Himalayan salt lamps

By Glauce Fleury

A friend and I recently went to a restaurant that had Himalayan pink salt lamps on its tables. It was noon. They were all off. Then I asked her, “What’s the point of keeping them off? Don’t we need them on to get all their benefits?”

My friend responded, “I don’t think it makes any difference. Are you sure?” I was not sure, so I did some research. (But let me be honest: I realized I don’t keep my own salt lamps on during the day. Are the restaurant and I doing the right thing?)

First, let me go back in time a bit. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, these are lamps made from salt rocks mined in the Himalayas and are approximately 250 million years old (beware of fake versions on the market!).

Himalayan salt lamps became quite popular last year. It’s not surprising, as they purify the air through a process called hygroscopy — the ability to attract water molecules from its surroundings. These molecules carry pollutants (such as dust, pollen and smoke), so these are removed from the air as well.

What about the heat? It’s indeed relevant. When the salt lamp warms up from the heat produced by the light bulb (or candle) inside, the water molecules evaporate, but the contaminants remain locked in the salt.

By cleansing the air, the salt lamps can reduce allergy and asthma symptoms and ease coughing. But these are only some of many benefits. As the lamps are made from a natural resource, they also help boost our energy levels.

These lamps can provide us with the same relaxation we feel when in touch with the nature, for example, walking along the ocean or observing a waterfall. This is all an interesting chemical process.

We learned at school that all matter is made up of molecules, that molecules are made up of atoms and that atoms are made up of protons (positive charge), electrons (negative charge) and neutrons (no charge).

To combat air pollution, nature makes use of chemistry and produces negative ions. They attract the harmful particles (positively charged) and, eventually, neutralize them. Negative ions stimulate the flow of oxygen to our brain, and increase alertness and energy.

Considered a perfect air ionizer, Himalayan salt emits negative ions. So having these lamps in spaces where we spend a lot of time can help eliminate positive ions created by, for example, electronic devices.

At home or in an office, these lamps have the potential to positively impact our routine: we can notice better sleep, mood and concentration. Besides, they help neutralize electromagnetic radiation and reduce static electricity.

If you consider buying them, remember that the size influences how much air they can purify under normal circumstances. So do some research to find the perfect lamp for your space. See some tips below:

  • Place the lamps in the spaces where you spend most of your time.
  • Place them where you keep most of your electronic devices.
  • Know the supplier you’re buying from (some cheap versions may not be made of Himalayan salt).
  • Remember that a bigger lamp in a large room has the same effect as a bunch of small ones. It’s up to you.

Photo credit: © Sigusr0 under Creative Commons via Flickr

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