I have been hearing about the benefits of Himalayan salt lamps for a while. This Christmas I was fortunate enough to receive one as a gift! Now I can tell you first-hand about their benefits! If you are curious, This is the Himalayan Salt Lamp I received.
What is a Himalayan Salt Lamp?
Salt lamps are essentially just large pieces of salt with a bulb inside creating a lamp. Himalayan pink salt (HPS) is only found in Pakistan and is mined from the Himalayan Mountains. While it is called Himalayan pink salt, these lamps are actually range in color from light pink to dark orange. The shapes are also irregular because they are hand-cut from the salt mines.
One of the main claims of Himalayan salt lamps is that they create negative ions which help purify the air. I have found that they do this (but in minimal amounts) and also have several other wonderful benefits! I love my Christmas gift! Let me explain why…starting with the whole negative ion, air purifying thing!
What are Negative Ions?
Don’t go by the name. There is nothing negative or unhealthy about negative ions!
Here is a little refresher from high school science class. A negative ion is an atom or molecule that has a negative electrical charge because it’s total number of electrons is fewer than the total number of protons.
We like to think that all things positive are better, but in this case, negative ions are actually better for us!
Negative ions are odorless, tasteless, and invisible molecules that we inhale in abundance in certain environments. Think mountains, waterfalls, and beaches. Once they reach our bloodstream, negative ions are believed to produce biochemical reactions that increase levels of the mood chemical serotonin, helping to alleviate depression, relieve stress, and boost our daytime energy. Says WebMD
Negative ions also clear the air of pollutants such as dust, mold, other airborne allergens and other unpleasant odors by attaching to them and making them too heavy to stay in the air and be inhaled by us.
We live in an area where we frequently have forest fires which produce lots of smoke. I have had great success with cleaning our air with an ionizer like this Ionic Air Purifier. (I couldn’t find the one we actually own since it is quite a few years old). However, ionizers like this produce many, many more negative ions than a salt lamp does.
Do Salt Lamps Produce Negative Ions?
Yes. They just don’t produce that many.
Waterfalls are the place that you will find the most negative ions in nature. That’s why you feel so refreshed when you are around them. It isn’t just the beauty and natural setting. Waterfalls have 25,000-100,000 negative ions per cubic meter, depending on the size of the waterfall.
By contrast, urban air has 250-750 negative ions per cubic meter. Normal indoor air has about that same amount.
A medium sized salt lamp weighing 6-9 pounds produces about 950-1050 negative ions per cubic meter. So, yes, it will increase the amount of negative ions in a room. Will you feel like you are standing next to a waterfall? Not exactly. But you could feel like you just opened the window at a cabin in the mountains.
Benefits of Himalayan Pink Salt Lamps
1. Great Lamp or Nightlight with Amber Light
Amber light is what our body needs after dark. It helps trigger melatonin production and sync our circadian rhythm with day and night, causing us to sleep when it is night and be awake and alert during the day. However, with modern technology, we illuminate our houses with light during the evening to increase our productivity throwing off our bodies natural cycles!
Just think about it. Before there was electricity, candles, lanterns and campfires were the lights after dark. All amber light.
Blue light from computer screens, tablets and phones is the worst kind of light for us at night! The sun contains lots of blue light which is very important for us to get during the day, but blue light after dark confuses our bodies. That’s why I’m trying out these amber blue light blocking glasses when I use technology at night. Keep a lookout for an upcoming blog post!
Himalayan salt lamps contain the amber light that our body needs at night! This is a great option for a nightlight in kids’ rooms. In fact, you can even buy a Himalayan Pink Salt Lamp Night Light that isn’t as bright as a medium-sized salt lamp. Although, if you have a smaller piece of salt the air purifying abilities of the lamp will be less.
We tend to keep our salt lamp on all night in the living room just in case someone needs light to see at night (which frequently happens with our I-don’t-like-to-sleep 3 year old).
2. Cleans the Air
As I said before, they do work as air purifiers producing negative ions. One of the other benefits is that it is hygroscopic. This means that it absorbs water from the surrounding area and then this water evaporates quickly because of the heat from the light. In fact, in humid conditions, salt lamps are actually a little damp. This process also cleans the air of mold, bacteria and other allergens that may be present in the air due to humidity.
3. Good for Allergies and Asthma
Salt air is known for its ability to soothe nasal passages and ease respiratory conditions. It is the same concept as the Neti Pot that I have written about before. In fact, I use Himalayan salt in the saline solution that I put in my neti pot. I find that inhaling the salt air created by the salt lamp is soothing!
4. Mental Health Benefits
Negative ions are good for cleaning the air, but they have also been found to have an antidepressant effect. The research is still preliminary, but negative ions seem to create positive vibes! Just how many negative ions we need to do this is still in debate, but more negative ions is not a negative thing! Also, the amber light is a soothing light hue and may boost your mood, especially if you have seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Beware of Fake Himalayan Salt Lamps!
It’s not as obvious as a man who walks up to you on the street with dozens of watches hanging from his opened coat…
Here are things that you should look for in a real HPS lamp:
1. The origin of the salt lamp is Pakistan
Real Himalayan Pink Salt is only found in Pakistan. If the manufacturer says it is from somewhere else, it is not a real Himalayan Pink Salt lamp.
2. It is fragile
Salt lamps are fragile since they are just a big hunk of salt! If you drop yours and it doesn’t have any damage, chances are it is a fake.
3. It has a warm glow
If your salt lamp illuminates the whole room but is also super heavy, it is probably a fake. Real HPS diffuses light well and creates an amber glow, regardless of what it’s natural color is on the pink to orange spectrum.
4. The manufacturer has a good return policy
Manufacturers understand that HPS is fragile and can often be damaged in shipping, so they have good return policies! If you don’t see a good return policy, avoid that lamp!
5. It is damp when the air is humid
Salt lamps are hygroscopic so they are constantly attracting water from the air. If it is a rainy summer day and your lamp isn’t damp, it probably isn’t real.
What Himalayan Pink Salt Lamp Should You Buy?
Luckily, there is a lamp on Amazon that is backed by over 10,000 positive reviews, so you can be confident that you are getting a real Himalayan Pink Salt Lamp! If you are looking for a salt lamp, consider buying this Himalayan Pink Salt Lamp!
In summary, Himalayan salt lamps don’t appear to be a cure-all for anything, but their amber light combined with the negative ions that they produce is enough for me to contemplate adding them to every room of our house!
Do you have a salt lamp? Have you experienced benefits? Share below…