As some of you know, and some of you may not know, Float Tanks are traditionally filled with Epsom Salt.
You may be wondering, why do we use epsom salt in float tanks and not sea salts or table salts? Aren’t they all the same? Well, actually no. Not all salts are chemically the same, and they are all used for different purposes.
First, let’s define salt — What is it? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines salt as, “a crystalline compound NaCl that consists of sodium chloride, is abundant in nature, and is used especially to season or preserve food or in industry”. According to this definition, epsom salt is not a true salt. Epsom salt does not flavor or preserve food and it does not contain sodium chloride — rather it is made up of magnesium sulfate.
Second — Why epsom salt? Epsom salt is used in float tanks because of benefits to both the tanks and to humans. Epsom salt benefits the tank because it is much less corrosive and harsh. Sea salt or table salt may risk corroding or rusting the tank during evaporation.
Because of it’s less harsh characteristics, epsom salt also benefits humans in many ways. As mentioned earlier, epsom salt is really magnesium sulfate. Magnesium is a mineral that humans need to function at peak performance. In fact,it is a macro-mineral that humans need in large amounts; just like other macronutrients such as calcium, sodium and potassium.
However, magnesium is a less commonly known macronutrient and most people do not realize how necessary it is for peak performance. Because it is lesser known, it can be very easy to become deficient in magnesium.
In fact, most people have a magnesium deficiency. It is found that 68% of Americans are deficient in Magnesium (Faloon).
When you have a lack of magnesium, or a magnesium deficiency in your body, you may have a decrease in appetite and energy, poor sleep, headaches or muscle cramps and spasms (DerSarkissian).
Don’t get too nervous though, there is good news: it is very easy to get magnesium. There are two main ways to take magnesium, either ingesting it through food or a capsule or absorption through the skin.
Many foods that contain magnesium including bananas, whole grains, nuts, beans and green leafy vegetables (DerSarkissian).
Absorption can also happen from lotions, creams or floating. As you lie in a float tank, with 800 lbs of epsom salt and 200 gallons of water,the magnesium sulfate will be absorbed through your skin. And even more good news, absorption is the most efficient to get magnesium into the body.
Many of the benefits of floating can be linked back to the absorption of magnesium.
Because, like any vitamin or mineral, when you are deficient, the symptoms may not be very obvious as to what they are attributed to. Especially because feeling tired and groggy can come from so many different things. But when you start to increase any deficient vitamin or mineral, you will begin to feel better.
Here is a short list of just some of the benefits of epsom salt:
Reduces Stress — When stressed, adrenaline increase and magnesium decreases. As you replenish your body of magnesium it can help decrease the amount of adrenaline rushing through your body, allowing you to relax more quickly (Epsom Salt Uses and Benefits).
Relieves Muscle Pain — According to Dr. Mao Shing Ni from Yo San University, magnesium improves blood circulation (Health Uses of Epsom Salt). By getting more blood + oxygen to your muscles, muscle cramps + spasm will decrease, and your muscles will heal faster. This is often why many athletes soak strained muscles in epsom salt baths.
Eases Constipation — For many years, small amounts of epsom salt has been prescribed as a natural, saline laxative. As it enters your bloodstream, it relaxes muscles around your gut and colon, and softens stool. Overall, it is a great way to improve your digestion (How to Use Epsom Salt for Constipation Relief).
Softens Hair + Skin — Magnesium plays a critical role in keep hair strands strong + healthy, and is also very hydrating. With a deficiency hair and skin may become dry, brittle and weak. So, by increasing magnesium intake hair will becomes stronger and skin will become softer.
Flushes Toxins From Body — Magnesium promotes the production of ATP, which acts as energy for cells. When cells have enough ATP, they have energy to clean out + detoxify cells and the body from mineral build up. Without it, cells hold onto mineral deposits like calcium.
So, combining all the benefits of epsom salt with the proven benefits of floating, you are setting yourself up for future happiness + health.
So what’s stopping you from buying a Float Tank?
Click Here to check out our float 101 guide and how you can own a sensory deprivation tank at home.
“Epsom Salt Uses and Benefits.” Gourmet Sea Salts and Bath Salts from SaltWorks, Inc.
Faloon, William. “How Many Americans Are Magnesium Deficient?” LifeExtension.com
“Health Uses of Epsom Salt.” Epsom Salt Council, 2015
“How to Use Epsom Salt for Constipation Relief.” Healthline, Healthline Media
“What Is a Magnesium Test?” Edited by Carol DerSarkissian, WebMD, WebMD
About the Author: Monique Morrison
Monique Morrison is a 500hr Registered Yoga Teacher who recently graduated from the University of Utah. Being a collegiate-athlete, Monique has always been interested health + wellness, and began floating about 3 years ago to reduce stress and heal the body.