1 in 7 of us are experiencing a low-magnesium health issue right now: sleep problems, muscle & joint pain, constipation, tension, anxiety & depression to name a few. A major 'tool' at The Body Toolkit Retreat in Scotland, I am forever advocating the importance of Magnesium.
Magnesium: 70% of us suffer from low levels of this vital mineral. In fact, it’s incredibly likely that you could be living with a symptom of magnesium deficiency without even realising it. I certainly was for a long time, and I now use it religiously as part of ‘The Body Toolkit’ for clients coming to my retreat in Scotland.
First up, I’m going to share a handful of typical signs of low magnesium in the body (some of which might sound familiar), then I’ll explain why so many of us are struggling with this deficiency nowadays and how I use magnesium therapy for my own health and with clients.
Examples of Low-Magnesium Health Issues
- *poor sleep* – when we have low magnesium levels it makes it more difficult for us to stay asleep. Magnesium essentially relaxes us and helps us to unwind, so without it we can struggle to rest properly.
- *always tired* – again low energy levels in the body correlate to a magnesium deficiency.
- *anxiety & depression* – magnesium has a calming effect on the body and mind, conversely without enough magnesium we can feel tense and anxious.
- *muscle cramps, aches & restless legs* - one of the most common health complaints in the western world is related to pain – as a muscle relaxant, magnesium works alongside calcium to help regulate muscle movement. If we have too much calcium and not enough magnesium, muscles become tight, and are more likely to cramp and spasm.
- *joint pain* - this is one I see a lot of at the retreat, and time and time again people get incredible results from the retreat programme that includes magnesium therapy. Incorporating an alkalising, anti-inflammatory diet with daily magnesium therapy has seen many of my clients come off strong anti-inflammatories completely (i.e. in some cases, three years and counting).
- *skin problems* - again at the retreat, I regularly see people with eczema, psoriasis and acne seeing a huge difference in their skin within the week – for some it can completely clear. Magnesium is fabulous for reducing inflammation, as is my beloved juicing, and most of us now suffer from inflammatory conditions due to suboptimal diet and lifestyle.
The list of magnesium symptoms is a lot longer, but I just wanted to give you an introduction to how crucial this mineral is, as well as an idea of how harmful low levels of magnesium can be for us.
So, why are almost all of us deficient in Magnesium?
The reality is that the majority of us are seriously deficient in this vital nutrient, so much so that this deficiency plays a major role in almost every health issue and chronic disease, from muscle pain, joint pain, cramp, headaches, tension, stress, restless leg syndrome, poor sleep... diabetes, heart disease, stroke and even anxiety and mood disorders. It's absolutely fundamental to overall health.
Basically after decades of not looking after our soil, we have completely depleted our land of its magnesium stores. In days gone by we would have practised crop rotation, but now due to supermarket style demand our soils have been so depleted so that even if we are eating a diet high in dark green leafy vegetables, we really aren't getting the magnesium we need.
Combine that with the fact that every time we sweat, we lose magnesium, or every time we get stressed, we use it up.... every time we eat sugar or consume medication, these require magnesium to be processed... so on the whole, most of us are chronically deficient in Magnesium.
‘The Magnesium Miracle’ by Dr. Carolyn Dean
I was really inspired by Dr Carolyn Dean's book, 'The Magnesium Miracle', which is definitely worth checking out. As I mentioned above, in her book she links almost every health condition to a lack of magnesium in the body.
Magnesium Therapy – Magnesium Oil Spray & Magnesium Flakes
At The Body Toolkit Retreat, I give everyone a bottle of 'magnesium oil' to spray to put onto their skin at night. The brand I’ve used for the last four years is called 'Better You' and their 'Magnesium Oil Original Spray' (you can get it from a health food shop, or a Holland & Barrett or online) and you put it on your skin every night before bed. You can also use their Magnesium Flakes in a bath or footbath, which again uses the skin to absorb the magnesium.
Why do you supplement via the skin?
The skin is the body's largest organ, and anything we put on the skin is absorbed into the bloodstream within 30 minutes. That's how nicotine patches work. (Quite a sobering thought when you think about all the crap we put on our skin that we are technically ingesting... e.g. deodorant, lotions, potions, makeup etc.. I digress). So basically, it’s an incredibly quick and efficient way of getting magnesium into the body by using it 'transdermally' i.e. via the skin.
Why can’t I just take a supplement in a pill?
The thing is there is a big question mark over the effectiveness of oral supplements and just how much we actually absorb from supplements that way. I certainly have seen a number of clients visit the retreat with severe “magnesium symptoms”, but they tell me that they’ve been taking an oral magnesium supplement for a long time... and what’s interesting is that generally we see those low-magnesium symptoms disappear over the course of the week, as they use the fast-acting oil and bath flakes on the skin.
As I said above, I am seeing a huge difference in people with anxiety, constipation, muscle pain, aches, spasms, restless leg syndrome, problems sleeping and general tension, just by adding magnesium therapy to their daily routine.
How to use Magnesium Oil on the skin - Directions
If you get the Better You spray, it will come with directions and you can apply it directly to the skin* at bedtime e.g. legs, or belly, or back, or sore knees etc... avoiding broken skin/face or sensitive areas. You would be building up to about 20 "sprays" every night and I recommend keeping it beside your toothbrush, so that it becomes a bedtime habit.
*Please note ! If it feels at all itchy, wash it off immediately as it can sting the first couple of times you use it... this is actually a sign that you have low magnesium levels, but don’t despair! What to do for the first week of using magnesium oil is to apply it to the soles of your feet before bed, as your feet have thicker skin, so they’ll be less sensitive but are still highly absorbent. After about a week, your magnesium levels will have increased and your skin will be able to tolerate it, apply all over your legs (or back/belly) before bed. I think that all of us should be doing this, that's why it's such a big part of what I do at my retreat.
Better You Magnesium Oil:
Great article with more information about Magnesium Deficiency: