Himalayan Salt Bath: What's the Science Behind A Soothing Soak?
From the rolling foothills of the Himalayas, the pink rock salt of the Punjab region has made quite a splash on the culinary world, the spiritual world, and the beauty world too. Pink Himalayan salt is so much more than a fancy seasoning for your soup or soothing lamps for your home, it is also believed to have a ton of healing powers.
From being a bright detoxifier to working as a natural scrub, soothing muscle aches, and helping you to sleep like a baby, for some people a pinch of Himalayan crystal salt is worth its weight in gold.
Known Benefits of a Himalayan Salt Bath
A Himalayan pink salt bath is widely believed to be a soothing way to soak many issues away. Himalayan salt is primarily mined in Pakistan and came from ancient oceans that date back over 250 million years ago. The salt was left on the dried-up salt beds and spent many millennia covered in snow and lava, protected from the pollutants of the outside world.
Photo source: NPR
Because of this, people believe that these salts are rich in trace minerals. The minerals most commonly found in the Himalayan salt rocks are potassium, iron, calcium, and magnesium. Some advocates believe there are over 80 minerals in the Himalayan sea salt making it one of the purest salt types on the planet.
But Himalayan rock salt is similar in its makeup to table salt making it close to 98% sodium chloride and the rest is probably made up of beneficial minerals. That's not to say that Himalayan salts don't bring benefits, they can be an essential ingredient in a mineral bath or foot soak and certainly contribute to helping you feel healed after a long day.
While there are many health claims about what Himalayan pink salt baths can do for you, we sketch out the known benefits of soaking in the tub with warm water and Himalayan bath salts so you can make sure you know what effects to expect when sinking down in that shimmering pink bath water.
- Relieves stress and tension - A warm bath soak is always a sure-fire way of inviting stress to float away. The data says that the experience of being in the bath for even just ten minutes can help ease body tension and boost emotional health and wellbeing. Those who are fans of Himalayan salt baths believe that as this kind of salt can charge up negative ions in the air that the salt therapy further contributes to those feelings of calm. The latter claim has yet to be confirmed by science and is anecdotal evidence only.
- Helps the body absorb magnesium - Magnesium is super important for the body and has many jobs including helping turn food into energy, soothing sore muscles, and pain, and helping your nervous system to stay regulated. As most Himalayan bath salt products contain magnesium (found naturally in the salt), it stands to reason that this can be beneficial to your body. A minor study conducted showed that the body could absorb magnesium through the skin cells meaning that a Himalayan salt crystal bath could provide help to ease pain and get your body the magnesium sulfate it needs.
- Can help some skin conditions - As salt has antimicrobial properties it can be helpful at healing psoriasis, eczema, and acne. This isn't just a pink Himalayan salt bath that can do this, but seawater, an Epsom salt bath, dead sea salt, etc, all have the self-healing powers to help bring relief to itchy skin, reduce redness and body soreness associated with skin flareups, and thanks to magnesium flakes can also help reduce inflammation and take the sting out of insect bites.
There is also plenty of anecdotal advice out there that Himalayan salt baths can help soothe tissues, encourage circulation, flush out toxins from body organs, maintain fluid balance, heal infection, and encourage skin hydration.
There are many firm believers in the reasons to sink into a salt bath but the above reasons are the ones that come backed by science.
The Dangers of a Himalayan Salt Bath
Though there is a ton of science (and respected health sites) to support the claims that salt baths are good for you, it's also important to mention that salt baths can go wrong.
One dermatologist that we reached out to, who wishes to remain anonymous because of liability issues, has warned us of salt-baths-gone-wrong.
When asked about the efficacy of salt baths, she reminded us that there is no standardized treatment by the American Board of Dermatology and that she has “seen way too many patients come with more harm done after Googling what to do with their healthcare."
“Just for reference, for example, I had a patient last month in the hospital for dead, black toes due to chemical burn from a salt soak gone wrong. Lost the toes forever.“
Of course, many people choose to slip into a warm salt soak and come out of it with all toes in tact. But it's important to remember the potential harm that could be caused when treating yourself without medical supervision.
How to Make a Himalayan Salt Bath in 3 Easy Steps
Now you have the lowdown on the benefits of running a Himalayan pink salt bath for soaking, here's a quick and easy step by step guide to get you soaking...
- Step 1. Fill the tub with warm water, even if you love a scorching hot bath, a warm water bath that's just above your natural body temperature will keep you comfortably warm rather than all in a sweat.
- Step 2. Add your Himalayan salt one tablespoon at a time, three tablespoons is probably the max you should go. Make sure that your salt solution has totally dissolved before you slowly get into the bath.
- Step 3. As a salt bath can sometimes make some people feel dehydrated, have a glass of cool water next to you and try not to stay submerged in the tub for longer than 30 minutes.
It's worth remembering that while salt baths are considered safe, there is always the chance of a sensitive reaction.
Other Healing Ways to Use Himalayan Pink Salt for Your Health
If you are someone who can't really get on board with baths, then there are other ways to enjoy the benefits of this special kind of salt too.
Make a Salty Body Scrub
If you don't want to go full-blown salt bath you can also find or even make other beauty product treatments that have Himalayan pink salt as part of the ingredients list. Whip up a body scrub with some olive oil or coconut oil, Himalayan salt, and your fave essential oils or even crushed rose petals for a floral treat.
Soak Your Feet for a Treat
You can also soak your feet in steaming water and salt to help tired feet feel rejuvenated again. A foot bath can also help to soften harder skin in places.
Grab a Lamp to Light Your Life
If you are into the good vibes of this special salt than you can also bring Himalayan salt lamps into your home. Said to be soothing and pretty in pink, these lamps have been claimed to improve air quality, improve your mood, and even help you sleep. While again these claims need to have more scientific data to back them up, they do have a lovely ambience though.
What do you think about the health benefits of Himalayan pink salt? Are you a fan of a bedtime bath or do you prefer bubbles and bath bombs instead? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.
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