Epsom salts are credited with a lot of uses. Along with its use as an FDA-approved laxative and a well-known pain reliever for sore muscles and joints, the all-natural substance has been touted as everything from a sleep aid to an itch reliever. It’s also been used as an exfoliant and beauty aid for centuries and has been a popular household product for everything from cleaning tiles to keeping slugs out of a garden.

Now Epsomgel is transforming this well-known traditional remedy into an effective topical pain reliever for athletes and sufferers of chronic painful conditions such as arthritis. Company co-founder Ross Edwards says the product, which places the salts in a water-based gel, is a much better delivery system than simply pouring them into a bath.

Epsom salts are mildly analgesic but they don’t block pain in a way that a substance like menthol does by fooling our brains into ignoring the pain, says Edwards. Instead the salts relax muscles and act as an anti-inflammatory to help alleviate the pain. “It doesn’t matter where the pain is coming from,” he says. “The body tenses around the pain which can cause more problems and make the pain worse. Epsomgel works to relax those muscles that are tensing around the pain which does a lot to alleviate it.”

When he was creating the Epsomgel formulation, Edwards used water as the base for the gel, simply because he couldn’t get it to dissolve properly in oil. The result is a delivery system that is more clinically effective, he says. “Because it’s water-based, it penetrates the skin much more quickly and more effectively than an oil.”

Many of the early testimonials for Epsomgel have come from athletes, some who have been applying the product before a workout to make themselves more relaxed with an improved range of motion. Edwards says that high performance athletes are already among the best customers for Epsomgel. “Athletes who put the product on before exercise find their muscles are more relaxed and they have a higher range of motion. It can prevent cramps and muscle tears and helps athletes recover more quickly from high intensity exercise.”

At the other end of the spectrum, Epsomgel also helps people with arthritis deal with their chronic pain. “It’s not a cure for arthritis obviously,” says Edwards. “But it can really help improve the pain associated with arthritis.”

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