The truth about Himalayan salt lamps

Informative
September 12, 2017
Himalayan Salt Lamps

Himalayan salt lamps have grown in popularity within the last few years. Some people claim that their lamp gives their room a better ambiance than regular lighting. Others swear by theirs because it helps with their sinus or asthma ailments, their sleep, or their energy levels.

You may be asking, “Okay, is any of this actually true?” I asked the same thing both before and after I purchased my own salt lamp, and I decided to do a little research to determine if all of the “facts” and references used into posts prior to mine are even accurate and credible.

I’ve put together a list of the top six benefits that most people claim you will experience after you get a salt lamp. Under each point, I added my own findings and opinions. Most of the sources I used are at the bottom of this post if you would like to give them a read.
 
 

“Helps the overall feeling of a room”

I wholeheartedly agree with this.

Himalayan salt lamps are actually quite beautiful to look at. Their dim, orange glow gives whatever room it’s in a nice cozy feel, similar to that of a candle. While it doesn’t flicker like a candle would, they are extremely soothing to look at.

It can be used as a great light source if you’d like a possible alternative for a lamp, or if you seek something that would set a nice, warm mood into a room. Sometimes my husband and I will stay in when we have a date night and we like to use our salt lamp to add warmth and a nice ambiance to the room.

I’ve noticed that a lot of people are curious about “plug in” time and if it’s okay or safe to keep it on for long periods of time, whether that be to use it at their work space or use it as a nightlight at home.

From my own personal experience with my beloved salt lamp, I will say this. I’m currently working from home and more often than not, I’m sitting at my desk throughout various parts of the day and night. I always have my salt lamp on when I’m sitting at my desk and I have yet to notice any issues. Mind you, I’m not advising you to always leave it on for extended periods of time like I do, but as a salt lamp is comprised of a simple power cord and a bulb, it is much like a regular lamp. With extended use, you will naturally go through light bulbs faster, but it’s worth it if you use it in the room(s) you’re in the most. I do recommend flicking the switch off if you aren’t in the room, though. I never use mine as a nightlight, as it would be too bright for me in that aspect and I don’t feel comfortable leaving on any light sources at night, so I can’t really offer up any opinions there.

 
 

“Helps cleanse and purify the air”

In most of the articles I’ve read, it never fails that Himalayan salt lamps are stated to be hygroscopic, which means that they absorb water from the air around them. They also go on to state that the common annoyances and allergens found within a home or work space, such as dust, pollen, cigarette smoke, and other contaminants, are all contained in little water molecules that move within and around our environment. They describe salt lamps as beneficial because they draw in those allergen-infused water molecules and trap the the contaminate(s).

I did my own searching on this and, while salt lamps may very well have hygroscopic properties, I have not found one credible source detailing that allergens and air contaminants are, in fact, contained in water molecules. Does that mean that there’s not a credible source out there that outlines the details of this fact? No. It just means that I couldn’t find one. If this particular factoid is indeed false, though, I only wonder how the salt lamp would pull out those air impurities to help cleanse the air.
 
 

“Helps reduce allergy and asthma symptoms”

It is a claim that Himalayan salt lamps help ease common allergy and asthma symptoms. This point is somewhat similar to my previous one where I discussed a salt lamp’s ability to purify the air in a room, but I figured I would also add clarification under this common claim as well.

Common allergens like dust, pollen, pet dander, mold, mildew, cigarette smoke, and another airborne contaminants that we may be allergic to are a pain to deal with. However, like I mentioned above, I have not found one credible source detailing that allergens and air contaminants are, in fact, contained in water molecules, which salt lamps are said to attract. If they aren’t contained in water molecules, we have a better shot at alleviating our allergy and asthma symptoms with a top of the line AC filter and an air purifier.

As a long-time allergy sufferer (dust, pollen, mold, mildew) of over a decade who has to take two different forms of medication on a daily basis to maintain my allergy symptoms, I was eager to see if my salt lamp would help with my ailments. I stopped taking my medications for a few weeks to see if I would notice a difference in my symptoms, but unfortunately I noticed no improvements and resumed my medication regime.
 
 

“Helps improve our mental health”

There is a lot of research out there regarding positive and negative ions. To give you the basic run-down, it is said that Himalayan salt lamps emit negative ions, which help balance the many positive ions that emit from our electronic devices. This, in turn, supposedly helps alleviate stress and depression and may also have an impact on our serotonin levels.

I’ve read through numerous articles and a few studies, none of which can actually state that salt lamps do or don’t help improve the levels of positive and negative ions. Back in 2013, the National Center for Biotechnology Information published a study that was done with negative ions, and there were no groundbreaking results. They didn’t use a salt lamp in this specific test, but it’s still a credible source that has results worth noting. On the other hand, though, there are other sources out there who swear by the potential healing capabilities of salt rooms and spas.

I don’t have a strong opinion on this particular claim. Yes, there have been studies done on positive and negative ions, and yes, there are known health benefits of salt therapy, but I don’t think that the ionic benefit from a salt lamp is great enough to be that noticeable. And I say this just because of its small size, even though there are multiple sizes on the market and the bigger ones supposedly provide the most benefit. Do I think that there are health benefits to salt lamps? Yes, but I suspect that they aren’t significant enough that we would be able to tell, assuming that purchasing the salt lamp was the only improvement made in any given room or home. Otherwise, I would highly recommend a salt lamp if you want to utilize any ionic properties it has in conjunction with other environment improvement techniques.
 
 

“Helps promote better sleep”

You have probably heard that most experts suggest that we cut off our electronics before bedtime. Why?

The “blue light” that our electronic devices emit can disrupt our body’s natural rhythm and sleep hormones, which is why experts recommend shutting them down at least an hour before we want to start snoozing.

Like I recently mentioned in the section above, if there are any notable health benefits relating to salt lamps, they likely wouldn’t be significant enough for us to notice, assuming a salt lamp is the only thing that we’re adding to our environment to help promote better sleep. Granted, the dim, calming glow from the lamp may be enough to benefit some people around bedtime.
 
 

“Helps increase energy levels”

This claim is another one that has to do with a Himalayan salt lamp’s ionic properties and how it emits negative ions and combats against the many positive ones that we’re bombarded with on a regular basis — mainly the ones from our electronic devices.

While I love my salt lamp dearly, it is not because it somehow makes me feel more energized. I’m still the same, always-tired mom.
 
 

Conclusion

I absolutely love our Himalayan salt lamp, and I highly recommend it to anyone who asks me about it. I love the appearance of it when it’s both on and off, and the orange glow that it adds to the room is extremely calming to me. I always have it on when I’m sitting at my desk or if we want a dim light in our living room when we’re having family time together. The ones that emit heat are the best ones to purchase. There are some out there who are more “imitation” and that don’t actually warm up to the touch, but I recommend investing in one that warms to the touch.

They have some amazing deals on Amazon for salt lamps, and there’s a variety of styles and sizes to fit any budget.
 


 
If you’re interested in purchasing one because you heard that they either purify the air in your home, get rid of allergy and asthma symptoms, alleviate stress and depression, promote better sleep, or heighten your energy levels, please be sure you read the information in my post before you make your decision. There is no study out there that will give you a “yes” or a “no” to any of the above scenarios, but it’s important that you research it. I did my best to do so it this post, so I hope that it was beneficial to you!
 
 


 
 

Sources

  • Judith A. Woodfolk, Scott P. Commins, Alexander J. Schuyler, Elizabeth A. Erwin, Thomas A.E. Platts-Mills, Allergens, sources, particles, and molecules: Why do we make IgE responses?, Allergology International, Volume 64, Issue 4, 2015, Pages 295-303, ISSN 1323-8930, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.alit.2015.06.001.
    (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1323893015001185)
    Keywords: Allergen immunochemistry; Hay fever; Hygiene; IgE antibody titer; Pediatric asthma
  • Alexander, D. D., Bailey, W. H., Perez, V., Mitchell, M. E., & Su, S. (2013). Air ions and respiratory function outcomes: a comprehensive review. Journal of Negative Results in Biomedicine, 12, 14. http://doi.org/10.1186/1477-5751-12-14
  • Dr. Biology. (2009, December 15). Pollen – Nature’s Tiny Clues. ASU – Ask A Biologist. Retrieved September 3, 2017 from http://askabiologist.asu.edu/podcasts/pollen-natures-tiny-clues
  • Lotz, S. (2015, August 28). Benefits of Salt Therapy. Retrieved September 12, 2017, from https://www.organicspamagazine.com/benefits-of-salt-therapy/
  • Harvard Health Publications. (n.d.). Blue light has a dark side. Retrieved September 12, 2017, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side

 
 
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  1. Great post! I have a Himalayan salt lamp that I use quite regularly. I love the ambiance it creates in my room. The look of it is much better than any night light. I feel as if I sleep better or more sound. However, the allergen affect hasn’t worked on me. I’m still sneezing occasionally. Overall I still love it and will continue to use. Great information you gave.

    Xoxo
    Miss Monèt
    http://missmonet.net

    1. They really are great — something about that glow makes me feel good! I noticed the same on the allergy front, unfortunately, but it definitely doesn’t change my opinions of my lovely lamp. :)

  2. Great post! I’ve been seeing these lamps online and wondered if they’re any good…Now I know I need to get one! I have bad allergy symptoms and always struggle to fall asleep, so hope this would help. Also I’d love to have that glow in my room :).
    Thanks for sharing <3

  3. So basically, it looks cool, but don’t get it for any other reason than ambiance? :) I haven’t heard of these things before, but it sounds like it would go nice in a relax area for reading or smooking hookah.

    1. Essentially, yeah. None of the claims that people make about it helping with allergies, asthma, air purification, sleep, energy, etc… It’s not actually scientifically proven. Now, that’s not to say that they don’t help with those things, per say, but from my own experiences, it hasn’t helped me with my allergies, sleep, or energy. There are tons of blogs and articles out there about them and how they do help with those things, but it just makes me wonder if they saw that information somewhere else and just reproduced it without digging into it a little bit like I tried to do. I can’t definitively say “Yes, buy one to help with your sinus problems” or “Yes, this product is great for helping me get a good night’s rest” when really, I haven’t noticed a single change other than it being extremely comforting to look at and be near.
       
      In my opinion, it’s just too small of an object to have many noticeable benefits. Now, if you went to a salt spa and did salt therapy where they have rooms that are basically made of that salt, that would be different because the quantity is different. But as it stands, all that I can really do is express my extreme love for it regarding it’s appearance, glow, and the small amount of heat it provides (not overwhelming).

  4. I have read articles that say they do work and then they have some say that they do not. This has helped me and I want to try it out because I do suffer from allergies so maybe this would work.

    1. I love mine, I really do. Definitely recommend it to you! I can’t say for sure if it does or doesn’t help with allergies, per say. It hasn’t helped mine, and I’ve suffered with allergies for over a decade. That’s not to say that it doesn’t help at all, though. It may be helping me in a small way without my noticing for all I know. My allergies are quite severe and I have to take two different medications daily in order to control them, but it may help with allergies that aren’t as severe as mine.

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