How to Use Magnesium and Lavender for Stress Relief

by August 4, 2020

Polls have shown that a great number of Canadians experience some type of stress on a regular or semi-regular basis. The Canadian Mental Health Association found that about one in four Canadians feels somewhat or very stressed most days. 

Stress is the fight-or-flight response we have in response to daunting demands. Symptoms of stress are the result of hormones your brain releases to alert your body of a stressful event. A healthy amount of pressure can be helpful — some people feel they work best that way — but when stress gets out of hand and goes on for too long, it can take a toll on your physical and mental wellbeing. Long term activation of stress hormones can affect the body’s natural processes, like metabolism, which is why stress can cause weight gain. 

Everyone copes with stress differently, and if you’re interested in combating the feeling naturally, we’re here to help. However, we do recommend consulting your doctor or psychiatrist for personalized advice based on you. 

Here are four all-natural remedies that could help you reduce stress. 

Magnesium 

Studies have shown an inverse relationship between magnesium and cortisol, the stress hormone. Stress voids the body of its magnesium stores, and yet we need magnesium to counteract the effects of stress. The study found that the higher the magnesium, the lower the cortisol — and this backs up magnesium’s title as the calming mineral. 

Magnesium helps us fight stress not only by lowering cortisol levels and cleansing the hormone from our cells, but also by regulating calcium and keeping it outside of the cells, balancing the nervous system, and relaxing muscles that may be under tension as part of the body’s response to stress. 

Excess calcium inside cells can lead to cell rigidity and tension, which is not helpful in mitigating stress symptoms. 

Magnesium’s joint approach to calmness makes it a great choice for stress management, because it counteracts stress in 2 ways. By calming, balancing, and regulating the nervous system, it downgrades the body’s physical response to stress. And with its muscle relaxing properties, it can prevent the physical tension that leads to stress. 

Research concluded that not only does magnesium have an effect on cortisol levels, but also other brain functions that contribute to the anxious/stressful response. Magnesium regulates neurological health by controlling certain neurotransmitters, the messengers of the brain to other parts of the body. It is also believed to affect the hypothalamus, which controls the pituitary and adrenal glands, who are responsible for the body’s response to stress. 

Lavender 

Lavender too has a layered effect on the body and its response to stress. It is, of course, a popular choice for aromatherapy to promote rest and relaxation, and has also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. Lavender will counteract stress both by promoting restful sleep, and by reducing anxiety and stress while you are awake. 

In terms of its benefits for sleep, a study found an oral dose of lavender to have the same effect as a low dose of the allopathic anxiety medication lorazepam (commonly known as Ativan). This is not the only way to enjoy the benefits of the blissful flower. If aromatherapy is your consumption method of choice, look no further! Research indicates that lavender aromatherapy increases your time spent in deep, slow-wave sleep. It can also help improve sleep quality for those who have trouble sleeping because of insomnia, depression, or anxiety. 

For stress treatment, lavender aromatherapy has been shown to reduce symptoms of stress such as blood pressure and heart rate, and enhance feelings of calm and relaxation. 

Magnesium and Lavender – The Dream Team

Paired with magnesium, you can get the calming, relaxing benefits of both remedies — in one go! An evening massage with a magnesium balm, gel, or spray with lavender should give you a full night’s sleep and a stress-free day. It’s an easy, fast, and relaxing way to boost your magnesium levels and let the lavender work some magic while you’re at it. 

Read more about the benefits of topical magnesium here.

Melatonin 

Everyone does better when they get enough sleep, which is why rest is key to alleviate stress. However, you can get caught in a vicious cycle when sleeping feels impossible because of stress, and reducing stress is tough because you can’t sleep. 

Melatonin occurs naturally in the body and controls your body’s sleep-wake rhythm. In a healthy sleep cycle, melatonin levels increase at night when it’s dark to allow for sleep, and decrease in the morning to encourage wakefulness and alertness. 

Research has shown that melatonin can improve total sleep time, and decrease the time it takes to fall asleep, in patients who struggle with secondary sleep disorders. That is, sleep problems caused by other conditions (stress, depression, etc). In people with primary sleep disorders (those not caused by another condition), research has found that melatonin shortened the time it took to get to sleep, lengthened the total time spent asleep, and improved sleep quality. Preemptively using melatonin to ward off stress in the future makes total sense because who doesn’t feel better on a full night’s sleep? You are less at risk to develop chronic stress if you are well-rested. 

Melatonin is included in many natural sleep aids, because it is non-habit-forming, and supplementing it does not affect the body’s production of it. 

L-theanine 

L-theanine is an amino acid that may have an effect on brain chemicals. Commonly found in tea leaves, l-theanine has been noted for its potential to act as an anti-stress supplement without the sedative effects of many anti-anxiety and related medications.  

There have been a number of studies demonstrating l-theanine’s role in stress relief.  

One study showed l-theanine to reduce heart rate in response to performing a mentally stressful task. The other showed that taking l-theanine before performing a stressful task (this one involved multitasking) lowered cortisol levels in saliva, producing a calming effect.  

L-theanine works by reducing levels of “excitatory” chemicals in the brain, which cause symptoms of stress and anxiety, while stimulating other chemicals like GABA, to promote a natural sense of calm. This is why it also helps with sleep, and is included as an ingredient in Natural Calm Canada’s Calmful Sleep formula. As mentioned, l-theanine is unique because it doesn’t exert a sedative effect. Instead, it helps with sleep by simultaneously reducing stress and anxiety and promoting relaxation, thus perfectly setting the stage for GABA to kick in and send you off to dreamland. 

Keep CALM and Carry On

Whether your stress is a passing feeling or a more long term condition, no one likes to feel that way. If your stress becomes chronic or causes adverse physical effects, such as high blood pressure, it is recommended that you see your GP for treatment. 

We hope these natural recommendations have helped. 

Sources 

Vitamins for Stress: 7 Great Options

Stress Becoming A Way of Life For Canadians 

Stress 

Magnesium: The Missing Link in Mental Health? – James Greenblatt, MD 

Magnesium and stress – Magnesium in the Central Nervous System 

Magnesium deficiency induces anxiety and HPA axis dysregulation: Modulation by therapeutic drug treatment

The Role of Magnesium in Neurological Disorders  

Magnesium for Anxiety: How You Can Fight Anxiety and Feel Better 

The Relaxing, Sleep-Promoting, Health-Boosting Powers Of Lavender The effects of lavender oil inhalation on emotional states, autonomic nervous system, and brain electrical activity

Magnesium and Lavender for Sleep, Pain and Mood

by July 14, 2020

Muscle pain, difficulty sleeping, and trouble maintaining a positive mindset are much more common ailments than you may think. Although none are life-threatening, it becomes very hard to thrive when you’re getting a fraction of the sleep you need, moving hurts your body, or when you are simply not in a positive mental space. 

In this article, we’ll explain how magnesium together with lavender essential oils can help with all three common issues. You may be familiar with both natural treatments individually. 

Magnesium is a well-known mineral supplement for relief from tension, pain, anxiety, stress and more. Lavender essential oil is a popular choice for aromatherapy. It, too, has relaxing, pain-relieving properties. Combine the two and you have one, powerful natural solution for everyday body pain, restless sleep and mood.

Muscle Pain, Magnesium and Lavender

Muscle pain is usually a sign that your body is adapting to your exercise of choice, and with that, getting stronger. That said, no one likes feeling achy all day and suffering while walking upstairs the day after leg day.  

Recently, we’ve talked about how topical magnesium can help, but we’ll do a quick recap for those who missed our post about how magnesium mitigates muscle soreness. 

Magnesium and calcium work in tandem to relax and contract our muscles, respectively. Magnesium helps to soothe muscle aches by naturally blocking some calcium so that your muscle contractions are controlled and not spastic. 

Lavender is great for muscles too. The anti-inflammatory and pain relief properties of lavender make it a great solution to muscle tension. It also helps to mitigate swelling and improve blood flow throughout the body. 

Put together, magnesium and lavender create a dynamic duo to battle day-after muscle soreness. A portable and easy spray, gel, or balm could be your new gym sidekick! You also deplete magnesium stores while working out, so the sooner you apply, the better. 

Plus, the addition of lavender makes it smell heavenly. What’s not to love?

Sleep, Magnesium and Lavender

Of course, it isn’t enough for this lavender/magnesium dream team to just relieve muscle pain. They work together, along with other naturally occurring substances in the brain to send you off into a calm, blissful sleep.

Magnesium does a number of things when it comes to sleep. It increases GABA, thereby relaxing the brain and bringing brain activity to a much lower level so we can sleep. It will also bind and activate GABA receptors, for a totally relaxed nervous system.

Some sleep problems have been linked back to cortisol production. Some people experience chronically heightened levels of cortisol, making it much more difficult for them to fall asleep. Magnesium has the potential to change this, by regulating the adrenal glands (where cortisol is produced) and reducing the release of the hormone.

Lastly, magnesium is closely related to melatonin, a hormone essential to the body’s sleep-wake patterns. Low melatonin results in disruptions to your regular sleep schedule. Magnesium regulates melatonin levels in order to maintain the balance you need to get the sleep you deserve. 

Lavender also works through the neurotransmitter GABA to relieve anxiety, reduce agitation, and promote relaxation and calm. Widely regarded as a natural sleep aid, studies have shown that lavender does seem to affect sleep. 

Additionally, through aromatherapy, lavender can promote calmness and wellness, and reduce stress and anxiety, which sometimes lead to insomnia. There have even been studies with regard to lavender in the brain, in the context of sleep, which find it to be largely effective. 

Where some may take a few minutes post-workout to massage some magnesium chloride with lavender, others may give themselves a little extra lavender love before bed.

Stress, Anxiety, Magnesium and Lavender

1 in 5 Canadians will personally experience some type of mental health issue or illness. It can be a passing feeling or something more long term.

It’s normal to feel a little stressed out, especially now. CAMH reported that more people have reported substance use, frequent loneliness, and anxiety in their adjusted pandemic lifestyle than prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Treatment for mental health comes in a range of different methods and practices, depending on the individual’s preferences and those of their doctor or naturopath. If you’re seeking natural alternatives, you’ve come to the right place. That said, always consult with a professional with regard to your mental health and treatment options. 

The same way magnesium can help with sleep, it can also mitigate symptoms of stress and anxiety by regulating the production of cortisol. Cortisol is the fight-or-flight hormone, linked to the body’s response to stress. Magnesium regulates a number of hormones in the fear centres of the brain and influences the activity of the adrenal system. 

Some people experience mental health complications in relation to their sleep. Sometimes, insomnia is a symptom of depression/anxiety, and sometimes those things are triggered by a lack of sleep. ATP, the main energy carrier within your cells, relies on magnesium. This relationship is key to distributing energy appropriately in the body. To avoid disrupting your sleep patterns, magnesium will boost GABA to help you sleep, and boost energy so that when you’re awake, you can be your best self. 

Some studies suggest that depression may be linked to magnesium deficiency, although others suggest that more research is needed to support this. In some people, magnesium supplementation may ease certain symptoms of depression and anxiety. 

New research from Kagoshima University in Japan indicates that the way the body processes linalool, the main component of lavender, is perhaps different from what had been widely believed. Linalool is responsible for the distinctive taste and aroma of lavender. Previously, it was believed that linalool was inhaled and then absorbed through the lungs into the bloodstream, reaching the neurons in the brain that way. Benzodiazepines (allopathic sedative drugs used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and epilepsy) target the same receptors, but lavender does so naturally. 

This study showed that contrary to that theory, linalool affects the brain through smell. This was confirmed when they tested mice who were unable to smell and showed no effect. They also tested mice who had been treated with Flumazenil, which blocks the receptors previously thought to absorb linalool. 

The outcome of these tests resulted in the conclusion that lavender provides an anti-anxiety effect, without impairing movement, like other anxiety treatments. 

Why Topical Magnesium with Lavender?

Taking your magnesium with lavender essential oils topically allows for the mineral to exert the same positive effect, without the laxative result of taking it orally. For some, this is optimal. 

It will also allow you to take advantage of the soothing lavender fragrance to quell anxiety, muscle aches, and send you off into peaceful sleep. 

Sources

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23950577/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25748766/

Magnesium Absorption Through The Skin

by May 28, 2020

In previous posts, I’ve talked about high magnesium needs and what to do if you fall into that category, whether because of your size, health or lifestyle factors. I briefly introduced the benefits of using topical, or ‘transdermal’ magnesium to boost your intake.

Now, if you’re just starting out with topical magnesium, you may be wondering how to use it.

There are three different products in our topical line, and each is slightly different.

Let’s start with the easiest.

Magnesium Chloride Spray

Natural Calm Canada’s crystal clear, odour free Magnesium Chloride Liquid is a brine from distilled concentrated sea water that feels like an oil.

Our Magnesium Spray is a diluted version of the full-strength product (see below), and it comes in a convenient spray bottle for instant application. If you’re looking for a product that can be applied directly to the skin, the spray is a great option.

How much should you use?

In 10 sprays, or 1 ml, there are 60 mg of elemental magnesium and 90 trace minerals. To give you an idea of how you might distribute this across the body, here’s a quick guide:

1 spray each top of foot = 2
1 spray each bottom of foot = 2
1 spray each front of calf = 2
1 spray each back of calf = 2
1 spray each front of thigh = 2
1 spray each back of thigh = 2
1 spray each glute = 2
1 spray each hip = 2
1 spray lower back = 1
1 spray midback = 1
1 spray each side of upper back = 2
1 spray each shoulder = 2
1 spray back of neck = 1
1 spray each bicep area = 2
1 spray each forearm = 2
1 spray upper face/forehead (covering eyes) = 1
1 spray lower face (covering eyes) = 1
1 spray each side of upper chest = 2
1 spray abdominal area = 1

If you follow this guide, you’ll apply 32 sprays to your entire body, and over 180 mg of highly-absorbable magnesium chloride.

Allow the Mag Spray to air dry before putting on clothing. It isn’t necessary to rinse, but if you wish to do so, wait 20-30 minutes after application, to allow the product to really soak in.

Use daily!

Magnesium Chloride Gel

Magnesium Chloride Gel is topical magnesium designed for massage. Like the spray, Magnesium Chloride Gel can be applied directly to the skin, without sensitivity for most users.

Magnesium Chloride Gel contains the same magnesium chloride as the spray, but combined with a ‘carrying agent’ called Amigel.

As you can imagine, the carrying agent holds the liquid magnesium in more viscous form. Instead of forming a thin layer on the skin, like the spray, the gel holds the magnesium in a thicker layer on the skin, while the body absorbs the mineral.

People love Magnesium Chloride Gel for relief from tense muscles, aches, pains and other symptoms of magnesium deficiency.

How much should you use?

In each ml of gel, there are 60 mg of elemental magnesium and 90 trace minerals. So, if you were to measure out 1 tsp (5 ml), you could expect to apply 300 mg of magnesium to your skin. That’s concentrated!

Magnesium Chloride Liquid

Magnesium Chloride Liquid is a more concentrated version of our spray product. It’s twice as strong as the spray, and has a cap instead of a spray top.

Unless you’re a seasoned user, try diluting the product at home before use. Mix the Magnesium Chloride Liquid with pure water and rub into the skin, or add it to your own spray bottle and apply as above.

You can also add full-strength Magnesium Chloride Liquid to a bath, or a foot soak.

For application to the face, try using a cotton pad and wiping the Magnesium Chloride Liquid over the skin. It’s a great toner, helps with dry, rough skin and is purported to activate anti-aging DHA.

Seasoned users can try pouring a small amount of Magnesium Chloride Liquid into their cupped palm, and applying directly to a larger surface area, like the torso.

Allow the Magnesium Chloride Liquid to air dry before putting on clothing. It isn’t necessary to rinse, but if you wish to do so, wait 20-30 minutes after application, to allow the product to really soak in.

How much should you use?

There are 120 mg of elemental magnesium and 90 trace minerals in 1 ml of the full-strength Magnesium Chloride Liquid (that’s 2x the magnesium of the spray). Try adding 5 ml (1 tsp) to a bath

Use daily!

Pro-tip: Make a Compress!

Above we’ve described the basic application for these products – simple, convenient ways to use topical magnesium. But if you have a particularly painful or tense area of the body, you may want to try a hot compress.

  • First, spray or rub the topical magnesium into the affected area.
  • Then, take a small towel and wet it in hot water (as hot as comfortable).
  • Place the hot towel over sore area, on top of the magnesium, and allow the heat of the compress to drive the magnesium into the skin.
  • When the compress cools, repeat.
  • Do this process three times if preferred.

Works like a charm!

Let us know if you have any questions or comments on using our magnesium chloride products.

Transdermal Magnesium: Magnesium Cream for Aches and Pains

by May 28, 2020

Adapted from the Calmful Living online magazine, with permission from Natural Vitality, the US makers of Natural Calm magnesium.

Summertime means active time. It can also mean exercise overtime. Sun and warm air often lure us to hike, swim, bike or walk a bit further than our bodies are prepared for. As a result, aches, pains and stiffness can ensue. This is where magnesium can help.

If you’re familiar with using Epsom salts for aches and pains, you already understand how topical magnesium can help. Research shows, however, that Epsom salts are not as well absorbed as topical magnesium chloride.

Magnesium Chloride Cream/Balm

Our NEW Magnesium Chloride Balm is a topical cream containing magnesium chloride, natural coconut oil, raw shea butter and beeswax.

Rich, emollient and high in muscle-relaxing magnesium, “Calm Balm” can ease discomfort associated with muscle overuse. Simply apply MagTherapy Magnesium Chloride Balm to any area that’s tense, stiff, inflamed or in pain.

The magnesium chloride and moisturizing ingredients also soothe, protect and hydrate skin – with remarkable staying power!

Consider keeping a jar in your car or gym bag. Athletes can use it after a workout.

Anyone with leg cramps or restless legs can rub MagTherapy Balm into the legs and feet at night. Just allow it to absorb before hopping in bed or put on socks and pant-length pajamas to protect your sheets from the oils!

And for kids, MagTherapy Balm is a great solution for working out those growing pains and easing overused muscles.

Try it and let us know what you think!

Transdermal Magnesium as a Natural Analgesic

by November 7, 2019

Adapted from the Well.ca post “Why You Totally Need Topical Magnesium” with permission from the author, Anna Bolton. 
As the fourth most abundant mineral in our bodies, magnesium has a role to play in everybody’s  health and well-being, but especially those who experience chronic pain or sore muscles.
People take magnesium supplements orally, in the form of tablets, capsules, drinks, or even gummies, and it’s true that no matter what form you choose, magnesium can help manage pain.
But there are specific benefits to using magnesium topically.
Topical magnesium delivers the magnesium your body needs for pain relief in a convenient form. One of the main benefits of topical use is that the magnesium bypasses the digestive system. This can be helpful for anyone who has trouble processing and absorbing magnesium orally, at a therapeutic dose.

Benefits of Topical Application

While soaking in an Epsom salt bath is a relaxing and enjoyable method of absorbing the magnesium your body needs, it’s also time-consuming.
For those who are on the go, fast and effective options can come in the form of topical magnesium creams, balms, gels or sprays.
Topical magnesium can also supply your body with high levels of magnesium in a short time, without the laxative effect you can get with a high dose of oral magnesium. This makes it a fitting option, particularly for anyone who struggles taking larger amounts of magnesium orally.
If you have problems absorbing magnesium through the gut, taking it topically could be just what you need to boost your magnesium levels and avoid the risk of digestive issues or problems processing your needed dosage.
Essentially, topicals are a convenient method of absorbing the magnesium your body needs. They bypass the digestive system, giving an advantage to anyone who has trouble processing and absorbing magnesium beyond a certain amount orally.

Topical Magnesium for Pain Relief

From muscle tension to migraine pain, magnesium absorbed through the skin moves quickly into the bloodstream, allowing us to feel its results quickly and effectively.
Inside your body, magnesium is used to block calcium and help muscles relax. Magnesium deficiency would mean that muscles are less regulated and not relaxing as easily. This means that keeping your magnesium levels up will help relax your muscles, decreasing muscle soreness, spasms, and cramps.
Additionally, studies suggest that magnesium can also act as a nerve pain reliever. Simply put, one of the primary contributors to pain is the over-stimulation of a brain chemical named NMDA. Magnesium can subdue this activity naturally, and will provide relief from a number of different afflictions.
When in pain, you may find that higher doses of magnesium provide more relief.  But taking a large dose of oral magnesium (e.g. over 200 mg) at one time can have a laxative effect. Our bodies aren’t really meant to absorb high doses of magnesium at one time. If people were eating high magnesium foods regularly, they’d be getting their daily dose spread out over the course of the day.
In order to avoid this effective with a big oral dose, try a topical magnesium cream, gel, liquid or spray.
Our Magnesium Chloride products can be applied topically to wherever you’re feeling achy — Natural Calm enthusiasts often tell us that topical magnesium has helped them get relief from sore muscles, cramps, spasms, restless legs syndrome, arthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain, migraines, painful eczema and more.
Given its versatility and simplicity, topical magnesium is something to keep on hand  at all times.

How Much Magnesium Should I Apply?

Since your kidneys take care of extra magnesium in your system, it is unlikely that you will ever use too much. Kidney diseases are an exception, and in those cases, caution is advised. On the whole however, there have been no reports of magnesium toxicity through topical application.
Just do what feels right and reap the benefits. If you have any questions, you are welcome to consult our Ultimate Guide to Transdermal Magnesium, or contact us with specific questions anytime at info@boltonsnaturals.ca.

Which Type of Magnesium is Best for Me?

It’s important to remember that most types of transdermal magnesium are made with magnesium chloride. Extracted from evaporation ponds in California, Natural Calm’s magnesium chloride comes from purified seawater bursting with vital minerals for your wellbeing.
Magnesium chloride liquid is our most concentrated form, meaning you’ll see the rewards with just a half teaspoon per use. Still, it can easily be diluted with any natural oil, water, or any lotion you’d like, then massaged into tense or painful areas.
If you feel itchy or tingly, it’s the natural seawater at work — nothing to worry about. Rinse away your magnesium chloride 20-30 minutes after use, or use extra moisturizer to minimize the effect.
MagTherapy gel, spray, and balm products are ready-to-use, already diluted options that are gentler on children, and an excellent alternative to those with more sensitive skin.
We like to say, ‘think of magnesium chloride like seawater’. It’s hard to have too much! We don’t think you should sweat over the amount you use. If you’re feeling more relaxed, getting relief from pain, and sleeping well – it’s working.

Sources

  1. Teitelbaum, Jacob. “Magnesium for Pain Relief.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 16 Sept. 2010,  www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/complementary-medicine/201009/magnesium-pain-relief.
    Renee, Janet. “Magnesium and Nerve Pain.” LIVESTRONG.COM, Leaf Group, www.livestrong.com/article/502435-magnesium-and-nerve-pain/.
  2. Raman, Ryan. “What Does Magnesium Do for Your Body?” Healthline, Healthline Media, 9 June 2018,  www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-does-magnesium-do#other-benefits.
  3. “Transdermal Magnesium Therapy.” Ancient Mineralswww.ancient-minerals.com/transdermal-magnesium/.

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