Epsom salts contain magnesium, which can help alleviate the pain and inflammation of injuries such as sprains and strains. Make an Epsom salts compress to ease pain in sore muscles or help relieve pain from bruises. The Southwest Council of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences recommends using Epsom salts compresses to take away the pain and swelling of insect bites and stings. A compress offers an alternative when you aren't able to soak in an Epsom salts bath for one reason or another.
Measure 8 oz. of water. You can use distilled water, but tap water will also work. Pour into a bowl.
Stir in 2 tbsp. Epsom salts until all the salts are dissolved.
Soak a washcloth in the Epsom salts and water solution. Remove the washcloth from the water and squeeze out the excess water. The cloth should be damp, but not dripping.
Lay the cloth over the area you want to treat. Allow it to remain in place for 20 minutes. Rewet the cloth in the Epsom salts solution if it begins to dry out. The skin will absorb the Epsom salts. A University of Birmingham study demonstrated that soaking in Epsom salts raised blood levels of both magnesium and sulfates--the primary active ingredients in Epsom salts.
As an alternative to dissolving Epsom salts in water, you can also make a paste of Epsom salts and water and apply this to the skin. Cover the paste with a wet washcloth.