Traditionally carved from pink Himalayan salt mined from the Khewra Salt Mine in Pakistan, Himalayan salt lamps can not only be used to create a more relaxed, mindful space at home but are also believed to have a number of health benefits.
Made from large chunks of pink salt or placed in a decorative bowl, the lamps typically have a single bulb or candle to heat them and release a distinct, warm orange-pink glow. Similar to table salt, small amounts of minerals give it a distinct pink colour.
As well as being a soothing night light and a positive addition to any mindfully-focused space, Himalayan salt lamps are thought to help clean the air, soothe allergies, boost your mood and help achieve better quality sleep.
How do they work?
Thought to provide health benefits by naturally ionizing the air around them, many users believe they change the electrical charge of the air circulating in a room by attracting water particles. These particles then evaporate as a salt solution when the lamp heats them, forming negative ions. It is worth noting that, while this is widely believed amongst those who use Himalayan salt lamps (or HSL), there has yet to be any proven, scientific studies around if these are produced in quantities, high enough to affect humans.
Do Himalayan salt lamps have any positive health benefits?
There are a number of claims surrounding the use of Himalayan salt lamps, with some individuals using them as a complementary therapeutic way to assist with a range of ailments, from insomnia to allergies.
While some users report experiencing benefits to their sense of well-being and physical health, many of these have not been fully researched to ascertain if the effects are due to the lamps themselves, or the users’ expectations and other changes in their behaviour.
Some of the benefits Himalayan salt lamps are thought to provide include:
Improving air quality – many believe that salt lamps can improve the air quality at home or in their office, decreasing symptoms of asthma and allergies. Thought to be linked partially with the ancient practice of halotherapy – a complementary therapy where individuals would spend time in salt caves to benefit from the presence of salt in the air.
Dating as far back as the medieval era, halotherapy is believed to help ease smoothing-related symptoms such as coughs, wheezing, and shortness of breath, as well as to lessen symptoms of depression and anxiety, improve skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and acne.
Promoting better sleep – harsh, electric lights can delay the production of melatonin (the sleep hormone), while blue lights can further negatively impact our sleep pattern and biological clock. The gentle, ambient light produced by Hymilayan salt lamps can help you to unwind and relax, whilst promoting feelings of calm and well-being. The soothing glow can also stimulate feelings of deep relaxation, whilst creating a more organic feel to the space.
Mood-boosting properties – believed to have positive, mood-boosting effects not only due to the ambient glow and soothing appearance, but some animal studies have also suggested that exposure to high levels of negative ions (such as those thought to be created by salt lamps) may improve serotonin levels (a chemical involved in mood regulation).
Despite the positive impact on animals, human studies have yet to find consistent effects on feelings of well-being and mood. Although those with depressive symptoms reported improvements in their mood following exposure to high levels of negative ions, researchers expressed uncertainty as to whether the improvements were results of the negative ions or a placebo effect.
Although there are no known posed threats to humans, pet owners may want to make sure they keep their salt lamp out of reach. Too much salt can be toxic to many pets including cats and dogs, meaning caution is advisable in case lamps are within licking distance.