Detox Baths

Detoxification Bath

-Katie Blair, LAc.

Recipe and Directions:

1 cup of Epsom salts and ½ cup baking soda for every 6 inches of warm water. The water needs to be warm in order to help the salts dissolve. You should soak in the bath for at least 20 minutes. If a child is taking the bath, you should make sure he or she does not drink the water. If a bath is not possible, you can soak your feet or other affected area in the same type of solution. When you are finished with your bath, scrub your skin well and rinse with a fatty or glycerin soap. (Dr. Bronner’s soap is a good example.)


Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate. When the magnesium sulfate salts are introduced into the water, they dissociate into magnesium and sulfate. Sulfate is simply sulfur surrounded by four oxygen atoms. Epsom salts are therefore able to supply both magnesium and sulfur to the person taking the bath. The baking soda detoxifies through its alkaline nature. You can also use sea salt or dead sea salts for this same purpose.

What are magnesium and sulfur good for?

Magnesium: With the modern American diet, most people are deficient in magnesium. It is necessary for energy, muscle function and for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Common magnesium deficiency symptoms are fatigue, muscle spasms, irritability, insomnia, depression, headaches, colitis, stroke, back pain and hypertension. Drinking alcohol, sweating, eating processed foods, and diuretic medications can deplete magnesium.

Sulfur/(sulfate): Sulfur helps the body maintain or manufacture protein structures, nails, hair, bile, and insulin. It is necessary to process and detoxify pharmaceutical drugs, chemicals of all kinds (food colors, artificial flavoring, preservatives) and other toxins including heavy metals like mercury. If the body does not have enough sulfur, it cannot process these toxins and they can easily deposit in the body. When you absorb this source of sulfur, you can then use it to detoxify. Eliminating chemicals and heavy metals from your lifestyle can lessen a sulfur deficiency and greatly enhance your health by allowing sulfur to build up tissues and strengthen your body’s ability to process hormones and chemicals.

How often you need the above detoxification bath depends on how much of a backlog of toxins you have and/or how much magnesium or sulfur deficiency you have. Of course this can be measured by how you feel with and without the bath and discussing the issue with your health care practitioner. Because of a highly toxic modern lifestyle we live in, many people are deficient in both magnesium and sulfur. Many health problems have shown improvement through the above bath. It is especially useful in situations where sulfur is not digested easily. Kids with autism are thought to be very deficient in sulfate and may have difficulty digesting sulfur sources properly. Heavy metals like mercury from vaccines can then build up and deposit into fatty tissues and a child’s brain, which is very fatty. Of course the same or similar processes can happen in a multitude of diseases associated with various poisons. You should work with an acupuncturist, naturopath, medical doctor or nutritional consultant who is specially trained to understand the role of modern chemicals in disease. Most conventional medical practitioners will have no idea how to help you in this regard but it is important to make sure you keep them informed of your health plans.

If you are unable to take baths, you can still receive the benefits of topical magnesium. We carry magnesium oil for topical use at the Peaceful Healing Journey Clinic. It is very helpful for muscle aches and spasms and is an excellent substitution for those who cannot swallow magnesium capsules and are wishing to supplement for a deficiency.

A Note About Epsom Salts and Autism from the Epsom Salt Council:

Many doctors believe that autism is accompanied by bowel disorders that make it difficult to absorb nutrients and to purge the body of wastes. Sulfates, one of the major components of Epsom Salt, have been shown effective in improving nutrient absorption and toxin elimination. Magnesium, the other major component of Epsom Salt, has a demonstrated calming effect and plays a role in the activity of more than 325 enzymes. Because both magnesium and sulfates can be absorbed through the skin, many parents report that giving their child a warm bath with 1-2 cups of dissolved Epsom Salt just before bedtime helps extend the child’s sleep cycle and ease digestive function.

Please speak with your health care provider before you try this bath. This detox bath is not appropriate for: those with diabetes or certain heart or other conditions.

If you seem to feel worse after your bath (hyperactive, irritable), you may need to gradually build up your ability to detoxify through this bath. Next time, put a smaller amount of the salts in and build up over time. If you feel dizzy or light headed afterward, you should lie down and drink a glass of cool, purified water. These symptoms can be from the heat of the water changing your blood pressure and the symptoms should be temporary. Make sure you are not alone the first time you attempt this bath and until you are familiar with how your body will respond. Detoxification methods are not generally recommended if you are or could become pregnant or are nursing.

Magnesium can have a laxative effect. You may need to adjust the dosage of Epsom Salts or the frequency of your baths accordingly.

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© 2007 – 2014 Katie Blair