Apr 012013
 

Magnesium Spray Confusion

Epsom salts bag and plastic spray bottleI have written, in an article on overcoming depression, why there is such widespread magnesium deficiencies in our day and some of the dire consequences. Besides fighting depression there are some other terrific benefits because all the vitamin A & D and K2 in the world will not alleviate bone loss and tooth decay without sufficient magnesium present.

It is also a well known fact that transdermal absorption of magnesium is the safest way without any laxative side effects. Hence, magnesium oil spray has become a very popular and proven remedy for a host of complaints. The problem lies in the confusion over what type of magnesium makes the best spray.

The problem began with a popular book, Transdermal Magnesium Therapy, written by Mark Sircus and multiplied as bloggers spread his error. Whether it was an honest error or the author had interests in any of the many promoters of expensive oil made from magnesium chloride or those selling the magnesium flakes is not known to this author.

A number of these companies brag about their superior product because the flakes are mined from the Ancient Zechstein Seabed in Europe. One of the reasons they are expensive is the cost of extracting the magnesium chloride from 1,600 to 2,000 meters below the surface.

It is ironic that so many people who make their own are concerned with using filtered water to make it with. The mining operation lifts the magnesium chloride in a water slurry. You can bet your booties that it is not pure, clean water with the huge volumes involved. Let me assure you slurry mining is not exactly a sterile process!

Why Magnesium Spray Stings

Although all the hype points towards this “pure” source of magnesium for sprays, because of the chlorine it is bound with, the spray can be very irritating. I have seen numerous complaints of the stinging, itching sensation it causes.

Here is the thing, in his book Mark said that magnesium sulphate isn’t a good source for supplementation, which by the way, is what Epsom salts are. He claimed that tests have demonstrated that magnesium absorbed from magnesium sulphate is hard to assimilate because people showed an increase in magnesium in urine samples.

magnesium sprayHis reasoning is dead wrong for a couple of simple irrefutable reasons. When magnesium sulphate or magnesium chloride are dissolved in water you end up with a solution of magnesium ions and sulphate or chloride ions.

Our bodies absorb magnesium as a pure ion and don’t particularly give a hoot what compound it used to be bonded with. Although they do care about absorbing the associated ions. This is obvious by the pain and itching produced by magnesium chloride, due to the chloride ions, which are absent when using magnesium sulphate.

It is also worth noting that Zechstein themselves, do not recommend making magnesium oil from their flakes. More than a 5% solution contains sufficient undesirable byproducts such a hydrochloric acid to make it inadvisable. This also probably accounts for its skin irritating effects.

Health Concerns With Magnesium Spray

Personally, I would be concerned about exposing my skin to the absorption of high concentrations of chloride ions. If the sting and itching doesn’t throw up a red flag, consider the possibility of hyperchloremia also known as high chloride. This is usually brought on by rapid high fluid loss by any of a number of conditions including prolonged diarrhea and vomiting.

Elemental chlorine does not occur naturally as it is always in compounds. When disassociated from compounds to make chlorine it becomes a dangerous substance used for things like making swimming pools uninhabitable by lower life forms. I know it is commonly consumed as sodium chloride but even excess salt is getting a lot of bad health press these days with good reason.

Sulphur, which is a part of the magnesium sulphate, also comes mainly in compounds. Our bodies use sulphur in their basic building blocks, amino acids, from which protein is made and they contain roughly 140 grams. It is common in many healthy foods and a necessary part of our diet.

Research Of Absorption And Retention Of Magnesium in Epsom Salt Soaking

The error has also been amply demonstrated by peer reviewed research studying transdermal uptake of volunteers soaked in Epsom salt baths. Magnesium is one of the hardest essential minerals to keep topped up in our bodies. This is because they do not store excess.

In the experiment all but a few of the subjects showed an increase in blood levels of magnesium after the first bath. And it is true they all showed an increase in concentrations in their urine. It is interesting to note that the few who didn’t show an increase in their blood had a correspondingly larger increase in their urine.

It is also very telling to note that after soaking regularly for seven days the subjects who had gained a significant increase in their blood levels had levels in their urine close to normal. The researchers concluded that all of the subjects demonstrated that the magnesium crossed the skin barrier.

Further, that the few who peed it out after soaking it up already had optimal levels and the others were all deficient. This is another proof of my contention that the majority of people are deficient. The most striking conclusion was that, “Prolonged soaking in Epsom salts therefore increases blood magnesium concentrations.”

I am sure that if they could find people with tough enough skin to soak in magnesium chloride baths the results would be the same. Like I said our bodies just don’t care who the magnesium was hanging out with before it was reduced to its ionic form. That is chemistry 101!

So, given the widespread deficiencies of magnesium in dietary sources and the incredible benefits of safe supplementation, I make my own magnesium spray. I just dissolve some Epsom salts in water and put it into a spray bottle. It doesn’t sting or itch and it is dirt cheap!

References:

Report on Absorption of magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) across the skin
Dr RH Waring

Zechstein website page recommendating against using their flakes for magnesium oil

 Posted by at 7:25 pm

  106 Responses to “How To Make Magnesium Oil Spray Painless”

  1. I really like this idea. It’s simple and straight forward. How much and how often do you spray?

    • Experimentation shows that it takes a few days before our body begins to keep it and that the majority of us are deficient. So I started out giving my upper torso a good wetting several times a day. Once you are “caught up” after a week or so a couple of times a day would probably be sufficient. The neat thing is you never have to worry about overdoing it as your body will get rid of any excess magnesium and sulphur of its own accord and there are no unhealthy additives.

  2. Jim, Is there ANY healthy compound, mix, spray, drink, food or concoction you don’t already make? You never cease to amaze me! :-)

    • Thanks Bill! I sure do hope there are lots that I don’t yet make or I may run out of interesting things to investigate ;-)

  3. Very important to have right amounts of magnesium in the body because it is also good for our heart function. Very informative article, spray it is the easiest way to get some magnesium.

    • Thanks Lorena, you are right magnesium is a very important mineral. I am going to do an article on the general benefits know that I have one on how to safely supplement because there are so many and it is like a miracle mineral!

  4. I LOVE this idea! What is the ratio of Epsom salts to water for your spray bottle?

    • Jill, the solubility of magnesium sulphate at 20 degrees C, which is room temp, is 38.9 gm/100 gm water. That works out to roughly 5 3/4 Tbsp per cup of water. So a simple formula would be 1/4 cup of salts per cup of water. I hope that helps, enjoy.

  5. Jim, are all Epsom salts the same or is there any difference that you know of?

    • As far as I know Beth, Epsom salts is a trade name for magnesium sulphate just like “salt” is for sodium chloride. And like salt products they differ in degree of processing so Epsom salts probably have trace minerals and potential impurities that require them to be labeled not for eating. I know that food grade sodium sulphate is used intravenously in some medical procedures so there are obviously more highly processed forms that are purer.

      • Where do you source your Epsom salts, if I may ask?

        • I almost hate to admit that I still go to the supermarket, let alone the pharmacy department, but I do on occasion as it the handiest source that I can find for Epsom salts and a few other things ;-).

  6. Sometimes the simple ideas are the best Jim, another useful article thanks for sharing.

    Is there a preferred way to store the solution when made, temperature, plastic or glass bottle, etc ?

  7. You always amaze me at the interesting information you have stored away. I think the epsom salts bath sounds like a simple and inexpensive solution. The bonus it it doesn’t sting and it’s quite relaxing on the muscles as well. I love simple solutions like that. Thanks so much for your great articles.

    • Thanks Lisa, I was aghast at all the complaints about how magnesium oil stings especially from my daughter and two sweet little granddaughters. So being concerned with how can anything supposed to be healthy be so irritating I dug in. It is amazing how myths get spread when everyone plays “follow the leader,” without doing due diligence!

      • I have read all this great info on mag oil..and to make with Epsom salts ,,I am so glad to get this info …I am going to start with this NOW…………………Thank You sooooooooooooooooo much…

  8. Hi, While I TOTALLY agree with you about magnesium been need in most people. I have to respectfully disagree with you about your comments on Magnesium Chloride! Chloride and chlorine are not the same thing The mineral supplement chloride is very different from the gas chlorine. Elemental chlorine is a dangerous gas that does not exist in the free elemental state in nature because of its reactivity, although it is widely distributed in combination with other elements. Chloride is related to chlorine however, as one of the most common chlorine compounds is common salt, NaCl. Chloride is a by-product of the reaction between chlorine and an electrolyte, such as potassium, magnesium, or sodium, which are essential for human metabolism. Chloride salts are essential for sustaining human metabolism and have none of the effects of isolated chlorine gas.
    Please do some fact checking before you decide to discredit a reputable magnesium expert such as Dr Mark Sircus! Have you read his books because I have!
    Thanks,
    Cathy

    • So Cathy, why does magnesium chloride in its ionic form sting so much when sprayed on your skin? Dr. Marcus Sircus aside, do we just ignore the clinical evidence of the effective uptake of magnesium from a solution of magnesium sulphate? If you want to use magnesium chloride that is fine with me. I find magnesium sulphate just as effective and much more comfortable.

      I am not quite sure what you are arguing here. My, so called discreditation of the good doctor is based on his error that magnesium sulphate is inferior to magnesium chloride, which has been proven by peer reviewed research to be unfounded. It also makes infinite sense as I have pointed out in the article.

      I think I have to respectfully remark that your diatribe about chlorine is a tad off topic. You are not telling me anything that I am not fully aware of nor adding anything related to the discussion at hand which is why cause yourself unnecessary pain when you can get the same benefits in another manner.

  9. I am officially confused. I use Ancient Minerals magnesium spray as a deodorant. It has been highly effective in removing armpit odors, keeping the sweat, leaving no residue as I had with regular deodorant (TMI, I know). Should I not be using it? Will that magnesium spray potentially cause health problems? Could I dissolve epsom salts into filtered water and use that as a spray? I honestly don’t have time during the day to take a magnesium bath or even a foot soak (maybe on the weekends). I really love the results with it. I just want to make sure because my sister also uses it and I don’t want anything bad to happen to her. Ugh! This is so frustrating! Thanks!

    • I wouldn’t be worried Jeanine, I don’t think it really poses much of a health threat it is just that so many people complain about how it stings and are hesitant to use it regularly because of that. When we swim in the ocean we are in a brew that has lots of magnesium and chloride ions as well as many other minerals and there is no real health risk from them except the mercury we have polluted it with.

      Interestingly, I read some comments on one blog in a discussion about the sting and the conversation got around to some ladies spraying it on private parts as there was no sting. So, I guess using it as an underarm spray is a great way for busy people like yourself to use the commercially prepared stuff and avoid the sting. So, thanks for sharing, some other readers may find that helpful and sorry for the confusion.

      • Thanks for the response and the clarification! I hope I didn’t sound upset or mean or anything. I just get overly worried when I hear different information (like the “I’m going to die tomorrow in the name of health, why me?!” kind of worried. Lol). It does sting for me, but it usually goes away after a couple minutes. I don’t consider it painful, but that’s just me. Everyone is different. Sometimes it depends where I spray it too (I agree with those ladies you mentioned). The skin around my armpit stings the most, but not in the actual pit (which I always found interesting). One day I’ll get into the habit of foot soaks (which would be really relaxing after a days work)! Thanks again!

        • No problem Jeanine as I am fully aware of what you mean because I am the same way. There is just so much information out there and some of it frightening and not a small amount of misinformation. I am just trying to clarify some of it, not add to the confusion so I appreciate your comments.

  10. I supplement with organic sulfur crystals and ionic magnesium and am wondering if another good option for delivering these minerals would be to dissolve some of the OptiMSM crystals with Epsom salts for use as a spray.

    • Although I have never used OptiMSM as I eat sufficient animal protein to maintain healthy sulphur levels, it sounds like an excellent idea to me. Why not “kill two birds with one stone” so to say. As I mentioned in another comment all of those minerals are abundant in seawater, which is one of the reasons it is so healthy to swim in the ocean.

      • Thanks, Jim. Regarding sulphur, you might be interested in checking out the latest work of Stephanie Seneff from MIT.

        • Thank you Beth, it looks like Stephanie has some good stuff to chew on! I am always excited to find new sources of real, learned, politically neutral as opposed to “correct” current research on nutrition.

          • Among other places to find her info, you could get ahold of her talks at the recent Weston A. Price Foundation conferences.

          • Thanks Beth, I’ll have a look at that also. I just read a very interesting transcript of her findings, which indicate another major advantage of magnesium sulphate. I never addressed the sulphate side of the research data, but the sulphate is also absorbed and retained until our bodies see there is sufficient and then excess is expelled.

            Stephanie made an interesting comment. She said that she soaks twice a week in a bath with Epsom salts to supplement her sulphate intake! So, with magnesium sulphate/Epsom salts you get the best of both worlds.

          • I just found an interesting source for Epsom salts that claims to be extra pure. It’s from http://www.saltworks.us, which also offers an impressive array of sea salts for both culinary and bath use.

          • Thanks for the link Beth, looks like an interesting site. I started getting my sea salt from the Guérande salt marshes in France, which is harvested from ponds like it has been for centuries. Up until then I didn’t really know what sea salt was. This stuff is awesome!

  11. First of all what I champion in my work is magnesium massages, of which I have had more than anyone alive and the magnesium oil never stings me, though of course some people have problems with that in certain areas of their bodies. Second, you can put a hundred pounds of Epsom salt in a isolation tank and float in it for a long time without overdosing but if you use the chloride magnesium, because it is more absorbable and retainable you could never use so much. Third, studies show that when injected the sulfate form is slightly more toxic though both are effective. Fourth, the author of this page has it all wrong about the purity…..the magnesium oil is brought up pure pure pure….have him publish the chemical analysis of the pure form of oil that comes from underground Europe…the only other substance I know that is as pure is clay taken from underground deposits. But sure the bath flakes are processed from the pure oil and sure any industrial process of any type will add some impurity. Now I do recommend Epsom salts for baths and it is less expensive and I also recommend Dead Sea Salt, because it too is less expensive but there is a problem that this author, who thinks he knows it all forgets to tell anyone. Collecting mag sulfate and Dead Sea salt from the waters that are getting more and more acid all the time and more and more polluted with radioactive contamination is not ideal if you are interested in purity. The magnesium oil wins the cake in terms of purity but believe me I am not a purity freak and don’t recommend anyone else be either. Why? Well first thing one would have to stop breathing because there is no such thing as pure air anymore. I apply this when it comes to seawater which I take right out of the ocean at a beach here in Brazil and I do not worry about it being super super pure because the upside of seawater as a medicine is so great. Can’t buy it in Brazil anyway but in the States you can buy a liter for 60 dollars. I would never take seawater though from the north Atlantic nor the northern Pacific which is getting more and more polluted with radiation from Fukushima. Personally I love using the Ancient Minerals oil and gel for my massages, and the oil for oral (you get all the other minerals from the sea in it) and for sure sure sure, read my lips, its the only stuff pure enough to inject or nebulize. For those who have the stinging problem that is usually taken care of by diluting the oil and with some time of use. I have empathy for everyone who cannot afford the most expensive stuff because most of my life I too could not afford many things but when one can afford it is best to use the best. Mixing up your own oil from flakes is hugely better than nothing but the problem with mixing up your own oil from flakes usually makes too watery solution and leaves a strong salt feeling on the skin.

    • I don’t want to get into the purity issue of Ancient Minerals products as it is a little off topic. Suffice to say I have a background in industrial engineering from before I semi-retired and I have sincere doubts that a product slurry mined could be pure. The majority of readers whom I am addressing make their own magnesium oil from the flakes which the company Ancient Minerals gets their product from, namely Zechstein. Zechstein themselves warn against using their flakes to make magnesium oil. That is good enough for me.

      My article is for the benefit of people, some of them family, who find magnesium chloride spray too irritating to use. My point is that they don’t have to suffer the sting because old tried and true Epsom salts are just as effective as born out by research.

      • Jim it sounds like you woke the snake oil doctor!

        What is pure now a days anyway. Man has made the earth a contaminated desolate place.

        I don’t think his personal attack on your “knowing it all”, is very professional. There is room for debate and that’s fine and I’m glad you didn’t lower yourself to his level with a retort of similar lowness.

        I don’t confess to be an expert in any of this but to me expecting people to buy a product more expensive on someones say so is a bit too much to take. He didn’t back up his statements with figures of purity etc.

        Anyway Jim keep up the great approach of letting us low levelers know what is really happening.

        • Thanks for your supportive comments Mark, much appreciated. I let his comment stand even with the personal insult so readers could see where he is really coming from and I have to agree with you anything but professional! I also noticed his picture and book prominently displayed on the home page of Ancient Mineral’s website, who are a big seller of magnesium oil spray made with magnesium chloride. Go figure.

          • You guys are assuming a lot with the words slurry…..I will get the chemical report and show you the purity. As far as the reason they say not to use the flakes to make oil is the same reason any flakes from any company or source….it just does not make the same quality of oil as the pure oil. Call it a slurry but its the purest slurry in the world. Industrial engineers I am sure will recognize the hard information. What is especially interesting is the low level of mercury.

            In terms of my harsh words the way you guys talked about me and continue with things like snake oil doctor..well sounded like and still sounds like this list is open hunting season.

            Bottom line, any oil made from flakes is great, so much better than nothing in terms of magnesium, but one cannot make an oil out of flakes that competes with pure oil. Here in Brazil I just found some crystals and will be recommending that because of the cost….bringing down Ancient Minerals here is very expensive and when living in the third world or anywhere one does have to be sensitive to affordability so I do appreciate that thrust in this group.

          • I am sorry about the comment about “snake oil doctors” Mark, but obviously I am not able to control what someone leaving a comment on my blog says other than not approving it. And like your first comment, which contained what I took to be an uncalled for personal insult, unless a comment is too rude, abusive, obscene or off topic, I generally let it stand.

            You have used the term “you guys” a couple of times in your comment. I am not quite sure what exactly you are referring to. You are only communicating with one “guy,” that would be me. Lots of people have commented on this article, to imply we are a consortium would be tantamount to suggesting that you and I are, which is obviously not the case.

            You, as all the rest, are freely commenting on my blog and I am attempting to politely answer the comments. You, as well as an obvious admirer of your work have, understandably, made negative comments. The rest have been positive and some looking for further information. This, your latest comment is, again, drifting off topic.

            As I have pointed out the article is not an attack on you, your book, nor Ancient Minerals. It is meant as an alternative for people that cannot tolerate the irritating effects of magnesium chloride. If the chemical report you are referring to is the one posted on Ancient Mineral’s website, I have already seen it. My article began with a search for the best source of a good transdermal magnesium supplement.

            I was wary of their posted analysis for a couple of reasons. It did not state the obvious, the sample point. The magnesium chloride in the deep mines may well be “pure, pure, pure,” but let me explain my comment about a slurry. Water, and lots of it, is necessary. Whether the water is sourced from a river, lake, ocean or for something precious, drilled for into an aquifer, everything in the water that is not H2O is left as residue after it is evaporated by heating the slurry.

            It is physically impossible for what remains to be “pure” because only the pure water evaporates. Having said that I will add that unless any further comments from you are addressed to the matter at hand, ie. why not use magnesium sulphate as an alternative, I shall probably not accept them.

  12. It appears the good doctor got a little ruffled under the collar and took his attack to a more personal level (“this author, who thinks he knows it all’). Not to worry, Jim–that’s usually what happens when the old gravy train is threatened and logical, rational, factual offerings are in short supply. His contention that mixing your own oil from flakes is better than nothing actually flies in the face of the manufacturer’s own warnings. Your exchange with Mr. 3 Ring once again highlights the fact modern medicine and its affiliated lackeys don’t promote what’s best for the general public–they promote what’s best for their own bank accounts. You kept your reply concise and to the point, without hitting below the belt. I’m proud of ya!

    • Many thanks Bill! It is due to awesome people, like yourself, who follow my blog and know what I am about that makes some of the less than pleasant feedback tolerable. Now I am at risk of having you included in the seemingly disturbed comment about “you guys” like we are some kinda conspiracy. At least I have the satisfaction of knowing that a number of people have been very pleased to find out that they can use magnesium sulphate as a transdermal supplement for magnesium and avoid the irritation, not to mention expense, of magnesium chloride.

      Not the least of those being my daughter and beautiful young granddaughters who now, very much, enjoy their relaxing magnesium oil foot spray at bedtime every nite! They, BTW, were the prime motivation in my researching the article. None of them could tolerate magnesium chloride spray even after repeated usage.

    • Yes Bill funny anyway 1.6 parts per billion is the mercury reading about its purity….through years of writing on mercury that was always my concern and I wish the moderater would have censored those words or my assistant should have but well I am just human and now have some kids throwing sticks and oh well.

      And sorry Jim, was blurring everyone together and had no idea and did not look carefully who was who. I understand and appreciate your basic position. In terms of chloride its the best form for oral use I think and as I said I usually recommend dilution or the use of Gel to deal with the stinging…..I was asked to come here because someone thought I was being trashed and was concerned…..its been a while since I was exposed to some of the kinds of energies here. I am very used to exposing my vulnerabilities but its been a while since around others who like to project themselves harshly……

  13. Thank you for this! I don’t feel so “radical” or cheap now ;) After light research and the overall thought of “a stinging sensation”, I frugally opted to dissolve a bit of Epsom salt as a body spray for me and my young children as to avoid the pain and hopefully absorb some benefits. I’m glad I went with my gut instinct, as the mighty gut knows what it needs! I’m very excited to jump into your other articles.

    • Thanks for sharing that ceej, it makes my day to hear when anyone, especially young children benefit from something I research as it did when I heard that my young granddaughters are now enjoying their Epsom spray at bedtime every nite. Another reader suggested the work of an eminent researcher at MIT, Stephanie Seneff. She has done some very interesting research into sulphate deficiency and linked it to cardiovascular disease among other things.

      The interesting thing that caught my attention though, was her remark that she soaks in a bath of Epsom salts twice a week to supplement her sulphate! So there well may be more benefits than I realized when I did my research.

  14. Thank you for your information. With regard to the ratio of 5 3/4 Tbsp. to 1 cup water, don’t you find the mix leaving a white residue after spraying and feeling rather sticky? How do I avoid this? Decrease epsom salts? Thank you.

    • You are welcome Elizabeth. I round mine off to 1/4 cup of Epsom salts to a cup of water and it seems fine to me. I spray my arms all the time and sometimes my whole torso. So, I guess your assumption about decreasing the amount of salts will probably do the trick. I hope that helps.

  15. I am the woman who commented that I was using the Ancient Mineral magnesium oil on my lady parts because it was the most tolerable area on my body for the stinging oil (it absorbed quickly and after a few days was less painful.) I mentioned this on Cheeseslave’s blog.

    I tried the AM magnesium oil on my young sons several times and for them it was like torture and I eventually stopped using it on them. The gel (which is suppose to be less irritating) was just too darn expensive to buy and try. For myself, I got out of the habit of using it because it wasn’t the most comfortable thing to use and I couldn’t stand the feeling on any other parts of my body.

    Based on this post, I’m going to have my boys and I do Epsom Salt foot soaks. I’d like to try and make a spray for the boys using ES but I think they’ll run far away from me screaming because of the horrific experiences with the Ancient Minerals Oil.

    • Actually, Tina, your comments and others on that blog were part of my motivation to do a bit of research on the subject. As well as my daughter and granddaughters’ distress over the burning sensation of commercial magnesium oil. A foot soak is probably a good way to go although the only noticeable effects of spraying with Epsom salt solution is a bit of a faint powdery residue. There is no burning sensation whatsoever. I spray it on fairly regularly and an hour or so before I take a shower I liberally soak myself in spray.

      Apparently, my granddaughters are quite content to have their feet sprayed at bedtime every night and it seems to have a calming effect. Maybe, just let your boys watch you spray yourself for a while and playfully spray them so they can see that its OK :-)

  16. Jim,

    I’m a little late to the magnesium chloride vs sulphate vs DIY spray vs brand name party – but here goes. First, to say that you provided more than a little relief from the confusion brought on by all the voices echoing in the land of blogging and internet research is a real understatement.

    I am attempting to restore my poor health, abused from years of a nutritionally deficient diet, toxic exposure on every front and a five year stint on deadly pharmaceuticals to treat chronic pain from spinal stenosis and fibromyalgia. I have just emerged from the hell of withdrawal from those drugs with the unshakable certainty that “health care” as we know it is really just disease management and wellness cannot be found in the toolbox of allopathic Western medicine nor it’s practitioners.

    Thus, with the heady belief that God and truth was on my side, I entered the world of alternative medicine expecting to be free at last from the circular and corrupt alliance of pharmaceutical profiteers, government agency control and the useful idiots in the health care industry. What a rude shock I had when I realized that the same truth-suppression-for-profit modus operandi was in full swing in this world as well. Yes, I have been called naive on a few occasions.

    In particular, addressing my magnesium deficiency and related maladies (chronic migraine, insomnia, restless leg) started with CVS brand heat compressed tablets, then to a powder supplement, on to a liquid and finally to……magnesium oil spray. After drilling down even further, I discovered on puremagoil.com the following response from Swanson about their product posted by a reader.

    “The amount of supplied magnesium will not be consistent from spray to spray. This Magnesium Oil Spray is not recommended for a direct source of Magnesium, but rather to use as a topical product for the skin. Some Magnesium may be absorbed through the skin, but the amount is not significant.”

    I can only assume puremagoil.com did so in order to bolster the purity and value of their “prehistoric, ultra pure, premium product” recommended by Adam Abraham, editor and publisher of Traansdermal Magesium (their spelling) Therapy by Mark Sircus Ac., O.M.D….. AT $155.25 PER GALLON!!

    I was quite crestfallen to say the least. Thankfully, that was short-lived because after arriving at your page I was revived by your no-nonsense, evidence based approach to making health and nutrition decisions. Long live the critical thinkers!

    My take away? Never take the word of someone who stands to make a buck without checks and double-checks in place, no matter how oft repeated by the many well intended mommy bloggers. For those who, like me, have precious few dollars and even less energy to spend on their journey back to health, a good dose of skepticism goes a very long way.

    Many thanks,

    Marla D’Amico

    • Marla,

      A ways back when I was still working in oil and gas engineering I had a supervisor who, when pleased with a job that I had done, which required a major effort to do well and on-time came into my office to comment. He stated that I was “like a farmer, outstanding in his field.” As, we had at times had our differences, it was an extremely uplifting remark, which I will probably never forget!

      Although I don’t have any idea who you are, but can relate to everything you wrote, your remarks have produced a similar sense of gratification. For that I thank you and I am very pleased that you found this particular article helpful. I think I may have alluded to it in earlier comments, but my goal in the research was to help one of my daughters and my granddaughters who couldn’t stand the sting of commercial magnesium oil.

  17. Interesting – the first dissent on mag cl I’ve come across. You’re page 2 on google “how to make magnesium oil”.

    I wonder what benefits you and your family find from spraying mag sulf. And at what doses?

    I take mag malate orally, which has a calming effect and markedly improves sleep (though not sleep onset). The dose is as high as I can get without rushing to the bathroom.

    • We find similar effects as you have outlined. The distinct advantage of an Epsom Salt spray is elimination of the “rushing to the bathroom” side effect. Trans-dermal absorption does not have any of that effect, which means as far as dosage, the sky is the limit. It just provides a quick, regular means of achieving what soaking in a bath with Epsom salts accomplishes as the mag malate also does, but without the side effects.

      • Cheers.

      • Follow up.

        (Bear in mind I take Relora 300mg just after the night dose of Mg – but it is a constant through these experiments.)

        I replaced the Mg Malate oral with Mg Chloride spray. Concentration 250mg/310ml on torso. Over four weeks no improvement – similar benefit for sleep maintenance (distinct blocks of 3-4 hours, had to get up in the intervals, dog tired on waking) + similar problem with sleep onset. It did sting.

        Replaced Mg Chloride spray with Mg Sulphate spray. Concentration 200g/310ml on torso. 10 sprays in morning + 30 sprays 30 mins before bed. Over two weeks significant improvement – sleep maintenance was better (up to 7 hours, with a vaguely remembered disturbance in the middle, slight tiredness on waking) + sleep onset was excellent: for me it seems as effective as pharma sleep aids, which I gave up 3 months ago. I’d been used to hours of restlessness and was despairing at a return to pharma, but this spray makes me content that sleep will follow within 10 mins of switching off the light.

        The Mg Sulphate only stings if applied to broken skin, and even then it’s mild and momentary. It does leave powder on the skin, which I think is referred to in one comment above – is that perhaps non-absorption of sulphate? or just too much of the whole salt for the skin to absorb? The powder is a bit itchy but easily brushed away – I think it’s OK to do that before I get to the bed ie. half hour after applying.

        Long may it continue, and I will post any future changes. And of course we all vary in our reactions.

        Thanks so much for your suggestion! Over and out.

        • I am pleased to hear that the mg sulphate helped you Stephen! Yeah, I find that also, it leaves a bit of a residue, which can just be brushed off. I assume it is probably sulphate that has not been absorbed due to, as you mention, overload. Thanks for sharing the details of your experimentation. I am sure others searching for viable solutions will find your testimony useful.

        • Six months after finding CT’s advice, this is what I’ve settled on:

          Before bedtime, in stages:

          1. One banana – glucose/fructose + stops hunger.
          2. Epsom salts – saturated solution, through soap dispenser (spray bottle gets clogged up) – give it 20 mins.
          3. 1 tablespoon of dark, natural honey – more glucose/fructose (diabetics beware).
          Clean teeth. Go to bed. After a while fall asleep.

          I give it 80% for sleep onset, staying asleep, falling back to sleep, and waking up rested.

          Huge improvement.

          • Glad to hear you have successfully developed a routine that works for you Stephen. Thanks for sharing, other readers may well benefit from hearing how well it works for you.

          • Final report:

            1. Mag Sulph spray morning and night – fill soap dispenser 1/3 with ES, top up with water, shake, and slap onto ribs, underarms, navel. At night also on face and scalp. Slight sting in the eyes.
            2. One tsp of dark. honey with hot milk.

            This is good for sleep, but also for mood, and seems to be a good all round tonic.

            Another thing I found is that over time it regulates the growth of the toenails – I have no data, but I’m sure the ES liquid did this for me. So if you’ve got intoe-ing grownails and other oddities foot-wise give it a go for at least 6 months.

            I suspect also it has helped reduce tags and other irregularities on my skin.

            Excellent outcome from consulting a single webpage. Cheers!

          • I am glad to hear that it is working out for you Stephen.

  18. Thank you for your work on this and posting of your findings. I am struggling with the stinging, itching, and burning of the Magnesium Oil spray as well. I will give ES a try and report the result.

  19. I am a chemist/ metallurgist and the ridiculous statements concerning magnesium on the internet is overwhelming. I found your site by accident and was pleased, at long last, to find somebody that made sense. My faith in humanity is restored.

    • I can certainly relate to that Derick. It was many of those “ridiculous statements” that motivated me to add my two cents worth. A supporting observation by a chemist/ metallurgist may well help other confused visitors to “see the light,” so thanks for your comment.

  20. I was surprised to find this discussion on a cooking site. Talk about off topic. Jim, what exactly are your credentials besides oil drilling? No pun intended. I find the purity issue of great interest. Why not provide some evidence? P.S. I am not affiliated with Dr. Sircus.

    • Mary, if you think that Culinary Tidbits is just a “cooking site” I invite you to take a little time to peruse some of the other carefully researched topics and decide if that is a valid assumption. May I be so bold as to suggest one on Amino acids’ role in depression or, perhaps one on sugar craving?

      As to credentials, if you are referring to university degrees which so many proudly display after their names, after decades of working with “professionals” from a variety of disciplines and experiencing the levels of competency ranging from pathetically inadequate to exceedingly good, all holding the same “credentials,” I don’t put much stock in those.

      If on the other hand, you mean do I have a proven track record of using the internet to do research for investigative, technical reporting, that would be another matter. The amount of money clients payed my last employer to access my research would testify to that. The small “boutique” oil and gas evaluation company, then called Ross Smith Energy Group was awarded the prestigious Ernst and Young International Entrepreneur of the year award back in 2004.

      Although a Calgary based company, its clientele consisted principally of investment firms on Wall Street and in Houston who wanted in-depth analyses of some of the most competitive and hence, secretive oil and gas exploration and production companies on the planet. We provided these reports through intensive technical and financial research conducted mainly on the internet.

      I recall one incident where I reported on some highly confidential as well as sought after, test results from some off-shore Gulf of Mexico oil exploration by a well known major. To my surprise, after it was published I ended up in a conference call with none other than the famous T. Boon Pickens who wanted to discuss the play with us. So, there are definitely well placed people who think I have the “credentials” and I am sure there are also dissenters. As is usual with these questions, you will have to assess the information provided and decide for yourself, if you think I have the “credentials.”

      Personally, I think the “purity” issue is a red herring used for advertising purposes and, as I mentioned to the good doctor, drifting off topic. People all over the place have been soaking in bathwater and Epsom salts for many years with no thought whatsoever to the “purity” of the salts. If it was to be taken internally then it would be a concern.

  21. Dear Jim,

    Thank you for this valuable information. I recently came accross your website and would like to start using the epsom salt spray. Would you please be able to tell me how many sprays a day you are using?

    Also I’m a bit confused about the optimum strength of the solution because you mention 1/4 cup of epsom salts in 1 cup of water, but the gentleman poster (shtove) who reported his success with the spray mentions a solution of 250mg per 310ml of water. Is this is the same concentration as the one you are using?

    I would be grateful for a response:) Thank you..

    Maria

    Thank you

    • You are welcome Maria. The frequency of use depends on a number of factors such as how much of an area of skin you spray and how deficient in magnesium you are. I think that most adherents spray once a day, but if you think you need more there is no risk in how much you spray. In the attached experiment they noted that it took several days of regular administration before they saw rises in the level of magnesium in their subjects.

      The 1/4 cup of salt per cup of water is based on the solubility. In other words how much magnesium can I dissolve in how much water. As there is no danger in topical application in getting too much magnesium I based that on getting as high a content as possible based on the solubility. Hope that helps.

    • Hi Maria,

      I used 200g/310ml of epsom salt in hot (not boiling) water – takes a couple of minutes to dissolve with stirring. That’s just beyond the limit of saturation and leaves some grains, so I think 170g is probably sufficient.

      Jim says one spray per day, but what I think you’re looking for is the number of sprays per session – I go with 30, ie. 5x spray, rub, repeat 6 times.

      After a couple of months I conclude this is a great way of getting Mg + it helps a lot with sleep maintenance (sleep onset is trickier) + it seems to add a balance or steadiness to my mood and wellbeing.

      At first the sleep onset problem seemed to be solved, but I still suffer the odd night (though much less often than 4 months ago). I’ve added a teaspoon of honey at bedtime, which is so good for sleep quality and reducing the fatigue of a short night of sleep (if you google it you’ll find the theory is about supplying glycogen to the liver). So I’m happy with that combined routine, no longer cursing at 3 am and worrying about getting up for work.

      I’m still experimenting with Relora, not sure about it.

      I have no data to share. Good luck.

      • Hi there….TOTALLY new to all of this. and totally confused :/ I don’t want to buy pricey products if I can simply make my own. Do you ingest this? when you say you add honey…do you mean something else you do on top of the spray you made?

        Are we supposed to ingest the mixture of Epsom and water? I have gastroparesis, digestive issues, and constipation, and a mix of other things I was told Magnesium?! would help, like hair re growth? digestion? maybe some of my questions are answered on here, I will keep looking. Appreciate the simplicity ( I mean that in a nice way~!!!) of your answers! It’s much appreciated! and needed for me :)

        • You had me confused there for a minute Dona. It was a commenter that spoke about adding honey and I am pretty sure she meant to take only the tsp of honey internally. My take is she “added” the ingestion of a tsp of honey to her program. The spray is not for internal use it is a topical application. One of the side effect of taking magnesium supplements internally is diarrhea, which can be avoided entirely by using a spray externally. Your body won’t absorb more than it can use.

  22. Hi,
    I’m so confused! Every website I research this on says something different. I’m just trying to do something healthy I suffer from migraines and am trying everything to cute them! This website says epsom salt is best, but others promote the magnesium flakes which I wound up buying(I don’t feel it was so expensive a big bag was 12.99 free shipping and you only use 1/2 cup to make oil so it will last. I also have epsom salt in the house just don’t know which one I should be using! I don’t want to wind up with diarrhea or vomiting while using this I thought by using it on skin and not taking a supplement was supposed to make that not happen?! I used the magnesium flakes as a spray twice and nothing stings yet and honestly if it helped my headaches I would gladly take some stinging! Any advice would be appreciated!

    • If you aren’t having any issues with stinging Jaclyn, by all means go ahead and use the magnesium. Magnesium sulphate as well as Epsom salts are effective and neither should produce negative side effects such as mag supplements do. I did the research for the benefit of my daughter and granddaughters who found magnesium oil to sting too much.

  23. I have read that magnesium is beneficial for high blood pressure. I am taking a powdered cal-mag., and it’s great! But it sounds like this is even better! Anyway, I’m mostly interested, because at the end of my pregnancy, I got severe preeclampsia. My baby and I are lucky to be alive. I’m concerned that this may happen again, in future pregnancies. Do you know much about its effects on blood pressure? Any thoughts or education that you could pass along? Thank you!

    • You are right Amber in that magnesium is important for regulating blood pressure. The sweet thing about applying it topically is that our bodies very tightly regulate what our systems maintain (approximately 25 grams for an adult) and roughly 1% of that as serum in our blood stream. Hence, oral supplements can bring on diarrhea while topically your body just doesn’t absorb any more than it needs.

  24. Great blog post and very informative!! I found this in my desperation to find out if I can make my own magnesium spray from Epsom salts, as all the magnesium chloride oil sites go on and on how good mgcl is, but after using the spray and gel I’m not seeing any amazing results besides waking in the middle of the night and violent itching and burning. I just know that I have Ancient Minerals spray and Lifeflo MG gel—- and they both burn and sting like crazy! In Fact, I am finding my sleep considerably worse after switching to the violently burning gel! The other night, I took an Epsom salt bath and slept like a baby—which always happens after an Epsom salt bath. I am going to the store today to buy a couple of bags of plain Epsom salts and a spray bottle and some lavender essential oil and I’m making my own non-burning mg spray! I additionally keep reading about how important that sulphate is, especially for gut health. My entire family of 4 has Celiac Disease that has been hell on wheels to control, so I have all of us suffering with nightly applications of the mgcl spray. Can’t wait to see the difference with the homemade cheaper concoction! Thanks for this!!

    • You are welcome Katieb and I am glad that you found the info helpful. You will find the Epsom salt much easier on your skin :-)

  25. Can you make magnesium oil out of magnesium citrate powder? This is the first place I have seen discuss using anything besides magnesium chloride flakes.

    • The only problem you might have Dorothy is that Magnesium citrate is not very soluble in water and citric acid being the other component may make it sting on your skin.

  26. Thanks for your information on using epson salts as a spray and the dilution.

    I have several pounds of dead sea salt. It contains a few other minerals the body needs and I was wondering if you thought I could use that to make a spray? It has magnesium, calcium and potassium and a few others. It’s fairly highly concentrated. But I don’t know what the concentrate is compared to the epson salts.

    I like it because it contains more than just magnesium and I know you need several minerals to be balanced. Would you be able to tell me if you think it would make a good spray and what concentration do you think I should use? It can be an expensive as a regular bath, but maybe concentrated into a spray it would be more affordable to make for home use and have more health bennefits because it contains more minerals.

    It really is a wonderful bath and very healing when I do it, but since its expensive I don’t take the baths on a regular basis. Do you think I could make a spray and then the cost would be less because you would not dilute it into a huge tub of water and need so much salt? I haven’t seen any information on how to use dead sea salts like the magnesium oil recipes. But it could be even better for people. I bought 20 lbs and have used about half of it. Your help would be so appreciated and I know other people might enjoy making a dead sea spray if we could figure out the dilution that would be best. Thanks so much your your information!

    Molly

    • Yes Molly, I think making a spray with your Dead Sea salt is a great idea. You should be able to achieve similar results to soaking in a tub with a fraction of the salt, saving plenty. When deciding how much Epsom Salt to use for a spray I looked up the solubility. At room temperature a cup of water with dissolve 4 3/4 Tbsp of salt so I rounded that off to 1/4 cup of Epsom salt per cup of water.

      I would suggest trying the same ratio for dead Sea salt, which should have a similar solubility, probably even higher.

      • you are so great! Thank you so much! I just got a water distiller, so I will give it a try! I could not find anyone onliine who had this answer. Do you know if the body would absorb too much potassium doing this because i has potassium and calcium in it? I was reading you have to be careful with potassium supplements. I know your not a doctor, but do you know anything about the minerals in dead sea salt and the concentrations that might make the spray something you would need to be careful with? I checked my current diet and it’s low in potassium so I started supplementing it a little. But in the process of reading it says you have to be careful with potassium supplements. Can you tell me if you think there are any potential side effects using the dead sea salt in the concentrate and if you think there are, how often do you think a person should use this spray with the multiple minerals in it?

        • That is the sweet advantage of a topical application Molly. Our bodies are much smarter than modern medicine grants them, in their applications. If we ingest supplements our bodies have to somehow deal with them, especially if their not natural. Topical application allows our bodies to decide when enough is enough.

          One of the best sources of minerals is seawater and people that spend a lot of time swimming in it are generally very healthy, for that reason. One would be hard put to find evidence of anyone ever suffering adverse effects, in terms of absorbing too much of any particular mineral from swimming in seawater. Hence, I personally would not worry at all about how much nor how often to spray.

  27. Just wondering about Epsom salt baths for babies at night?
    Any input about being gentle enough for a baby’s skin? Do you have any research about sprays or baths helping babies get a better nights sleep? I very much appreciate your gentle concern for your wife and grand babies that would prompt you into further
    Research. Thank you!

    • The amniotic fluid that babies thrive in, both drinking and breathing it, is similar to seawater and not at all dissimilar from Epsom salt (magnesium sulphate). As no doubt, you are very aware, they soak in that for roughly 9 months. Babies also generally find being dragged out of that comfortable existence worthy of raising Cain by crying very loudly ;-)

      I, personally, would be more concerned of depriving them of a similar, yet only temporary re-living of that experience, by not soaking them in a tub of Epsom salt or, alternatively, spraying a solution of the same on their beautiful young bodies. And yes, Cherie, I believe it would be soothing and relaxing as well as promoting a good sleep!

  28. Well great. I was using Epsom salt which I can find here locally in the pharmacy (not very cheap, but at least available) in my bath and sometimes foot bath. I’m in a Facebook magnesium group (magnesium advocacy group) and there magnesium sulfate is often shot down in favor of mag chloride. That combined with all the blogs and forums talking about how good mag. chloride is, made me go online and buy (with high shipping costs to my country, mind you) mag chloride hexahydrate. It arrived just today, lol.

    So now I land on your blog and I read that mag sulphate is fine afterall. Oh why didn’t I get to read your post 2 weeks ago before ordering this almost outrageously expensive mag chloride?

    I will make mag oil from it and will see how it goes – if it stings when sprayed, I’ll just use it up in footbath or something. I have to use what I have already, no two ways about it, but once I’m out, I’ll go back to my previously trusted epsom salt, which I love – and is cheaper and at least available around here without having to go shop online from across the world. :)

    • Sorry to hear that you got the needed info too late Marika. If you look through some of the comments here you will see positive testimonies about the efficacy of mag sulphate. I think the magnesium chloride was popularized by blogger trying to make some money. Like you say, one doesn’t have to go online and incur shipping to buy Epsom salts.

  29. Fascinating and highly informative site! (I’m anxious to read all the other articles as well.)
    You seem like a man who is a “thinker”, one who isn’t content to be part of the herd of “sheeple”!
    I have made my own mag oil from Epsom Salts and also from Ancient Minerals. The ES oil does not sting. Both seem to work well as a temporary topical massage relief for a condition I have called coccydynia (or inverted tailbone, which I believe came as a result of a spinal surgical procedure called laminectomy of L4 & L5 vertebrae).
    I also keep a plastic bottle of ES (dry form) in the shower to use as a dry rub especially on my back. It makes a great exfoliant for arms and legs too. I also massage it onto my scalp for noticeably thicker looking and feeling hair!
    It’s just great stuff! Thank you Mother Nature, AGAIN!

  30. I’m attempting to get tangerine essential oil to mix with my rose water. I’ve just been learning about our magnesium deficiency issues and was wondering if I could use the Epsom salt to absorb the oil and have them more easily mix with the water plus get some benefits of the magnesium. Basically just trying to create my great grandmothers evening beauty routine by spritzing rose water and glycerin on my face. It was just a little sweet so the tangerine cuts it a bit.
    So it’s a two part question:
    1) can you make oil soluble in water by first letting Epsom salt absorb the oil before mixing with liquid…I’m sure it will require a lot of shaking!
    2) will the Epsom irritate the face if sprayed on it and are their any benefits of magnesium that can be obtained in this way.
    Thanks! I’m no scientist so I do hope my question isn’t ridiculous!
    Peace,
    Alice

    • I don’t know from experience but, theoretically I believe that if the Epsom salts do absorb the oil, as it is immiscible with water, you will probably end up with undissolved globules of oily salt. If I were to try and make what you have in mind I would use alcohol to extract the tangerine from some zest from the peel of the fruit. That is much more likely to dissolve in the water as they should be miscible.

      I zest all my lemons and make a lemon extract by soaking the zest in alcohol as there is actually more flavor in the peel than in the fruit. I imagine the tangerine zest would extract a nice miscible essence. I use my homemade apple jack, but vodka is recommended as it has very little taste.

      The only sensation I have experienced and heard of with Epsom salt spray is a slightly sticky residue, but not any painful sensation. And, yes, there would be safe magnesium benefits as the skin will not absorb more than the body needs, eliminating potential side effect that are caused by ingesting magnesium supplements, such as the “trots.”

      Actually, having said all that, have you tried mixing your tangerine essential oil in the rose water? The terms “oil” and “essential oil” are often misnomers, probably from advertizing schemes. I know that “magnesium oil” has a water base with no oil and people who make their own tangerine essential oil use alcohol. Yours may be miscible as is.

  31. Jim, your website is Awesome. Will definitely try the ES spray. Always have ES in the house. Sure beats paying more than we need to. Looking forward to no more cramping of my feet, legs, toes and left hand when stretching. Just can’t take all those Magnesium horse pills, and Yes the mag powder (Calm) does loosen the bowels.

    Keep up the good work – much appreciated

    Sharon

    • Thanks Sharon! Sorry for taking so long to respond but I was away. I hope the ES helps with all that. It will certainly raise your mag levels.

  32. My questions has nothing to do with use on the body but rather what do you suppose long term implications are of using any of these salts (Epsom, Dead Sea, Mag flakes) are on our septic system, leaching fields, etc. What about a grey water system? I know salt (NaCl) is a fast way to ruin soil so I am concerned. Will this aggregate into a huge problem in the areas where my leaching fields are in 5,10, 20 years? Will I kill my soil web quickly with grey water? Or perhaps I’m just overthinking it…

  33. This information is a precious gift considering the tremendous value of getting enough magnesium into our body. I commend you for your diligence and your classy response to the Doctor’s vulgar post. I have no way to thank you that I am aware of (I welcome your email suggestion). I came onto the post because I was looking for EXACTLY the information you shared – what differences were there in magnesium sulfate and magnesium chloride and how much of the magnesium from the epsom salts would be usable. I have troublesome health issues and I don’t have any diagnoses because I cannot pay for doctors’ services even if I had a physician I could trust to be my dependable health partner. I am frugal because I must be (unemployed; looking for a job as a newly credentialed medical coder) and spend most of my online time searching for alternative sources for the expensive protocols that are showing effectiveness. Thank you so much.

    • You are welcome and I am pleased that you were able to find the information you were searching for. I also spend quite a bit of time searching for alternatives to things that have a good track record but are over hyped and priced.

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