An unpublished test of Epsom salt absorption
PainSci summary of Waring 2006?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focussed on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible. ★★★☆☆?3-star ratings are for typical studies with no more (or less) than the usual common problems. Ratings are a highly subjective opinion, and subject to revision at any time. If you think this paper has been incorrectly rated, please let me know.
Magnesium and sulfates in the blood were measured and found to be higher after people had Epsom salts baths. No therapeutic effects were studied or claimed. The results seem straightforward. However, this study was never peer-reviewed and published in a scientific journal or repeated by other scientists — it has only ever been available as a PDF from the website of the Epsom Salt Council, an industry lobby group that is “Eager to let everyone know the benefits of our product…to help spread the word about the wonder that is Epsom salt. You see, we're wild about this pure, time-tested mineral compound and its dozens of uses.” Despite the obvious potential for bias here, Waring told me in personal correspondence that here experiment was straightforward and conducted independently.
Also note that one of the only other magnesium absorption studies I know of (Eisenkraft et al) came to the opposite conclusion — no absorption — and is quite persuasive.
- “Phase I study of a topical skin protectant against chemical warfare agents,” an article in Mil Med, 2009.
- “Testing the validity of the Danish urban myth that alcohol can be absorbed through feet: open labelled self experimental study,” an article in British Medical Journal, 2010.
These four articles on PainScience.com cite Waring 2006 as a source:
- PS A Better Hot Bath — Tips for getting the most out of the oldest form of therapy
- PS Trigger Points & Myofascial Pain Syndrome — A guide to the unfinished science of muscle pain, with reviews of every theory and self-treatment and therapy option
- PS Save Yourself from Neck Pain! — All your treatment and self-help options for a crick in the neck explained and reviewed
- PS Does Epsom Salt Work? — The science of Epsom salt bathing for recovery from muscle pain, soreness, or injury