Magnesium is the mineral of the moment: It relaxes muscles and eases stress
Magnesium is responsible for over 300 enzymatic reactions in our body. It’s found in our bones, brain, muscles and tissues. We need magnesium for our cells to make energy, to help our muscles relax and more.
Growing up, my grandmother always talked to me about Epsom salt baths and the importance of magnesium in our bodies. She called magnesium the “miracle mineral” and now, after experiencing the first-hand benefits myself, I know exactly what she meant. Over 10 years of chronic illness, it took me a long time to realize that I was deficient in magnesium, which was the cause of many of my unwanted symptoms.
According to Mark Hyman, M.D., magnesium is a secret weapon against illness because it can help with numerous symptoms and diseases. Magnesium has been shown to help with relief from IBS, PMS, inflammation, headaches, muscle cramps, muscle twitching and more. Like many people, I was highly deficient in magnesium for many years without realizing it.
Magnesium is becoming a hot topic lately because we are all incredibly stressed out, which depletes our magnesium levels. We are not eating enough magnesium-rich foods and not replenishing our bodies with enough of this mineral that we need to keep ourselves healthy. In addition, our modern diet of coffee, table salt, refined sugar, soda, alcohol, white flour, meat and processed foods is lacking magnesium. Many of us also work out and exercise on a daily basis, losing a considerable amount of magnesium in our sweat. And every time we have diarrhea or a menstrual period, we lose even more. It’s easy to see how so many of us lack the magnesium we need in our bodies to keep us healthy and functioning at optimal levels.
Photo credits: all photos courtesy of blackberry farm
Four years ago, I started to take hot Epsom salt baths a few times a month and use topical magnesium cream on my body for unwanted PMS symptoms. I also took magnesium citrate supplements to keep regular bowel movements and to keep my muscles from twitching when I had Lyme disease. I felt immediate relief. Our skin is our biggest organ, and taking an Epsom salt bath or using topical magnesium is a great way to absorb it quickly.
Epsom salt baths are also a great way to help us wind down and relax at the end of a long day; they’re soothing for tired muscles after tough workouts and they’re calming to the body. As I began to focus on eating more magnesium-rich foods, within a month, my magnesium levels had normalized. Magnesium deficiency can be easy to correct, but it’s important to work with a Functional Medicine doctor to figure out what is draining the body of magnesium. Then you can easily find ways to add it back, practice stress-relieving techniques and eat magnesium-rich foods.
Magnesium also has a calming effect, which can help us unwind, while relaxing our muscles at the same time. It’s wonderful for muscle soreness and stiff muscles, irritability and stress. I’ve learned from my own experience that many lab tests don’t pick up on low magnesium levels, so it’s important for us to look at our symptoms and work with a Functional Medicine doctor to find a magnesium supplement and/or magnesium-rich diet that works for our body and lifestyle.
According to Dr. Hyman the most absorbable forms are magnesium citrate, glycinate taurate or aspartate. Make sure to check with the doctor before taking magnesium supplements.
Magnesum-Based Spa Treatments
We are seeing a bump in magnesium-based treatments now offered in spas. Here are two of our favorites.
The Nature’s Pharmacy: Magnesium Renewal at the Wellhouse at Blackberry Farm in Knoxville, TN, includes a full-body massage with magnesium-enriched oil, followed by a wrap in towels steeped with magnesium, arnica and sweet birch to detox and decrease muscle tension and remineralize the body. blackberryfarm.com
Nob Hill Spa
The Magnesium Wellness Treatment at Nob Hill Spa at The Scarlet Huntington in San Francisco features dry brushing for lymphatic drainage followed by massage with magnesium-infused oil to detox, stimulate the circulation and replenish mineral deficiency.
Tips to keep your magnesium at optimal levels
- Eat magnesium-rich foods: green vegetables, whole grains such as brown rice, nuts such as almonds, sea vegetables such as dulse, seeds such as pumpkin seeds, legumes such as black beans and dark chocolate.
- Limit coffee, alcohol, refined sugar, table salt and processed foods.
- Meditate and focus on decreasing the stress in your life by relaxing more, and use deep breathing techniques as much as possible.
- Try: Natural Vitality CALM Magnesium and Vital Nutrients Magnesium, Now Foods Magnesium Capsules 400 mg