Did you know that magnesium deficiency is linked to several chronic health problems? It is also the second most necessary mineral needed aside from calcium in the human body and in the United States is known to be deficient is 75% of the population. Magnesium, according to the National Institutes of Health, is a component or cofactor involved in over 300 biochemical processes within the body and is important for many vital functions.

It’s no surprise magnesium is becoming a popular supplement for people with headaches, migraines, asthma, and diabetes. High cholesterol, muscle cramps, and digestive disorders can also be effectively eliminated with a regular intake of magnesium. This is why is it so important to eat magnesium-rich foods. Not a single system in the body is able to function properly without magnesium.

In combination with eating magnesium-rich foods, you can also utilize the deprivation tank, with 1,000 lbs. of magnesium sulfate or Epsom salt your body can absorb! Float tank (aka. deprivation tank, isolation tank) contains a lot of Epsom salt. Like, a lot a lot. There’s about eight hundred to a thousand pounds of Epsom salt in each tank. This is so much salt, that the water becomes so dense you literally can’t help but float. It’s harmless to soak in for long periods, and it doesn’t cause the itchy, pruny feeling you get from soaking in sea salt.

The History of Epsom Salt

Let’s take a history lesson – Epsom salt 101; is called this because it was first produced from natural springs at Epsom, England, around 1618, and from 1695 chemists and pharmacies were selling purified “bitter salts” all over England. For three hundred years since it’s been used to cure just about anything, from muscle aches to skin health, foot odor, wrinkles, psoriasis, eczema, mosquito bites, bruises, inflammation, hangovers, migraines, constipation, and the common cold.

Do any of these really work? Let’s look at the science.

Chemically speaking, Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, MgSO4. Magnesium and sulfates are both ingredients in essential biological processes. Both are available in many foods- especially green leafy vegetables of which but both can have issues with absorption in the digestive tract.

Further, studies consistently show that Americans do not get their recommended intake of magnesium. Indeed, the availability of magnesium in the food supply has decreased substantially over the past century.

Magnesium deficiency leads to fatigue, weakness, and eventually loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. It may also be a contributing factor to certain heart arrhythmias, blocked arteries, high blood pressure, diabetes, weak bones, migraines, insomnia, pre-eclampsia, and muscle cramps.

People, particularly at risk of magnesium deficiency, include:

*Gastrointestinal diseases such as Crohn’s, celiac disease, and regional enteritis can have difficulty absorbing enough magnesium from food.
*Insulin resistance or type-2 diabetes can have excessive magnesium lost in urination.
*Those taking diuretics or antibiotics. Additionally, some medications for chronic diseases interfere with magnesium absorption.
*Older adults may experience decreased absorption and increased excretion of magnesium.
*Alcohol dependence can have a whole spectrum of problems causing magnesium deficiency (among other things!)
*A review from the American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that magnesium is an effective treatment for:
*eclampsia and preeclampsia,
*Severe asthma,
*Dyspepsia, and
And is possibly effective for:
*lowering risk of metabolic syndrome,
*improving glucose and insulin metabolism,
*preventing osteoporosis,
*Improving symptoms of leg cramps in pregnant women, and
*Alleviating dysmenorrhea.
*Body temperature regulation,
*Bone strength,
*Production of energy and the dilation of blood vessels,
*Protein synthesis,
*Muscle and nerve function,
*Blood glucose control, blood pressure regulation,
*Energy production,
*Oxidative phosphorylation glycolysis,
*Transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes, and thus: nerve impulse conduction,
*Muscle contraction,
*Normal heart rhythm the structural development of bone synthesis of DNA, RNA, and the antioxidant glutathione

Sulfate is equally essential to life — it’s critical to the functioning of the central nervous system, to the mucous membranes lining the digestive tract, to produce digestive enzymes, and in lubricating the sliding surfaces of our joints.

Under normal circumstances, the body can manufacture about 80% of its own sulfate needs. The remainder needs to come from external sources, generally foods such as meat, fish, and eggs. However, direct absorption of sulfate is slow at the best of times and can be easily interfered with by bowel diseases. Also, people are not equally efficient at manufacturing their own sulfate needs. Reduced efficiency, leading to sulfate deficiency, is a risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis and primary biliary cirrhosis.

So then why not Float -and “SOAK” up other benefits too? What do you absorb from floating? Can you supply your body with additional magnesium and sulfate from an Epsom salt bath?

The skin, of course, is generally extremely effective as a waterproof barrier, and that generally includes blocking water-soluble minerals like Epsom salt. However, in the only direct (though not peer-reviewed) study I’m aware of, Rosemary Waring at the University of Birmingham tested the magnesium and sulfate levels of 19 subjects before and after 12-minute Epsom salt baths. She found increases of varying degrees in almost all subjects, as much as 40% for magnesium.

In another lab test using excised skin, her group found that sulfate does penetrate across the barrier. “This is quite rapid so probably involves a sulfate transporter protein.”

This result is not entirely conclusive, though, as the experiment has not been replicated and some contradictory evidence also exists.

We offer Floating as a service here at Paradigm Wellness, magnesium absorption is just one of the very many benefits ‘Floating’ can provide!

Stay tuned for, mind-body correlation involved in floating, structural benefits, and even relaxing qualities this treatment can supply!

Guerrera, Volpe, and Mao, “Therapeutic Uses of Magnesium”, American Family Physician (2009) 80(2):157-62.
Rosemary Waring, “Report on Absorption of magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) across the skin”, unpublished report (2006). ​
A. Eisenkraft et al, “Phase I study of a topical skin protectant against chemical warfare agents”, Mil Med (2009) 174(1):47-52.