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The Truth About Himalayan Crystal Salt Lamps

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Photo by sigusr0

Photo by sigusr0

Himalayan crystal salt lamps are carved from natural Himalayan salt crystals, which are prized for their purity and clarity. Salt lamps can use either candles or electric bulbs. Regardless of which kind you buy, Himalayan salt lamps, which actually originate in the Himalayan foothills of Pakistan, cast a beautiful, warm glow that is perfect for ambient lighting, a romantic dinner for two, or even to use as a night-light.

There are also many claims of health benefits from Himalayan crystal salt lamps. Salt lamps are said to be ionizers: objects that release negative ions, which are believed to purify air and promote good health.

Natural salt lamps are said to:

  • Improve air quality by reducing air pollution, airborne dust particles, and airborne bacteria and viruses
  • Reduce symptoms of asthma, allergies, bronchitis, sinusitis, and other respiratory diseases
  • Reduce the effects of Season Affective Disorder (SAD) and other mood problems
  • Reduce stress
  • Improve concentration
  • Relieve headaches and migraines
  • Reduce feelings of fatigue and insomnia

Water and Salt

Other Concerns

  • Working and living conditions in some salt mines are poor. Look for fair trade salt lamps to ensure fair compensation and good quality of life for miners.
  • Cheap salt lamps sometimes contain galvanized screws which can corrode over time thanks to the lamps' tendency to attract humidity
  • In areas with high humidity, it may be necessary to put a plate under the lamp to prevent it from pooling salt water over time

Do salt lamps really promote good health?

Many of these claims were popularized in a book called Water and Salt, by Barbara Hendel. But are they true?

Negative ions (also known as anions) are created when an atom gains one or more extra electrons. This is a normal process, and negative ions are common in natural settings. Some studies have shown that artificially increasing exposure to negative ions, with use of an air ionizer or similar product, can improve feelings of general well-being and reduce symptoms of depression and SAD.

However, other studies have been inconclusive, and there is no scientific consensus about the health benefits of negative ions.

Even if the benefits of negative ions are real, however, there is grave doubt whether Himalayan salt crystal lamps can actually emit significant levels of negative ions. The bonds between sodium and chloride ions - the two primary elements in salt crystals - are extremely strong and scientists question whether the energy in a lamp would be sufficient to break the bonds and emit significant levels of ions.

The Bottom Line

Himalayan crystal salt lamps can be a beautiful addition to your home but it's wise to be sceptical of the claims about health benefits. If you like the look of the lamps, buy one; if you are solely interested in the health benefits, it's probably better to look for other ways of improving indoor air quality and liveability, such as houseplants.

If you do experience health benefits from your Himalayan salt lamps, please stop by and let me know! I'm curious to hear your story.

Comments

Holly Davis on July 11, 2017:

I have Blephartis, Dry Eyes, Meimbomian Gland disorder... in other words my eyes are a disaster. My niece bought one for my birthday and I knew nothing about this, but what happened and it's small, but it was the first time that I didn't wake up at 1:30 am or 3:30am to have to put drops in my eyes. This has happened 3 days straight. I leave the lamp on 24.7. It will be interesting to see what happens in the future. Am I cured no, but I required less drops and had less eye pain from the dry eyes.

Cindy Hennessy on December 08, 2016:

On average, I get 3-4 migraines a week. For the last 10 days, I have plugged in my salt lamp into my computer while I work 8 hours. I have had 3 migraines since I started using it and within a hour my migraines went down 2-3 levels. First migraine, I recorded as a 4 and it went down to a 1 (livable), the next two migraines were at a level 3 and disappeared after an hour of being near it.

I usually have to take pain killers once my migraine hits a 3 due to the fact that they only get worse. Yet, I have been medicine free for the last 10 days.

As I lay here in bed, I can feel another one brewing and I would normally call in sick, take medicine and stay under cover with a migraine mask on, but I plan on going to work and if it doesn't get better within an hour, I will call in sick.

The only drawback I have noticed is my eyes get extremely dry when I am near the salt lamp. When I walk away and take lunch, my eyes feel 100 times better, until I return to my home office.

Anne Grande on October 29, 2016:

My eyes get very irritated and burn when I have the lamp light on. Its a shame because its so beautiful.

Donna on March 09, 2016:

We sell these lamps everyday in my flower shop and we love them. Our customers return to buy more so we know they love them too! Every Bloom'n Thing in Redmond, Oregon

Grace on December 22, 2015:

Henry please use at least your 40 watt bulb, it will not emit negative ions if it has a 15 watt bulb in it.

Betty on July 31, 2015:

I have one in my cubicle at work.

Love it!

Its soothing and i havent been sick, but everyone else on my team has.

I would recommend it for work.

Brenda on February 26, 2015:

My wife and I purchased a salt lamp because of all of the good things we both heard and read about them. However, the ONLY thing I like about it is the glow it emits. The lamp gives me mirgraines worse than I've ever had. For 3 days I slept with the lamp off and had no issues. The night before last I had it on and woke up with a headache. This morning I woke up numerous times out of a dead sleep with a migraine worse than anything I can describe. I almost started to vomit due to the pain. I don't know why this happens with me but there is no way I'm EVER turning it on again nor will I ever buy one again.

keenan on August 12, 2013:

its utter nonsense and rubbish, there is absolutely no proof of any thing they talk about. regarding health benefits. its just a marketing gimmick. I have one and I brought for a deco for my room, don't go on what they say its only manipulated lies and all fabricated stories.

Ben Dover on July 15, 2013:

Since I have had my salt lamp I have won the lottery, found the cure for cancer, received an honorary doctorate degree, and discovered the meaning of life. PT Barnum was right....there is a sucker born every minute. I am giving up on being a science teacher and I will become rich selling quack products.

Andrea on May 18, 2013:

Out of blue: I brought 8 lamps they are over 20 lbs one is 95 lbs, now I am waiting to get mine. I been sick, suffering pains from head to toe. I tell ya, EVERYTHING always hurting. I got hurt on job related injury, it is very sever. which made my one half well being dead. I hope this lamps would HELP ME because work comp doctors are STINK and SUCKS, my garden all my plants indoor would love it, keep bugs out and everything; bugs do NOT LIKE CLEAN place they loves and likes dust. I was also having sever headaches for three years, UNBELIEVABLE! I will be right back once mine lamps arrived, and see how it do to my 1,500 sp foot condo; my overall health and everything! if this lamp is perfect, it is a must buy for all my family/friends gift from me FOR SURE! ;)

Odessa on April 29, 2013:

I have a salt lamp and I know it works for me. I haven't had to take a n allergy pill since the second day I started using it. One of my little great grandsons spent the night with me. He uses an inhaler. When he got up next day, said, Nana, I didn't have to use my pupper , ( that's what he calls it) at all. I watched him during the night , checking out his breathing, he slept peacefully all night.

Kaz on April 16, 2013:

Not so good experience...

If you are a Dialysis Patient please consult a Doctor as these Salt Lamps can Kill a Dialysis Patient...

They should also be sold with a Warning for Kidney / Heart / high blood pressure people to consult their doctors first.

Rini on January 18, 2013:

I bought a couple of rock salt lamps 5 days ago. I keep them on 24/7 and have noticed a huge difference with my sinuses. One is on the nightstand next to my bed and the other is a very large lamp in my family room where I spend most of my time with my kids. I haven't been able to breathe this well in years. I would highly recommend trying a lamp to anyone with congestion or allergies.

Kimberley on June 11, 2012:

I Purchased 3 lamps 4 days ago, My 4yr old daughter slept in her room by herself soundly all night / every night since having the salt light on in her room! She is also playing in her room now, It obviously has had a soothing effect and Im loving the atmosphere its created in my home! Not sure how its doing it, but Im sold!

Paulette on June 02, 2012:

I just bought a salt lamp. Our air is so dry and dusty here in northwestern NM. It definitely makes the air seem clearer and it definitely mellows out my dogs even my hyper one. But it gives me a headache. is it because I am already on antidepressants? I hope its a fluke because i love the lamp.

Lily on May 27, 2012:

Health Benefit Comment!

I have actually experienced health benefits from my salt lamp. I am an asthmatic with heavy congestive allergies and I have trouble sleeping sometimes when my congestion is severe.

When I sleep with this lamp on, I wake up with clear air pathways, breathing better than I ever have in my life!

Also, we had a good friend stay with us for some time between apartments and the room her litter box was in is significantly smaller than mine so it smelled pretty strongly when she left. I left the salt lamp in that room for one night and one day and it smells like a cat was never there!

I have a large lamp that will apparently "cover a 100x100 space" whether it works how they say or not but I have experienced results.

Negatives!

These can get very hot and larger ones are very heavy so I don't suggest for use in an area reachable by children or pets. I'd place them centered on a sturdy shelf where the child or pet does not climb or bump.

Also, my cat seems fine with the lamp on by my husband says it dries his mouth out and gives him a headache and so does his sister complain with headaches every time it is on for more than one hour. = /

ionicsalts on May 16, 2012:

1. No such thing as "Fair Trade" salt lamps. They do not fall under the auspices of that organization.

2. Salt lamps DO NOT generate negative ions. Negative ions are generated through evaporation of water molecules attracted to its surface via hygroscopic properties.

3. The scientific consensus is very clear that negative ions benefit human health, as well as the health of plants and animals. Search for the work of Dr. Albert Kruger and others. There is no debate on this except by the uninformed.

4. It is provable by valid scientific and medical evidence that salt lamps are beneficial to human health. The level of benefit varies with the individual and existing surroundings - much like any other homeopathic remedy or device.

I'm happy to answer any and all questions, and dispel the myths created by the book "Water and Salt" and by lazy salt lamp vendors. We can be reached at http://www.ionicsalts.com

Thanks for reading!

JT on August 22, 2011:

I received one as a gift and was told to just leave it on in a room. Since it was more of a reddish orange color the light wasn't too bright and was pleasing to look at. I had shut my bedroom door as there were kids playing around and didn't want them in my room. Later on that evening I went into my room and noticed that the air was different. It seemed like there was a freshness in the air. I also want to point out is my bedroom is located in a basment and air doesn't circulate too well unless a fan is on. Still a little skeptic about the lamp, but the freshness in the air makes me think that there is more to this lamp than I originally thought. The freshness in the air was unmistakable. It did not seem like I was walking in my own room. To me it was noticable like night and day. I have only had it a few days and also noticed I have been sleeping better. I will keep it for now. It does make a nice decoration piece plus it was a gift to me.

David on July 22, 2011:

elaine,

The water comes from the lamp! I bet you have had it switched off for a small period of time. These lamps actually do work as air cleaners. They pull the positive ions through and then send them out as negative ions. As all air contains water when the lamps clean the air it takes the moisture out of the air as well. That is why these where made as lamps, the globes actually dry the moisture out of the air as it passes through, for optimal heat use a 15 watt globe and the lamp should be warm to touch. I have sold a lot of these lamps and sufferers of asthma swear by them because they keep the air free from pollutants.

elaine on June 30, 2011:

Yesterday I found water under my salt lamp I did not understand when it came from until I realized that one of my friends had negative attitude and was visited me the same day.

J on April 22, 2011:

I live in Beijing and I saw some of these lamps at a local market but as I walked near them, my eyes got irritated and started burning. Wonder why?

Jesse on April 05, 2011:

Some people say they're good for wifi connection.

Susan on March 22, 2011:

I own 3 and I must say I swear my mine. I have never been an allergy sufferer until I moved to a big, congested city with a lot of pollution about 4 years ago. In the first year I didn't notice it much. Second year I started to develop basic allergy symptoms. Third year I had full blown allergies. Watery eyes, non-stop sneezing, etc. For about a week, I sat at a co-workers desk who had one. Noticed I could breathe in about 3 days and no sneezing by the 5th. She said it was her salt lamp so I immediately bought my first. I've had it running 8 hours a day/5 days a week for almost a full year now. I also bought another one that runs 24/7 by my bed. I don't know if they work as explained but I've not had allergies for an entire year. It seems to even be helping with a skin irritation problem I have. When pollen/mold/bad air is at its worst, I have a few random sneezes in which I take an over the counter pill for just in case. I've only taken 2 pills over the last 30 days (no rains yet to wash away the spring pollens).

The peace of mind (placebo effect or not) I get from it is worth every penny I've spent (paid $25 for each). I suggest people give it a try. I've met a lot of people who have tried them and claim they've worked for them. It might work for you, it might not. But if it does... the peace of mind you get is worth it.

charisma on March 16, 2011:

i never heard of it and i stumbled across it last friday at this vendor for the rodeo in houston and i noticed a difference immediately!!! it def. works. i haven't turned it off since and i wont. i love this lamp and i will purchase more even as gifts for family and friends. im telling everyone about them.

elliesenra from Ohio on January 05, 2011:

These lamps look absolutely gorgeous. I'm really considering getting one for myself. Although a lot of the comments do attest to the "cleaner air"-esque nature of the product, even if there was no truly miraculous health benefit, they are still beautiful to look at and would definitely give a calming, ambient feel to whichever room you put one in. Don't know if I'd be too fond of a huge one, but a small one on a desk or living room entertainment center would fit right into almost any theme, I think. Great hub!

Jack on December 11, 2010:

Henry for the best benefits from the lamp i suggest u use a 15 watt or less lamp it will give it that peacefull glow

Henry on November 24, 2010:

Bought an Extra Large Lamp, and will be putting a nice 40watt Blue Bulb in it to make it even more pleasing for the eyes. The Rock Salt Lamp itself is around 30-35 pounds. Had trouble carrying it through the door. This is the 3rd Ive boughten over the years. They do have there air purifying qualities. I'm not too sure about the whole Negative Ion effect. I'm a strong believer of Science and Mathematics. I know it keeps the mold and bacteria from becoming air born since I suffer from allergies, and can honestly say, since I have had these in my home I can finally breath through my nose. There a god. I highly recommend em :-).

Magdalena Bernhard on November 21, 2010:

The next best thing to sleeping under a stary sky .. would not like to be without it .. i brush my teeth with it by rubbing toothbrush on the stone and lick it when i feel like salt or sterilize my mouth. The only concern i have is are the people extracting it treated fairly and ethically ?

Veronica on November 16, 2010:

during the week lead up to exams, i have been full of stress, fatigue, avoidance, foul mood lack of concentration, after procrastinating about study all day, I turned my lamp on at 8pm, sat down with my anatomy and physiology book and an hour and a half later am destressed, was able to concentrate for more than 20 mins, and my mood has been totally uplifted. when it comes to these lamps i am sold! now off to soak in a bath with some Himalayan bath salts!!

Bridget Jones on November 02, 2010:

Just bought three--one for work, one for Mom's house and one for living room. Even if it's a Hawthorne effect, love the faint odor, color/warmth and impact the soft glow has on me.

Would recommend it to anyone, and several colleagues are following suit. Mom's very happy with hers too.

Rhoda on September 22, 2010:

As I type my eyes keep wandering to feel the beauty of the salt lamps in my bedroom.They just make me feel so cheerful and LIGHT.I have them ON night and day.

Beautiful glow for sure!

Rhoda on September 22, 2010:

As I type my eyes keep wandering to feel the beauty of the salt lamps in my bedroom.They just make me feel so cheerful and LIGHT.I have them ON night and day.

Beautiful glow for sure!

42graph on September 06, 2010:

I was at a craft fair and came across the Himalayan salt lamps.

My daughter and I were drawn to them immediately, while the other two people in our party could care less. We felt a sense of calm and peace right away. I purchased a med. lamp and I am using it in my room before I buy more. For the first time in a long while I woke up without a migraine! I will be buying many more lamps for my daughter and our home.

It may be psychosomatic, but as we all know we make our own reality. This works for me, do what feels good and what works for you.

Jbarragan on July 27, 2010:

I got a lamp for my birthday and I never herd or let alone

seen one but it came with some instruction I put it in my

bedroom and I right away notice the clean air and my room

I sleep a lot better at night don't know if it's the lamp but I do

notice a diffrence so I do recommend a salt lamp......

Kristine Johnston on July 05, 2010:

I bought six- one huge one, one egg shaped one and four rough ones over 12" high. I have a big home and I gave one away. The person I gave it to claims it made a huge difference in her hallway. The rest I use in my six bedroom home and I can say the beautiful peaceful energy in my home six months later is so wonderful I will not give anymore away- although some have asked.

I am not a scientist, have no idea what they do, except I know the difference in the feel of the energy

Melanie on June 22, 2010:

I bought one months ago and never really gave it any thought. I have the lamp in a small spare bedroom. I turned the lamp on and closed the door. About an hour later I went into the room and did notice the air wasn't stuffy like it usually is. The air did seem cleaner.

I'm getting one for my bedroom now. I hope it has the same effect.

Jack on April 16, 2010:

I bought one of these 2 years ago for 5 dollars at a drug store. It was in a beat up box on sale so I gave it a try with low expectations. I was amazed how nice it looked when I lit it. 2 years later I still light it when I feel down and it always makes me feel a lot better. I dont know if its the glow, the mediatative effect it has, or the negative ions, but it has been something special for me.

relica from California on March 26, 2010:

These lamps are beautiful in a rustic, organic sort of way. Nice hub!

chris on January 04, 2010:

My brother, a cigar smoker, got one for Christmas and when you walk into his room, it just smells clean and fresh, and i don't notice the cigar. (i am a smoker also, so, i may not notice it as much as another person). But the air just seems so much better in that room. I am going to get one myself.

The Real Tomato on February 22, 2009:

I found these lamps and your Hub interesting. So I did a little investigating...

There have been studies done on neg ions but I couldn't find any for the lamps. What I did find out - in short- is that sufficient neg ions are inversely related to levels of serotonin in the brain AND that a separate study showed that insufficient neg ions result in lack of cognitive performance.

The journal of Applied Psychology mentioned that they have the same effect as natural sunlight and fresh air. So if these lamps contain ion generators than they would be worth a try. Especially for someone who works with little fresh air and sunshine!

This was fun- thanks for the inspiration to investigate.

Dr Kulsum Mehmood from Nagpur, India on February 22, 2009:

Hi Kerry. A totally new and different topic of salt lamps and their health benefits. As Elena pointed out, we would probably require huge or numerous salt lamps to emit significant amounts of negative ions so as to exert health benefits. I wonder how they work?

Elena. from Madrid on February 22, 2009:

Hi Kerry!  I enjoyed this hub very much!

I find these lamps pretty, that's for sure, but I'm rather sckeptical regarding the health benefits.  As you say, negative ions may have positive effects, but I think the lamp would need to be the size of an armchair to actually emit noticeable amounts.  Oh well, who knows.  Sometimes all it takes is for one to believe something is good for it too feel good :-)  

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