This Is Exactly Why Everybody Loves Salt Lamps

Photo: Breather

While they make attractive pieces for any room in your home, these illuminative devices are more than just decorative night lights. Himalayan salt lamps are helpful in filtering impurities from the air, among many other things. Here's everything you need to know about them.

What is a Himalayan salt lamp?

Himalayan salt lamps are made from pink salt crystals mined from the edge of the Himalayan Mountains—the only place where you can acquire authentic Himalayan pink salt. However, the lamps themselves range in color from light pink to pink with an orange hue, depending on the mineral concentration. The pink Himalayan salt crystals are mined, then hollowed out and fitted with a bulb to provide both light and heat. Himalayan salt rock lamps also come in baskets of crystal salt blocks with a light underneath.

People use these salt crystal lamps for a number of different reasons; Their soothing, pink glow can stimulate deep relaxation. They make an attractive and organic-feeling addition to home décor, creating a more balanced and mindful space. For these purposes alone salt lamps make a welcome addition to almost any home.

Himalayan salt lamps can help you create a more mindful space in your home. But did you know there are also some health properties and benefits associated with Himalayan salt lamps that can improve your mind, body, and soul? Here’s how they work.

How does a Himalayan salt lamp work?

Salt is hygroscopic, which is a scientific word meaning that salt attracts water molecules from the surrounding environment.

Water molecules float around in every room in your home. However, water molecules aren’t the only invisible substance hiding all around you. Alongside these water molecules are dust, pollen, mold, and other allergens. Even bacteria and viruses can hitch a ride on these water molecules.

A large block of salt, like a pink Himalayan salt rock crystal, works by attracting the water molecules in your room. In so doing, it also pulls in all the pollutants and contaminants attached to these molecules. The salt rock lamp helps to detoxify your room by capturing and holding these particles so they aren’t left floating around for you to breathe in. Then, as the bulb heats the lamp, the water vapor is released back into the air, but the rock salt lamp retains the contaminants.

Along with the hygroscopic benefits, Himalayan natural salt lamps are also said to release negative ions into the surrounding environment. For those curious, negative ions are simply oxygen atoms with an extra electron.

These negative ions occur in nature via the effects of water, air, and sunlight. Have you ever gone for a hike through the mountains or near a waterfall only to feel rejuvenated? Negative ions are partly to thank for that wonderful feeling. Nature has the ability to heal, and proponents of Himalayan salt lamps argue these pink salt rocks can mimic, to an extent, the feeling you get from being outside.

Photo: Paolo Toffanin

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Are Himalayan salt lamps safe?

All naturally occurring minerals contain trace amounts of heavy metals. These heavy metals, like lead, are found in the air, soil, and food. Only when lead concentrations reach high levels do they start to pose a threat to your health.

Because these metals can exist on salt particles, many worry salt lamps could pose a threat. While true that pink salt can contain these heavy metals, they do not contain enough to pose a health risk. Especially because they aren’t being ingested. So unless you plan on licking your Himalayan salt crystal lamp every day, you’ll be fine.

However, what does not pose a threat to humans can be harmful to your pets. Too much salt can be toxic to many kinds of animals, like cats and dogs, so it would be wise to keep Himalayan salt lamps out of the reach of any household pets who may want to sneak behind your back and have a taste when you aren’t looking.

In January of this year, Michael's issued a recall on some of their salt lamps sold under the Lumière brand. Rest assured, the issue and recall had nothing to do with the Himalayan salt itself but reported hazards with the dimmer switch and plug. If you’re looking to purchase a lamp, talk to the retailer and make sure it has been assembled properly and that the piece you’re interested in was not included in the recall.

Lastly, be sure to purchase authentic Himalayan salt crystal lamps so you can get the full health benefits, but also avoid health concerns with artificial and counterfeit devices.

What to look for in a salt lamp.

As mentioned earlier, there are many different types of salt lamps that range in color to style. Among the most common are lamps created by inserting a light source directly into a salt crystal or a basket of crystals with a light source underneath. In these cases, the differences are for the most part purely aesthetic, and your choice comes down to finding the right solution for your tastes and complementing the environment in your home.

That being said, one thing you will have to keep in mind is making sure you avoid purchasing a fake Himalayan salt crystal lamp. Most salt lamps emit a soft, warm glow. Be leery of lamps that give off too much light. Also, some crystal lamps are white. Himalayan white crystals do exist but are rare and expensive. So if you find a white crystal lamp and a low price, be cautious. Lastly, make sure the crystal was mined from Kewra, Pakistan, or elsewhere along the Himalayas—the only place where true Himalayan salt is found.

Photo: Paolo Toffanin

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Top 7 Himalayan salt lamp health benefits:

Collecting air contaminants and releasing negative ions in the home can have powerful healing properties and health benefits. Here is a short list of just some of the possible benefits of having a Himalayan pink salt lamp in your home:

1. Purifies the air.

Proponents of Himalayan salt lamps boast that these salt rocks have the ability to remove pollen, dust, smoke, and many other types of contaminants.

In 1843, Dr. Felix Boczkowski, a physician at the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland, noticed low incidences of respiratory conditions in the salt miners. He began writing about the benefits of salt dust and opened the first health resort facility at the Wieliczka Salt Mine.

Salt has become a common mineral to naturally heal and strengthen the body and mind. Having salt lamps in the home will help give you a purer atmosphere that is conducive to healthy living and improving your overall well-being.

2. Eases allergy and asthma symptoms.

Himalayan salt rock lamps may help provide some relief to people suffering from respiratory ailments by counteracting the negative effects of positive ions in the atmosphere. Furthermore, Himalayan salt rock lamps have helped remove the symptom-causing contaminants from the air, purifying the room and clearing their airways.

In fact, people are so convinced these pink salts are useful that there are Himalayan salt inhalers available on the market.

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3. Increases energy levels and reduces stress.

Another bold claim regarding Himalayan salt rock crystal lamps is their ability to help re-energize and revitalize the body.

It has been said that positive ions can drain your body of energy while negative ions help rejuvenate the body and mind. Once negative ions reach the bloodstream, they are said to produce biochemical reactions that increase serotonin, a chemical that helps to alleviate depression, relieve stress, and boost daytime energy.

Negative ions have also been shown to help in the treatment of seasonal depression. A study conducted by Columbia University found that when participants suffering from seasonal affective disorder were exposed to negative ions, 58 percent of them reported feeling better and a loss of their usual symptoms.

4. Helps you sleep better.

Not only do positive ions drain energy levels, they can also stop you from replenishing them because of lost sleep. Positively charged particles can reduce the supply of blood and oxygen to the brain, which can lead to irregular sleep patterns.

Along with helping to rejuvenate energy and mood, natural negative ions in the air can reverse sleep deprivation problems.

Just plug in your salt lamp throughout the day, or have it running at night while you sleep, and the room will transform into a haven of restfulness and help rejuvenate your body as you sleep soundly through the night.

5. Reduces electromagnetic radiation.

Like it or not, we live in an electrical word. And while the many devices and tools we use each day can help simplify our lives, they also leave behind electromagnetic radiation. Everything from your smartphone to your television can leave traces of this radiation. Think of it as electrosmog in your home.

And while invisible, constant exposure can lead to fatigue and stress and even weaken your immune system. Researchers have found that constant exposure to even low-level forms of this radiation can lead to a wide variety of diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.

Himalayan salt lamps act as an air ionizer, spreading negative ions that can help counteract and neutralize this radiation. In combination with spending time in nature, using a Himalayan pink salt rock lamp could help balance positive and negative ions.

6. Improves skin diseases.

Some skin conditions, like eczema, are adversely affected by the pollen count and dust levels in the home.

While purifying the air won’t single-handedly solve skin problems, it will certainly help eliminate some of the causes. When used in conjunction with other treatments, air purification can reduce symptoms.

Again, Himalayan salt rock lamps help collect the pollen and dust floating in the air, leaving behind a more purified setting.

7. Reduces static electricity.

Static electricity in your home is more than just an annoyance. Some people have claimed to suffer loss of sleep and dry eye irritation as a result of excessive exposure to static electricity.

Himalayan salt lamps are an energy efficient, natural way to help neutralize airborne particles. The neutralization of these airborne particles will help decrease the amount of static electricity in your home.

Owning a Himalayan rock salt lamp could be the perfect addition to creating a more mindful space and helping you live a more comfortable, natural lifestyle. Not only do these pink salt lamps provide a soothing, therapeutic glow to any room in which they’re placed, but they can help detoxify your environment by removing negative contaminants and leaving you with a more natural living space.

Bonus benefit: Creates a more mindful space.

Not only can these pink salt lamps help detoxify your environment by removing negative contaminants and replacing them with helping negative ions, but owning a Himalayan rock salt lamp could be the perfect addition to creating a more mindful space and helping you live a more comfortable, natural lifestyle.

Pink Himalayan salt rock lamps provide a soothing, therapeutic glow to any room in which they’re placed. They could be used as an integral part of an altar or simply tasteful design elements to improve any mystical and meditative space in your home. Whether you’re looking to improve the atmosphere in your home office or create a space that inspires the life you want to live, a Himalayan salt lamp could be the perfect solution.

Want to learn more about decorating for your best home life? Take mbg's course on home decor 101.

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