How Does a Himalayan Salt Lamp Work?

Natural healing, homeopathy, color therapy and traditional medicine are on the rise in popularity as many seek less-invasive cures for common ailments than prescription pharmaceuticals and invasive surgical procedures. While it would be foolish to turn to Himalayan salt lamps to cure cancer, are there potential benefits to air quality to be had?

This article will provide some information on how Himalayan salt lamps operate, some of the reasons they are recommended by holistic practitioners and some science that may lend some support to their use.

If you are interested in learning more about the best brands to purchase a salt lamp from, be sure to visit Gadget Geek’s article on the Best Himalayan Salt Lamp Brands. Fake lamps abound, so be sure to buy from a trusted dealer.


What do Himalayan salt lamps do?

The main reason that many holistic practitioners recommend these lamps have to do with the ability for salt to reduce air pollution from dust, dander, pollen and other allergens. In addition, these crystals produce negative ions, thought to have some health benefits, particularly for mood states.

The chemical process that gives rise to both of these properties is well understood to scientists. It is called hygroscopy. In fact, all salt is known to be hygroscopic. But what does that mean?

Materials that are hygroscopic attract water molecules, and they are even powerful enough to attract water vapor molecules right from the air. Since water vapor molecules are often attached to very fine particles floating in the air, this process has the side effect of removing those tiny contaminants from the air before we breath it in.

In addition to cleaning the air of fine particles, the hygroscopic process also produces negative ions. Read on to find out more about how negative ions in the air are thought by some to produce some positive health outcomes.

Salt alone will not produce the effects that a salt lamp will. The reason for this has to do with the fact that the light inside of a Himalayan salt lamp acts to gently heat the crystal, activating its chemical hygroscopic properties.


Natural Sources of Negative Ions

In fact, salt crystals are not the only source of concentrated negative ions in the natural world. Can you remember the smell of a grassy field after a thunderstorm has passed through? Perhaps you have felt the cool breeze oceanside and felt refreshed and renewed?

These natural scenes share the fact that they are high in negatively charged air. Why? Because running water is a large-scale producer of negative ions in the air! To be fair, the concentration of negative ions in the air at the beach is much higher than would be created by a Himalayan salt Lamp in your home.


Research on the benefits of negative ions:

There have not been scientific studies done to help understand if Himalayan salt lamps work to improve mood, asthma, allergies or lung function. However, we do know that they do produce negative ions over time because the chemical nature of hygroscopic processes is well understood.

There is some scientific research that has demonstrated a correlation between high levels of negative ions in the air and a positive impact on both seasonal affective disorder and non-seasonal chronic depression. Results were similar to exposure to bright light in terms of relief of symptoms.

Keep in mind that the levels of negative ion concentration used in the above studies were much higher than those that will be produced by a salt lamp. If you are looking for health benefits, there is not much beyond anecdotal evidence to support any medical claims about these lamps.


Other benefits of Himalayan salt lamps:

While salt lamps are not going to cure your asthma or prevent allergy attacks during peak pollen season, they do have other benefits that may make them worth your interest and investment. Here are a few:

  • Color therapy. For those that subscribe to the mood-altering powers of colors and light, there are potential benefits to be had from the soothing, warm tones produced by Himalayan salt lamps. What’s more, there is some scientific research on the subject of chromotherapy, that is, the use of colored light in treating conditions from depression to psoriasis.
  • Soft light for good sleep hygiene. Sleep researchers have long documented the detrimental effects of using devices such as laptops and mobile devices before bed on quality of sleep. The soft light of a Himalayan salt lamp provides relaxing light sure to help you wind down in the evening.
  • Removes particles from the air. The hygroscopic process is well understood. It does remove particles of dust, mold, pollen and other tiny potentially offensive allergens from the air. While it may not offer as much protection as electronic ionizers, anecdotal evidence does suggest that some allergy sufferers do experience some relief from the use of these ancient crystals used with a heated lamp.
  • Possible health benefits aside, these attractive lamps add ambiance and an element of natural beauty to your home décor. Sometimes we have to appreciate the simple things in life!


Best Himalayan salt lamps:

We hope this article has provided you with the information you need to sort fact from fiction and make an informed decision about if a salt lamp is right for you. If you have decided to purchase a salt lamp, be sure to check out our review of the best Himalayan salt lamp brands.

Add Comment