Swim spas and Epsom salts have a lot in common as far as health benefits are concerned, but can you actually use them together? The short answer is no. Unfortunately, the same qualities that make Epsom salts so sought after, make them extremely unsuitable for use in your spa pool.
Here's everything you need to know about Epsom salts and how they can affect your swim spa:
What Is Epsom Salt?
Epsom salt or epsomite was first discovered in a saline spring at Epsom in Surrey, England back in the 17th century. The people who bathed and drank from the spring claimed that the water miraculously healed their various aches and pains.
Today, science tells us that Epsom salt is not really salt at all. It’s simply called salt because of a similar chemical structure. When mixed with water, it breaks down into two key components: magnesium and sulfur. Despite no medical evidence to back up the claim, the theory is that these elements are absorbed through the skin during an Epsom salt bath and transferred to the bloodstream where they work their ‘miracle cure’.
The magnesium component of Epsom salts is said to help your red blood cells absorb more oxygen. This may lead to higher energy levels, lessened fatigue, stronger immunity against disease and better nerve function. Magnesium also helps in bone formation and calcium absorption. On top of that, studies show that magnesium helps decrease one’s chances of getting diabetes.
Soaking in an Epsom salt bath is supposed to be especially beneficial to people with magnesium deficiency.
The sulfate component of Epsom salt is said to help your body get rid of lactic acid, a metabolic by-product that causes sore muscles and tight joints. This helps relieve stress and improves one’s movement. This mineral also plays an important role in the production of serotonin, a neurochemical that elevates one’s mood and produces feelings of relaxation.
The physical benefits of Epsom salt baths haven’t been proven, but bathing in warm water in general is known to have therapeutic benefits and can help with stiff joints and sore muscles. To fully experiment with the benefits of Epsom salt, you need to dissolve it in warm water and soak your body in it for about 15 minutes. An Epsom salt bath usually done in a bathtub or foot bath, so it’s easy to understand why people may be interested in adding it to their spa.
Why you shouldn’t use Epsom salts in your spa
High salt or mineral levels can damage your spa pool. For Epsom salt to be effective, you need to achieve a 2% concentration. That’s about 20,000 parts Epsom salt per million of water (PPM). The problem is that most spas are only designed to handle salt levels of around 1500 PPM. Anything above that can corrode and damage important metallic parts, like the heater and pump.
You could potentially avoid corrosion and damage if you drained your swim spa after each Epsom salt bath, but would you really want to waste hundreds of liters of water just for a quick soak? Draining your swim spa more often than necessary can also shorten its lifespan, and so, for this reason, it’s better to use your Epsom salts in bathtubs or foot baths, where you can regularly drain the water.
Salt water can also damage unsealed concrete and similar surfaces. Minerals can seep through the concrete and crystalize between the surface’s crevices. This can lead to cracks, so make sure to wash away any spillage with water.
Epsom salts are said to have a myriad of health benefits, but they’ll do more harm than good to your spa pool. Its chemical components can corrode metal parts and possibly damage your swim spa’s filters, pumps, and heater. Use Epsom salts in your bathtub or foot bath, but skip the swim spa if you want to avoid costly repairs.
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