Some people claim that Himalayan salt lamps can improve air quality, improve your mood, and help you sleep. However, there is little research to back up these purported health benefits. Himalayan salt lamps are decorative lamps that you can purchase for your home. They are carved from pink Himalayan salt and are believed to have various health benefits. In fact, salt lamp advocates claim they can clear the air in your home, calm allergies, improve your mood, and help you sleep. However, others question the merits of these assertions. This article explores the evidence for Himalayan salt lamps and separates fact from fiction.
What are Himalayan salt lamps and why do people use them?
Himalayan salt lamps are made by placing a bulb inside large chunks of pink Himalayan salt. They have a distinctive look and emit a warm pink glow when lit. Genuine Himalayan Salt Lamps are made from salt harvested from Khewra Salt Mine, Pakistan. Salt from this region is said to be millions of years old and although it is similar to table salt, the small amounts of minerals it contains give it a pink color. Many people choose to buy Himalayan salt lamps simply because they like the way they look and enjoy the ambiance that pink light creates in their home. Others are seduced by its supposed health benefits.
How do Himalayan salt lamps work?
Salt lamps are said to be beneficial to health because they are “natural ionizers”, that is, they change the electrical charge of the circulating air. Ions are compounds that carry a charge because they have an unbalanced number of protons or electrons. They are produced naturally in the air when weathering occurs in the atmosphere. For example, waterfalls, waves, thunderstorms, natural radioactivity and heat all produce ions in the air. They can also be created artificially by commercially produced air ionizers. It is suggested that Himalayan salt lamps can produce ions by attracting water particles which evaporate as a salt solution when heated by the lamp, forming mostly negative ions.
However, this theory has yet to be tested. At present, it is not known whether salt lamps produce ions in significant amounts, if at all.
What are health claims and are they valid?
Himalayan salt lamps carry three main health claims.
1. They improve air quality
Salt lamps are often claimed to improve the air quality in your home. More specifically, they are presented as beneficial for people suffering from allergies, asthma or diseases affecting respiratory function. However, there is currently no evidence that using a Himalayan salt lamp can eliminate potential pathogens and improve the air quality in your home.
The claim that they are good for people with respiratory conditions may be partly based on the ancient practice of halotherapy. As part of this therapy, people with chronic respiratory conditions would benefit from a stay in salt caves due to the presence of salt in the air. Although some studies have shown that this practice may be beneficial for certain respiratory conditions, more quality studies are still needed. Also, tests on air ionizers, which emit high levels of negative ions, have not yet shown them to be beneficial for people with asthma or to improve respiratory function.
2. They can improve your mood
Another common claim is that Himalayan salt lamps can improve your mood. Some animal studies have shown that exposure to high levels of negative ions in the air can improve levels of serotonin, a chemical involved in mood regulation. However, older human studies looking at the psychological effects of air ionization found no consistent effect on mood or feelings of well-being. However, researchers found that people with depressive symptoms who were exposed to very high levels of negative ions reported an improvement in their mood. However, the link found was not dose-related, meaning the improvement in people’s moods could not be explained by the dose they received. The researchers therefore wondered if the link was causal. Also, salt lamps are very unlikely to expose you to the high number of negative ions used in these studies.
3. They can help you sleep
No studies have yet examined the effects of Himalayan salt lamps on sleep. However, a 2013 review on the effects of air ionization on relaxation and sleep found no evidence of a beneficial effect. So, even if salt lamps do affect the air environment, it’s uncertain whether this has an effect on sleep patterns. The dim light of a Himalayan salt lamp may promote drowsiness at the end of the day if you use it to replace bright electric lights. In fact, bright light before bedtime can delay the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. However, this phenomenon is not specific to salt lamps, and this theory has not been tested.
Do Himalayan salt lamps have any beneficial effects?
Although some of their health claims are not supported by science, Himalayan salt lamps may have other benefits.
Here are a few :
Salt lamps are attractive: If you like the way they look, they can be an attractive addition to your home.
They create a pleasant atmosphere: They could help create a relaxing atmosphere that helps you relax.
These lights can help limit light at night: If you have trouble sleeping, using dim lights at night might help you fall asleep faster.
All in all, these points can make it a great addition to your home.
Health claims related to Himalayan salt lamps are not supported by evidence. Although they can be an attractive addition to a room and help create a relaxing environment.