Himalayan salt lamps are used as decorative lights in many homes. These lamps are carved out of punk Himalayan salt and are believed to possess various health benefits.
In fact, people who advocate for the use of salt lamps have claimed that they can sooth allergies, clean the air in homes, help you sleep better, and even boost your mood.
However, other people have questioned the validity of these claims. This article brings together all evidences of the Himalayan salt lamps, and sorts out fiction from facts.
What exactly are Himalayan salt lamps and why do people use them?
Himalayan salt lamps are created by placing a light bulb inside a bowl containing large chunk of pink Himalayan salt. These lamps have a beautiful distinctive look and emits a pink glow that is also warming when lit. Genuine Himalayan salt lamps are created from the salt harvested from the Khewra salt mine located in Pakistan.
Salt gotten from the Khewra area is believed to have been around for millions of years and even though it is a lot similar to regular table salt, it contains some minerals that give it a pink color.
A lot of people who purchase Himalayan salt lamps do so because they like the way these lamps look and they also enjoy the ambiance created by the pink light in their homes. Meanwhile, many other people find the health benefits these have supposedly have, quite alluring.
How Himalayan salt lamps work?
Salt lamps are believed to have plenty of health benefits because they are natural ionizers which means they can change the electrical charges in the air circulating around your room.
Ions are compounds that possess a charge because they carry an unbalanced number of electrons and protons. Ions are naturally produced in the air when there are alterations in the atmosphere. For instance, waves, waterfalls, storms, heat, natural radioactivity all produce air ions. Ions can also be artificially created by air ionizers that are commercially produced.
It has been suggested that Himalayan salt lamps may attract water particles that evaporate off during heating by the lamp and produce mostly negative ions with them. However this theory is yet to be tested. At present it remains unclear whether salt lamps produce meaningful amount of ions if at all they do produce ions.
What other health claims have been made about Himalayan salt lamps?
1. They improve the quality of air
Several claims have been made that salt lamps actually improve the quality of air in people’s homes. To be more specific, these lamps are advertised as beneficial items for people with asthma, allergies, and diseases that affect respiratory functions like cystic fibrosis.
Nevertheless, there is still no scientific evidence that proves the claim that Himalayan salt lamps can eliminate potential pathogens and improve the quality of air in your home. The claim that Himalayan salt lamps may be beneficial for people dealing with respiratory conditions may be based on the ancient practice of halotherapy to some extent.
Halotherapy is a practice that requires people with chronic respiratory illnesses to spend some time in salt caves with the believe that the presence of salt in the air will be beneficial to them. Still there is no scientific basis to support the practice of halotherapy and it is unconfirmed whether it is effective or safe for people with respiratory conditions.
Furthermore, no test on air ionizers that emit high levels of negative ions has provided proof that it is beneficial to people dealing with asthma or improved respiratory functions in any way.
2. Himalayan salt lamps can boost your mood
Another claim that has been made frequently is that Himalayan salt lamps can boost a person’s mood. Some studies on animals show that exposure to increased level of negative ions may improve levels of serotonin which is a chemical responsible for the regulation of moods.
However the studies carried out on humans regarding there psychological effect ionized air has on a person doesn’t show any consistent effect on feeling of well-being and a person’s mood.
Nevertheless, some researches did show that individuals with depressive symptoms who got exposed to some high levels of negative ions reported a positive boost in their moods.
The link that was discovered during the research shows no dose relation which means there improvement of people’s mood during the study could not be explained based on the dose they took in.
This has made researchers question whether or not the link was casual. In addition, based on this study it is unlikely that Himalayan salt lamps will expose a person to the quantity of negative ions used for the research.
3. They can help you sleep
Studies are yet to examine the effects Himalayan salt lamps have on sleep. However no evidence of beneficial effect of ionized air on sleep and relaxation was found during a review.
This would mean that even if salt lamps actually affect the air, it is uncertain if there would be any effect of that on sleep pattern.
What might be true is that using the dim light that is emitted from your Himalayan salt lamps instead of the bright lights produced by electric bulbs may help to promote sleepiness towards the end of the day.
The reason for this is that bright lights before bed can slowdown the production of melatonin which is the sleep hormone. Something worthy of note is that this theory isn’t specific to salt lamps and it yet to be tested.
What are the real benefits of Himalayan salt lamps?
Even though some of the health claims of the benefits of Himalayan salt lamps are not backed by science, there are some other benefits that are totally undeniable. These benefits include;
- Himalayan salt lamps are attractive: If you are fascinated by the way these lamps look, you can easily get one as a home decoration.
- Himalayan salt lamps create a nice ambiance: These lamps can help to create a very relaxing atmosphere that will encourage you to unwind.
- They might help you limit lights in the evenings: If you find it difficult to sleep, using dim lights instead of bright ones in the evening may help you find sleep faster.
In conclusion, more research to confirm the health benefits of these lamps is needed so that people do not continue to dwell on assumptions.