As we increase the technology in our homes we gain convenience and efficiency. But sometimes we need to take a more natural approach as a balance to our modern lifestyle. Sure, I own air purifiers to use in certain rooms but I also use house plants to help purify the air we breathe indoors. The Himalayan salt lamp is a beautiful decorative item to help you relax at home. It’s natural and it may even improve your health…
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First, let’s be realistic. I’ve done the research and there’s no known scientific research on the health benefits of the Himalayan salt lamp. But this doesn’t stop thousands of people buying them who swear by their health benefits. People comment on the benefits to asthma sufferers, people who have trouble sleeping at night and those who feel more energized by using a Himalayan salt lamp daily.
Himalayan Salt Lamp Benefits
Here are some of the anecdotal benefits of owning a salt lamp:
- releases negative ions in the air to provide a balance to the positive ions in our air produced by electromagnetic radiation
- helps you sleep because over-exposure to positive ions can produce irregular sleeping patterns
- increase blood flow and improve mood by increasing serotonin in the brain due to more negative ions in the air from the salt lamp
- cleanse and purify the air because salt attracts water the salt lamp attracts water molecules in the air and removes the pollutants such as smoke, smog, dust and other contaminants
- reduce the severity of asthma and other respiratory problems by helping to cleanse the air
- reduces allergy symptoms due to removing mold, bacteria and allergens from the indoor air of your home
- help you to relax due to the peaceful and attractive glow of the Himalayan salt color – you may call this color therapy or it could just be your way to meditate or calm your mind
Are Himalayan Salt Lamps a Scam?
I’m always skeptical of natural remedies when I first hear about them but I’m also open-minded to learning more. When I first started researching Himalayan salt lamps I also came across studies on salt therapy. Interestingly, there is enough information (for me) to be able to make a link between the successes achieved with salt therapy and the anecdotal evidence on salt lamps.
Sure, I’m not medically trained, nor am I a scientist, but in my own research I found enough information to make it worthwhile for me to use a Himalayan salt lamp. And let’s face it, they’re not prohibitively expensive, there aren’t side effects that I’m aware of, they’re a natural product that looks pretty in my home and calms my mind when I use it. So why wouldn’t I use one.
Now back to that mention about salt therapy. I find it interesting that people suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) which is a degenerative lung disease characterized by the restriction of air flow in or out of the lungs have found relief using salt therapy.
What is salt therapy?
From my research, I’ve come across two forms of salt therapy. The first is where a person spends time in a “salt cave” or “salt room” where they inhale minute particles of salt that become airborne. When the salt is inhaled deep into the lungs it helps relieve inflammation and congestion and improves breathing.
The second type of salt therapy is where you use a dry salt inhaler to achieve the same result. In a small study of patients reported by the Lung Institute LLC (US), the patients achieved significant improvement from using the dry salt inhaler.
The Lung Institute LLC (US) also reports that several clinical trials have shown benefits through salt therapy for the following:
- 85% of mild and moderate asthma cases
- 75% of severe asthma cases
- 97% of chronic bronchitis, bronchiectasis and cystic fibrosis cases
According to the Lung Institute:
Salt therapy proponents claim that salt cleanses the respiratory system and speeds up the elimination of toxins. Salt has the following properties:
• Loosens excessive mucus and speeds up mucociliary transport
• Removes pathogens (ie., airborne pollen)
• Reduces IgE level (immune system oversensitivity)
Salt particles penetrate deep into the lungs to treat damaged tissue. Sometimes symptoms subside for up to 12 months following salt therapy.
This article is not meant to be about the benefits of salt therapy but since there’s no scientific research on Himalayan salt lamps I just wanted to let you know that there seem to be a lot of benefits from salt therapy.
I’m not an expert, but I do like to research these things and it helps me justify spending on a salt lamp that will hopefully help provide cleaner air and health benefits to my family. Obviously these lamps are not going to cure disease. But they might help alleviate some symptoms and improve overall health and well-being.
How to Tell a Real Himalayan Salt Lamp?
First, I don’t recommend ingesting an unknown substance but…when I got my first Himalayan salt lamp the first thing I did was lick it. And yes it did taste salty!
A real Himalayan salt lamp is brittle and it’s going to shed some small amounts of salt, like a fine salty dust. Don’t let me mislead you, when I say brittle, please keep in mind these lamps are very solid and heavy. But they are still brittle. If they come into contact with a hard object the salt comes off.
If you bump the salt lamp, little chips of salt are going to come off it. This is a good reason to take care of it but it’s also an easy way to see if it really is made of salt and is genuine. If your salt lamp is highly durable and does not chip off if bumped by a hard object, then you probably don’t have a real one.
Shedding a small amount of fine salty dust is normal. It is also going to sweat a little if you’re in a humid climate.
This shows it is a real Himalayan salt lamp. This is one reason to keep it on a tray or plate in case there is moisture from it. The Himalayan salt lamp shown on the right has a patented stainless steel base with a drainage system to cope with condensation.
I like a salt lamp that comes on a stone/marble or stainless steel base for this reason, rather than a wooden base which will stay damp and possibly rot from any moisture.
Of course, it depends on how humid your climate is. If you live in a dry climate you probably won’t experience this side effect with your salt lamp.
Place of origin
Himalayan salt is only mined in the Khewra district of northern Pakistan at the southern foothills of the Himalayas. If your salt lamp is a product of Pakistan this is a good sign that it’s real. The electrical lighting component may be made elsewhere but check if the salt part is from Pakistan to know that it’s genuine.
What about the color?
If you’re trying to tell whether your Himalayan salt lamp is genuine then the most obvious characteristic to look for is its color. And the next give-away is the natural, uneven texture.
The color can vary from pink to orange to a beet-red color and most have some white on them in different parts too. The color usually won’t be very consistent due to the salt being natural.
There are some Himalayan salt lamps which are carved very precisely into shapes like a pyramid or a smooth heart shape (see ornamental shapes in salt lamps here).
The shape of these lamps can make it more difficult to try and assess their authenticity.
You’ll have to look at the other factors to make a decision on whether it’s real.
When the color is very even and the surface is very smooth, you just need to look closer at the other factors – does it shed a fine salt dust especially when handled, do chips of salt come off it, does it get condensation on it?
If you’re buying a “natural” shaped lamp with all its inconsistencies in color and shape, it is usually easier to tell that it’s real. Here are some natural shaped lamps to consider, See more here.
6 Tips on How to Look After Your Himalayan Salt Lamp
First, there’s the obvious stuff, like don’t let hard objects bump into it!
Second, when you’re handling your lamp don’t lift it up by the base (in the upside down position). The base is usually held into the salt by only two or three screws. As you’d imagine, salt is not a very durable material for attaching the base. If you hold the heavy weight of your lamp upside down by the base it is very likely to fall off and smash on the floor. This has happened to someone I know, don’t risk it.
Third, the longer you keep your salt lamp turned on the better. This stops it absorbing moisture. If you need to dry your lamp out before attaching the electrical cable you can place it in direct sunlight for 4-6 hours.
Fourth, If you’re going away for a long time and won’t be using it, remove the cord and store the salt lamp in a sealed plastic bag to keep moisture out.
Fifth, keep your lamp away from pets and young children. Even one fall onto the floor could shatter your lamp.
Sixth, if you live in a humid climate, place a plate, tray or coaster under the base so any condensation doesn’t ruin the top of your table. Lot so people experience this when they turn the lamp off and they think it is oil leaking from the lamp. There is no oil in a Himalayan salt lamp but it will sweat and the water will run down onto your table. This is a good sign that your lamp is genuine.
Healthy Decor – A Very Happy Owner
Overall, I think my Himalayan salt lamp does provide health benefits to my family. Sure, none of us have serious respiratory problems but we do suffer from allergies. I believe the salt lamp helps purify the air and helps us sleep better. To be honest, I have more than one of these salt lamps. I have them in each of the bedrooms and one on the desk in my home office.
I really love the glow it emits after dark. It looks beautiful and curious during the daytime. And it looks mystical and hypnotic at night. By creating a calm atmosphere in my home this is really all I need to be happy with it. The health benefits, if they’re there, are an added bonus.
 Lung Institute, op.cit.