The benefits of Himalayan salt lamps have been researched more thoroughly within the past few years. There have been claims that they purify the air, calm allergies, promote better sleep, and raise energy levels. But are these claims true? Do Himalayan salt lamps actually work? We will explore the effects of Himalayan salt lamps and how to use them properly in this blog post.
What are Himalayan Salt Lamps?
Himalayan salt lamps are beautiful decorative lights, composed of the pink salt of the Himalayas. They give off a soothing pink glow when lit. These lamps can either be carved from a large salt rock or made by placing multiple chunks of pink Himalayan salts over a light bulb. Authentic Himalayan salt lamps are developed using the salt sourced from the Khewra salt mines situated in Pakistan.
The reason Himalayan salt is pink is due to its composition. White table salt is made of Sodium Chloride (NaCl), elements essential to our body’s function. And even though Himalayan salt is also made mostly of sodium chloride, it contains other essential elements including magnesium, potassium, and zinc. These elements all work together in synergy to maintain essential body regulation, including the health of our heart and brain! These health benefits are obtained by consuming Himalayan salt, which I use instead of traditional table salt.
Three main health claims of Himalayan salt lamps are that they cleanse the air, improve your mood, and enhance your sleep. Let’s look at each of these more closely.
Do Himalayan Salt Lamps cleanse the air?
One of the prime claims related to health benefits of Himalayan salt lamps is that they cleanse the air and environment. Salt naturally attracts water to itself (the scientific term is “hydroscopic), so the science behind this claim is simple. Salt attracts water particles in the air, water particles travel and collect dust and allergens. Those dust and allergens are no longer “floating” in the air for us to breathe and instead are deposited on our Himalayan salt lamp.
This is true, however the traditional salt lamp in the home is small. Therefore the best way to get this benefit is to place multiple lamps in one room. If you would like to use Himalayan salt lamps for air purification, place 3-4 in a main living area. For people suffering from severe allergies or underlying chronic lung disease, you can use Himalayan salt lamps in conjunction with air purifiers and natural plants. (I have included specific light sizes based on room dimensions in a table below)
Do Himalayan Salt Lamps Promote Healthy Sleep and Improve your Mood?
The claim that Himalayan salt lamps promote healthy sleep and decreases stress is based on the “negative ion” theory. There are “charged ions” in the atmosphere and if you remember your high school science, these can either be “positive ions” or “negative ions.” If you want to learn more about this in-depth, I have included a video that has an excellent explanation to the science behind it.
But basically, “positive ions” are put into the air from cosmic rays and electronic devices (such as microwaves, TVs, computers) and they can affect our stress levels, allergies, and even our sleep. Himalayan salt lamps are one of the naturally occurring items that produce “negative ions” to counteract the bad effects of positive ions. Other things that produce negative ions are waterfalls, beaches, and lightning which may be one of the reasons that being outdoors makes us feel refreshed.
Generally speaking, negative ions increase the flow of oxygen to the brain; resulting in higher alertness, decreased drowsiness, and more mental energy,” says Pierce J. Howard, PhD, author of The Owners Manual for the Brain: Everyday Applications from Mind Brain Research and director of research at the Center for Applied Cognitive Sciences in Charlotte, N.C.
“They also may protect against germs in the air, resulting in decreased irritation due to inhaling various particles that make you sneeze, cough, or have a throat irritation.”
So is it a myth that Himalayan Salt lamps produce Negative Ions?
They actually might, but there isn’t a significant amount of research showing that Himalayan salt lamps produce negative ions. The negative ions produced by Himalayan salt lamps are much less than the amount of negative ions that you are exposed to while taking a walk after a storm.
One resource has suggested leaving a salt lamp in the kitchen near the microwave will help to counter balance the positive ions produced. Another option would be to place the lamp next to the bed to help with air purification as you sleep. This also provides a nice ambient glow as a nightlight.
Then Why Would I Buy a Himalayan Salt Lamp?
There are 3 reasons that I have a Himalayan salt lamp that I find beneficial:
- Himalayan salt lamps are hydroscopic: They do attract water vapor molecules and can “clean” the air by carrying dust, mold, and allergens to the lamp itself
- Himalayan salt lamps create ambiance: these lamps also create an environment and an atmosphere of relaxation which helps us unwind and decreases stress.
- They may decrease air allergens: Himalayan salt lamps also attract the various pollutants in the air which neutralize the environment
- Himalayan salt lamps may create negative ions: which counter balance the harmful effect of positive ions in the air, especially from household products such as microwaves
What Size of Salt Lamp is Recommended?
Below is a table with room dimensions and suggested coordinating Himalayan Salt lamp size *Table Source
|Small Room (Small)||5-7 lbs||7-8″ high||5-7″ wide||Treats 10×10 sq ft|
|Large Bedroom (Medium)||9-11 lbs||8-10″ high||6-8″ wide||Treats 12×12 sq ft|
|Living Room (Large)||12-15 lbs||9-11″ high||7-9″ wide||Treats 14×14 sq ft|
|Recreational Room (Extra Large)||40-50 lbs||13-15″ high||11-14″ wide||Treats 30×30 sq ft|
How do I choose the Best Himalayan Salt Lamp?
Genuine Himalayan Salt lamps are the ones that are made in Himalayan salt from Pakistan. You want to choose a natural Himalayan salt lamp that is rich in color and heats up well with the proper bulb. This will give you the best chance at getting any positive effects from the hydroscopic and negative ion nature of the lamp.
Instructions for Himalayan Salt Lamp Care and Special Considerations
- The best way to clean a Himalayan salt lamp is to wipe it down every week with a damp cloth
- I do not recommend that you eat or lick your Himalayan Salt lamp. If you want to get the health benefits, I would swap Himalayan salt for your traditional table salt
- Keep it turned on a majority of the day and night so that it heats up properly and attracts water particles and produces negative ions
- Choose a verified Himalayan salt lamp that has genuine Himalayan salt from Pakistan
- Using the proper light bulb is also essential for ensuring generation of health benefits from Himalayan salt lamps as not all the light bulbs can generate appropriate heat and warmth necessary.
- Choose a lamp that is rich in color as this indicates a higher concentration of elements
What about Himalayan Salt Rooms and Caves?
So now that you understand the science behind the claims of Himalayan salt, you can see why Himalayan salt rooms and caves have become more popular! Himalayan salt rooms and caves contain a massive amount of heated Himalayan salt that do release negative ions into the air. These meditation rooms are a great option, especially if you live somewhere with gloomy winter months. These rooms and caves promote higher alertness, increased energy levels, and increased ease of breathing. Just Google “Himalayan salt room near me” for resources in your area.
So what is the verdict?
Himalayan salt lamps can be very useful and are great to have in your home as long as you are aware of the claims and science behind them. They definitely create a beautiful glow and are soothing for your home. The science is favorable that they attract water vapor molecules in the air, which can aid in air cleansing. And they may also put out a small amount of negative ions which can benefit both mood and sleep. For more information about the benefits of Sleep, Meditation, and Exercise, please visit my other blog posts.