Endurasoak Mineral Salt Baths – Soak Your Pain Away?

It was a Saturday afternoon and I was on the verge of dozing off in the bathtub. I was testing Oasis Recovery System’s Endurasoak product, which claims to help you recover from hard workouts. That’s just what I needed; I had just finished a 20 mile long run.

Endurasoak Mineral Salts

Endurasoak Mineral Salts

There’s been a lot of conversation recently about ice baths. New research indicates that consistent ice baths following hard workouts or long runs can actually stunt the adaptation process. That’s not good news for distance runners. When our body repairs the damage from a 20 mile long run or a track workout we adapt and get stronger.

So naturally, I wanted to test the opposite side of the spectrum: warm mineral salt baths. After some searching, I found Endurasoak to be a good option. Of course, I could have used old fashioned epsom salts that you can buy at any CVS, but I wanted a product geared toward endurance athletes. Elite marathoner Ryan Hall has written about epsom salts before, so I was eager to try a variation of this old-fashioned recovery technique.

Endurasoak combines three different types of salts and “essential oils” that claim to relieve inflammation, speed the healing process, and relieve muscle fatigue. The claims on the website are numerous and diverse and the natural skeptic in me was dubious. Nevertheless, I love trying new things.

What Does the Science Say About Mineral Salt Baths?

First, let’s recognize that “reducing inflammation” and “speeding healing” are two very different things. Inflammation helps the healing process, so if mineral salts were to help you heal from injuries they would actually increase inflammation and pain. You can’t have both.

Second, the product claims that the mineral salts are absorbed through the skin? Up until recently, there was no evidence that this was even possible. However, there is one study that saw an increase in magnesium and sulphates in the blood and urine after a salt bath. This study has not been peer-reviewed, published, or repeated by any other scientist. See this study for more info.

So even if these “therapeautic salts” can get in your skin, will they help you recover from a tough workout? The jury is out on this one. I could not find any research that demonstrates higher levels of magnesium sulfate in the body can speed recovery from muscle soreness or injury.

It seems that a lot of companies promote mineral salt baths for recovery but there’s no research to back up their claims. There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence out there but I couldn’t find any studies. It looks like this is a therapy that is often recommended because “everyone just knows” that it helps.

My Experience with Endurasoak

My personal experience with Endurasoak led me to believe its therapeautic benefits are in its relaxation-inducing properties. The Endurasoak makes the water feel nicer. I felt like I melted in the water. I was pleasantly sleepy. The scent of rosemary and peppermint lulled me into a state of deep relaxation. Sure, I felt a little girly, but in the pursuit of advanced recovery I’ll do (almost) anything once.

It’s hard to recommend a product that has virtually no science backing its claims. I don’t think it will directly help your muscles recover faster from hard workouts. You will probably get the same benefits by soaking in a warm bath without any mineral salts.

However, I do believe in the benefits of relaxation. Not the kind where you relax on the couch and watch Jersey Shore with a bowl of popcorn. I’m referring to the deep relaxation you can only get from meditation, a long massage, or the calming effects of listening to quiet music in a dark room (Creepy?). Personally, I think there are real benefits to disconnecting from the world and getting lost in your own head.

My fiancee Meaghan also tested an Endurasoak bath and she had the same thoughts: “I think it’s good to take the time to relax and not just hammer miles before you rush off to work. Pay attention to how your body feels.” Well put Megs!

If you need a bag of Endurasoak to do that – then by all means, have at it.The science isn’t there, but I enjoyed my time in the bath.

Have you ever tried an epsom salt bath or other type of mineral salts? I’d love to hear about your experience!

Photo Credit: Oasis Recovery Systems

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Comments

  1. I love taking soaks. I use mineral salts, I don’t remember which ones but just some I got at Rite Aid. I’m not sure it improves my recovery but it sure helps me relax. I stopped taking them for a while when I’d heard you were supposed to take ice baths but I never could get myself to do that! So I’m back to soaking.

    • It’s very relaxing, isn’t it? I’m not a total convert, but I think there’s some benefit to warm mineral salt baths. It was fun, too!

  2. Soaking in a tub? Watching Jersey Shore? Alright, what did you do with Fitz? Someone has clearly hijacked his blog.
    Anyway, I’m a skeptic of ice baths and a believer that recovery has a significant mental element to it as well so there may be merit for some in your approach. Given that I hate baths, I think I’ll look for other recovery methods. Like maybe yoga :P.

    • I’ll run a race in a bedazzled tutu before I ever watch a full episode of Jersey Shore. Anyways, I think ice baths have merit but you need to time them correctly. Instead of after a long run/workout, I’d do them the next day after a recovery run. I’ve tried yoga too and found it to be helpful. Recovery is very personal, so “do what works for you” is good advice.

  3. All I want is a bath tube big enough for me to lie down in.

    • Yeah, you’re like 6’5″ right? Gotta be tough. I’m only 5’7″ so I fit pretty well! One of the few advantages to being a short guy.

  4. I still feel like ice baths are helpful.

  5. So I am not a hard core runner like you, and I realize this is a very old post. However I have tried hot baths with epsom salt and without them when I ran out and even though the relaxation level was the same for me (I love hot water) my muscles always feel a little better the next day following a epsom salt bath than just plain water. Adding aroma therapy would just be awesome and I hadn’t thought of that.