Lavender & Epsom Salt Bath

by Jennifer Iannolo | Print This Page

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For me,  nothing relieves stress better than a hot bath, and I was so happy to move into my present apartment because the old one didn’t have a tub!  I had a gorgeous multi-jet shower (we nicknamed it the “Porn Shower”), but oh, how I longed to soak my weary self on many an occasion.

Back in the day when I could afford massages regularly, my darling of a masseur recommended that I take a hot bath afterward with lavender oil, Epsom salts and buttermilk to offset the lactic acid buildup.  The elixir always left me feeling rejuvenated, and I rarely suffered from the soreness typical of deep-tissue massages.  And though I now have to skip the massage part of that joyful experience (boo!), I am still a huge fan of the bath combo. It also makes the house smell incredible.

Note: Epsom salts are not the same as regular salts — they are actually a combination of magnesium and sulfate. Magnesium is supposed to assist the pain receptors in the body to settle down a bit, which is my layman’s explanation, but please be patient with me, as I’m learning this stuff right along with you. I do welcome your comments below if you have better explanations than mine.

This trifecta of goodness offers natural healing properties to soothe the nervous system, ease aches and pains, and evoke the aromatherapeutic effects of calm. I also get extra-excited when I can use real foods and ingredients as part of my wellness regimen, and all of the items can below are completely edible (as long as you use culinary lavender, but feel free to use either). Consider it comfort food:redux.

The next time you’re filling the tub with hot water, simply add in:
1/2 cup of buttermilk
1 cup of Epsom salts
drizzle of lavender essential oil

Climb in, close your eyes and let the stress disappear.


If you want to get some skin-soothing action in there, and prefer a dry mixture to make in bulk and store (just multiply the measurements below in proportion), prepare a dry mixture of the following:

1 cup Epsom salts
1/2 cup powdered milk
1 cup rolled oats
2 Tbsp lavender buds

Put all the ingredients in the food processor and grind to a fine powder. I make this in bulk and store it in a pretty jar in my bathroom. (It also makes a wonderful gift for your favorite stressed-out people.)

P.S. I’ve now also seen lavender Epsom salts available in drug stores, so if you can’t find or afford the real essential oil, this does work as a decent substitute, but will not afford you the true benefits of the oil, which you can find in natural health food stores or online at Sun’s Eye, where I get mine.

Let me know how it goes for you. It sure was good for me.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Leslie Gabriel October 24, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Gotta Love Lavender Baths …

The healing power of hot water. With a little help.

I do it all the time … about 3 times per week … it relaxes my body and mind – making me healthier and might I say weller …

Leslie Gabriel, WaterMan, H2O Ambassador


Jennifer Iannolo October 24, 2010 at 6:18 pm

Sometimes a hot bath is the best medicine!


Dana Taramina October 25, 2010 at 4:06 am

I can’t wait to try it. I use Epsom salt a lot in my baths, and lavender oil, but not with buttermilk. Sometimes the only thing that keeps my day from being a total disaster is a hot bath. Thanks!


Ruth Goetz November 2, 2010 at 6:37 pm

I’m retired now, but when I worked, I used to take a hot bath every night. I think it’s what kept me sane. I always used epsom salts along with my bubble bath. I would laugh when people would tell me that the salts dry out your skin. I have very sensitive skin and it has always looked soft and clear. Now that I’m retired, those baths are about 3 times a week. I’m going to try this recipe. I love the scent of lavender.


stefanie July 9, 2011 at 11:18 pm

how much of the dry mix should i use in each bath if i make it in bulk? 1 cup? 2 cups? thanks!


Jennifer Iannolo July 10, 2011 at 10:08 am

Depends on how much you tend to fill your tub. 😉 I usually use about a cup, so see how that works for you, and adjust accordingly. Most importantly, enjoy!


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