Few things are genuinely more soothing than the warm orange glow of a candle, campfire, or the sun setting down for the day.
For those who are in awe of relaxing colors that can change the atmosphere of your home, Himalayan salt lamps might just offer the ambiance you’re longing for.
While some call it a fad, others are impressed with the crystals’ reddish-hued design, extracted from some of the world’s most mountainous regions.
Once this initial process is completed, the rock is then chiseled from the outside in, creating a central opening where a heat lamp or light bulb can be placed.
Most often encountered in spas and resorts, there have been claims that salt lamps can oxygenate the brain, help with mental disorders, improve mood swings and even strengthen your immune system.
For these reasons and more, this article will explore everything you need to know about salt lamps and their benefits.
What is a Salt Lamp?
Salt lamps, otherwise known as HPS (Himalayan Pink Salt) lamps, can be described as large pieces of salt, which have been altered to incorporate a small light bulb inside. It’s essential to note that they are solid pieces of salt, meaning that some can be quite heavy.
Otherwise, you can opt for the more recent decorative baskets that are filled with smaller crystals of salt – depending on your preferences and room design.
Despite there being diverging opinions as to whether these salt lamps can help, either mentally or physically, one thing is certain: they are made from pure, food grade, Himalayan salt crystals.
Commonly extracted from the western side of the Himalayan Mountains, in the Punjab region of Pakistan, salt lamps are hand carved and individually loved. In other words, you shouldn’t be surprised to notice that each lamp is unique in intensity, shape, or color.
Plus, it’s noteworthy that the block also boasts additional attachments and fixtures, commonly made out of wood, which is then connected to the rest of the lamp.
If you are conscientious of the environment and want to even further connect with nature, then we also recommend using a low-energy bulb. This will ultimately not only help with your desire to respect the Earth, but it will also cut down on your electricity bills.
How Does It Work?
In a few words, salt lamps work due to their natural ionizing power. More specifically, the salt crystals are capable of emitting negative ions, an overall effect increased by the heat generated by the light bulb you are using.
To put it differently, negative ions will counteract the positive ions, which are naturally present in the atmosphere as a result of air pollution.
Because of air pollution, it is therefore even more important to give our bodies the nutrients, vitamins and care they deserve, including salt – not only internally, either.
For those who are not aware, our bodies require salt for adequate blood pressure regulation, the nervous system, hydration, and electrolyte balance. However, this doesn’t mean that you should start taking chunks out of your salt lamp to see the benefits.
You’ll be pleased to know that salt is naturally hygroscopic, meaning that it attracts water molecules to itself. With this in mind, salt lamps attract water molecules in the air, dissipating allergens, pollutants, and even bacteria.
At least, that is the primary idea behind them. Overall, these salt lamps are incredibly safe, but there are only a handful of scientific studies supporting the real health effects of salt lamps.
However, aside from the studies, customers are known to report a significant decrease in their stress levels, which may or may not be a placebo effect. Either way, packing a convenient price tag and serving as a night light, there is great value for money in purchasing one of these.
Of course, higher-end salt lamps do plainly advertise that positive ions are produced by their company’s electronic equipment.
All in all, the salt crystals, particularly when combined with the light source behind the lamp, produce negative ions capable of neutralizing the positive ones in the air – which carry allergens, bacteria, mold, and others.
By using salt lamps on a regular basis, it is thought that you can get rid of multiple problems and illnesses, including insomnia, allergies, elevated stress levels and more.
Where to Install One
While you can install your brand-new and shiny lamp in every room, the bedroom would possibly be one of the most recommended spaces.
It will ultimately depend on where you spend the most amount of your time, but you will want to pick a room that lacks high-quality air or struggles with things like pollutants and microorganisms.
The best thing about it is that you don’t need to sleep with it on.
Instead, just leave it for a couple of hours before going to bed or entering the room to watch a movie.
Of course, if you’re not the greatest fan of the dark, you can let your bedroom soak in the soft and tranquil glow as the hour's pass.
The Living Room
Another great spot where you can use a salt lamp is in the living room. As a rule of thumb, this is where you keep most electronic devices, including your TV.
By placing a salt lamp next to an electromagnetically charged item, you can neutralize that space – creating a safe haven in which you can calm down and have a restful end to your evening.
Besides that, you can also use it for meditation purposes, in massage rooms, in your office space, or in your kid’s room.
For the latter, not only will your kiddies appreciate having a cool-looking light to guard them during their sleep, but it will also help them sleep soundly and safely.
Since children are commonly prone to respiratory problems, allergies and diseases, having a clean space can be quite useful. For instance, salt lamps can help clear the sinus cavity, alleviating symptoms of asthma, colds and much more.
Are They Safe?
Some people may be concerned about the safety of their Himalayan salt lamps, due to the fact that the minerals they are made of may contain traces of different heavy metals.
As the salt is warmed up, the question arises whether the harmful particles manage to get in the air.
However, the answer is no.
To put it simply, the concentration of these metals is too low to cause any harm to your health by evaporation.
Another safety concern is related to the electric components found in your lamp.
Before you make a purchase, investigate if the manufacturer has issued any recalls due to problems with switches and plugs.
In addition to that, look for a certificate that will guarantee the quality and safety of the lamp’s electrical components as well.
Lastly, to make sure you will enjoy the beneficial effects of the Himalayan salt and that your lamp won’t emit harmful chemicals, opt for a genuine product, not synthetic imitations made out of various materials.
This is because the latter may be toxic to humans and animals alike.
It Purifies the Air
As mentioned earlier, Himalayan salt lamps are hygroscopic, which means it attracts water molecules. When placed in a room, the air pollutants like mold, bacteria, pollen, dust and other allergens get absorbed along with the water.
Due to the properties of the minerals, it is made of, it is believed that these harmful particles stay trapped inside of it, while the purified water vapor is released back in the room once the lamp is heated.
In fact, as long as the lamp is on and warm, this cycle will repeat many times, making sure the indoor air is cleaner and healthier at the same time.
Eases Respiratory Infections
Thanks to its purifying properties, the Himalayan salt lamp is also very beneficial for breathing problems caused by cold, asthma or allergies. In fact, the minerals it is made of are often used in inhalers for a more potent effect and their benefits are confirmed by many clinical studies.
If you struggle with asthma, allergies, or other recurring respiratory problems, place these lamps in your home and office and soon, you will notice a big difference.
This lamp may serve as a soothing night light that will help you fall asleep faster and achieve better quality dreams.
The warm pinkish to orange glow of the lamp will help you relax at night, after a long day of looking at modern blue light sources such as cell phones, tablets, computer, and TVs. In addition to that, the light it emits will help boost your mood and energy levels.
The colors will help you organize your thoughts, calm you down after a long, stressful day as well as increase your focus.
Balances Out Positive Ions
Positive ions tend to sneak up on you from the pollution outside and build up inside your home. Not only that, many things you use on a daily basis - mostly electronic devices - release electromagnetic radiation, which promotes positive ion build-up as well.
As mentioned, Himalayan salt lamps are known to generate negative ions and can help reach balance in your home. Therefore, it may help you with your anxiety and depression symptoms and make your time spent indoors more enjoyable and relaxing.
However, you should be aware that these lamps emit only small amounts of negative ions. On the other hand, they are naturally found near water sources such as rivers, waterfalls, and rain; spending your days in nature is the best way to feel re-energized.
However, if it is not possible for you to go outside, these lamps may be the next best thing.
Real vs. Fake Salt Lamps
As we have said earlier, when it comes to owning a Himalayan salt lamp, you should really make an effort to purchase the real deal and not some variation made out of synthetic materials that not only lack benefits but may be harmful to your health as well.
That is why you should be very careful when looking to buy one. Read the online reviews and make sure you buy from a trusted seller. Just in case, hold on to the receipt, as sometimes, there is no way of telling if the lamp is real or not until you start using it for yourself.
A real lamp usually has a darker color, which is a combination of pink and orange. Make sure to check the ingredients, if listed, as they will give you better insight if the lamp is real or not.
The shape should be more or less irregular and the surface texture rough. When around a water source, a real lamp will sweat, due to the characteristics of the salt it is made of.
A lamp that is made out of a block or real Himalayan salt is fragile and prone to damages. That is why if the lamp you are looking to buy comes with a lifetime guarantee, it is probably not real.
If your lamp shines bright, it is certainly not real. An original lamp emits dim light in an irregular manner. On top of that, a real salt lamp has a light bulb that heats it up, so all of the varieties with LED lights are definitely fake.
The original Himalayan salt lamp may be traced back to Pakistan. Ask the seller for the country of origin before you make a purchase.
If you have been using the right size lamp for your room for a while now but are not experiencing any benefits on your mood and health, chances are, you ended up with a fake one.
Last but not least, if the seller has a very inflexible returning policy, that is a clear warning sign that the lamp he or she is offering is most probably fake.
If there is no mention of the possibility that the product may be damaged during transport, it is another warning sign that the lamp is not the real deal after all.
Why They Are Bad for Cats
As mentioned previously, their various health benefits and cool factor have made them a desirable addition to any home that is going for a more rustic look.
However, before you head on over to your local store and snatch one up, you may want to take note of this: while salt lamps are great for humans, they can be dangerous or even deadly to your beloved feline or canine companion.
Salt lamps pose less of a danger to dogs, as chances are, you would have placed yours on a desk or corner table and out of Fido’s reach. However, cat’s, being the agile, lithe creatures that they are, are quite capable of accessing areas that a dog can’t.
Coupled with their curious nature and the fact that salt lamps are warm, there’s a high chance that your cat will no doubt be attracted to your Himalayan decoration.
This is proven by the fact that some cat owners have noticed that their cats enjoyed being near salt lamps and have been observed licking the aforementioned salt lamps on occasion.
Due to their independent nature, cats have a tendency to help themselves to whatever they like when not closely observed by their owners.
That is why this clearly illustrates why salt lamps could pose a danger to your beloved cat, as it could suffer from salt poisoning should it consume excess amounts of salt from licking your salt lamp.
While cats do need salt in small quantities, licking a salt lamp may result in a dangerous salt imbalance that can lead to lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and in some cases, even death.
Hence, if your cat is a curious sort that enjoys exploring and pushing boundaries, you should consider placing your salt lamp in an area where even a cat would not be able to reach, or a room where your cat does not have access to.
Should your cat display any of the aforementioned symptoms, you need to take him or her to the vet immediately. Failure to do so can lead to permanent organ damage or even, as mentioned, death.
Like any piece of furniture or decoration, your salt lamp should be placed in a dry area free from moisture in order to extend its lifespan. That is why you must never place your salt lamp in the bathroom or the outdoors, where it may be exposed to moisture.
Another peculiar trait showcased by salt lamps is their tendency to “leak.”
No, we don’t mean that there is water inside your salt lamp. What you are witnessing is simply a build-up of condensation on the exterior of your salt lamp.
Here’s a fun fact:
Salt is actually the common name for Sodium, which is an alkali metal that is by nature hygroscopic. That is why in the absence of heat i.e. the lamp is turned off, moisture will build upon the surface of the lamp.
As the moisture begins to build up, pools of water will eventually form at the base of your lamp, which is what gives the impression that your salt lamp is leaking water.
Wipe up any pools of water that may have formed at the base of your lamp on a regular basis to prevent water damage of any kind. One way of preventing this from happening is by keeping your salt lamp turned ON at all times, which ensures the presence of a heat source.
This, in turn, is beneficial to you, as it ensures that you are bathed with a constant stream of healing negative ions. However, the problem with doing this is that it can shorten the lifespan of the bulb as well as increase your electricity bill.
As an alternative, you can also opt to cover your salt lamp with an airtight bag in order to isolate the salt lamp from the air. This will prevent the build-up of moisture on your lamp, which eliminates leaking.
Taking Care of Salt Lamps
Regular upkeep and maintenance of your salt lamp are crucial to ensure that you are able to enjoy the many benefits that it has. Here are a few tips on keeping your salt lamp in top working order.
Protect Your Salt Lamp from Moisture
Always ensure that your salt lamp is placed in a dry area at all times. As mentioned previously, salt has hygroscopic properties, which means that it can very quickly attract water.
Hence, when placed in a damp area or if you live in a location with high levels of humidity in the air, you run the risk of your salt lamp suffering from water damaged.
That is why if possible, keep your lamp turned on for as often as you can, or isolate it from moisture by covering the lamp with an airtight bag - which is what we instructed previously.
Dry the Lamp Promptly
Never allow excess amounts of moisture to build upon the surface of your lamp and regularly wipe down your lamp to eliminate said excess moisture. Failing to do so can result in your lamp becoming damaged.
For greater effectiveness, you may want to consider exposing your lamp to direct sunlight to entirely eliminate all moisture on its surface.
Regularly Clean Your Lamp
Like any other household item, your lamp should be regularly wiped down from top to bottom with a damp cloth to remove any excess amounts of dust or dirt that may have built up. This ensures that your lamp is always clean and free of dust.
Along with this, it has the benefit of removing any excess buildup of salt, which can corrode the base of the lamp.
Salt lamps are a great way of spicing up your home decor while lending a rustic, cave-like style to your home. Along with this, nothing beats lounging in the warm, healing light of a salt lamp after a hard day at work, or during a chillout session with your closest friends and family.
With a little care and effort, your salt lamp can serve you faithfully for many years to come.