Himalayan salt lamps remind me of the campfire ambience with their beautiful orangey pink glow.
Essentially a Himalayan salt lamp is a large piece of pure pink Himalayan salt that has been hand carved. The ‘lamps’ have a hollowed out centre to enable a small globe to be fitted inside to emit both heat and light. They are usually sold as ‘rough’ pieces (like the ones in the picture).
Although these lamps emit light, they usually aren’t bought for this. In fact, people usually buy them for their health benefits.
So let’s look at some of these so called benefits…
Some of the purported benefits:
- Air purification: Salt is a hygroscopic material, meaning it attracts water molecules from the air. This water vapour can also carry air pollutants like mould, bacteria and allergens. Once the water vapour comes in contact with the salt lamp, the pollutants are believed to stay trapped in the salt. Because the lamp is heated, the salt dries out and is able to continue the cycle.
- Reduction in allergy and respiratory symptoms: With respect to allergies, the mechanism of action responsible is thought to be similar to that for air purification. In addition, some people have found salt therapy to be an effective option for relieving symptoms of lung disease, resulting in easier breathing. This healing benefit was discovered back in Poland in the 1800’s. A doctor noticed that workers at a salt mine did not suffer from lung disorders that were common at that time! These days you can buy Himalayan pink salt inhalers and ‘salt caves’ like this one are available to visit for therapy. There are some published clinical trials on the benefits and you can read more about how it is said to work here.
- Neutralisation of electromagnetic radiation: Cordless phones, mobile phones, laptops, tablets, computers, radios, modems and the list goes on. We are surrounded these days by so many ‘devices’ that emit electromagnetic radiation (EMR) in the form of ‘unhealthy’ positive ions. There is plenty of data to support non specific symptoms people experience from EMR exposure as well as serious longer term side effects. Himalayan salt lamps are said to emit negative ions in small amounts. To what extent these negative ions ‘cancel out’ the positive ones remains to be seen. We’re not sure if they are powerful enough to neutralize the EMR but there is no harm in gleaning the benefit, no matter how small.
- Improved sleep: The ‘amber’ glow is ideal in the hours before bed as exposure to too much ‘blue’ light affects our circadian rhythm, sleep and health. You can read more about this in a previous post I wrote.
- Improved mood and reduction in stress: Said to be a result from the soothing colour and light emitted which provides a calming and happy presence in a room. Some sources also suggest it’s the higher amount of negative ions that contribute to this as well. But again, it’s difficult to know how many are being generated and if this makes a difference or not.
Why would I buy one?
Here are some of the reasons you might like to consider…
- They look beautiful! I find just looking at the lamp relaxes me. Something about that campfire glow?!?
- They are an ideal night light source for the sleep promoting benefits as outlined above.
- They actually might work! Although they aren’t proven effective from the modern science, ‘evidence based’ perspective, they may actually help you or a family member. You might be one of those people who are positive it is responsible for improving a health conditon. And you definately wouldn’t be alone. There is also truth in the so called ‘placebo effect!’
What to look for
True Himalayan salt is mined from the Khewra salt mine in the Punjab region in Pakistan….so it’s a bit misleading as they aren’t exactly from the Himalayas! Here is a quick reference on how to tell if it’s a fake. Many of the salt lamps you see for sale aren’t in fact true Himalayan salt ones.
I have a few scattered around the rooms of our house. I can tell you that they make perfect lamps for children’s bedrooms. In addition to the benefits they exude, the soft glow is perfect to help children relax before naps and bedtime. I initailly found this out as all the globes I tried in the lamp in my son’s room were just far too bright, even those with low wattage. I put a Himalayan pink salt lamp in his room and it’s been perfect.
Truth or fiction? Buy one and find out for yourself.