How to give Epsom salts
Here are several methods for giving Epsom salts. The ratio is not exact, just what seems to get the salts dissolved and on the skin.
Epsom salt baths – Most people use about one to two cups per tub. Dissolve the salts in hot water first and then fill the tub to about waist deep, as warm as possible. The amount of salts you may find works best will depend on the individual tolerance, the temperature of the water, and the size of the tub. The warmer the water and larger the tub, the more salts will dissolve. If you see negative reactions, such as irritability or hyperactivity, then decrease the amount of salts. You may need to start with as little as one tablespoon of salts, and work up gradually. Epsom salts baths are very calming for most people. This works well just before bedtime. Most guides say to soak for about 20 minutes or more. It is okay to let the salts dry on the skin. You may notice a dry clear-white powder. If it is too itchy or irritating, just rinse it off. If the skin feels too dry, use lotion or oils to moisturize. Diarrhea or loose stools may result if children drink the bath water.
Spray – Mix one part salts and one part water (add more water if the salts are not dissolved) and put in a spray-squirt bottle. Mist the person’s chest and/or back and let it dry on the skin. This method works well in the summer.
Footbath – Mix one part salts to two parts water (or more so the salts dissolve) and let the person soak their feet in it. My boys would soak their feet about 30 minutes while they did reading or homework.
Homemade lotion – This is my favorite at the moment. Cheap and easy.
Recipe 1 from Karen D: Heat some Epsom salts with a little water to dissolve them. I put about one teaspoon of water in three tablespoons of salts and microwave for a minute or so. Add more water if necessary. Then mix this into around four ounces of any lotion or cream you like. I have used suntan lotion, handcream, cocoa butter, body lotion, aloe vera cream, whatever I find that is on sale or inexpensive without the chemicals I am trying to avoid. This seems to work better if the cream or lotion is water-based rather than oil-based. Good buys are at the local grocer in the lotion section. Apply to skin anywhere as often as desired. Some new commercially prepared Epsom salt creams are available but can be very expensive and may contain chemicals that are not tolerated.
Recipe 2 from Rubby: Well – my recipe for the Epsom salt cream is quite unscientific. I don't really measure my ingredients – I just add a bit of everything until I have the consistency I like.
Hot water – approximately 50ml
Epsom Salt – approximately 4-5 tablespoonfuls (I keep on adding the salt to the water for as long as it dissolves – usually 5 tblsp)
White Petroleum Jelly – 5-6 tblsp (or more ??)
Natural Cocoa Butter Cream – 2-3 tblsp
I start by adding the salt into the hot water and boiling it for a few minures (make sure the salt is dissolved), then I add the Petroleum jelly and mix it all with a hand mixer (one you would use to whipp cream); once I get a white, creamy mixture, I add some cocoa butter cream and mix again.And that's it. I get approximately 250 – 350 ml cream. I use it only once a day, on days when we don't do a bath. I use it to massage my daughter's back, her chest and her legs (with a focus on her feet – she loves it). Somethimes, I add in a few drops of Lavander Oil.
The cost – minimal. I buy my local pharmacy brand (in Toronto – Shoppers Drug Mart – "Life") Petroleum Jelly (500 gr.) $3 (CAD), Coca Butter Cream (400 ml) $3 and Epsom Salt (1kg) $3.5 (CAD). I think that the two creams I use will make at least 3 Epsom salt mixtures, which means that my cream costs me approximately $2-3 (CAD). And it lasts me a long time – even though I try to put on my daughter as much as possible.
Epsom salt oil – Neither of my sons nor I liked the salty film left on the skin after a bath (felt itchy). I mixed some coconut oil in with the salts and water. Actually, it is more oil than water. Three tablespoons water plus four tablespoons salts plus 12 tablespoons coconut oil. The coconut oil is good for the skin anyway and it seems to counter the drying effect of the salts. I found that just mixing the salts and oil did not dissolve the salts, so I needed to add some water. I apply this liberally on the skin and it soaks in plus leaves the skin smooth and soft. Adjust the quantity of salts to your liking.
Sponge – A solution of one part salts to four parts water works well. Dampen a sponge in the mixture and apply to any part of the body.
Poultice or skin patch – You can mix some Epsom salts and whatever kind of lotion the person can tolerate into a paste. Put this paste on a large bandaid and apply to the skin. The salts will soak into the skin.