Sunday, November 9, 2008

The "Pro Soak": Recovery Bath Therapy

Have you ever wondered why you feel better after you swim in the ocean, take a dip in a high altitude glacial lake, or relax in a hot thermal spring? They all have something in common: high mineral content. When we go to the beach we always feel better because we're taking time to relax and enjoy ourselves. The other reason why we feel good after we get out of the water is because the ocean drew the soreness out of our body and the sunshine "assuming we didn't stay out too long" increased our vitamin-D stores and our feel-good neurotransmitters. Taking a bath in Epsom Salts can do the same thing.

I worked in Europe on the Men's Cycling Pro Tour for many years. In races like the Tour de France I would help my riders increase their recovery rate by soaking "the soreness out of their legs" with products like Magnesium Sulfate, commonly known as Epsom Salts. There is a reverse osmotic effect taking place where the concentration of salt in the tub is greater than the deposits causing soreness in your muscles. As you soak, these deposits are being drawn toward the water, and on their way hit your blood stream and are metabolized. In a warmer bath this happens faster by increasing the circulatory effect.

The Pro Soak is a benefit, not only to a professional athlete trying to recover, but also to someone that has taken a hike or an exercise class. If you are coming down with a cold or are already sick, soaking in Epsom Salts will help you feel better faster! It draws things out! Yeaahhh Baby!!!!! I have listed instructions and a very important list of Do's and Don'ts below:

Instructions for Pro Soak:
  1. Seven "running" handfuls Epsom Salts into regular sized tub. ("running" means countinuously pouring salts while emptying each handful
  2. If your tub is oversized add 2-3 more "running" handfuls
  3. You may add bubble bath or foaming soap to your salts or 5 drops of an essential oil like lavender.
  4. Soak in bath for 10 minutes minimum - 20 minutes maximum. More is not better!
  5. After 20 minutes, rinse salt off

Pro Soak Do's:
  1. Do imagine your body healing as the salts draw you toward wellness & peak performance
  2. Do add warmer water to your bath as needed
  3. Do create a relaxing environment for your bath by lighting candles or playing music
  4. Do allow your body to return to normal temperature before applying any lotions, creams, oils, or deodorants. Your pores are open and must close naturally.
  5. Do put your legs up

Pro Soak Don'ts:
  1. Don't shave before or after your soak.
  2. Don't scrub or exfolliate before or after your soak
  3. Don't apply lotions, creams, oils, or deodorants after your soak. Your body temperature has been elevated; allow it to return to normal and your pores to close naturally.


LuLo Designs/Blue Eyed Tango said...

Thanks for the soaking tips. I just got my first bug bite of the season since we've had unseasonably cool weather this summer. I had my shoes off sitting on my porch swing and received two bug bites in the exact same spots on each foot (inner side by the arch)! Boy do they itch! They are both the size of a quarter in diameter red and swollen. I made a foot soak of Epsom salt and hot water and soaked them for about 20 min. NO MORE ITCHING for awhile at least! I tried every anti-itch cream I could get my hands on and they didn't work. At night I wake up and cannot get back to sleep because they itch so bad. I'll be soaking them again! My legs feel really good too...I can tell my circulation is better because I can feel the blood surging through...kind of like a little vibration or humming feeling....? Thanks again! Luanne

Shelley Verses said...

Glad to be of help. For bug bites: Dab w/ essential oil of lavender/then w/ a Q-tip apply green clay. The bentonite and kaolin will draw the "histamine" out. Let the clay dry and apply 2nd coat. You can "quick-dry" it w/ cool setting of your blow drier, but air drying is better. Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque is good. Or Egyptian Magic powdered clay that you have to mix w/ water. Let me know how you like it. Great for arachnoid bites ( spider ). The clay really draws out the venom.