Himalayan crystal salt lamps are these beautiful pink or orange coloured lamps that give out a warm glow and make an attractive feature in any living space but do they really work and are there any benefits backed by science? Shivani Adalja tells us all that we need to know…
In the last few years, Himalayan salt lamps have become very popular. They are easily found in many shops. Used extensively in yoga studios, wellbeing centers and by people looking to reduce stress and negativity around them. They have intrigued me for years. However, I have never ventured out to buy one, as I have no clue about how effective they are. Some people swear by it and some are undecided; like myself. But the truth is, that more and more people are turning towards holistic products to deal with stress.
So, what are these lamps made of and how do they work?
The lamps are made from solid Himalayan blocks of salt. They are lit from the inside with a bulb or with a tealight placed in a hollow within the lamp, and they emanate a dim light. They have a beautiful pink or orange hue, due to the high concentration of trace minerals found in the salt. The soft lighting helps in creating a relaxed and soothing atmosphere. Many prefer to meditate with these lamps around. Most new age shops sell them and lots of people buy them thinking that a lot of their physical problems will be solved once they start using these lamps. Some believe that by using these unique lamps one can cure asthma, reduce headaches, clean energy within their immediate environment and ward off negativity from people. But the question is do they really work? To understand the logic behind the use of Himalayan sat lamps lets look at the scientific theory behind its origin and how these lamps may affect us.
Scientific studies showed that high-intensity negative ion treatments could help in reducing recurring depression and can be used for mood balancing. Negative air ionization is created with manmade machines that add an electron to oxygen molecules to create a negative ion. Negative ions are also created in nature by crashing ocean waves, radiation, and even sunlight. These ions are believed to increase the amount of oxygen in your blood. However, scientists are still investigating the exact influence of these ions on the body. So, what does this have to do with Himalayan salt lamps? People believe that Himalayan salts emit negative ions and therefore there are many benefits to having them around. But the truth could not be farther than this. There are no substantial scientific studies that prove that Himalayan salt lamps produce large quantities of negative ion. The detailed scientific study that was conducted found that the negative ion emissions from the salt lamps were so low that it could barely be measured. Therefore, when we read about the health benefits from these lamps is in the magazines, some of it is written from a marketing perspective.
Having said that, there are many who claim to feel better after using the lamps. They claim to have improved health and wellbeing. This could be a more psychological effect more than anything else.
The way the salt lamp works is simple. When you light up the salt lamp; it attracts water molecules and its attached pollutants from the surrounding air. These tiny pollutants remain attached to the lamp instead of
floating in the air. As a result, you do not breathe in these microscopic pollutants. As the Himalayan salt lamp slowly becomes saturated with water vapour it attracts from surroundings, the heat from the lamp constantly dries them out – thus continuing the hygroscopic effect for as long as the light remains on. This heat from the lamp helps in re-releasing the water vapour back into the air. It is a continuous cycle that goes on when the lamp is in use. It is a good idea to turn off your salt lamp for an hour every week. You can let it cool completely and then clean the lamp using a damp cloth to get rid of the trapped dust particles.
If you are fond of these lovely lamps and wish to use them, then go ahead. They don’t do any damage. Display the lamp where you tend to spend a lot of your time. TV room, study room or on a desk where you work – are some of the ideal places to use the salt lamp.
If you feel that using these lamps makes you feel better and balances your moods; then go ahead and use them. But remember, science has yet to prove its benefits.
Shivani Adalja is a Dubai based feng shui and wellbeing practitioner, author of several leading papers and columns on the subject, motivational speaker, Intuitive Counselor and one of the most sought after personalities in the Middle East.