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Recently there have been a number of Himalayan Salt Lamp products coming on the market and more buzz around how they can benefit indoor spaces. As with any health and wellness trend there are those who swear by them and their claims; and others who are skeptic of any benefit. Part of this has to do with all the “too good to be true” claims that is often attributed to a product with little to no scientific testing or evidence.
What are Himalayan Salt Lamps?
Himalayan salt lamps consist of a large salt crystal that is mined from the Khewra Mine in Pakistan near the Himalayan Mountains that is hollowed out. A light bulb, or possibly a candle, would be placed inside for light and heat. And this unit would be placed on a base, usually made of wood.
Generally the salt lamp is a pink to pinkish-orange color, although it is possible to be white which is rarer and would be more expensive. The salt crystal should have an irregular surface that is rough-hewn, not a smooth polish, as this increases the surface area of the salt block. Although, some choose the aesthetics of the smooth polished lamp over the functionality.
Himalayan salt lamps have been used for centuries in Asia and Europe. In recent years, the popularity of Himalayan salt lamps has grown in the USA.
There are many known benefits to Himalayan salt due to the high levels of minerals and trace elements. Himalayan salt lamps are another product that captures the benefits of Himalayan salt.
5 Health Benefits of a Himalayan Salt Lamp
1. Air Purifier
Helps to freshen air when you are unable to open windows. The Himalayan salt crystal that is used to make the lamp is hygroscopic. Which means that it absorbs water from the air in the surrounding environment.
These water molecules that are in the air attach to various particles such as dust, pet dander, pollen, mold, allergens and even bacteria. The light in the lamp, when in use, dries out the Himalayan salt crystal and the water is returned to the air in a vapor form, without the contaminating particles that remain trapped within the salt.
2. Creates a Relaxing and Calming Environment
Creates a cosy relaxing and stress free environment. Versatile design that works great in spa, yoga and massage environments. As well as a unique and visually interesting feature in offices, on coffee tables, nightstands, desks, shelves or dressers. The Himalayan salt lamp emits a lower light that is warm and inviting.
Traditionally, a Himalayan salt lamp is a large salt crystal that is lighted from within. However, there are some variations that are coming on the market now, such as a salt fire bowl or a wire basket with salt chips that are illuminated, giving the look of burning coals. There are also candle votives made out of the Himalayan salt to produce the same effects of a lamp.
3. Reduces Electromagnetic Radiation to some extent
In our environment today we are exposed to many technological advances, which is great from an ease of living perspective, but over all can impact us negatively. Primarily in the form of electromagnetic radiation or electrosmog. Basically, our appliances and technology in our homes such as televisions, computers, cell phones, microwaves, refrigerators, laptops, hairdryers and chargers produce harmful positive ions into our environment.
As studies continue to be done we are finding out the toxic effects of electromagnetic radiation on the human body, anything from various forms of cancer, fatigue, illness and even dementia. The negative impact can even be from smaller devices that emit a low level of radiation (remember hearing all the breast cancer stories from women who carried their cell phones in their bras?).
Negative ions in the environment counteract these harmful positive ions. Negative ions can be found in nature, this is why driving in the country or hiking in the woods is so refreshing. There are more negative ions around water sources such as waterfalls and the beach. As water evaporates negative ions are released and with the crashing water with the waterfall or waves there is friction that also releases negative ions. In our home, taking a shower can help to produce negative ions.
Some call the negative ions produced the “vitamins of the air”. Some Asian countries sell appliances and other technology with a negative ion generator built in to help balance the positive ions they are producing in the home.
Himalayan salt lamps, as they dry from a heat source, emit negative ions. These help to combat electromagnetic radiation to some extent, however due to the size of the lamp only a portion of the electromagnetic radiation would be neutralized. Using multiple salt lamps in rooms or placing by technology can help.
If you are interested in improving your indoor space by increasing negative ions then you should consider a negative ion generator or ionic air purifier. These devices would be able to make a much larger impact to your home and overall wellness than a few Himalayan salt lamps.
4. Promotes Sleep
Himalayan salt lamps can help to promote sleep in a few ways. Having more ionized air in your home can help you sleep better so you wake up rested.
Using the Himalayan salt lamp, with the lower light, instead of regular lamps and overhead lighting in the evening hours helps your mind and body slowly rev down for sleep, especially by enhancing your natural circadian rhythm. This way when you actually go to bed, your body will be ready to go to sleep.
5. Eases Asthma/Allergy Symptoms
Himalayan salt lamps help to clean and freshen the air by pulling out allergins and irritants, which can help ease asthma and allergy symptoms. This is due to the hygroscopic effect mentioned above.
Also, Himalayan salt can be healing and soothing for colds, asthma, allergies and sinus issues when inhaled as when it is used in a personal Himalayan salt inhaler. A Himalayan salt lamp would produce these same results, but would be broader or diluted in a room versus concentrated in an inhaler.
Things to Consider when Purchasing a Himalayan Salt Lamp
ETL or EL Certified
Look for a Himalayan salt lamp that has or uses electrical components that are ETL certified (compliant with North American safety standards) or EL certified (indicates that it has been certified by the American safety consulting and certification company that does these assessments).
Use caution with the Himalayan salt lamps as you would with any other household lamp. These Himalayan salt lamps are often used on an ongoing basis for the beneficial hygroscopic cycle. As they are a lamp with a heat source, there have been reports of fire hazards and there have been some recalls. Please check the lamp periodically to ensure it is in good working order.
Country of Origin for the Salt Crystal/s
The Himalayan salt lamp should have a salt crystal/s from the Khewra Mine in Pakistan near the Himalayan Mountains. You should be looking for where the salt crystal is from when purchasing, not where it has been manufactured. It is possible that the country it was assembled in might not be Pakistan, so try to find information about the salt crystal/s, sometimes it might be necessary to contact the manufacturer for this.
Room Size Matters
Room size should be considered when purchasing a Himalayan salt lamp. Larger rooms, or rooms with a number of technology items, might need 2 or more lamps. Here is a rough guide for lamp weight and room size, but refer to specific manufacturer’s guidance for this.
5-7 lbs 10 x 10 square foot room
9-11 lbs 12 x 12 square foot room
12-15 lbs 14 x 14 square foot room
A feature that you might want to consider is a dimmer. Being able to dim the light emitted is a nice feature to have when low lighting might be needed in a space to create ambiance or for a nightlight. However, the dimmer feature should not be used most of the time as this impacts the lamps full ability to dry out and ionize the space.
If ordering online, depending on where, there might be higher shipping charges because of the weight of the salt crystal.
Things to Know about Using a Himalayan Salt Lamp
Keep in mind that these lamps are made from salt and will be fragile and easy to break or chip if dropped or hit with a hard object.
You want to make sure your lighting source produces heat as this would be necessary to dry out the salt to ensure a hygroscopic cycle of the salt absorbing the water particles from the air and drying out to then be able to absorb more. The Himalayan salt lamp should be warm to the touch. LED lights would not be effective in this type of lamp.
Needs to Be Used for the Benefits to Occur
As the salt attracts moisture in the air, it absorbs what it can. If the lamp is not turned on to heat and dry the salt crystal, the moisture will condense and “sweat”. It is possible for this moisture to run into the base of the lamp and cause an issue when turned on. With many things in life, use common sense and only use when you feel comfortable.
Humidity and High Moisture Environments
Due to the water absorption qualities of the salt, the bathroom and near moisture emitting appliances, such as a dishwasher and washing machine would not be ideal. If you keep the lamp in a high moisture environment there will be natural “sweating” or “crying” on the salt.
Cleaning Himalayan Salt Lamps
Follow manufacturer instructions regarding the care for your Himalayan salt lamp, but if not indicated you might want to clean every few weeks or so. Be sure to allow time for the Himalayan salt crystal to cool down after turning it off. Wipe dust and other particles from the lamp with a damp cloth.
Himalayan salt lamps are a great wellness item to add to any living space. The beautiful lighting creates a calming environment and there seem to be a number of health benefits.
Due to the size of the lamps, the impact might not be overwhelming but any positive changes to your environment is an improvement. Maybe some day there will be more interest in scientific studies that will provide confirmation of the many benefits that users share.
If you currently use Himalayan salt lamps, please let me know what impacts you have noticed and any tips you have for others who are using or considering using.
Disclaimer: For informational and educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you have a health concern, a medical condition, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or are taking any medication please consult your healthcare provider.