Frankly, when it’s 120 F in the shade, and “Thar aint no shade”, make that bath of yor-un sound right puny….

  33. paulID says:

    how much did you put into the bath? one cup or what?

  34. E.M.Smith says:


    About 2 cups. One cup is “OK” but 2 is very nice…

  35. P.G. Sharrow says:

    We used a 4 pound (1.81 kg) box for our 45 gallon soak tub. Seemed to be about right amount for a 15 minuet hot soak. Not sure yet, if this is of extra benefit, but will try again this weekend. pg

  36. paulID says:

    had my wife take a bath and she slept soundly for the first time in a week.

  37. E.M.Smith says:

    I put 2 cups in about 15 gallons. The article cited above has it at 1% or 1 kg per 100 L of water.

    I doubt if it really matters all that much. If the ions are there, they will soak into the skin and be “pumped” into the blood.

    Just add “salts” until the water starts to feel a little bit soapy…


    I will sleep especially well tonight knowing that someone else had the same response. Sharing understanding is just a joyous thing 8-)

  38. Pingback: When Waters Heal « Musings from the Chiefio

  39. Paul, Somerset says:

    A month ago I began to develop an itchy scalp for the first time in my life. It got worse day by day until I remembered the beneficial effect of Epsom salts on skin blemishes described in this article.

    I added a cup of Epsom salts to my bath, and used it for rinsing my hair after shampooing. Two baths and three days later and the itching has disappeared. Extraordinary.

    Rather than magnesium, I suspect it might be the sulphur in the magnesium sulphate which is at work here (I remember using a sulphur compound to treat mange in a dog many years ago).

    Whatever, many thanks for putting me on the right track here.

  40. E.M.Smith says:

    @Paul Somerset:

    Just makes me happy to know someone has benefited from it. Which reminds me, I’ve got a jug of salts and it’s been a while …

    The sulphate probably has some beneficial impact, but harder for me to quantify. The sulpha drugs are more complex than just sulfates, but biology has many and complex interactions. Heck, even simple table salt can cure meat and kill bacteria.

    We are creatures of the ocean. We squeak by on land. But sometimes our bodies seem to benefit from a return to the primordial seas, even if just by a salt bath proxy.

  41. Paul, Somerset says:

    One of the joys of this site is reading through your investigations and explanations of these chemical interactions between substances in our environment, in our food, or in our drugs, and the processes within our bodies. It’s so much more useful and stimulating than the usual statistical reports to which the media restrict us.

    Being informed that, say, 70% of patients show improvement after a certain change in diet is pointless if you’re one of the remaining 30%. I want to know the mechanics of how the 70% benefited in order to isolate why the other 30% did not. Rarely are we offered more than a superficial explanation of how a treatment might work.

    Good point about our origins in salt water. Most of us attest to feeling fresher and invigorated by a dip in the sea, yet few realize the corollary: that if we’re feeling lousy, it might be because we HAVEN’T had a dip in the sea.

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