Ever wonder why you feel so great after swimming in the ocean or taking a nice long bath with Epsom salts? Well, a lot of it actually has to do with the magnesium your skin absorbed during these activities. So before I share the simple recipe for making this ‘oil,’ lets talk about why magnesium is so important, how it can affect our health, and what we can do to ensure we get adequate amounts.
Why is magnesium so important?
It is one of the most abundant minerals in our bodies, and for good reason too! It is used by every organ and it is commonly known as an electrolyte, which means it’s responsible for ensuring the electrical activity that allows our herts to beat properly, our brains to fire/receive signals adequately, and our muscles to react/recover quickly. Basically we need it for every vital human function, and though there are many reasons for body ailments (to always be discussed with your healthcare provider!), magnesium deficiency can affect mood, sleep, headaches, muscle fatigue, heart health, bone health, and gut health, among many other things.
The fact is, most of us are magnesium deficient
Back in caveman days we used to get enough magnesium from the plants we ate, but modern farming methods deplete the soil of this mineral, making it scarcely available for plants to absorb and consequently scarcely present in our fruits and vegetables (even in the organic kind). Besides the availability though, our bodies have a harder time retaining adequate magnesium levels in the presence of coffee, alcohol, and sugar (which requires lots of magnesium to breakdown a single molecule). The same also goes for some common drugs, such as birth control pills, some heart medicine, and certain antibiotics that deplete magnesium levels.
What we can do about it
First of all its important to note that a huge majority of magnesium stores in our bodies are tucked away in bones and organs, not in our blood. Therefore, a simple (serum) blood test may not be the most useful test in determining levels because that is not where most of our magnesium is stored. Instead, magnesium deficiency is suspected based on symptoms, such as frequent headaches, anxiety, sleep disturbance, muscle pains, fatigue, palpitations, and slow digestion/constipation.
There are a few options for replenishing and maintaining healthy magnesium levels in our bodies:
- A diet rich in seaweed and dark green, leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale can be excellent sources of magnesium, as well as avocados, some beans, nuts, and seeds, even though as mentioned earlier, these plant sources may not provide enough of the mineral.
- Supplements can be useful, but just like any other supplement, there are many varieties of different dosages because magnesium needs to be bound to anther substance for it to be absorbed. Its best to start with a lower dose than even recommended in the directions, then work your way up to the full dose over the course of a few days, and take note of any changes in your body. Later I’ll briefly discuss how to know if you are taking too much.
- Topical magnesium, which is by far my favorite option. Some people do not tolerate magnesium supplements very well, especially if they have gut health problems like IBS. Applying magnesium topically allows it to enter your body while bypassing the digestive tract, and thus becoming more readily available. Plus, this way your body absorbs only what it needs, whereas with supplements much of the excess magnesium ingested has to be excreted in urine. And yes, magnesium can be absorbed through the skin just like any topical medication.
So, have I convinced you to try my magnesium replenishing spray yet? If so, here’s the simple recipe below.
Magnesium oil recipe
- 1/2 cup magnesium chloride flakes
- 1/2 cup warm/hot water
Pour water and magnesium flakes in your spray bottle of choice (non-fine spray seems to work best for me), give it a good shake until all flakes have dissolved, and done!
Apply it in the morning to start your day, at night before bed to help you sleep, or anytime you feel like you need some soothing or relaxation!
*This spray, though it’s basically made of magnesium (a salt mineral) and water, is called an oil because the mixture feels slippery, almost like an oil.
Tips and troubleshooting
- A statistically very small percentage of people may find that magnesium has the opposite effect, and does not help them sleep or relax. In this case, topical magnesium may not be for you. Ask your healthcare provider for suggestions.
- Some people may feel that their skin itches a little the first few times they use it, but this sensation should subside after the first few uses. Magnesium chloride is a salt, and like any regular salt it can burn or itch especially if applied to dry, sensitive, or broken skin. You can also try diluting the mixture by adding another 1/4 cup of water, or adjusting to your preferences. Alternatively, you can apply a moisturizing lotion or oil like the one I discuss here after the magnesium oil as dried.
- Can you use epsom salt instead? Yes, even though epsom salts (a type of magnesium) are a little less well-absorbed and a little more irritating for the skin at higher concentrations. You can use the same recipe as the magnesium chloride with the same dosages and see if that works well for you.
As a healthcare provider myself, I can’t emphasize enough that none of this substitutes a conversation with your provider if you have any concerning medical issues. I will say though, that I use magnesium oil every day and I truly notice a difference in my general wellbeing.
Be sure to check out the post I also wrote on the amazing benefits of body brushing to promote overall health and wellbeing!
Do you use magnesium oil for your health? Have you noticed any differences? Please share in the comments below 🙂
A word about the products suggested on this post:
I have either thoroughly researched and/or used the products myself, and some may come from affiliated programs such as Amazon affiliates. This does not affect your purchase in any way, it just allows me to receive a small commission in return.