“Mummy, can we have a salt bath now?” asks Min Min, gazing hopefully up at me.
Epsom salts baths are an evening ritual in my home for the past few years. It’s something we all look forward to after a long hard day battling autism, illnesses, behaviors, tantrums or just plain old life. Every evening I run a deep warm bath, just the way Mei and Min Min like it. The girls take part in the bath time ritual; first Mei carefully measures the salt into a little pail. Then I add in very warm water and Min Min stirs it until fully dissolved. Then they slowly pour the mixture into the bath and gleefully swishes the water with their hands to make sure the Epsom salts are well distributed. The girls then pour a few drops of essential oils in, our favorite is lavender.
Mei and Min Min gleefully collect their favorite bath time toys of the week. Right now, it’s snorkels and swimming goggles for Mei. Little sister Min Min drags in half a dozen mermaids into the tub, insisting that they MUST have a bath too. It gets a bit crowded in the tub but the girls love having baths together. When Mei was newly diagnosed with autism, she was so hyperactive we couldn’t even keep her in the bath for five minutes. Now, I have a hard time getting the two girls out of the bathtub, they love it so much.
Sometimes they insist Mummy joins in too, something I truly enjoy. The three of us squeeze into the bath together, usually with me wedged up on one side, the water faucets digging into my back, a plastic mermaid or two squashed under me, Min Min lying in my arms and Mei showing off her snorkeling technique. It sounds crowded and hectic, yet strangely soothing and comforting. Luxuriating in the warm water and scent of lavender, they treasure the skin to skin contact and Mum’s gentle touch. It is a chance to regroup, reconnect and soothe our frazzled nerves after a long demanding day.
Epsom salt baths are easy to do, it’s affordable and the benefits are enormous. Every biomed mum worth her salt (no pun intended) understands the importance of Epsom salt baths. Also known as magnesium sulfate, we buy pounds of it or in my case, I buy it by the kilogram. Every few months, a 25kg (55lbs) sack of Epsom Salts is delivered to my doorstep. The excitement I feel when receiving it is akin to buying a new pair of shoes, yes it’s THAT exciting for me. All that lovely salt, the luxury of adding a generous amount of Epsom Salts into our bath, no more careful measuring for fear my little stash won’t last till the next delivery.
I add extra amounts of Epsom salts into the bath after the girls go swimming, a little extra help in their sulfation pathway, to detox the chemicals from the swimming pool. You would think by then the girls would be tired of swimming, but they still look forward to a warm Epsom salts bath. When we travel or are unable to have baths, I rely on magnesium sulfate cream. I have to purchase it online from the USA as it is not available in Malaysia but it is well worth the effort.
I hate the gritty feel of undissolved salts at the bottom of the bathtub. I call this the ‘Sandy Bottom experience’, a particularly unpleasant sensation especially for girls and women. Advice for the biomed dads out there with daughters, please pre-dissolve the Epsom salts before you add it to the bath. Your daughters will thank you for it.