Himalayan Salt Lamp Review
We see them in the house of just about every health conscious person. But what are they actually doing? Himalayan salt lamps emit a soft, warm light that supposedly cleans the air of impurities. It makes such a pretty statement in every room of your house, but is that all they really are? I’ve got some shocking details on whether Himalayan salt lamps really work.
Spoiler alert, I’m still buying one! Read on to find out why.
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What is a Himalayan Salt Lamp?
A Himalayan salt lamp is just what you think it is. It’s a huge (or small, depending on whatever size you get) chunk of pink Himalayan salt with a light bulb in the middle of it (Like this one here). The light emitted through the pink salt gives it a nice, warm glow that many people find comforting to be around. However, there are no Himalayan salt lamps that actually come from the Himalayas.
Most real Himalayan salt lamps are actually from Pakistan, and they’re mined from the Kewhra salt mine. (source) They’re also mined in places like Poland and India. Why they’re called Himalayan salt lamps, I have no idea. It seems to be more of a marketing idea than anything.
What gives Himalayan salt lamps their pink color? The trace minerals that are mined along with the salt. It’s true that salt lamps are actually made of salt, which on its own is typically white. But there are other trace minerals in the salt lamps we see in stores, particularly iron oxide. And iron oxide is the scientific word for rust! Yes, traces of rust on the salt is what give it that beautiful pink color.
With Himalayan salt lamps being as popular as they are these days, you can get them in just about any shape or size. I’ve seen them as wax candle holders, stones you can hold in your hand, even ones that are as tall as I am (5’6″)! But the most traditional one you’ll find is what looks like a chunk of salt about one to two feet high that has its own unique shape. It usually has a little wooden base to keep it up, and also acts as the home for the lightbulb.
The Claim on Himalayan Salt Lamp Benefits
Now that we know what a Himalayan salt lamp is and where they come from, let’s take a look at their benefits. Do Himalayan salt lamps work as well as they say? Let’s find out.
Pink Himalayan salt lamps are all the rage because of one thing: Negative ions. When the salt is heated from something like a lightbulb, it fills the air with tons of negative ions. Why are these thing so important? You want the air to be full of negative ions rather than positive ions. Things like our phones, T.V.’s, and even a lightning strike give off more positive ions than our body would like.
Positive ions are considered bad for our health because they can cause stress, hinder sleep, and make us feel exhausted. So we counter-act these positive ions in the air by neutralizing them with negative ions. And Himalayan salt lamps are supposed to be a gold mine of negative ions when they’re heated by the light bulb. Right?
The Benefits of Negative ions and Himalayan Salt Lamps
When the air is more full of negative ions than positive ions, we start to feel better. This is an actual proven fact. (source) Negative ions are created by sunlight radiation, and moving elements, like air and water. That’s why we often feel happier near a river in nature. Although I do hate wind with a passion, but I digress.
Since Himalayan salt lamps are supposed to emit negative ions, they can help with so much more! The list of salt lamp benefits include:
- Improved mood
- Improved sleep
- Toxin-free air
- More energy
- Alleviate symptoms of the common cold
- Alleviate symptoms of asthma
- Sharpened concentration
Basically, the negative ions in the air will help create a more positive environment in your home. And a more positive environment is the remedy for a whole slew of health problems. We want better sleep, improved health, and cleaner air in our homes, don’t we?
Additonally, Himalayan salt lamps help clean the air by absorbing the moisture around it. This helps to clean the air of moisture that carries bacteria, or simply smells bad. So the negative ions don’t help so much with the clean air benefit, but the salt’s ability to absorb moisture is what really makes the room around it smell fresh and clean. But is all this really true?
The Research (Or Lack Thereof)
While all of these salt lamp benefits sound great, you have to admit that all of these things sound too good to be true. Do Himalayan salt lamps work up to par with these high standards according to science? The answer is unfortunately no. There is no research done whatsoever that proves Himalayan salt lamps give off negative ions.
This is another one of those situations on my Natural Myths Busted series where there is literally no scientific evidence found to back up a claim. The only thing I could find was a mentioning of a study here that involved an ionization center testing a salt lamp. The results were that the ions generated from the salt were so low they couldn’t be measured.
However, it is true that Himalayan salt lamps absorb moisture! But that’s not necessarily a good thing. Salt lamps absorb as much moisture as any other porous object, like cotton and regular table salt. And there’s no quality in a Himalayan salt lamp that makes it absorb any “contaminated” moisture. It’s actually better to keep moisture in the air, depending on where you live. If you live in a overly humid part of the world, I can actually see some solid reasoning behind getting a salt lamp.
And in case I missed anything, I found a nice little YouTube video that outlines everything in an easy to understand way. It’s actually what inspired me to write this post after my husband showed it to me one night. I really liked the creator’s sense of humor too. You can click it below to watch.
What I always find interesting about these health claims with no scientific backing is that people still reap the benefits anyways. Take a look at the comment section of the video I embedded above. I couldn’t believe how many people were saying that it still helped them in some way. So what are we to do with conflicting evidence?
You should do as I always say in these posts. You can try it if you like, but don’t rely on it at all. It’s true that people have written that they sleep better or their allergies have disappeared, but personal anecdotes from strangers on the internet is all we have to go off of. You should always trust reliable sources rather than the average Joe sitting at their laptop at home with no qualifications.
Just to be clear, I’m not bashing anyone who loves their Himalayan salt lamps. If it helps you in some way, that’s great! But you shouldn’t rely on it to help or cure anything. I’m also not above ditching something because it’s only been proven to have a placebo effect. So if having a salt lamp in your room makes you feel better despite everything I’ve said here, more power to you!
Real vs. Fake Himalayan Salt Lamps
Along that same vein, don’t worry about whether or not your Himalayan salt lamp is authentic. Neither of them have been proven to give their supposed benefits, so why waste your money on a chunk of salt that’s actually from Pakistan? I’ve seen authentic salt lamps run for hundreds of dollars! Seriously, there are better places to be spending your money.
Go to your local secondhand store or discount department store, like T.J. Maxx. You can usually find some discounted ones for pretty cheap. I plan on getting one at my local Ross because I always see them on sale for about $10.00. And that’s a much more reasonable price for a placebo effect.
So, Do Himalayan Salt Lamps Work? Are They Worth Buying?
The answer is a very clear no! But I’m still getting one anyway. Why? Despite the harsh lack of evidence on the benefits of Himalayan salt lamps, they’ve become a huge part of the health and wellness space. They’re in every zen space on Instagram, and people have begun to associate the sight of them with a feeling of relaxing calm.
Like I said before, I’m totally okay with trying something that has a strong placebo effect. And that seems to be the case for Himalayan salt lamps. It may be true that people who swear by these are experiencing only desired placebo effects, but there’s no way to tell for sure. Himalayan salt lamps are simply something you can try if you want, but you shouldn’t rely on it to cure anything.
Oh, and don’t go out and buy the most authentic Himalayan salt lamp you can find. It’s a huge waste of time and money. It’s great if you’re able to get ahold of some salt that actually came from the mines of Pakistan, but they’ll have the exact same effects of one that was mined or synthetically made here in the U.S. or elsewhere.
I’m still going to buy a Himalayan salt lamp when I move next month, because the warm light it gives off is very comforting, despite everything else. And they make such a cute statement piece on a shelf. Plus, all of my guests will make themselves feel calmer when the come to visit. I’ll just play it smart and buy one on sale at a discount department store.
Are you considering buying a Himalayan salt lamp? Do you love them already? Let me know in the comments below!
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