Children and adults look forward to taking baths for different reasons: Cleaning off after a hard day of labor, playing with bubbles and squeaky toys, or just relaxing with candles and soft music. But taking a bath in Epsom salt offers health benefits that have led many people for years to make soaking in the tub a regular routine.

People take Epsom salt baths for many reasons: They can help to relieve stress, soothe your muscles, soften your skin and maybe even reduce the look of wrinkles. Some recent studies have even indicated that Epsom salt baths may be soothing for children with autism.

Epsom salts are made up of the compound magnesium sulfate, and they got their name because one of the earliest discoveries of magnesium sulfate took place in Epsom, England. Magnesium and sulfate both play essential parts in the ways in which our bodies function.

Magnesium is important in that it helps keep enzyme activity regular in your body, and it helps your bodily functions to run smoothly. More than half of all Americans have a magnesium deficiency, which is believed to be a factor in all kinds of health problems [source: Epsom Salt Council]. Sulfate also plays an important role in the way in which your body works: It has a role in the formation of brain tissue and joint proteins, and it can strengthen the walls of the digestive tract [source: Epsom Salt Council].

Taking an Epsom salt bath helps restore magnesium and sulfate in your system because they can be absorbed through your skin. Some doctors recommend soaking three times per week for about 12 to 15 minutes. If you're wondering where to find Epsom salt, just check out your local grocery store, health food store or pharmacy.

To learn in more detail about the positive powers of Epsom salt baths, continue on to the next page.