Sea salts dissolved in bath water create a spa-like experience at home. Sea salts--used alone or combined with aromatic flowers, herbs and essential oils--add minerals to the water for absorption through the skin. When considering a mineral salt bath, talk to your doctor.
The market offers a wide selection of sea salts. Personal preference, mineral composition and availability impact selection. A few types include Dead Sea salt, Black sea salt, Epsom salt, French sea salt, Italian Sea Salt and Hawaiian sea salt. These salts represent a wide variety of minerals and colors. The mineral content in sea salt includes: sodium chloride, bicarbonate, magnesium and calcium. Seek the advice of your physician before selecting sea salts, herbs and essential oils for the bath, to reduce the risk of adverse reactions.
Sea Salt Baths
Sea salt bath preparation varies. Stephanie Donaldson, author of "The Bath and Body Book", creates a sea salt bath by pouring 2 heaping tbsp. of a chosen sea salt or a botanical bath salt directly under warm water flowing from the faucet and into the tub. Donaldson blends her botanical bath salts by combining sea salt with dried flowers, herbs and essential oils. "Reviving Rose Bath Salts," one of her botanical bath salt recipes, combines ¼ ounce dried red rose petals, 1 lb. coarse sea salt, 10 drops rose geranium oil, 5 drops lavender essential oil and 5 drops bergamot essential oil with a mortar and pestle. "Essential Oils Book" author Colleen K. Dodt prepares simpler aromatherapy salt baths by mixing a few drops of essential oils with sea salt without the addition of dried botanicals. Researchers recommend the addition of Dead Sea salts to warm bath water in concentration levels greater than 2 percent for therapeutic purposes. Seek the advice of a physician before preparing or using a sea salt blend in the bath.
Sea salt mineral baths promote relaxation, reduced stress, enhanced circulation, increased detoxification, improved skin integrity and decreased inflammation when used alone and in combination with botanicals. Dead Sea salts provide additional benefits. CNN Health's psoriasis recommendations include daily 15-minute baths in warm water nourished with Dead Sea salts, bath oil and colloidal oatmeal. The "International Journal of Dermatology" supports these dermatological findings, reporting that magnesium hydrates the skin and improves its ability to act as a barrier. The University of Maryland Medical Center encourages Dead Sea and sulfur baths to reduce symptoms of arthritis, osteoarthritis and psoriatic arthritis. See your doctor for his recommendation before bathing in sea salts and botanicals.
Risk to Plumbing
Be aware that salt blends may have a negative impact on certain types of plumbing and septic systems. Consult a skilled plumber to determine if plumbing and waste disposal systems are susceptible to damage from bath salts. Avoid use if damage may occur.
Avoid hot water to prevent over-drying of the skin. Avoid when pregnant. Avoid sea salt baths and botanicals if you have hypertension or respiratory conditions. Botanicals, essential oils, sulfur and other mineral components may trigger skin sensitivity, allergies, rashes, hives and respiratory distress in some individuals. Always test for sensitivity before using any bath additive. Seek your physician's advice before using sea salts and botanicals.