As winter draws to a close, Saturday was the last day of ski season. It has been a trying season with a rocky start, but after weeks of practice and glute strengthening exercises, I reached my top speed of 29.7mph!
I was hesitant to leave my home due to the coronavirus and the importance of avoiding large groups of people at this time. But since human interactions are minimal on the slopes, fewer people were out, and my face is covered for most of the day, I took advantage of one last day to end this ski season. It was conveniently timed since moments after arriving home, Vail resorts announced all locations will be closed starting March 15th. Now really is the time to be better safe than sorry, for myself and others.
Check out the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)’s website for more case information and updates on the coronavirus, including:
- Inform yourself about how the virus spreads
- How to protect yourself and others
- Watching for symptoms
- What to do if you are sick
- If you are traveling
With the current state of the world, it is hard not to feel stressed or anxious. High stress levels can significantly impact our health. It is important to remain calm while we watch and wait to see what unfolds in the upcoming weeks. One way I relax is by taking a hot bath. This day, I tried my very first first epsom salt bath. I poured the recommended 2 cups of magnesium sulfate into the warm running water, also adding essentials oils: 3 drops of peppermint, 5 drops of eucalyptus. The candle just makes me happy and adds ambiance.
I find the peppermint & eucalyptus oil scents make me feel relaxed and turn my small bathroom into a mini spa. A small study has been shown that topical peppermint or menthol help reduce headaches when applied to the forehead and temporal region.
Epsom salt baths have been around for years and are alleged to have health benefits such as:
- Reducing minor aches and pains, by reducing swelling and inflammation to soothe tired muscles.
- Treating magnesium deficiency by soaking in the magnesium sulfate salts.
- This crucial mineral is lacking in the standard American diet due to reduced soil quality and highly processed foods. Magnesium is necessary for bone health, carbohydrate metabolism, muscle relaxation, controlling blood pressure, and brain health. Adult men need 420 mg and women need 320 mg daily.
- Signs of magnesium deficiency include difficulty sleeping, anxiety and mood disorders, muscle weakness and cramping. Severely low levels can effect heart rhythm and cause seizures.
- Several small studies have shown poor results of increasing levels on the skin and in the blood from topical magnesium application. Research was conducted on healthy individuals rather than those with a deficiency. Deficiency is best treated with oral consumption of magnesium, from foods (such as nuts, seeds, legumes, leafy greens, whole grains, fortified cereals) or supplementation. Check out some high magnesium recipes here!
There are potential negative side effects to epsom salt baths that could cause itchy skin, allergic reactions like hives, or a skin infection in some individuals. People with severe skin inflammation or infections should not soak in epsom salt baths. Ingestion and intravenous use of magnesium sulfate, rather than topical application in baths, has been shown to help with constipation, migraines, muscle spasms, and reduce eclampsia & pre-eclampsia in pregnant women. If you struggle with these health concerns, chat with your physician about appropriate treatment. You can also meet with a registered dietitian, like myself, to assess your magnesium intake and discuss supplementation options!
Do what you can to stay safe and help contain this virus. Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds, don’t touch your face with unwashed hands, and avoid going out to highly congregated places. Consider some stress management techniques to turn to when feeling anxious. Keep a list of activities like reading, journaling, coloring, taking a hot shower or bath, or whatever else helps you to feel less tense. Keep calm and social distance on!