Health Benefits of Detox Baths


I love taking a bath at night as a way to relax and unwind, they have long been a place a solace and restoration for me. When I pregnant with Penelope, I took one every night and used that time to talk and connect with her spirit. They are the most cost effective self care/body work therapy if you can’t afford a massage or acupuncture appointment from a professional.

When I was in massage therapy school 13 years ago, I learned about Epsom salt baths as a way to detox and sooth sore muscles. I was taught that it was a great thing to do after you get a massage to deepen and elongate the therapeutic effects of the massage. The massage gets toxins to moving out of the lymphatic system and then the sulfates in the salt is what helps detox the body and skin. And the magnesium in it helps restore your body’s nutrient stores, but just FYI,  it is not the most effective way of increasing magnesium if you have a deficiency, using a magnesium lotion is.

However, very recently I learned that Epsom salt contains lead in it. So while it does have many therapeutic effects, the way it is made in the US puts lead into to it, so you are basically putting lead into your body by soaking in it. SO, the alternative, with the same therapeutic effects is straight up sea salt.

Sea salt is great for taking away pain when you have aching sore muscles and when you are detoxing from other things like yeast or sugar cleanse and you feel like crapola.

Sea salt is safe for kids too. When Penelope was a baby, we would take baths together and they were so calming to her, the warm water and skin to skin were big reasons that it was so comforting to her, but the sea salt just took it to another level of healing and comfort. I still give her some sort of detox/balancing bath once a week.

Most people and places will recommend about a half of a cup into a full bath, but I have always done two heaping cups or more. I am not sure what the ratio of bath water to salt is exactly, but know I have a larger than average bath tub. Just listen to your intuition or pocket book (sea salt can be pricey).

Over the years I have added in other things to vary up my detox bath, although salt remains my favorite and easiest (because you can store the salt next your bath and just dump it in before you get in). Here are some other detox bath ideas:

*Spirulina/Seaweed Powder. Yup, the same kind you put in your smoothies. Algae contains numerous vitamins and amino acids, which help to eliminate harmful toxins, nourish the skin, and increase circulation.

*Apple Cider Vinegar. This is detoxifying in general, but it also helps get your body back to a normal and healthy pH balance by getting excess uric acid out. Also great for killing yeast and if you have itchy skin from a rash or insect bite.

*Ground Ginger. Either straight up sprinkled in from your spice cabinet or turn your whole tub in to a pot of tea, but steeping some ginger tea bags in your bath tub. The ginger heats up your body and aids in the detox, especially if you are trying to detox out a flu bug or cold virus.

*Essential Oils.  Tea Tree oil and Eucalyptus are oils that actually aid in detoxification. I also add lavender or one of my go to blends because they take the relaxation to whole other level.

*Baking Soda. This is cleansing but also anti-fungal, so great if you are doing a parasite or yeast cleanse detox. Baking soda is great to detox from radiation type stuff, X-rays, cancer treatment, etc and also helps restore Ph balance from being too acidic.

*Hydrogen Peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide destroys toxins, organisms, and even pulls out the residues left by soap. It’s a great teeth whitener too, just FYI.

*Bentonite Clay. This stuff is amaze balls. It actually binds to chemicals in your body when you ingest it, but it also works great in the bath. It will also bind to any chemicals in your water so that you are not actually putting chemicals in your body by sitting in a bath with chemical water or in a bath tub that is leaching lead (only the old ones), that you are trying to get out! Beware that it could clog up your bathroom pipes.

Before you start your bath you should drink a full glass of room temperature water (cold water hurts your digestion) and then another while you are in the bath. So that you can immediately pee out some toxins after the bath. Then drink another glass after the bath. I would say it feels like drinking double the amount of water you are used too.

If you can get a massage before your bath, or give yourself a massage before, (I go over how to do that in my ecourse that comes out this week), but anything that would increase your circulation, like yoga or working out is great too.

Doing some skin brushing before your bath would be awesome too. No real fancy or specific way to do this, just brush your whole body and always go towards your heart.

Stay warm after your bath. For me, that means, putting on thick winter jammies and getting straight into bed and under the covers and often laying on top of a heating pad. Don’t go crazy and get overheated, and sweating is a great detox tool, but what you are going for is to just keep the body warm.

And remember with any type of detox thing, you can feel detox symptoms which can be a whole laundry list of symptoms and are different for everyone, but most often they just make you feel like shit and that you are sick.

You can mix and match and switch up types of detox baths as much as you want, there is really no rules other than listening to your body and your instincts about what your body needs and when.

**Do not do any heavy duty detox while you are pregnant or nursing, including some of these baths.**  

Sea Salt and Spirulina powder are ok to do while pregnant and nursing.

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  • Haley
    September 3, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    Great post, Steph! Question: I’m doing Epsom Salt baths to up my magnesium but I’m still nursing Gwen. Is that bad? Should I stop the baths until she weans?

    • Stephanie
      September 4, 2013 at 2:44 AM

      I would just switch to regular sea salt. It will still help with uping your magnesium, but there is no lead.

      • Stephanie
        September 4, 2013 at 2:52 AM

        I’m also going to make it more clear in the post, but sea salt and spirulina are two of the baths that are ok while pregnant and nursing.

        • Katrina
          September 4, 2013 at 6:20 PM

          I’m so upset to learn that epsom salt has lead!!! I have been soaking in that for my entire pregnancy and then after that, too! (I gave birth in June – I’m wondering how much lead my little guy got through my baths??!!!) Anyway, they should make a lead-free epsom salt. You know, if it’s not one thing, then it’s another…right? Ugh. So using sea salt will still give you magnesium? Besides lead, what is the difference between the ingredients of epsom salt vs. sea salt?

          • Stephanie
            September 4, 2013 at 9:55 PM

            I know. I about freaked the you know what out when I learned about it. I have been soaking in Epsom salt for over a decade. I am seriously considering a blood test to test my lead levels now. I am going to have to do more research too, exactly how much lead, etc. I do know sea salt has magnesium in it, it has over 80 minerals in it, but I am not sure about the exact levels of each. I am pretty sure that there is more magnesium in epsom salt. I am gonna search high and low for a lead free epsom salt and let everyone know if I find one!

        • Carolyn Foss
          November 27, 2015 at 7:08 PM

          Look into Magnesium Chloride as an alternative. It absorbs better to increase blood magnesium. Check out this site:

  • Moriah
    September 10, 2013 at 4:25 AM

    Do they sell sea salt in bulk at some place like Walmart? Or some place else?

    • Stephanie
      September 10, 2013 at 3:12 PM

      I am not sure. But I know you can get it off Amazon and I have been getting into their Subscribe and Save program this summer, where if you order five things at a time they give you an additional 20% off. And then since we have Prime, it’s free shipping.

  • Jennifer
    September 16, 2013 at 5:50 AM

    I am not doubting you for one second but can you tell me how or where you found out about lead in Epsom salts? I have hit the google and all the links I’m finding are about batteries. Clearly I am not searching right! My naturopath has told me for years to take an Epsom bath but my acupuncturist has recently said to use Dead Sea salt for myself and my 16mo daughter who struggles with slight, occasional eczema breakouts.

    Also have you used the Dead Sea Warehouse brand? I saw it at a local store and was intrigued.

    As always, thanks for sharing your knowledge. It is much appreciated!

    • Stephanie
      September 17, 2013 at 2:51 PM

      I learned about it in a lesson from the woman who taught my Mayan Massage course that I took earlier this year. I emailed her to get her source, but I trust her implicitly.

      • Stephanie
        September 17, 2013 at 3:46 PM

        She said she called ALL the manufactors of it that are on the market now and they all admitted it.

  • Julie
    October 1, 2013 at 3:26 AM

    I am currently exclusively breast feeding my 3 month old but would like to do some sort of detox bath…on top of it I have acquired a head cold…basically feeling like I need a detox…what is safe to do while nursing?

    • Stephanie
      October 1, 2013 at 11:30 PM

      Not much. Oil pulling, dry brushing, and simple,easy elimination diets like taking out processed sugar, caffeine, alcohol, crap oils, etc. Just eating well is a detox in and of itself if you normally don’t eat healthy.

  • Jennifer
    October 12, 2013 at 2:09 AM

    Thanks so much for this! I’m Canadian so I’m curious if I’ll be able to find out if our epsoms are similarly tainted…
    I was wondering why the apple cider vinegar wouldn’t be good for nursing moms, and also if that would apply to someone doing extended nursing (my daughter is 26 months)?

    • Stephanie
      October 13, 2013 at 11:23 PM

      ACV is ok for nursing moms in moderation. You take like a teaspoon of it with water in the morning, for a mild detox and natural immune booster. You could put about half a cup in the bath for things like killing yeast. I just wouldn’t down it by the gallon, because it is very detoxifying.

  • April
    November 22, 2013 at 9:52 PM

    Awesome post! Thanks so much!

    • Stephanie
      November 24, 2013 at 3:07 PM

      Your welcome! Thanks for reading!

  • Claire
    December 11, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    is it normal to not feel ANY difference after an Epsom salt bath, sometimes I even add more than 2 cups!
    Does it mean I am not very toxic?
    I havent used shampoo, soaps, lotions, makeup everything really for a long time and eat very healthy, no smoke or drinking alcohol, I just thought it would also make me feel tired but I felt really awake still..
    Hope you can give some advice 🙂

    • Stephanie
      December 11, 2013 at 6:50 PM

      I have never had anyone say it doesn’t at least make them feel relaxed. I wish I had an answer for you, sorry! Are you doing the baths to relax or detox or something else?

  • Meags
    March 29, 2014 at 12:28 AM

    Hi! Is there a particular brand of sea salt that is best?

    • Stephanie
      March 30, 2014 at 12:40 AM

      I am not really married to one brand. I usually just look for something that is on sale. As long as it is sea salt and organic, it’s good enough for me. 🙂

  • erica bollard
    April 11, 2014 at 2:51 AM

    Hi! Great article! However, i’ve read thatt he anti caking agent known as yellow prussiate of soda is harmful to the body which is found in most cheaper sea salt choices. Read the labels and make sure there are no additives<3

  • Ashley
    April 27, 2014 at 10:31 PM

    When you take a detox bath, do you lay your head in the water? If so, does the mixture mess up your hair?

    • Stephanie
      April 28, 2014 at 8:48 PM

      Not usually, but if you wanted to dunk your head that would be fine. Salt can dry out your hair for sure, just like ocean water can, so I wouldn’t soak your hair regularly.

  • Brooke
    June 14, 2014 at 1:49 AM

    Hi I really like epsom salt. I spoke with the Pharmacy at Target & she said there up and up brand does not have lead or other metals. That the bag would have to say it. Do you know if that is true?

    • Stephanie
      June 18, 2014 at 8:28 PM

      I don’t. But I do that the FDA has a regulatory limit that is some low number but not zero, and that if company is under that number they do not legally have to disclose. I have been using magenusium flakes instead from Ancient Minerals and they are awesome. More pricey than epsom salt for sure, but I think it’s worth it.

  • Danielle
    June 17, 2014 at 1:25 AM

    reading about applecider viniger baths how much can i put in my bath i just found out im pregnant today an was wondering how much i would need to use in my bath

    • Stephanie
      June 18, 2014 at 8:10 PM

      I don’t have an exact amount to offer, but I do know ACV is very detoxifying and you want to be very careful about detofiying things when you are pregnant or nursing.

  • Grace Trout
    November 17, 2014 at 12:20 AM

    Pure magnesium oil is good in a foot bath. Add 2 Tbs to foot bath for 10-15 Min. About 10min in, you can feel your feet absorbing it. If you are really deficient, you will get very tired. You can also add it to a full body bath. Do this before bed and you will go right to sleep. Make sure to stay hydrated!

  • IH
    June 24, 2015 at 5:49 PM

    My family just started using Epsom Salt baths after I’ve read a lot of it’s benefits. My daughters (3 & 8) have taken about half a dozen Epsom salt baths (using about 1/2 cup each time in a full size tub) in the last couple of weeks. Ironically, my younger daughter sprained her foot a few days ago and bumper her elbow today and is constantly complaining that it hurts. Prior to the Epsom salt baths, she never been hurt like this and rarely complains of any aches or pains. On both occasions, the area was warm and her temperature is slightly higher than normal. Could these be detox symptoms or joint congestion?

    After some google searching, I found your site, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were additives that’s not disclosed on the box. The first bag of Epsom salt I bought from Whole Foods by Topcare didn’t seem suspicious to me and I used most of it myself. It helped me enough that I was comfortable with letting my girls take a bath with it. The second box was from CVS and on one occasion I noticed the water turned blue after the girl’s bath. I asked my husbnad about it and he didn’t notice when he was bathing them. Our third box was from Topcare again, hoping the second box might just be a fluke, but again, the water turned blue after my bath. Needless to say, this will be our last Epsom salt bath until I find more info about it.

    I’ve googled it, but found nothing. Anyone have any ideas why the water might turn blue?

    • Stephanie
      June 27, 2015 at 10:55 AM

      Very interesting! I am not sure. It could be a correlation or could just be concidence. Let me know if you find out any more info.

      • madi
        June 4, 2016 at 7:53 PM

        By baths turn blue when I detox too. I was thinking maybe the black in from my tattoo is maybe being pulled. Its all I can think of.

  • Shell
    August 28, 2016 at 7:03 PM

    I have a full sleeve tattoo and one on my lower back but i want to do a detox tattoos are 2/3 years old so not new! I understand any type of clay is a no no as its likely to pull the ink out. Are epsom salt or magnesium baths ok or are they likey to lift the ink from my tattoos? Otherwise would a clay footbath be safe to do even if the tattoos are not near my feet would this be another full body detox option??

  • Kristen
    September 4, 2016 at 5:18 PM

    My daughter is almost two and a half. Is it safe for her to take a sea salt bath? Do you also know if it safe to throw in some baking dogs or hydrogen peroxide with it for her? Thank you