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A long salty soak                                           January 2010  


Bath saltsThe middle of winter and suddenly baths are back in fashion! Gone is the desire for that speedy visit into the shower; the thought of soaking in a tub full of lovely hot water can be tremendously appealing on these cold dark days.

Bath salts used to be a traditional gift item for everyone, and certainly a few of us will still have received some as presents this Christmas. But if not, the shops are full of a range of additives to make the bathing experience nicer.

The word salt is a bit of a misnomer today when there are so many bathing products with a range of different ingredients, but the idea of bath salts came from when salt was recognised for its healing properties. Salt has been extracted from water in China for at least three thousand years, and the famous Greek “Father of Modern Medicine” Hippocrates encouraged his fellow healers to make use of salt water to treat various ailments.

Today bath salts cover a range of products that will dissolve in the water and give a number of benefits. These can include sodium chloride (common salt); magnesium sulphate (or Epsom salts); sodium bicarbonate; sodium hexametaphosphate; sodium sesquicarbonate, sodium citrate and boraz.

Commercial products don’t usually detail the ingredients, although some specify aspects such as “mineral rich salt” and the benefits they will give.

The traditional benefit of adding salt to your bath water to simply increase the salinity of the water remains. This will help to decrease the bacteria count on your skin and give your body's immune system a break from the daily war against invading microscopic intruders.

Other benefits from bath salts can be to soften the water to help soap lather up and also to help it rinse off effectively, or to change the osmotic balance of the water so that less water is absorbed by the skin, reducing the wrinkling effect of a long soak in the bath. Some ingredients have a detergent action which can soften calloused and hard skin and aid in exfoliation.

Some bath products have particularly high concentrations of salts to increase the specific gravity of the water and increase your buoyancy, making the body feel lighter and more comfortable as it lies in the bath.

Then of course there are additional ingredients used to give a range of different benefits. Some provide therapeutic nutrients to help you sustain newly forming healthy skin and others will include specific ingredients, scents and additives to help you feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Today there are specialist bath salts for specific benefits, such as distressing and detoxifying bath salts and there is even a Moon Dreams Bath Soak for the ultimate cure for insomnia. The choice is huge.

The subject of bath salts is far more complex than most people realise; but luckily we don’t need to understand the complexities to enjoy a soak in a lovely hot bath. Packaging will give you a good guide to the best salts for your own situation and even if, like me, you tend to chose by colour as much as anything else, you still won’t go far wrong!


Nutricentre Discount for laterlife visitors If in any doubt about any of the information covered in health and nutrition related articles and it's relevance for you, consult your GP.




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