Himalayan Salt Lamps [Benefits & Risks]
What are Himalayan Salt Lamps?
Himalayan salt lamps are decorative lamps made from pink Himalayan salt. These lamps come in all shapes, sizes, and styles and their popularity has increased in recent years as they are believed to have many health benefits.
The health benefits of Himalayan salt lamps include cleaning the air in your home, reducing allergies, boosting your mood, and helping you sleep. However, some people argue against these claims saying they are not backed by science. In this article, we’ll explore the various health benefits of Himalayan salt lamps, the science behind them, and their side effects.
Genuine Himalayan salt comes from the Khewra Salt Mine in Pakistan. The salt is believed to be formed millions of years ago and due to the presence of trace minerals like magnesium, potassium, and calcium, the salt gets its distinctive pink color.
In the salt lamp, there are crystals of Himalayan salt placed around a light bulb.
How do Himalayan salt lamps work?
They work by emitting negative ions.
Let’s take a minute to better understand negative ions.
All matter (the human body, air, water, soil etc) is made up of particles called atoms. Atoms group together to form molecules. When an atom or molecule has a positive or a negative charge, it’s called an ion.
Atoms are in turn made up of 3 types of smaller particles :
- Protons (positively charged)
- Electrons (negatively charged)
- Neutrons (neutral)
Electrons (negative ions) orbit around the nucleus of the atom, like planets around a star.
When an atom or a molecule is positively charged, it’s called a positive ion and when negatively charged, called a negative ion.
Every once in a while an electron jumps out, it leaves behind an ion (i.e. a charged atom) which in this case is positively charged, and its sole purpose becomes to refill the void left by its little missing electron.
So the positive ion wants to steal an electron from another molecule to become neutralized.
What salt lamps do is emit negative ions both day and night, which stick to the positive ones (those that have lost their electrons) and neutralize them.
Himalayan salt lamps benefits
1. They clean our air
This is the best-known feature of salt lamps. They have incredible power to remove dust, pollen, tobacco smoke, and other pollutants from the air.
How do they clean the air?
They purify the air through the power of hygrometry, that is, they attract water molecules from the environment and absorb them, and with it any foreign particles they may have.
As the lamp heats up from the heat produced by the bulb inside, that same water evaporates back into the air and the trapped particles of dust, pollen, and smoke… are trapped in the salt.
The scientific research however fails to determine whether salt lamps are beneficial or not when it comes to cleaning air)
2. Reduce allergy and asthma symptoms
Because they remove microscopic particles of dust, mold, mildew, and the like from the surrounding air, placing a lamp or two in rooms where you spend the most time can reduce allergy symptoms.
Even people who suffer from asthma can notice a big difference after a week or two. In fact, Himalayan salt is so good for the respiratory tract that it is even sold in inhaler format.
These two studies have tested the effectiveness of negative ions in asthma.
3. They protect our lungs
By continuously breathing in a large number of positive ions in the air, the cilia (microscopic hairs) that line our trachea slow down and have a harder time keeping polluting particles out of our lungs.
And negative ions have the effect of increasing ciliary activity, helping to keep our lungs clean and protected.
That is to say that salt lamps help our bodies filter air more efficiently.
As we have seen before when the lamp heats up and begins its cycle of cleaning the particles in the air, it also changes the charge of the molecules that are released, that is, it absorbs positive ions and expels negative ions (the ones we find in pure nature).
Most of our homes are full of positive ions, which are not particularly good for our health. The main source of positive ions is electronic devices.
4. Increases energy
Taking a walk in the countryside, or on the beach, camping in the mountains, or taking a quiet shower early in the morning are little things that can revitalize us.
It’s no accident that all of these activities expose us to increased concentrations of negative ions. Negative ions increase the flow of oxygen to the brain; resulting in increased alertness, decreased sleepiness, and increased energy.
Studies have found that negative ions can increase the serotonin level which upregulates our mood.
On the contrary, positive ions discharge our body of energy.
If you feel tired and don’t know why, put a Himalayan salt lamp or candle holder in the room or rooms where you spend most of your time (even at work). When a week has passed, you will surely notice a difference.
5. Help counteract electronic radiation
Today most of us live in a kind of ocean of electromagnetic radiation (EM) that arises from all the electronic devices that surround us (television, computer, mobile phone, tablet, music devices)
Although it may seem that they do not affect us, the long-term effects of this type of radiation can be very serious.
Studies show that constant exposure to EM radiation increases stress levels, causes chronic fatigue, and reduces the body’s immune response, among other things.
The negative ions that Himalayan salt lamps emit help to counteract EM radiation. That is why it is convenient to have one near the television, the computer, and other electrical devices that you use frequently.
6. Help you sleep better
Another side effect of overexposure to positive ions in the air is that it affects the quality of our sleep.
This happens because the positively charged particles can reduce the supply of blood and oxygen to the brain, which can lead to irregular sleep patterns.
Since Himalayan salt lamps generate natural negative ions, they help reduce this problem.
That is why it is convenient to have one in the bedroom as well.
If at night you cannot sleep with a light on, it is enough to keep the salt lamp on all day, and at night just before going to bed turn it off. It can also be a fantastic night light.
7. Improve mood and concentration
We have already seen that the effect of negative ions on the body improves the supply of blood and oxygen to the brain and other organs, and also provides an increase in the release of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that makes us feel happy.
All this naturally affects our mood; it can help us to relax and rest but it also improves our concentration.
That is why a salt lamp is very suitable in any space where work that requires concentration is carried out.
8. They reduce static electricity in the air
Salt lamps also neutralize ionized particles in the air that cause static electricity. Something that is not harmful to health, but certainly very annoying, when the lint sticks to your shirt or combing your hair becomes difficult.
9. They are an environmentally friendly light source
They are completely natural lamps, they use low-watt bulbs that consume little energy, and if we don’t want them to be electric, we can use candle holders that have the same effect on the environment.
Himalayan Salt lamp Warnings
1. Salt can cause toxicity in pets
If a cat or a dog licks the salt on the lamp, it could cause salt poisoning. This is observed specially in cats. The curiosity of these animals makes them lick the salt from the block with which the lamp is built.
An intake greater than 16 mg per day can cause them to vomit, have diarrhea or even have convulsions and fall into a coma.
You can prevent this from happening by placing the lamp inaccessible to your pets.
2. Overheating and fire
Like any other electric equipment, salt lams carry the risk of fire if get overheated. In fact, in 2017, 80,000 salt lamps manufactured by Lumiere were recalled by Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) due to defective dimmer switches which could cause a fire.
Make sure to choose a lamp with good build quality.
As I have mentioned above, salt in the lamp will draw moisture from the air. When the lamp is operating, the temperature will cause water to evaporate.
However, if the lamp is switched off, evaporation doesn’t happen and water with salt will drip down the lamp and can corrode the underneath surface. Here’s how you can fix a leaking Himalayan salt lamp.
Tips to use the Himalayan salt lamp safely
Keep the lamp on as long as possible so that negative ions are generated and it does not accumulate moisture.
Do not place salt lamps near sources of steam such as a dishwasher, washing machine, or in the bathroom. Salt can melt with prolonged exposure to high humidity.
It is important to keep the lamp clean of dust. From time to time you can clean it with a soft cloth.
Care must be taken that the lamps are not within the reach of children due to their high weight, when handling them they could suffer some damage or blow.
FAQs on Himalayan salt lamps
Where does Pink Himalayan salt come from?
Genuine pink Himalayan salt comes from the Khewra Salt Mine in Pakistan.
Do Himalayan salt lamps actually work?
Yes. The benefits of Himalayan salt lamps have been tested in multiple studies and found to have positive results for their ability to reduce stress and increase serotonin levels.
Are Himalayan salt lamps safe?
Yes. Himalayan salt lamps are safe and there are no harmful effects on your body. The bulb however can overheat so make sure to get a good lamp with a quality bulb.
Are Himalayan salt lamps safe for cats?
The negative ions emitted by Himalayan salt lamps have no harmful effects on cats. However, cats can’t eat salt and you have to keep the lamp away so your cat won’t lick the salt in it.
What are the side effects of Himalayan salt lamps?
The side effects of Himalayan salt lamps include corrosion of the surfaces from salt when the lamp is switched off, fire hazards from overheating bulbs, and salt toxicity in animals if they eat the salt.
What are the spiritual benefits of Himalayan salt lamps?
The pink salt used to make Himalayan salt lamps is a type of healing crystal called halite. Halite is believed to have numerous healing properties, including purifying the aura, clearing negative energy, and cleansing other crystals.
In feng shui, Himalayan salt lamps are believed to draw sha chi (negative energy) out of spaces and objects and help balance yin and yang.
Do Himalayan salt lamps melt?
Yes. Your Himalayan salt lamp will melt if you keep the bulb switched off. To prevent this always keep the bulb on.
Where to buy Himalayan salt lamps?
You can buy them at your local gift shop or online. Make sure to get a lamp with authentic Himalayan salt coming from Khewra Salt Mine in Pakistan to enjoy its full benefits.