The Best Bath Soaks For Sore Muscles

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Certain bath soaks — particularly those made with Epsom salt, Dead Sea salt, turmeric, or essential oils such as juniper, eucalyptus, and cypress — can help relieve joint and muscle pain by suppressing the expression of inflammatory mediators, health coach Erica Zellner tells Elite Daily. So when shopping for the best bath soaks for sore muscles, look for a product that contains one (or several) of those key ingredients.

Dr. Naoki Umeda, an integrative medicine specialist at the Cleveland Clinic, tells Elite Daily, “Soaking in a hot bath can improve circulation of blood around your body, and it can relieve muscle tightness and soreness,” though Dr. Umeda says there’s no scientific evidence that proves the healing properties of bath soaks. Rather, it’s the bath itself that’s relaxing and helpful at relieving muscle soreness.

Zellner agrees, but adds, “Anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that taking a hot Epsom salt bath does reduce muscle soreness and pain as well as promote relaxation. And we do have some research that supports floating in salt-dense water will reduce muscle aches and pains.” Both experts say there’s no downside to using a bath soak, unless, Dr. Umeda says, you have a burn or open wound. Note that hot baths are not advised for pregnant individuals, people who are prove to overheating, or anyone with heart or valvular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, or poor temperature regulation.

To shop the best bath salts for sore muscles, keep scrolling.

1. The Best Epsom Salts For Sore Muscles

Though both experts stress that there isn’t much in the way of evidence to support any specific bath soak’s benefits, Zellner says she regularly recommends that her patients soak in Epsom salts. “It’s a very low-risk and low-cost intervention,” she explains. “Advocates of Epsom salt baths say that the benefit really comes from the magnesium in Epsom salts increasing the amount of magnesium in our bodies. Magnesium plays a role in over 400 processes in our body, including facilitating proper muscle function and relaxation.”

This jumbo-sized, 8-pound bag of Epsom salts is a simple, straightforward, affordable way to add Epsom salts to your tub, without any additional ingredients. This is the fragrance-free option, but you can also choose from lavender, eucalyptus, and rosemary scents if you want to enjoy aromatherapy benefits, too. Depending on how often you take baths, this under-$10 bag should last you months — or well over a year.

2. The Best Dead Sea Salts For Sore Muscles

This pretty jar of AHAVA Dead Sea Mineral Bath Salts contains unique healing salts from the Dead Sea, which is rich in minerals like calcium, potassium, bromides, sodium, chlorine, iodine, zinc, and magnesium. Magnesium, Zellner says, is a known anti-inflammatory; in the same study Zellner references, magnesium was also shown to be helpful for skin hydration, improving the skin barrier’s function, and reducing roughness, so this is also a wonderful soak for soothing, softening, and generally pampering your skin. This is the unscented version, but AHAVA also makes their bath soaks in lavender and eucalyptus scents, as well.

3. Best Juniper Bath Soak For Sore Muscles

There are a number of essential oils that have anti-inflammatory properties, says Zellner, including juniper and eucalyptus, both of which are found in this Kneipp Mineral Bath Salt. The German company has been around and making plant-based bath and body products for over 125 years, and their bath salts contain thermal spring salt, which is full of minerals like magnesium, calcium, and zinc. With an invigorating scent, this soothing soak provides both a physical and a mental de-stressing experience.

4. Best Turmeric Bath Soak For Sore Muscles

goop’s splurge-worthy Phys Ed. Recovery Bath Soak contains all sorts of skin-healing and muscle-soothing ingredients, including sea salt, frankincense, arnica, rosemary, wintergreen, ginger, jojoba, and antioxidant-rich turmeric. “We know that when topically applied, turmeric can effectively relieve pain in muscles and joints by suppressing the expression of inflammatory mediators,” Zellner says, so naturally, this is a great option to add to a hot bath to soothe sore muscles.

5. Best Foaming Bath Soak For Sore Muscles

If a bath just isn’t officially relaxing and pampering enough without suds, pour a capful of Dr Teal's Soothe & Sleep Lavender Foaming Bath into running water and watch the tub turn bubbly — and stay that way. Made with a blend of muscle-soothing Epsom salt, hydrating aloe vera, and relaxation-inducing lavender, you’ll feel clean, calm, and soft when you finally climb out of the water. This fan-favorite product has over 45,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, and costs just $5 for a massive 34-ounce bottle.

6. Editor’s Pick

Elite Daily beauty editor (and nightly bath-taker) Adeline Duff likes Pursoma’s bath soaks, which come in several highly specific versions designed to target various needs (there’s an after-yoga bath soak, for example, and one that can help calm your mind before bedtime). She spoke to Pursoma founder Shannon Vaughn to find out her top recommendation for sore muscles; Vaughn recommends their Sweat it Out Body Bath Soak. She explains, “[It’s] perfect for anybody who has been exercising and experiencing tightness or tension. We wanted it to be very warming, which is why we created a sinus-soothing citrus aromatherapy blend that features ginger and blood orange. This bath soak will help to soothe your body, recover from the day's stress, promote deep sleep, and wake up energized and balanced." This bag contains 3 pounds, or between six and eight baths’ worth, of salts, which feature a French gray sea salt base.


Dr. Naoki Umeda, M.D., Integrative Medicine Specialist, Cleveland Clinic

Erica Zellner, M.S., C.N.S., L.D.N., Senior Health Coach at Parsley Health

Studies referenced:

Bathing in a magnesium-rich Dead Sea salt solution improves skin barrier function, enhances skin hydration, and reduces inflammation in atopic dry skin, by Ehrhardt Proksch, Hans-Peter Nissen, Markus Bremgartner, Colin Urquhart;

The effect of curcumin ointment on knee pain in older adults with osteoarthritis: a randomized placebo trial, by Neda Jamali, Mohsen Adib-Hajbaghery, Alireza Soleimani;