I can recall vividly -- and count on one hand -- the migraine headaches I've had in my life, all of which were before age 10. Once I turned double digits, I outgrew them ... until a couple of months ago.
With no warning at all, there I was back to my 8-year-old self, flat on my back with a raging migraine. Why now, after all these years?
In reading up on the latest findings, I discovered how important magnesium is to our overall health. Turns out that 80 percent of the U.S. population suffers from magnesium deficiency causing all kinds of health issues, one of them being migraine headaches. And here's the problem with that: Magnesium supplements are not necessarily the answer because it is not easily absorbed through the digestive tract.
You could have knocked me over with a feather when I read how Epsom salt is rich in magnesium, which just happens to be easily absorbed through the skin -- as in soaking in a nice warm bath. You can be sure Epsom salt soaks are now part of my routine to get regular boosts of magnesium and hopefully avoid migraines in the future.
Epsom salt, also known as hydrated magnesium sulfate (not to be confused with table salt, also known as sodium chloride) is plentiful, inexpensive and available at drugstores and supermarkets everywhere, and it has dozens of other practical uses and health benefits.
SEDATIVE BATH. Soak in a warm bath to soothe muscle pain and aches, and keep you feeling rejuvenated and your skin hydrated and healthy. Add 2 cups of Epsom salt to a bathtub of very warm water (double that if you have a deep soaking tub) and soak for at least 12 minutes. Treat yourself to a soak three times weekly for optimal results.
SLEEP AID. Because of its ability to soothe skin and relax muscles, Epsom salt can contribute to a good night's rest. Take a nice, warm Epsom salt bath right before bed and say goodbye to insomnia.
SPRAINS AND BRUISES. Soaking in a warm Epsom salt bath will reduce the swelling of sprains and bruises.
FOOT SOAK. To combat swelling and soothe sore feet, add 1/2 cup Epsom salt to a gallon of lukewarm water and soak your feet for 15 minutes at the end of the day.
SPLINTER REMOVER. Soak in Epsom salt to draw out the splinter. It really works.
SUNBURN RELIEF. Epsom salt's anti-inflammatory properties make it a great tool for treating mild sunburn irritation. Take an empty spray bottle. Mix 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt with 1 cup of water, and then spray on the affected area.
BUG BITES. To help relieve common insect bites, just mix 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt with 1 cup of water; dip a cotton washcloth in the solution; and apply to the affected area. Relief!
FACIAL CLEANSER. To clean your face at night, mix half a teaspoon of Epsom salt with your regular cleanser. Massage into skin and rinse with cool water.
EXFOLIATE. Massage handfuls of Epsom salt over your wet skin, starting with your feet and continuing up toward your face. Rinse in a bath or shower.
DRY LIPS. Try giving your lips a deeper treatment using Epsom salt. Combine a few tablespoons of salt with a teaspoon of petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline). Apply and gently rub it in. The solution helps remove dry skin and will leave your lips looking fuller and healthier.
PEDICURE. Epsom salt's natural exfoliating properties will help soften rough and callused skin, leaving your feet feeling spa fresh. Add 1/2 to 1 cup Epsom to the foot bath.
I hope some of this information is helpful, especially for my readers who suffer from debilitating headaches. Even if you've never had a migraine, do yourself a favor and research how magnesium can improve your health. I'm convinced there is something to this "miracle." I'd love to hear about what you discover.
Mary Hunt's column, "Everyday Cheapskate," can be found at Creators.com