Sweet Dreams From Autism One
Olmsted on Autism: Welcome to Illinois

Tales from the Crib, Sulfur, the Missing Piece of Nerve Conduction

Epsom salt By Ronna Hochbein, OTR/L

Many docs and therapists who do biomed, seem to have missed the correlation between epsom salts (sulfur) and glutathione (gssh). All the docs typically recommend glutathione for detoxification (it is a tripeptide, produced in the liver, and typically decreased in sensory children and children on the spectrum)

I first noticed the correlation with my own son. At five, he was unable to imitate and motor plan even the simplest of hand song games-always resulting in tantrums. After our first gluathione IV (after driving 6 hours) my other two sons were sliding down a sliding board in their room (on their feet like they were surfing-i know-theyre boys sigh) and then vaulting over a barricade. With my poor kids low tone, it would be a feat to just make it to the top of the slide-the rest of it would be a pipe dream.

Well, he slid down,on his feet, jumped the barricade, and turned to me and yelled "I did it!"

Not a dry eye in the house that night.

SO-another case in point-from this very week.

Case study: T was adopted, and possibly vaccinated two times, once in his country of birth and once upon entry to the US. He presented with PDD.NOS (pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified) when I evaluated him.

I was called into see him to perform an auditory integration training evaluation (HERE) for info- and immediately referred the mom to a DAN physician. Parents of recovered children are always tortured, fiercely loving, tenacious and dangerous. (I am one-so I know the profile well!) Dangerous, meaning they will do anything they can to help their children improve.

This child saw a great DAN! doc for info-and was doing well, but still had many deficits. Recovery is a process, just like rehab from a million other neurological illnesses.

I suggested she read about epsom salts, based on Susan Owens work in sulfation chemistry.

Here was the progress report. (Printed with parental permission.)

Hey Ronna,

I know how excited you get when you hear from parents who give you glimmers of hope that their child is on the way to recover. I just have to tell you that T had one of his best weeks at school. Don’t get me wrong…we still have issues with focus, and lack of attentiveness. But, he was in a really good mood and received smiley faces all week; his focus in computer lab Thursday was one of his best ever finished his work early so had time to play on starfall. And then, here is what I found absolutely amazing…last night he was going to the bathroom and he said his tummy hurt and he said maybe after I’m done we can go upstairs and I can take a bath with that stuff and I can lay down in the tub. I said T does the Epsom salt make you feel better he said “yes it makes my tummy feel better, can I take a bath and lay down in the tub”?

Ronna, he has NEVER asked me to take a bath and he has NEVER lain down on his back with his head in the water. He ever wants the water to cover his ears. This is fascinating. He is also asking me when he sees me doing housework hey, Mom can I help you put clothes in the washer? Mom, can I help you run the sweeper. This is just unbelievable. And, it’s only been since May 6th that I started the Epsom salt I’m still using 1 cup Epsom salt for 30 minutes each day.

Also, on another note…we had his transition meeting with Generic Area School District and the Private school he is currently attending. This was to go over the ER and all the testing they had done. It was a very interesting meeting. I think T surprised everyone with his test results. His overall early academic and language ability as his knowledge of letters and numbers related to pre-reading and pre-math skills were significantly stronger than his vocabulary skills. His standard score on the early academic and language skills composite is higher than 42% of the children in the national norm group. He scored an amazing 124 in letter and work skills which blew everyone away. He does have scattered skills which is what makes him unique. But overall, everyone at the meeting could see that this little guy has made tremendous progress and continues to make gains. I told them this isn’t any surprise, we’ve been at biomedical since he was two and we got a jump start. We have way to go but I think they all saw something in T they aren’t use to seeing and that is real hope for “recovery”! They even commented that his original diagnosis really doesn’t fit and that was PDDNOS they feel he is definitely more towards Aspergers which again doesn’t surprise us since we see his diagnosis shifting as he heals.

I guess I’m just stunned that something as simple as an Epsom salt bath could help bring on more language, change mood, stopped the licking of his hands, the uncontrollable body movements aren’t as bad, he is still a little antsy but overall we definitely have seen a change and for him to verbalize it is icing on the cake! I’ll also be interested to see what the test results are from the urine organic acid test; and the cdsa; that you recommended when we visit Dr. B Either way, if it’s a yeast issue or neurotransmitter issue the Epsom salt baths seem to be helping.

So, somebody add Sulfur to your list of research studies. Specifically targeting maybe nerve conduction and also pre and post Bruinicks Oseretsky Tests of Motor Proficiency, and I'll bet we might have some statistical significance....A geek can dream.

Ronna Hochbein, OTR/L mom, fervent DAN student

Lee Silsby logo 09 The treatment category is sponsored by Lee Silsby, the leader in quality compounded medications for autism.



I LOVE IT! We started because I read about Phenol sulfur transferase (sp) It works wonderfully for both of our children! heres the link we also use it when we start to get sick and has seemed to shorten the flu for us.
Can't seem to find the one I love but it's on my blog.
Thanks for the article we are alwayse telling people about this

Marcy Rosch

You all may want to try Epsom Salt Cream. I use it daily on myself (for migraines). I did not notice any changes in my son, maybe he was too young when I tried it.
You get it online at www.kirkmanlabs.com, they call it Magnesium Sulfate cream.


My 11 year old son has Aspergers Syndrome. The diagnosis came this year as he has always been just on the cusp. We diagnosed him this year because he was becoming very anxious and having trouble at school. His diagnosis previously had just been ADHD. He takes no meds, could not tolerate them, took ritalin la in 1st and 2nd grade, then became anxious so it was discontinued. Since 1st grade, he has been on a diet free of artificial colors, flavors, msg etc (similar to feingold without the elimination of any fruits). We do not do gf/cf. He takes omega 3 fatty acids and a multi-vitamin (both by Dr. Sears), vitamin C and this year we started sublingual DMG after getting the diagnosis. Just 2 weeks ago I decided to give Epsom salt foot soaks a try. His focus in school improved greatly, his handwriting got a lot better after the 1st week, and he is also less anxious! He came home and has been talking about his conversations with other kids, something he almost never does. The last piece we added was Trienza enzymes. He is tolerating them very well and it is easier for him to have a bowel movement. Thanks for your website.


Wow,just heard of another mom doing this today and was not sure what it was all about. Then I came across this article. I'll have to try this for our son. Love to see all the positive post from others, as it gives a mom that is new to the world of Autism much hope.


Okay, first ever purchase of epsom salt for my son:) I have to add two things:
1. There is a new and more expensive, happily packaged epsom salt that is 9.99 at CVS. Right next to it is the cheaper CVS brand.

2. Ingrediants:

The expensive new packaged Epsom salt is 100% epsom salt. The cheaper stuff has zinc, and I would be very weary of adding zinc to my childs regimine since it is also neurotoxic.

So I bought expensive and my son was out of the bath in 5 mimutes. Go figure, he ususally stays there for 20 + minutes.

I'll have to check other brands to get rid of the zinc

Robin Nemeth


I get it at the store where I buy my groceries, in the drug and first aid section. Most drug stores will have it.


You can purchase Epsom Salts in many places. The best deal is CVS pharmacy. It's six pounds for $3.99-$4.39. (I'm a runner and use it for muscle soreness.)

Just note that MgS (Epsom salts), will also increase magnesium in the blood and improve calmness as well. Most Americans of all ages are low in magnesium and many are low in sulfur.

Great article!


***Where do you purchase epsom salt? Is the therapy for a child with PDDNOS/autism epsom salt baths?***
Matt, you can buy it anywhere. Local grocery stores usually have it in the pharmacy area. Walmart, Rite Aid, CVS, I buy ours at out Dollar General or Family Dollar down the street. Usually on the bottom shelves in boxes that look like milk cartons.
We use Epsom Salts on Riley when he's had an infraction on food or just when he's having a bad day. It calms him so much that by the time he's getting dried off from the bath, he's already falling asleep. Start out with a small amount 1/4 c or 1/2 cup in tub. We are at 1c per full tub now. I'm sure I could probably go higher but the 1 c seems to do the trick. I also add a Tablespoon of baking soda (aluminum free) to the bath...I was told this would keep it from drying his skin to bad because our Riley has severe eczema.
Hope that helps.

Julie Swenson

Matt, http://www.saltworks.us/shop/product.asp?idProduct=255 sells Epsom Salts for very cheap...it works out to about $1-2 per bath. Excellent quality product :) My son has PDD-NOs and we saw good results with it.

Epsom salts are an a amazing product....another amazing benefit was it worked wonders for my youngest son's eczema.


Matt - You can buy Epsom salt at any drug store, Target, and at many grocery stores too. It's cheap!


Where do you purchase epsom salt? Is the therapy for a child with PDDNOS/autism epsom salt baths?


Our son never used to lay on his tummy or back in the bath until we started putting in the Epsom salts. In fact, we remarked how funny it was to see him doing so when we started. He is still mostly non-verbal so we don't get to know what it's like for him. Now I know why.

Thank you!

Diane Farr

Ronna you are doing a fantastic job and I love hearing stories like that. I also remembering the "yeah, he's better, but..." and "you're probably looking at high functioning autism". I did not have to settle for less and don't let anyone else tell you different. If your T is like my T you will see the things balancing out. You may find T will end up being more coordinated than his brothers and does not end up being a genius in an area that you expected. Early on we expected Thomas to either go into the field of engineering or join the circus. Today, he is more of an art person. He's nine; plays the guitar, writes in his journal, and writes poetry. He's also madly in love with female class mate. I accidentally started to read a new journal of his the other day. He said this girl is "so hot that she's hotter than the sun". My T also likes epsom salt baths. He also requests apple cider vinegar baths when he has something like a cold. Myself, I find them for alkalizing to the body. Sometimes, it's the simple things that make a big impact.


I like my epsom salts baths quite a lot. I try to take a couple a week. For awhile I was going to the local fitness center--they have a dry and a wet sauna and I figured the sweating would do me some good. Then I got to thinking that I really do seem to feel a whole lot better just taking epsom salts baths at home, than I do after a couple of hours in the sauna. Cheaper, easier, and I think better.

^5 for epsom salts.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)