What are Himalayan Salt Lamps?
Himalayan salt lamps are made from crystals carved from amber-colored rock salt. In a variety of shapes they are either then hollowed out to fit a light bulb inside or a selection of pieces are used gathered around a light bulb in a decorative container. When turned on, the effect of the light coming through the rock salt gives out a warm, reddish-pink glow which is beautifully atmospheric. As their name suggests, the salt that these lamps are made from, comes from the Himalayas.
Having gained in popularity, there are many websites that will tell you they do more than just light up your room. Claims include things such as the lamps can boost mood, improve sleep, ease allergies, help people with asthma breathe better, and clean the air, among other benefits. Sound impressive, yet is there scientific evidence to back them up?
Negative ions are all around us in nature, but do Himalayan Salt Lamps give off enough of them to be able to have any measurable health benefits?
How Do Himalayan Salt Lamps Work?
Promoters say the lamps, when emitting their light, work in two ways:
- One is that they attract allergens, toxins, and pollutants to the warm surface of the rock, and therefore out of the surrounding air.
- And that they release negative ions. Some people believe negative ions in the air have health benefits.
Ions are constantly all around us in the air. Ever been up in the mountains, at the beach, or in a thunderstorm and felt a change in your mood? It might be the negative ions - molecules floating in the air or atmosphere that have been charged with electricity. Negative ions exist in nature in all sorts of places, including:
- ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun
- discharges of electricity in the air after a thunderclap or lightning strike
- wherever water collides with itself like a waterfall or the sea shore
- produced as part of the normal growth process for many plants
Many researchers of “negative ionization” have concluded that being exposed to negative ions can have positive effects. Part of this is due to the chemical reactions that ions have with your bodily tissues.
Commercial ionizers and purification systems also produce negatively charged ions and are sold on the premise that they create cleaner and more comfortable indoor spaces.
Mood and sleep.
Some people believe that negative ions ease stress, anxiety, and depression, and improve overall well-being. In some studies, negative ions at high concentrations did lessen depression slightly, but they didn't have much of an effect on anxiety levels or sleep.
Asthma and allergies.
The notion that negative ions may improve breathing has led to a few studies on the topic. In most of them, negative ions didn't ease breathing or asthma symptoms. They also didn't lower inhaler use in children and adults with chronic asthma.
Cleaning the air.
Negative ions do have some ability to clean harmful particles from the air. When ions build up on bacteria or pollen, they neutralize the pollutants.
Do Himalayan Salt Lamps Have Health Benefits?
Though the claims sound promising, so far there seems little evidence to prove that Himalayan salt lamps release enough negative ions to have any impact on health. Mostly the research so far appears to have used negative ions from other sources, not Himalayan Salt Lamps.
Though a small amount of pollutants in the air might stick to salt rock, these rocks don't have the same level of filtering ability of, say, charcoal, a common component of air filters. Having said that, any effects from using a Himalayan Salt Lamp are likely to be more obvious in a small room and more enclosed space, or if sited close to where you are sitting.
So to conclude: A Himalayan Salt Lamp will bring a nice decorative touch and a warm, inviting glow to your room, but there is no current research that proves emphatically that these lamps will improve your health in a big way. However, why not try one for yourself and you can do your own personal study? You could also try using your Salt Lamp with a timer plug to automatically come in in the evenings for a welcoming glow in the winter months when you return home from work.
Is it good to sleep with a Himalayan salt lamp on?
It is most likely that the main way a salt lamp contributes to a better night's sleep is through the light it gives off. The pink-red colour of the salt diffuses the light into a soft glow that mimics the sunset and helps you unwind.
Unlike blue light given off by electronic devices, warm-coloured light is conducive to relaxing and sleep.
A battery operated lantern-style lamp which will give out an attractive glow.
Fact or fiction? Himalayan salt lamps produce a lot of dust
The reason these lamps cleanse the air is because the negative ions they produce attach themselves to dust, pollen and dirt, which makes these particles heavier and more likely to drop onto the nearest surface...
Fact or Fiction? Himalayan salt lamps 'sweat' as they work
Since negative ions also attract moisture in the air, your lamp might leave a salt or water ring on your table after using it. To avoid this, keep your lamp on a coaster or a surface that can withstand moisture...
Come into one of our stores and buy a lamp yourself. Do you find any noticeable effects with it?
We'd love to hear how you get on!
Can I lick my salt lamp?
Well, whilst there may be people that say where is the harm in this as it is literally a lump of rock salt, we wouldn't recommend it. After collecting dust from the atmosphere it really won't be very hygienic.
Latest reasearch also shows that licking a salt lamp is likely to be poisonous to animals so please keep lamps away from pets.
Smaller salt rocks in a rock salt bowl make an interesting talking point on an occasional table, and give off a soft glow through the evening.
A selection of different Himalayan Salt Lamps is available from the Colour Supplies stores in Oswestry and Whitchurch in Shropshire, and Wrexham, Wales. These make an ideal gift and a great talking point!
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