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by Oct 14, 2022

In the late 1900s, when we were newly weds and adorably youthful, my grandma was interviewed for some graduate work and I sat in for company.  At one point, they were discussing family traditions and cures and remedies. My grandma started laughing and talking about how her mom believed EVERYTHING could be cured with Epsom Salts!!  From a cold to a sprained ankle!  Just soak in Epsom Salts!!  Hilarity ensued!! It is a delightfully entertaining memory –and I hope in one of these boxes will be an old tape recording of it– It wasn’t necessarily an aha moment for me– yet it was defining.

I’m instinctively attracted to water– its glisten and sound and smell, and now, it wasn’t just something pretty that I liked! I had an ancestor who claimed it could also be good for me! And it mathed out!  During college, I had lived downtown and nothing cleared my head like walking the lakefront; I went in any weather and any time of day or night.  I’d drag people with me on forced death marches or go alone. For fun I had already made a point of dipping my Tevas into every bit of water that I came across.

The idea of bath salts made total sense as well!  When I was taking a couple of classes in Israel, we had a spa day at the Dead Sea.  It was eerie and smelled bogus.  But when in Rome…  I headed to the sulfur baths and caked myself in clay like everyone else… walked into the Dead Sea… and then never saw the rest of the spa. My roomie went on without me and actually had to come find me because there was a last call for the bus and I was nowhere to be found; I had very uncharacteristically completely lost  track of time and had been floating painlessly for hours and hours.  Not to mention our honeymoon!!!  In Maui! With a lanai!  Right on the ocean!  We were broke and it was a gift –and remains one of the most glorious places I’ve ever visited.  It was on those coastlines that we decided our true vows, one of which would be to do our best to get to bodies of water, but especially saltwater, as often as we could. And so GG’s remedy just made sense.  This was a straight-forward natural progression.  And from that moment in my early 20s, it was sealed:  I’d be sure to make water part of my life and certainly any attempt at healing.  And now I had a much more accessible option!

Not everyday BC, but with any sign that my system was faltering or my migraine meds weren’t helping or even when I started feeling stressed or over-whelmed, I’d make it a priority to get into an Epsom Salt bath.  Usually when the house is empty or when everyone is in the basement because it is way less therapeutic with people banging around.  We are lucky enough to have two full bathrooms and the tub is this amazingly comfy MCM pink cast-iron –but the important part is that it is always clean and ready.  I sprinkle in a handful or two of Epsom salts, add some random essential oils, and while the tub is filling, I gently and less then thoroughly dry brush –then sink into the tub and just lay there.  No electronics.  No books or distractions or wine or bubbles or lights or jets or prayers or even tears.  Just close my eyes, empty my mind as much as possible, and breathe while soaking.  BC Kelly would set a timer for 24 minutes because I’d get antsy or have things to do and the timer let my system actually rest; AD Kelly lays in there as long as she wants.  Time is completely irrelevant.  I need to be doing nothing else.  I am never impatient anymore so I stay until my system feels done.  My hands and feet are sometimes done early, so I keep those out of the water if the rest of my body and mind aren’t ready.  And it is absolutely delightful in every way.

Saltwater helps my Sensi-Sis too. She didn’t have the Dead Sea but she did go all extra and researched and then used salt in her hot-tub instead of chlorine!  And then in her pool!– and then between flares she just up and moved to the ocean!!  Where she could feel and soak and breathe the saltwater always.  Both my kids love water like we do– even when they were in my belly; I was submerged as often as possible because it felt like the water was soaking away our pain and discomfort.  They grew up loving summer evenings at the pool and visiting lake houses and hundreds of hours along the local creek.  BC Kelly would have attached piles of  pictures from oceans and lakes and rivers and creeks and waterfalls –sometimes just for fun but most often with a side-quest to rest and heal. One child didn’t like bubbles and the other would get a rash– so their baths were in just a little bit of Epsom Salts –and as they got older, we’d sit on the edge of the tub in PJs with our feet in a little warm saltwater to regroup after a hard experience or a complicated day.  It almost feels like sitting on the dock of a bay! –only actually a little more comfortable, less buggy, and closer to bed.

There is no way to know if decades of lovely little preemptive Epsom Salt baths ever actually aided, or abetted, or are simply a relaxing waste of natural resources.  And just like everything in life, I realize that this isn’t universal.  Clearly.  Not everyone who went to the Dead Sea had the same visceral system response as me- many couldn’t wait for the chlorine of the spa.  Lots of people find the ocean harsh and terrifying.  Others find baths uncomfortable or don’t have a bath or don’t fit in a bath or find them gross.  I get it.  I do.  And I’m in no way an evangelist for saltwater.  It is not a cure.  But it does help me cope.  A lot.  Especially now.  I actually feel just a little better each time.  For awhile there, I was taking more than one a day because they gave me so much relief. Maybe this will help someone else too — or maybe everyone who finds relief from saltwater has found it already or maybe it will just be a fun side quest —  Some people visit ballparks.  I visit water <3

I know hard real life things are going on outside my cocoon. I love you guys. Things can be so hard. And real. I hope there is some rest & beauty & calm in it all. Peace and love always–
Traditional suffixes, but they have my own meaning:
BC=Before Covid / AD=After Disease 🙂


Extra Info: Dry brushes and tutorials are available online and in stores; mine is a swanky one from a sale at Anthropology but one from Target or Whole Foods or Amazon works just as well. Dry-brushing feels amazing and I’d personally do it before a shower if I didn’t take baths. I picked 24 minutes because of my birthday, and it seemed about right to me, there is zero science behind this number. After soaking in any old generic or Dr Teals, I rinse off (no soap), because it theoretically helps reduce toxins. Laying in silence is an advanced skill- it is okay to have music or a distraction. –Do what works for you. Always <3