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The Remarkable Health Benefits of Transdermal Magnesium Absorption in Sensory Deprivation Float Tanks

Written by Portland Clinic of Natural Health on November 29, 2023

Magnesium, an essential mineral, plays a critical role in numerous bodily functions. While traditionally ingested through diet and supplements, emerging research suggests that transdermal (through the skin) absorption can be a highly effective method of magnesium uptake. This blog post delves into the science behind transdermal magnesium absorption and highlights the unique benefits of sensory deprivation float tanks enriched with Epsom salts.

Why Transdermal?

Enhanced Absorption

Direct Delivery: Transdermal absorption bypasses the digestive system, delivering magnesium directly to cells.

Steady Uptake: Skin absorption results in a more controlled and steady magnesium uptake, reducing the risk of gastrointestinal issues associated with oral supplements.

Research Insights

Studies Overview: Research indicates enhanced bioavailability of magnesium when absorbed through the skin. (1)

Sensory Deprivation Float Tanks and Magnesium

Epsom Salt Rich Environment

Magnesium Sulfate: Epsom salt, chemically known as magnesium sulfate, is used in high concentrations in float tanks.

Optimal Environment for Absorption: The warm, buoyant environment of the float tank facilitates the absorption of magnesium through the skin.

Key Health Benefits

Muscular Relaxation

Reducing Muscle Tension: Magnesium plays a role in muscle relaxation. Floating in magnesium-rich water helps alleviate muscle tension and soreness.

Research Evidence: Studies indicate that transdermal magnesium application can reduce muscle stiffness. (2)

Adrenal Support

Stress Reduction: Magnesium aids in regulating the body's stress-response system. Sensory deprivation itself contributes to lowering cortisol levels, providing adrenal support.

Supportive Studies: Research has demonstrated that magnesium can help balance cortisol levels, enhancing stress management. (3)

Upregulation of Detoxification Pathways

Enhanced Detoxification: Magnesium is crucial in detoxification processes. It supports the liver and kidneys in eliminating toxins from the body.

Scientific Backing: Studies suggest that adequate magnesium levels are essential for the elimination process, particularly in the liver. (4)

Enhanced Brain Health

Neurological Benefits: Magnesium contributes to nerve function and brain health.

Studies: Research indicates that magnesium can have a neuroprotective effect, potentially benefiting conditions like depression and anxiety. (5)

Additional Health Benefits of Sensory Deprivation Float Tanks

Deep Relaxation and Mental Clarity

Sensory deprivation float tanks offer an unparalleled environment for deep relaxation and mental clarity. By isolating the individual from external stimuli, these tanks create a space where the mind can quieten, reducing the cognitive load. This reduction in sensory input allows the brain to shift from its usual high-frequency Beta waves, associated with alertness and problem-solving, to Theta waves, which are often linked with deep relaxation and heightened creativity. Numerous studies have shown significant reductions in anxiety and improvement in mood following floatation therapy. This mental reset not only enhances overall wellbeing but can also spark creativity and improve focus. (6)

Pain Relief and Improved Sleep Patterns

Float tanks are also highly effective in providing pain relief and improving sleep patterns. The weightlessness experienced in the float tank can significantly reduce physical strain, particularly on the spine and joints, offering relief to those with chronic pain or injuries. By lowering cortisol levels and facilitating muscular relaxation, floating can contribute to better sleep quality. Research has suggested that regular float tank sessions help in improving sleep patterns and reducing insomnia symptoms. This is particularly beneficial in our fast-paced, sleep-deprived society, where restorative sleep is often compromised. (7)

Transdermal Magnesium Absorption via Sensory Deprivation

The integration of transdermal magnesium absorption via sensory deprivation float tanks presents a unique and effective approach to health and wellness. With benefits ranging from muscular relaxation and adrenal support to the upregulation of detoxification pathways and enhanced brain health, this method offers a holistic solution to improving physical and mental well-being.

  1. Kass L, Rosanoff A, Tanner A, Sullivan K, McAuley W, Plesset M. Effect of transdermal magnesium cream on serum and urinary magnesium levels in humans: A pilot study. PLoS One. 2017 Apr 12;12(4):e0174817. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0174817. PMID: 28403154; PMCID: PMC5389641.
  2. Engen DJ, McAllister SJ, Whipple MO, Cha SS, Dion LJ, Vincent A, Bauer BA, Wahner-Roedler DL. Effects of transdermal magnesium chloride on quality of life for patients with fibromyalgia: a feasibility study. J Integr Med. 2015 Sep;13(5):306-13. doi: 10.1016/S2095-4964(15)60195-9. PMID: 26343101.
  3. Schutten JC, Joris PJ, Minović I, Post A, van Beek AP, de Borst MH, Mensink RP, Bakker SJL. Long-term magnesium supplementation improves glucocorticoid metabolism: A post-hoc analysis of an intervention trial. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2021 Feb;94(2):150-157. doi: 10.1111/cen.14350. Epub 2020 Oct 26. PMID: 33030273; PMCID: PMC7821302.
  4. Bravo M, Simón J, González-Recio I, Martinez-Cruz LA, Goikoetxea-Usandizaga N, Martínez-Chantar ML. Magnesium and Liver Metabolism Through the Lifespan. Adv Nutr. 2023 Jul;14(4):739-751. doi: 10.1016/j.advnut.2023.05.009. Epub 2023 May 18. PMID: 37207838; PMCID: PMC10334155.
  5. Lingam I, Robertson NJ. Magnesium as a Neuroprotective Agent: A Review of Its Use in the Fetus, Term Infant with Neonatal Encephalopathy, and the Adult Stroke Patient. Dev Neurosci. 2018;40(1):1-12. doi: 10.1159/000484891. Epub 2018 Feb 7. PMID: 29408814.
  6. Feinstein JS, Khalsa SS, Yeh HW, Wohlrab C, Simmons WK, Stein MB, Paulus MP. Examining the short-term anxiolytic and antidepressant effect of Floatation-REST. PLoS One. 2018 Feb 2;13(2):e0190292. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0190292. PMID: 29394251; PMCID: PMC5796691.
  7. Kjellgren A, Westman J. Beneficial effects of treatment with sensory isolation in flotation-tank as a preventive health-care intervention - a randomized controlled pilot trial. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014 Oct 25;14:417. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-14-417. PMID: 25344737; PMCID: PMC4219027.

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