Can Epsom salts relieve rheumatoid pain?

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purple epsom salts in a bronze dish

You might have heard people talking about taking Epsom salt baths to relieve rheumatoid disease (aka rheumatoid arthritis). But do they really work?

One of the main symptoms of rheumatoid disease is inflammation. As joints become swollen, they also become very painful. Reducing the swelling helps to reduce the pain.

Epsom salts contain magnesium sulfate.

The theory is that as you sit in a warm Epsom salts bath, your skin absorbs the magnesium sulfate and reduces inflammation. 

There hasn’t been much scientific research carried out on the effects of bathing in Epsom salts, so it’s hard to say whether they really work like this or not. The only place we could find any information on the subject was this article from The article says that it is unlikely that enough magnesium sulfate is absorbed through the skin to reduce inflammation.

Many rheumatoid patients, however, do share positive stories about finding relief in an Epsom salt bath. 

At the very least, being in the warm water relaxes muscles, and takes the pressure off of sore joints. 

As a bonus, the salts also act as a natural emollient and exfoliator, leaving you with soft skin.

If you want to try a bath with Epsom salts, pour two cups of Epsom salts into a warm bath and soak for at least 15 minutes.

Whatever you do, do not drink Epsom salts. Drinking Epsom salt can cause severe diarrhea, leading to dangerous levels of dehydration. 

Epsom salt baths are not recommended for people with diabetes.

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