Few things compare to the satisfaction of a purchase that provides aesthetic value and promises improved health and wellness. Perhaps this is why Himalayan Salt Lamps have eased their way into the heart and soul of the vulnerable, wide-eyed retailer. They are beautiful and provide endless claims of better health. However, in all honesty, these promises tend to fall short and frequently lead to those spontaneous purchases we eventually come to regret. And more importantly, are Himalayan salt lamps safe? Do salt lamps really work?
Like countless products before the salt lamp, they appeal to our desire to have our cake and eat it too. Stringing us along with the promise to provide serene mood lighting while bestowing loads of health benefits thanks to the negative ions it’s said to emit. If you think that it’s a pretty tall order for a lamp, you might be onto something.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Are Himalayan Salt Lamps Safe
For the most part yes. Of course there are some safety concerns any time you use something to heat something else. Whether it’s a candle, a toaster oven, or a Himalayan salt lamp; there’s a chance opportunity for a fire if you don’t follow instructions. If you do purchase a salt lamp use read the warnings and use responsibly.
But, what about the actual function of the lamp. Is it safe to use? We have not found anything overly convincing that says a salt lamp is a health hazard. After all, most are a light bulb and salt. Both of which you probably have in your home right now. So, are Himalayan salt lamps safe? We’ll go out on a limb and say “probably” but only if used correctly. Do salt lamps really work? We’ll get to that later, but first lets nail down what they actually are first.
What are Himalayan Salt Lamps?
They are lamps sculpted out of hand chiseled solid blocks of ancient crystal salts mined in Pakistan and India, in the vicinity of the Himalayas. After being carved into lamps, a light bulb or a candle is placed inside to illuminate the salt crystals.The result is that the crystals which are usually orange, pink or off-white give out an attractive soothing light. But that’s not all… this salt and light combination is also credited with providing various health benefits. Which are all linked to ‘positive energy’ in the form of negative ions that allegedly bring oxygen to the brain, reduce indoor pollution and boost immune system functions.
So, What Do Himalayan Salt Lamps Do Exactly?
Manufacturers and retailers rave about the lamp’s ability to improve breathing problems and reduce allergies, increase relaxation, improve the ability to concentrate and work for long periods around electronic gadgets.
They are also credited with…
- Emitting negative ions that counter positive ions to improve moods.
- Increasing oxygen flow to the brain which combats lethargy.
- Offering protection from airborne toxins.
- Lowering blood pressure thus reducing the chance of heart attacks and strokes.
Do Salt Lamps Really Work?
The claims focus primarily on the production of negative ions. Allegedly salt crystals are capable of absorbing water molecules from the air. When they do there is an additional claim that the salt lamps attract not only water vapor but its attached pollutants. Once attached, the compounds remain on the salt, detoxifying the air. But it doesn’t end there. The light source also heats the water which releases powerful and beneficial negative ions as it evaporates.
Overly positive online reviews aside, the idea in itself is only slightly short of ludicrous. There isn’t even scientific evidence that Sodium Chloride, a stable compound can absorb toxins through the air, or produce ions when heated.Every claim that Himalayan Salt Lamps can impart myriad health benefits relies on the singular assertion that a block of salt, with a light source inserted within, will naturally emit negative ions and magically absorb toxins from the environment.
This claim has no supporting evidence whatsoever – and while the explanation sounds very scientific, there is no scientific proof backing the bold proclamation. Most of what you’ll see online are anecdotal experiences from retailers and bloggers trying to move a product. Granted, you will find a few unbiased reviews like those at The Bleeping Motherhood Blog who explains that while their sleeping patterns may have been mildly affected by the lamps, it is not the one-size-fits-all solution to every life problem.
We think that expecting your lamp to reduce indoor pollution, alleviate asthma, improve concentration, improve skin and somehow boost your immune system is too much pressure for a lamp – it’s really just a lamp, made out of salt.
Why would you need those negative ions?
Between the use of electronic devices and HVAC systems, the human body is exposed to surprising amounts of positive ions which are a byproduct of operation and electrical discharge. Positive ions appear to lead to a number of health problems, and it appears that our pace of technological advancement is primarily responsible for the lack of ion balance experienced – so, the concern to provide negative ions to counter the effects of positive ions is a valid one. The use of a Himalayan Salt Lamp to achieve this, however, is questionable.
Here’s what you can use instead
If you want to produce negative ions and purify the air; check out a purifier like this one. It will work much, much better than a lightbulb and salt.
When it comes to ionizer-equipped purifiers we think Alen’s Breathesmart line offers the best bang for your buck. For a reasonable price, the Fit50 version offers great looks (13 front panel designs), solid performance (900 Square Feet), and an optional filter gives is outstanding odor and gas fighting abilities (3 lbs of activated carbon).
A high-density corona discharge negative ion generator may not be a bad idea to purchase if you’re looking to introduce some ‘positive energy in the form of negative ions’ to your home. Plus, the amount of negative ions this type of device generates in an hour will certainly take the Himalayan Salt Lamps days or weeks to produce – if at all.
There are also indoor air purifiers equipped with ion generators, just make sure that they aren’t producing ozone as well.
Do Himalayan Salt Lamps Cure Anything?
For what it is worth, you may find nothing else quite as effective in dealing with your need for cozy mood lighting.
While these lamps may, in fact, produce negative ions – the idea that these are sufficient to benefit health is the equivalent of suggesting that you can empty a swimming pool one tea cup at a time; it might at first seem plausible but examining the claim within the scope of the context might lead one to begin singing different tune altogether.
If you absolutely have to buy a Himalayan Salt Lamp, make your purchase strictly for their decorative value; they do look really beautiful. And it isn’t too crazy to tell yourself that their orange or pinkish glow is somewhat calming or relaxing. Just don’t expect anything too life-changing.