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This celebrity favourite is worth its salt; They have been used for centuries for their therapeutic benefits, and they're still popular with athletes to aid muscle recovery. Abi Jackson learns of the wonders of humble bath salts.

Long before spas were fancy places where lucky ladies headed for Jacuzzi and massage-filled pampering weekends, natural spas were discovered around the world, and became destinations for wellness.

Long before spas were fancy places where lucky ladies headed for Jacuzzi and massage-filled pampering weekends, natural spas were discovered around the world, and became destinations for wellness.

To bathe in these mineral springs brought the promise of many a cure, a revived mind and even, in some cases, eternal youth (though, as yet, I'm afraid there are no official cases of this promise coming true).

To bathe in these mineral springs brought the promise of many a cure, a revived mind and even, in some cases, eternal youth (though, as yet, I'm afraid there are no official cases of this promise coming true).

Today, you don't even need to travel to reap the benefits, as salts from around the globe are now extracted and imported and readily available.

Today, you don't even need to travel to reap the benefits, as salts from around the globe are now extracted and imported and readily available.

Hamilton, importing her eczema Hamilton, importing her eczema Baths aren't as popular as they once were - showers are so much speedier and easier - but if you are a devotee of old-fashioned bathing, you'll know how wonderfully relaxing the ritual can be.

old-fashioned bathing, you'll know how wonderfully relaxing the ritual can be.

A warm bath is a great way to unwind before bedtime, a brilliant excuse for parents to shut the door on family chaos for half an hour's peace and, if you're a smartphone addict, a useful way to remind yourself that you can survive if you A warm bath is a great way to unwind before bedtime, a brilliant excuse for parents to shut the door on family chaos for half an hour's peace and, if you're a smartphone addict, a useful way to remind yourself that you can survive if you as well as in Tesco Nutricentres, Sainsbury's stores and Amazon.

as well as in Tesco Nutricentres, Sainsbury's stores and Amazon.

In the last three years, the company has seen more than 125% growth year-on-year, as the natural health sector continues to boom.

In the last three years, the company has seen more than 125% growth year-on-year, as the natural health sector continues to boom.

The modest Epsom salt has even been given the celebrity seal of approval recently, with A-listers like Jennifer Lawrence, Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham confessing to using them.

The modest Epsom salt has even been given the celebrity seal of approval recently, with A-listers like Jennifer Lawrence, Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham confessing to using them.

"At the moment, our most popular product is most definitely the Epsom salt," says Hamilton.

"At the moment, our most popular product is most definitely the Epsom salt," says Hamilton.

Gwyneth A-list Salts Gwyneth A-list Salts "They have gone from being something your granny used to soak her feet in, to a wonder product. Plus, with everyone "They have gone from being something your granny used to soak her feet in, to a wonder product. Plus, with everyone being much more conscious of health and exercise right now, they are also becoming a household staple for people to use after sports or the gym."

being much more conscious of health and exercise right now, they are also becoming a household staple for people to use after sports or the gym."

WITH the sun finally shining women want to be able to bare perfect pins. And while we may slather on the fake tan to get rid of our pasty white skin and get the waxing strips out so we're hair-free, there's one problem many people are conscious about that is not so easy to tackle - unsightly veins.

WITH the sun finally shining women want to be able to bare perfect pins. And while we may slather on the fake tan to get rid of our pasty white skin and get the waxing strips out so we're hair-free, there's one problem many people are conscious about that is not so easy to tackle - unsightly veins.

Varicose veins are bulging veins that occur when the blood flow in our legs is restricted. In healthy legs, the blood travels smoothly back to the heart as it's blocked from travelling backwards by tiny valves in our veins.

Varicose veins are bulging veins that occur when the blood flow in our legs is restricted. In healthy legs, the blood travels smoothly back to the heart as it's blocked from travelling backwards by tiny valves in our veins.

When these valves weaken or are When these valves weaken or are your hormone levels change and can cause the walls of your blood vessels to relax. In addition to this, the amount of blood increases to support the growing baby, so it puts an extra strain on your veins and boosts the risk of developing lumpy legs.

your hormone levels change and can cause the walls of your blood vessels to relax. In addition to this, the amount of blood increases to support the growing baby, so it puts an extra strain on your veins and boosts the risk of developing lumpy legs.

Most people suffering from the twisted veins aren't susceptible to any serious health problems and although unsightly, varicose veins shouldn't be too painful and there are ways of treating them, like laser removal or having them stripped out which you can discuss with your GP.

Most people suffering from the twisted veins aren't susceptible to any serious health problems and although unsightly, varicose veins shouldn't be too painful and there are ways of treating them, like laser removal or having them stripped out which you can discuss with your GP.

Varicose veins may put you off getting your legs out this summer but they are treatable Varicose veins may put you off getting your legs out this summer but they are treatable WWELLBEING has always been important, but it's also become a bit of a buzzword in recent years and naturally, as a result, a flourishing industry surrounds it.

ELLBEING has always been important, but it's also become a bit of a buzzword in recent years and naturally, as a result, a flourishing industry surrounds it.

Yet, some of the most reliable and effective methods for looking after and promoting good wellbeing are those which have been around for donkey's years. The no-frills and often low-cost rituals tried and tested through the centuries.

are those which have been around for donkey's years. The no-frills and often low-cost rituals tried and tested through the centuries.

Take the humble bath salt. Nature offers countless ways of harnessing the earth's own goodness for our own benefit, and mineral-packed salts are a fine example.

harnessing the earth's own goodness for our own benefit, and mineral-packed salts are a fine example.

Penny started salts to children's Penny started salts to children's When the Peng-tzao Kang-mu was published in China in the year 2,700 BC, the earliest pharmacology book on record, it contained a significant chunk on salts, with more than 40 varieties and their potential uses detailed.

record, it contained a significant chunk on salts, with more than 40 varieties and their potential uses detailed.

The Romans were also fans of the healing properties of salts, while Cleopatra favoured indulgent soaks in water from the Dead Sea - famed for its high salt levels - as part of her beauty regime.

The Romans were also fans of the healing properties of salts, while Cleopatra favoured indulgent soaks in water from the Dead Sea - famed for its high salt levels - as part of her beauty regime.

Long before spas were fancy places where lucky ladies headed for Jacuzzi and massage-filled pampering weekends, natural spas were discovered around the world, and became destinations for wellness.

Long before spas were fancy places where lucky ladies headed for Jacuzzi and massage-filled pampering weekends, natural spas were discovered around the world, and became destinations for wellness.

To bathe in these mineral springs brought the promise of many a cure, a revived mind and even, in some cases, eternal youth (though, as yet, I'm afraid there are no official cases of this promise coming true).

To bathe in these mineral springs brought the promise of many a cure, a revived mind and even, in some cases, eternal youth (though, as yet, I'm afraid there are no official cases of this promise coming true).

Today, you don't even need to travel to reap the benefits, as salts from around the globe are now extracted and imported and readily available.

Today, you don't even need to travel to reap the benefits, as salts from around the globe are now extracted and imported and readily available.

Hamilton, importing her eczema Hamilton, importing her eczema Baths aren't as popular as they once were - showers are so much speedier and easier - but if you are a devotee of old-fashioned bathing, you'll know how wonderfully relaxing the ritual can be.

Baths aren't as popular as they once were - showers are so much speedier and easier - but if you are a devotee of old-fashioned bathing, you'll know how wonderfully relaxing the ritual can be.

A warm bath is a great way to unwind before bedtime, a brilliant excuse for parents to shut the door on family chaos for half an hour's peace and, if you're a smartphone addict, a useful way to remind yourself that you can survive if you A warm bath is a great way to unwind before bedtime, a brilliant excuse for parents to shut the door on family chaos for half an hour's peace and, if you're a smartphone addict, a useful way to remind yourself that you can survive if you detach from your device for a while - and you might even feel calmer for it.

detach from your device for a while - and you might even feel calmer for it.

Adding salts could super-charge your soak, whether you want to relax before bedtime, soothe and restore sore muscles, or help reduce a dry skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis.

Adding salts could super-charge your soak, whether you want to relax before bedtime, soothe and restore sore muscles, or help reduce a dry skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis.

"Salts are a complete part of my everyday life," says Penny Hamilton, "Salts are a complete part of my everyday life," says Penny Hamilton, brand development manager at Westlab (www.westlab.co.uk).

brand development manager at Westlab (www.westlab.co.uk).

"I have all three of our salts at home at all times. My household uses Dead Sea the most, as I use it for my children's dry skin, and my husband loves mixing it with his shampoo to keep his scalp fresh and help remove hair products.

"I have all three of our salts at home at all times. My household uses Dead Sea the most, as I use it for my children's dry skin, and my husband loves mixing it with his shampoo to keep his scalp fresh and help remove hair products.

"I bathe in our Epsom or Himalayan at least twice a week to keep me feeling healthy and energised."

"I bathe in our Epsom or Himalayan at least twice a week to keep me feeling healthy and energised."

Actress Paltrow fan of Actress Paltrow fan of " It was their children's eczema and asthma which led Hamilton and her old school friend Scott Livingston to explore the benefits of salts and eventually launch Westlab - which imports and produces a range of Epsom, Himalayan and Dead Sea salts - in 2004. Their range is available onlin " It was their children's eczema and asthma which led Hamilton and her old school friend Scott Livingston to explore the benefits of salts and eventually launch Westlab - which imports and produces a range of Epsom, Himalayan and Dead Sea salts - in 2004. Their range is available onlin as well as in Tesco Nutricentres, Sainsbury's stores and Amazon.

as well as in Tesco Nutricentres, Sainsbury's stores and Amazon.

In the last three years, the company has seen more than 125% growth year-on-year, as the natural health sector continues to boom.

In the last three years, the company has seen more than 125% growth year-on-year, as the natural health sector continues to boom.

The modest Epsom salt has even been given the celebrity seal of approval recently, with A-listers like Jennifer Lawrence, Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham confessing to using them.

The modest Epsom salt has even been given the celebrity seal of approval recently, with A-listers like Jennifer Lawrence, Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham confessing to using them.

"At the moment, our most popular product is most definitely the Epsom salt," says Hamilton.

"At the moment, our most popular product is most definitely the Epsom salt," says Hamilton.

Gwyneth A-list Salts Gwyneth A-list Salts "They have gone from being something your granny used to soak her feet in, to a wonder product. Plus, with everyone being much more conscious of health and exercise right now, they are also becoming a household staple for people to use after sports or the gym."

"They have gone from being something your granny used to soak her feet in, to a wonder product. Plus, with everyone being much more conscious of health and exercise right now, they are also becoming a household staple for people to use after sports or the gym."

When it comes to post-exercise relief, the magic ingredient in salts is magnesium, which plays a vital role in muscle and nerve tone and function.

magnesium, which plays a vital role in muscle and nerve tone and function.

After a work-out, restoring magnesium - which can be absorbed via skin through a salt-rich soak - can help minimise inflammation and speed up recovery.

After a work-out, restoring magnesium - which can be absorbed via skin through a salt-rich soak - can help minimise inflammation and speed up recovery.

"The key to salt bathing is that the salts are rich in minerals, especially magnesium. We are very selective of where we source our salts, so that they have high magnesium content," explains Hamilton. "Epsom Salt was discovered in Surrey in the 17th Century by a farmer, and has since been used as a bath salt for drawing out toxins and helping relax tired and aching muscles. It's very popular in sports recovery and physiotherapy treatment to assist in muscle rehabilitation."

"The key to salt bathing is that the salts are rich in minerals, especially magnesium. We are very selective of where we source our salts, so that they have high magnesium content," explains Hamilton. "Epsom Salt was discovered in Surrey in the 17th Century by a farmer, and has since been used as a bath salt for drawing out toxins and helping relax tired and aching muscles. It's very popular in sports recovery and physiotherapy treatment to assist in muscle rehabilitation."

Similarly, these minerals can promote physical and mental relaxation, thereby aiding a good night's sleep.

Similarly, these minerals can promote physical and mental relaxation, thereby aiding a good night's sleep.

"The bromine element of Dead "The bromine element of Dead Sea salts is also a popular 19th and early-20th century sedative which has a unique relaxing effect on muscles and nerves, which is why they are good for winding down," says Maxine Bath, spa manager for Dead Sea Spa Magik, whose products are stocked in Holland & Barrett, Debenhams, John Lewis and various independent health stores.

Sea salts is also a popular 19th and early-20th century sedative which has a unique relaxing effect on muscles and nerves, which is why they are good for winding down," says Maxine Bath, spa manager for Dead Sea Spa Magik, whose products are stocked in Holland & Barrett, Debenhams, John Lewis and various independent health stores.

"They create a wonderful relaxation sensation. The bromides, magnesium and potassium minerals in the salts are also remarkable in improving skin texture," she adds. "Dead Sea minerals are renowned for their exceptional beautifying and medicinal properties, as they have a unique ability to attract and retain moisture.

"They create a wonderful relaxation sensation. The bromides, magnesium and potassium minerals in the salts are also remarkable in improving skin texture," she adds. "Dead Sea minerals are renowned for their exceptional beautifying and medicinal properties, as they have a unique ability to attract and retain moisture.

"For centuries, people from all over the world have journeyed to the Dead Sea to benefit from the "For centuries, people from all over the world have journeyed to the Dead Sea to benefit from therapeutic effects of its mineral crystals. The salts contain 21 beneficial minerals and are used on the skin for their curative and therapeutic properties."

therapeutic effects of its mineral crystals. The salts contain 21 beneficial minerals and are used on the skin for their curative and therapeutic properties."

It's not just people with skin conditions who can benefit.

It's not just people with skin conditions who can benefit.

As Bath points out, utilising these components can result "in healthier looking skin and a relaxed state of mind".

As Bath points out, utilising these components can result "in healthier looking skin and a relaxed state of mind".

As well as home-grown Epsom and Dead Sea salts, Himalayan salts are also worth a look. "Himalayan salt was formed more than 250 million years ago, which is what makes it so wonderfully pure, as there is absolutely no pollution in it," Westlab's Penny Hamilton says. "It is much more recent in its popularity than Dead Sea and Epsom salt, but is now widely used for detoxification and skincare."

As well as home-grown Epsom and Dead Sea salts, Himalayan salts are also worth a look. "Himalayan salt was formed more than 250 million years ago, which is what makes it so wonderfully pure, as there is absolutely no pollution in it," Westlab's Penny Hamilton says. "It is much more recent in its popularity than Dead Sea and Epsom salt, but is now widely used for detoxification and skincare."

Have your varicose veins got you feeling blue? Have your varicose veins got you feeling blue? WITH the sun finally shining women want to be able to bare perfect pins. And while we may slather on the fake tan to get rid of our pasty white skin and get the waxing strips out so we're hair-free, there's one problem many people are conscious about that is not so easy to tackle - unsightly veins.

WITH the sun finally shining women want to be able to bare perfect pins. And while we may slather on the fake tan to get rid of our pasty white skin and get the waxing strips out so we're hair-free, there's one problem many people are conscious about that is not so easy to tackle - unsightly veins.

Varicose veins are bulging veins that occur when the blood flow in our legs is restricted. In healthy legs, the blood travels smoothly back to the heart as it's blocked from travelling backwards by tiny valves in our veins.

Varicose veins are bulging veins that occur when the blood flow in our legs is restricted. In healthy legs, the blood travels smoothly back to the heart as it's blocked from travelling backwards by tiny valves in our veins.

When these valves weaken or are When these valves weaken or are damaged, our blood is allowed to flow back down the vein and can pool and create the swollen, lumpy veins we are familiar with.

damaged, our blood is allowed to flow back down the vein and can pool and create the swollen, lumpy veins we are familiar with.

Despite being a common condition affecting three in every ten adults, certain aspects can increase your chances of developing varicose veins: GENDER: Despite being more prevalent in ladies, men too can suffer from the protruding lumps, in fact 43% of men are expected to encounter some sort of venous condition by the time they hit 60. GENETICS: There's an increased risk of the condition if someone in Despite being a common condition affecting three in every ten adults, certain aspects can increase your chances of developing varicose veins: GENDER: Despite being more prevalent in ladies, men too can suffer from the protruding lumps, in fact 43% of men are expected to encounter some sort of venous condition by the time they hit 60. GENETICS: There's an increased risk of the condition if someone in your family is affected by them too and if this is the case, they can develop at any given age, as a teenager or later in your adult life. WEIGHT: Being overweight puts added pressure on your legs, forcing them to work even harder to maintain a healthy blood flow and causing your valves to weaken. LIFESTYLE: It's thought that if you spend prolonged hours in the day on your feet you are more prone to developing varicose veins. Standing for long periods of time restricts a healthy blood flow and puts pressure on your legs.

your family is affected by them too and if this is the case, they can develop at any given age, as a teenager or later in your adult life. WEIGHT: Being overweight puts added pressure on your legs, forcing them to work even harder to maintain a healthy blood flow and causing your valves to weaken. LIFESTYLE: It's thought that if you spend prolonged hours in the day on your feet you are more prone to developing varicose veins. Standing for long periods of time restricts a healthy blood flow and puts pressure on your legs.

PREGNANCY: During pregnancy PREGNANCY: During pregnancy your hormone levels change and can cause the walls of your blood vessels to relax. In addition to this, the amount of blood increases to support the growing baby, so it puts an extra strain on your veins and boosts the risk of developing lumpy legs.

your hormone levels change and can cause the walls of your blood vessels to relax. In addition to this, the amount of blood increases to support the growing baby, so it puts an extra strain on your veins and boosts the risk of developing lumpy legs.

Most people suffering from the twisted veins aren't susceptible to any serious health problems and although unsightly, varicose veins shouldn't be too painful and there are ways of treating them, like laser removal or having them stripped out which you can discuss with your GP.

Most people suffering from the twisted veins aren't susceptible to any serious health problems and although unsightly, varicose veins shouldn't be too painful and there are ways of treating them, like laser removal or having them stripped out which you can discuss with your GP.

Penny Hamilton, started importing salts to help her children's eczema Penny Hamilton, started importing salts to help her children's eczema Actress Gwyneth Paltrow isn A-list fan of Epsom Salts Actress Gwyneth Paltrow isn A-list fan of Epsom Salts

CAPTION(S):

Penny Hamilton, started importing salts to help her children's eczema

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow isn A-list fan of Epsom Salts

Varicose veins may put you off getting your legs out this summer but they are treatable

Salts can make a relaxing time in the bath even more beneficial to your health
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 22, 2014
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