(WellnessNova.com) - Himalayan salt lamps are supposed to cleanse the air, reduce allergy symptoms, increase energy levels, improve your mood, and help you get a better night sleep. On top of all of that, they are also a beautiful and environmentally friendly light source. Sounds too good to be true? That’s because it is.
How Do They Work?
Salt lamps are simply light bulbs placed within blocks of rock salt. They supposedly emit negative ions into the air. These negative ions counteract the electromagnetic radiation that is produced by dangerous items like cellphones, microwaves, etc. Without the salt lamps, the electromagnetic radiation would produce a positive ionization charge inside our bodies.
However, Dr. Svetlana Kogan, a holistic health and integrative medicine doctor, says it just isn’t so. Dr Kogan explains, “The talk has been that the negative ions supposedly produced by the lamps help to neutralize the positive charge. But to be honest with you, I haven’t seen any large studies that would confirm this. Whenever somebody is promising you the world, it starts sounding very suspicious to me.”
Myth 1: Salt Lamps Produce Boundless Amounts of Negative Ions
Unfortunately, there is no evidence that a salt lamp can produce any ions at all, let alone boundless amounts of negatively charged ions. The myth of negative ions is supposed to be responsible for the lamp’s ability to increase your energy, improve your mood, lower your blood pressure and give you a better night’s sleep.
Caltech Professor of Chemistry Jack Beauchamp tested a popular salt lamp brand and found absolutely no evidence of ion production. Beauchamp reported, “We turned it on and looked for negative ions. We looked for positive ions. We waited for the lamp to heat up. The bulb inside eventually does heat the rock salt, but we didn’t see anything. I can’t think of any physical process that would result in the formation of ions from heating rock salt.”
In addition, even if the salt lamps were able to produce negative ions, there is little to no evidence that those ions would have any effect on mood, respiratory health, sleep or relaxation.
Myth 2: Salt Lamps Provide Relief for Asthma and Allergy Sufferers
Unfortunately, most of the benefits of salt lamps for allergy and asthma sufferers are also unfounded. Himalayan salt lamps are allegedly able to clean the air and make breathing easier for those with allergies or asthma.
While a saline solution can help to thin mucus, salt therapy is generally ineffective at relieving symptoms according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. After reviewing 151 studies on salt therapy for the AAFA, researchers were still unable to conclude that salt therapy was beneficial for patients. In fact, the use of salt therapy could even be dangerous resulting in bronchoconstriction or the premature discontinuation of prescription medication.
Myth 3: Himalayan Salt lamps Are the Purest Form of Salt, Which Is Why They Are so Expensive
Proponents of Himalayan salt lamps often like to boast that these lamps are the purest and healthiest form of salt available. Unfortunately, this is also untrue. Himalayan salt is generally 95 to 98 percent NaCl with, on average, 10 different mineral elements found inside. And the pink colour most Himalayan salt lamps are known for is thanks to contamination from iron oxide, which is also known as rust.
Strangely, while touting how pure Himalayan salt is, sellers also point to the mineral impurities in the salt to show how unique it is. At the end of the day, experts say that sodium chloride is sodium chloride; the markup on Himalayan salt has nothing to do with its purity and everything to do with marketing schemes.
The Bottom Line
It turns out that Himalayan salt lamps are not worth the hype. Their advertised health benefits don’t hold up under testing. And while they shouldn’t be used as a form of treatment, there is no disputing their beauty. As long as you’re not relying on your salt lamp for health benefits, there’s nothing wrong with displaying one in your home. In fact, if you’re really moved by their beauty, you might receive a mood boost after all!