Salt lamps of the Himalayas: benefits and myths

The salt lamps of the Himalayas are decorative lights that you can buy for your home.

They are extracted from the pink salt of the Himalayas and are believed to have several health benefits.

In fact, advocates of salt lamps claim that they can clean the air of your home, alleviate allergies, improve your mood and help you sleep.

However, others question whether these claims have any merit.

This article explores the evidence about the salt lamps of the Himalayas and classifies the facts of fiction.

What are the salt lamps of the Himalayas and why do people use them?

Bowl-shaped Himalayan salt lamp

The salt lamps of the Himalayas are made by placing a bulb inside large pieces of pink salt from the Himalayas.

They have a distinctive appearance and emit a warm pink glow when lit.

The true salt lamps of the Himalayas are made of salt harvested from the Khewra salt mine in Pakistan.

The salt that comes from this area is believed to be millions of years old, and although it is very similar to table salt, the small amounts of minerals it contains give it a pink color.

Many people choose to buy Himalayan salt lamps simply because they like their appearance and enjoy the atmosphere that creates pink light in their homes. Meanwhile, others find their supposedly attractive health benefits.

Summary Salt lamps from the Himalayas are extracted from the mineral-rich pink salt extracted from the Khewra salt mine in Pakistan. Some people buy them to decorate their home, while others believe they provide health benefits.

How do salt lamps of the Himalayas work?

It is said that salt lamps provide health benefits because they are "natural ionizers", which means that they change the electric charge of the air in circulation.

Ions are compounds that carry a charge because they have an unbalanced number of protons or electrons.

They occur naturally in the air when alterations in the atmosphere occur. For example, waterfalls, waves, storms, natural radioactivity and heat produce air ions (1).

They can also be artificially created by commercially produced air ionizers.

It is suggested that salt lamps from the Himalayas can produce ions by attracting water particles that evaporate as a salt solution when heated with the lamp, forming mostly negative ions (2).

However, this theory has not yet been proven.

Currently, it is not clear if salt lamps produce ions in significant quantities, in any case.

Summary It is said that Himalayan salt lamps change the charge of the surrounding air by producing ions that have health benefits. However, it is currently unclear if they can produce ions or enough to affect their health.

What are the health claims and accumulate?

There are three main claims about the health of the Himalayan salt lamps.

1. Improve air quality.

Salt lamps are often said to improve the air quality of your home.

More specifically, it is announced that they are beneficial for people with allergies, asthma or diseases that affect respiratory function, such as cystic fibrosis.

However, there is currently no evidence that the use of a Himalayan salt lamp can eliminate potential pathogens and improve the air quality of your home.

The claim that they are good for people with respiratory conditions may be based in part on the ancient practice of halotherapy.

In this therapy, it is said that people with chronic respiratory conditions benefit from spending time in salt caves due to the presence of salt in the air.

However, there is little support for this practice, and it is not clear whether it is safe or effective for people with respiratory conditions (3).

In addition, tests on air ionizers, which emit high levels of negative ions, have not yet been shown to benefit people with asthma or improve respiratory function (4, 5, 6).

2. They can improve your mood

Another frequent claim is that salt lamps from the Himalayas can improve your mood.

Some animal studies have shown that exposure to high levels of negative ions in the air can improve the levels of serotonin, a chemical involved in the regulation of mood (1).

However, human studies investigating claims about the psychological effects of air ionization did not find consistent effects on mood or feelings of well-being (7).

However, the researchers found that people with depressive symptoms who were exposed to very high levels of negative ions reported improvements in their mood.

However, the link they found was not related to the dose, which means that improvements in people's mood could not be explained by the dose they received. Therefore, the researchers questioned whether the link was causal.

In addition, it is very unlikely that salt lamps can expose it to the large number of negative ions used in these studies.

3. They can help you sleep

Studies have not yet examined the effects of Himalayan salt lamps on sleep.

However, a review of the effects of air ionization on relaxation and sleep found no evidence of a beneficial effect (7).

Therefore, even if salt lamps affect the air environment, it is not clear if this would have an effect on sleep patterns.

It is possible that the use of the dim light of a Himalayan salt lamp will help increase drowsiness towards the end of the day if you use it to replace bright electric lights.

This is because bright light at bedtime may delay the production of the sleep hormone melatonin (8, 9).

However, this is not specific to salt lamps, and the theory has not been proven.

Summary It is claimed that Himalayan salt lamps improve air quality, improve mood and help you sleep. However, there is currently little evidence to support these claims.

Do the salt lamps of the Himalayas have any benefit?

Although some of their claims about health are not supported by science, the salt lamps of the Himalayas may have other benefits.

These include:

  • They are attractive: If you like the way they look, they could be an attractive addition to your home.
  • They create a pleasant atmosphere.: They could help create a relaxing environment that will help you relax.
  • They could help limit the light at night: If you have trouble sleeping, using dim lights at night can help you sleep faster.

In general, these points can make them a great addition to your home.

Summary The salt lamps of the Himalayas are attractive, create a warm and relaxing atmosphere and can help you relax before bedtime.

The bottom line

There is no evidence behind the health claims related to the salt lamps of the Himalayas.

While they can be an attractive addition to a room and help create a relaxing environment, there is little that suggests they do much more.

More research is needed on the theories surrounding their potential health benefits.

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