Himalayan Salt Lamps Explained: Healer Or Hype?
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I have to admit, the first time I heard the term Himalayan Salt Lamp, it sounded magical to me – kind of like a cross between a spa treatment and Aladdin (two things that I’m quite partial to) – and turns out, I wasn’t completely off target. If you’ve ever seen one, you’ll know that they actually do look quite magical. I love all kinds of cool lamps, so it was pretty much guaranteed that I would love Himalayan Salt Lamps. They add a gorgeous, amber glow to your room, giving it a tropical feel – as though you’re on vacation! But it isn’t just for looks – these lamps can help clear the air in your home, and help you to live a calmer, more relaxed life. Sounds too good to be true? I thought so too – but keep reading to discover the benefits these lamps could bring to your home and all the people inside it.
WHAT IS A HIMALAYAN SALT LAMP?
A Himalayan Salt Lamp is a lamp that is made from a piece of carved Himalayan salt mined from under the Himalayan Mountains in Pakistan. The salt piece is then hollowed out, so a source of light can be placed inside (either a candle or a light bulb), and it gives off a soft glow. You can get these lamps in rough forms, or carved into different shapes like a flame, an egg or even a heart!
HOW DOES A HIMALAYAN SALT LAMP WORK?
It’s well-known that salt attracts moisture, which is good news for your home. There’s water vapor in the air, which is carrying with it nasties like dust particles, pollen, bacteria or viruses (especially now, in the winter!) – basically, stuff you do not want to be breathing in. The good news is that if you have a Himalayan Salt Lamp in your living room – besides having a pretty accessory on your coffee table, you’re also less likely to get sick. This is because the moisture (and by extension, the germs and other things it’s carrying) get stuck to the lamp instead of floating through the air, where you breathe it in since salt is hygroscopic (attracts moisture). The heat from the lamp will eventually release the water vapor back into the air – but the other particles will stay stuck to the lamp. The effect is clean, safe air in your home (and an artsy display).
Another reason you’d buy a Himalayan Salt Lamp is that of the negative ions it releases. Due to our heavy use of electronics, most of our homes have lots of positive ions floating about – which, unlike their name suggests, are not things we would want to have around. When there are too many positive ions in the air, they begin to clog up the tiny hairs (cilia) that line your windpipe, which makes it harder for them to keep your airway clean and free of contaminants.
A Himalayan Salt Lamp can help fight against this because it absorbs the positive ions in the air together with the water molecules. At the same time, it expels negative ions, which clear the air of dust, pollen or other allergens.
ARE HIMALAYAN SALT LAMPS SAFE?
You may have heard about Himalayan Salt Lamps being recalled because of faulty cords that ran the risk of fire or shock. The truth is, those kinds of dangers have more to do with the company and manufacturing than the actual salt lamp itself.
To adults, salt lamps have no known dangers. However, if you have a pet or a young baby, it’s not a good idea to keep your lamp in a place they can reach. Animals like dogs or cats will lick a salt lamp out of curiosity, which could result in salt poisoning. A baby, as well, will suck anything that looks exciting and is within its reach. But that doesn’t mean that you should throw away your lamp: just keep it in a sufficiently high place, and your baby and pet will be 100% safe (and so will your Himalayan Salt Lamp!).
HIMALAYAN SALT LAMP BENEFITS EXPLAINED:
Himalayan Salt Lamps have a surprising number of benefits, some of which might really surprise you if you haven’t yet come across one. One problem with your electronic devices, besides interfering with your airways, is the electromagnetic radiation (positive ions) that gets released, which can lead to serious effects in the long-term, like a compromised immune system, chronic fatigue, and even serious diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s. It’s a good idea to keep a salt lamp near the TV or laptop to counteract the positive ions with negative ones that the lamp releases.
The hygroscopic effect of the lamps (which I mentioned earlier) is important to note if you suffer from asthma, hay fever, or other seasonal allergies because polluted air is one of the worst triggers. If you have a Himalayan Salt Lamp in your home, the pollen and dust in the air get carried and stuck to the salt lamp, which means they’re no longer in the air – which means your hay fever is going to be nowhere near as severe as it might have been without your lamp. Because of the negative ions the lamp releases, it also has a soothing effect on people with asthma, as it clears your airways.
Another benefit of the Himalayan Salt Lamp, which is again due to the negative ions it releases, is the fact that it gives you more energy. Ever noticed that after your morning shower, you seem to have a boost of energy? That’s because running water is a significant source of negative ions, which are known to give you energy. While a salt lamp won’t give you quite the same amount of drive; after a few weeks, you should notice that your energy reserves last longer than usual.
Surprisingly, Himalayan Salt Lamps also have the opposite benefit of improving your sleep. That’s because, while positive ions interfere with your sleep, negative ions restore blood and oxygen to your brain and allow you to sleep better. Plus, the glow is soothing and relaxing, making it easier for your mind to relax and for you to fall asleep. People who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) are also said to benefit from the lamp’s sunlight-style glow, which helps them get through the dreary winter months. Even if you don’t suffer from an extreme form of winter sadness, we can all get down in the dumps sometimes – but Himalayan Salt Lamps are known to improve your mood, because of the improved oxygen and blood flow to your brain, coupled with serotonin (that feeling we identify as “happiness”).
HIMALAYAN PINK SALT LAMPS EXPLAINED: ARE ALL HIMALAYAN LAMPS MADE OF PINK SALT?
By definition, Himalayan Salt Lamps are made of salt from the Himalayan Mountains – which is pink. It could also be a similar color, like various shades of yellow, orange and red, and will give off a soft, colored glow. You might find a salt lamp that is made of white Himalayan salt, but it’s rare and will be very expensive. If you find a white Himalayan Salt Lamp for the same price as a pink or similar-colored one, you know that the salt lamp is a fake – it isn’t made with Himalayan salt.
HIMALAYAN SALT LAMP SIDE EFFECTS EXPLAINED:
As long as you’re purchasing your lamp from a reputable company that manufactures its products safely, there should be no negative side effects from your Himalayan Salt Lamp. One issue that is important to stress is that a salt lamp is most definitely not a cure-all. While it can have overall benefits, don’t believe everything you read – and if you do have a health condition, be sure to seek medical attention; don’t rely on the lamp’s healing powers.
DO THEY REALLY WORK?
The problem is that there whenever there are five people claiming that something works, there are another five people assuring you that it’s absolute baloney. While some people are swearing that their Himalayan Salt Lamp truly helped them, others are saying that they saw no difference. Because there hasn’t been enough research in the matter (and the research available is divided), we can’t know for sure if Himalayan Salt Lamps are really all they’re cracked up to be. But I say, why not buy a lamp that may possibly be improving your mood and health, and that of your family? In the very worst case, you’ll just have treated yourself to a beautiful accessory that adds a touch of class to your living room. In other words – if you have nothing to lose, then why not?
WHERE CAN I BUY A HIMALAYAN SALT LAMP?
Himalayan Salt Lamps can be bought from many websites, as well as sites like Amazon.com. Before purchasing, I would read the reviews, so you can get a good idea of whether or not a company is reputable and delivering on their claims. If you prefer shopping at an actual store, you should be able to find these lamps at your local Walgreens or Target.
Considering the claims, Himalayan Salt Lamps definitely seem like a fun and hopefully healthy addition to any home. Do your research to find out if it’s a good choice for you, but in general – even if the health benefits are not as potent as people might think – Himalayan Salt Lamps are a harmless, but pretty accessory that can dress up a room. And come on, we all feel happier when we get something new! They make the perfect gift for a friend or family member; and, who knows, they might just find their mood, sleep and breathing improving within a few short weeks. Now you know why!