They look great. Add a warm glow to the room. And can also improve the air that you breathe. We’re talking about Himalayan salt lamps that have been steadily growing in popularity over the years. Himalayan salt lamp benefits in purifying air, reducing electrosmog, alleviating allergy and asthma symptoms.
While some people swear by Himalayan salt lamp benefits, others keep them in their homes just for their aesthetic value. And then there are others who feel that these lamps may end up posing as a risk to their well-being.
So, do Himalayan salt lamps actually work? And if they do, what are their health benefits? Let us learn more about Himalayan salt lamps benefits and claims.
What is a Himalayan salt lamp?
The Himalayan salt lamp is a wellness product that is created out of pink salt crystals that are native to the Himalayas. These salt lamps are made from the salt harvested from the Khewra salt mine in Pakistan. The salt sourced from this area is believed to be millions of years old.
Once mined, the large chunks of salt are hand carved into lamps, and then a light bulb is placed inside them. This lamp emits heat and light.
What gives Himalayan rock salt its distinctive color?
Regular salt is sodium chloride. Even Himalayan rock salt is 98 percent sodium chloride. However, it also contains magnesium, potassium, and zinc.
Different concentrations of these minerals give Himalayan salt lamps their distinctive color, which may vary from dark orange to shades of pink.
How does Himalayan rock salt work?
Salt is naturally hygroscopic, which means it attracts water molecules to itself. Since salt lamps are also big chunks of salt, they work by drawing water molecules.
The water in the air also contains allergens, pollutants, and even bacteria; they too get attracted to the salt lamp. The heat of the lamp dries off the water, leaving behind these allergens, which remain trapped in the salt.
This is the reason why people recommend that you should clean your the salt lamp a few times every week.
Some other experts believe that Himalayan salt lamp benefits are due to the creation of negative ions. Ions are compounds that carry a charge because they have an unbalanced number of electrons and protons.
They are produced naturally in the air during waterfalls, waves, storms, heat and natural radioactivity. Himalayan salt lamps also produce ions by attracting water particles that evaporate, and this creates negative ions (1).
It is however not confirmed if salt lamps produce enough ions to make a difference to our health.
Researchers have not tested these theories thoroughly. Though there is very little research that focuses specifically on Himalayan salt lamp benefits, these lamps can provide some of the benefits attributes to salt therapy.
According to the Lung Institute, salt has the following properties (2) –
- Loosens excessive mucus and speeds up mucociliary transport
- Removes pathogens
- Reduces IgE levels
Himalayan salt lamp benefits
Though no significant studies support Himalayan salt lamp benefits, many people swear by their positive effects on health. These are some of the claims made by the proponents of Himalayan salt lamps –
1. Purify air
Himalayan salt lamps claim to remove the pollutant in the air in your home. According to the American Society for Horticultural Science, ozone, the primary contaminant of outdoor air can also pollute the air inside our homes (3).
The Himalayan salt lamp can water molecules which are laden with allergens, pollutants, and even bacteria and dry them out. The salt of the lamp traps the contaminants and releases the purified water back in the air.
This constant process helps clean out the air in your home.
2. Reduce electrosmog
We are surrounded by gadgets like cell phones, laptops, and tablets that release electromagnetic radiation in the form of positive ions in the air. This electromagnetic radiation, also known as electrosmog, can lead to fatigue, stress and weak immune system.
There have been many studies on the harmful effects of electromagnetic radiation. According to scientific research, even low levels of radiation can lower immunity and lead to diseases like heart disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s and cancer (4).
Exposure to negative ions can neutralize electromagnetic radiation. Himalayan salt lamp benefits good health by emitting negative ions, which help balance out positive ions.
Balancing negative and positive ions encourages good health and reduces airborne infections.
3. Reduce depression
Many people like to keep Himayalan salt lamps in their homes for their mood-boosting abilities. These lamps release negative ions in the air, which encourages a relaxing atmosphere and sleep.
According to an experimental study with 20 healthy adults, short-term exposure to higher indoor air ion concentrations improved cognitive performance (5).
Researchers have also proved that when people with depressive symptoms are exposed to negative ions, their mood improves.
When these negative ions reach the bloodstream, they produce biochemical reactions that increase the level of serotonin which reduces repression and relieves stress.
According to color therapy, the warm pinkish glow from the Himalayan salt lamp has a calming effect in the room.
4. Reduce allergy and asthma symptoms
Many people who use Himalayan salt lamps claim it has helped provide relief from symptoms of allergy and asthma. This benefit is similar to the effect of salt caves during spa sessions.
Himalayan salt lamps benefit people with conditions like hay fever or allergic rhinitis. These lamps also reduce sneezing, coughing, and congestion.
Himalayan salt is used in inhalers to provide relief from allergy and asthma. Patients with the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease also find salt therapy very useful.
According to studies, salt therapy benefits include helping cases of mild, moderate and severe asthma, bronchitis, bronchiectasis and cystic fibrosis (6).
Why use Himalayan salt?
The table salt that we use regularly is stripped of all minerals and is bleached. Sea salt is also not very pure these days because our oceans have also become much polluted and they contain many toxins.
So, the only real salt available to us now is Himalayan sea salt which is mined from the ancient sea beds which do not have any environmental toxins. Himalayan sea salt contains 84 trace minerals, and it has many health benefits.
- It provides many essential minerals and trace minerals.
- Aids overall hormonal balance.
- Makes drinking water alkaline.
- Increases energy flow in the body.
- Supports thyroid and adrenal function.
- Is required to produce adequate stomach acid.
How to choose the right salt lamp?
If you want to add a Himalayan salt lamp to your home, look for these qualities in it.
- Colour – The darker the color of the lamp the higher is its quality. Also, make sure that it is specified on the lamp that it is made from 100 percent Himalayan salt.
- Size – These lamps can weight from anything between 5 pounds to 50 pounds. The bigger the lamp, the better is the effect.
- Rough surface – The hygroscopic potential of the lamp depends on its surface. Rougher lamps have higher surface area than the ones with a smooth and polished surface. The rough lamps are more effective than the smooth ones.
- Bulb – Heat is essential for this lamp to work correctly. So, use a heat producing bulb for this lamp and not an LED bulb.
Ways to tell if your Himalayan salt lamp is fake
Thanks to the Himalayan salt lamp benefits, they have become a popular choice these days. Unfortunately, the market has been flooded with many fake or lower quality salt lamps. Look out for these signs to find out if the lamp is a fake.
1. Fake glow
A real Himalayan salt lamp gives a low glow and not a very bright light. The glow should not be bright pink, orange or white; it should be a mixture of soft orange and pink. A radiant glow is a sign of a fake lamp.
2. Moisture resistant
One of the main Himalayan salt lamp benefits is that it absorbs moisture from the surrounding areas and purifies the air. If your lamp is real, it will sweat.
This process is called hygroscopy. Wipe your lamp with a dry cloth after using it for some time to check if it is damp. If the fabric is dry, your lamp is a fake.
Salt is fragile and can crumble under pressure. Himalayan salt lamps tend to chip off easily and can get damaged when dropped on the ground. If your lamp does not crack or break when dropped, it is a fake.
4. Inexpensive white lamps
The Himalayan salt lamps are usually pinkish-orange in color. White salt crystal lamps are rare and much more expensive than the pink-orange ones. So, if you come across a white salt crystal lamp which is cheaper than the regular pink lamp, it is a fake.
5. No mention of origin
Pink Himalayan salt is mined from the mines of Khewra in Pakistan. If your lamp does not mention the place of origin or mentions some other place, it may be a fake. Look out for the area of origin or place of assembly on the packaging of your lamp.
6. Poor return policy
Himalayan salt lamps are fragile and can get damaged in transit. A genuine manufacturer is aware of this and will have a good return policy. A scam artist will not permit any returns, beware of such sellers.
7. No benefits
If you have felt no benefits of the lamp even after using it for a considerable period, you may have a fake. With a real lamp, you will get real benefits like lower stress, better sleep, improved breathing and better mood.
Final thoughts on Himalayan salt lamp benefits
There have been no significant studies on Himalayan Salt Lamp benefits. However, according to the Lung Institute, salt provides many anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that are beneficial for health.
To enjoy all the Himalayan salt lamps benefits, make sure you buy a good lamp and not a fake. Genuine lamps are fragile and have a soft glow.