Himalayan Salt Lamps: Benefits and Myths
They are carved out of pink Himalayan salt and believed to have various health benefits.
In fact, advocates of salt lamps claim they can clean the air in your home, soothe allergies, boost your mood and help you sleep.
However, others question whether these claims have any merit.
This article explores the evidence on Himalayan salt lamps and sorts fact from fiction.
What Are Himalayan Salt Lamps and Why Do People Use Them?
Himalayan salt lamps are made by placing a light bulb inside large chunks of pink Himalayan salt.
They have a distinctive look and emit a warming, pink glow when lit.
True Himalayan salt lamps are made from salt harvested from the Khewra Salt Mine in Pakistan.
Salt sourced from this area is believed to be millions of years old, and although it's 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 the way they look and enjoy the ambiance the pink light creates in their homes. Meanwhile, others find their supposed health benefits alluring.
Himalayan salt lamps are carved from the mineral-rich, pink salt mined from the Khewra Salt Mine in Pakistan. Some people buy them to decorate their home, while others believe they provide health benefits.
How Do Himalayan Salt Lamps Work?
Salt lamps are said to provide health benefits because they are "natural ionizers," meaning they change the electrical charge of the circulating air.
Ions are compounds that carry a charge because they have an unbalanced number of protons or electrons.
They are produced naturally in the air when alterations occur in the atmosphere. For example, waterfalls, waves, storms, natural radioactivity and heat all produce air ions (1).
They can also be created artificially by commercially produced air ionizers.
It's suggested that Himalayan salt lamps may produce ions by attracting water particles that evaporate off as a salt solution when heated by the lamp, forming mostly negative ions (2).
However, this theory has not yet been tested.
Currently, it's unclear whether salt lamps produce ions in meaningful amounts, if at all.
Himalayan salt lamps are said to change the charge of the surrounding air by producing ions that have health benefits. However, it is not currently clear whether they can produce any or enough ions to affect your health.
What Are The Health Claims and Do They Stack Up?
There are three main health claims made about Himalayan salt lamps.
1. They Improve Air Quality
Salt lamps are often claimed to improve the air quality of your home.
More specifically, they are advertised as being beneficial for people with allergies, asthma or diseases that affect respiratory function, such as cystic fibrosis.
However, there is currently no evidence that using a Himalayan salt lamp can remove potential pathogens and improve the air quality of your home.
The claim that they are good for people with respiratory conditions may be partly based on the ancient practice of halotherapy.
In this therapy, people with chronic respiratory conditions are said to benefit from spending time in salt caves due to the presence of salt in the air.
Yet, there is little support for this practice, and it's not clear whether it is safe or effective for people with respiratory conditions (3).
2. They Can Boost Your Mood
Another frequently made claim is that Himalayan salt lamps can boost your mood.
Some animal studies have shown that exposure to high levels of negative ions in the air may improve levels of serotonin, a chemical involved in mood regulation (1).
Yet, human studies investigating claims regarding the psychological effects of air ionization found no consistent effects on mood or feelings of well-being (7).
However, researchers did find that people with depressive symptoms who were exposed to very high levels of negative ions reported improvements in their mood.
Nevertheless, the link they found wasn't dose-related, meaning that people's mood improvements couldn't be explained by the dose they received. Thus, researchers questioned whether the link was causal.
Additionally, it's very unlikely that salt lamps could expose you to the high 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 didn't find any evidence of a beneficial effect (7).
Thus, even if salt lamps do affect the air environment, it's not clear if this would have an effect on sleep patterns.
It's possible that using the dim light from a Himalayan salt lamp may help promote sleepiness toward the end of the day if you use it to replace bright electric lights.
However, this isn't specific to salt lamps, and the theory hasn't been tested.
Himalayan salt lamps are claimed to improve air quality, boost mood and help you sleep. However, there is currently little evidence to support these claims.
Do Himalayan Salt Lamps Have Any Benefits?
Although some of their health claims are not supported by science, Himalayan salt lamps may have other benefits.
- They are attractive: If you like the way they look, they could be an attractive addition to your home.
- They create a nice ambiance: They could help create a relaxing atmosphere that helps you unwind.
- They might help limit light in the evening: If you struggle to sleep, using dim lights in the evening may help you get to sleep faster.
Overall, these points may make them a great addition to your home.
Himalayan salt lamps are inviting, create a warm and relaxing ambiance and may help you wind down before bedtime.
The Bottom Line
There is no evidence behind the health claims related to Himalayan salt lamps.
While they may be an attractive addition to a room and help create a relaxing environment, there's little to suggest they do much else.
More research on the theories surrounding their potential health benefits is needed.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
On hot days in New York City, residents swelter when they're outside and in their homes. The heat is not just uncomfortable. It can be fatal.
- Extreme Heat-Stressed Locations Could Increase by 80% - EcoWatch ›
- African Americans Are Disproportionately Exposed to Extreme Heat ... ›
- Extreme Heat Is Killing Americans While Government Neglect ... ›
Fracking companies are going bankrupt at a rapid pace, often with taxpayer-funded bonuses for executives, leaving harm for communities, taxpayers, and workers, the New York Time reports.
- Plunging Oil Prices Trigger Economic Downturn in Fracking Boom ... ›
- Fracking Boom Bursts in Face of Low Oil Prices - EcoWatch ›
- As Fracking Companies Face Bankruptcy, U.S. Regulators Enable ... ›
A report scheduled for release later Tuesday by Congress' non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds that the Trump administration undervalues the costs of the climate crisis in order to push deregulation and rollbacks of environmental protections, according to The New York Times.
- Under Trump, EPA Workers Seek Bill of Rights to Allow Them to ... ›
- Trump Adds 'Tasteless Insult to Injury' by Pushing Fossil Fuel ... ›
By Kristen Fischer
It's going to be back-to-school time soon, but will children go into the classrooms?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks so, but only as long as safety measures are in place.
Keeping Schools Safe<p>What will safer schools look like?</p><p>In a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2766822" target="_blank">JAMA article</a> published last month, <a href="https://www.jhsph.edu/faculty/directory/profile/1781/joshua-m-sharfstein" target="_blank">Dr. Joshua Sharfstein</a>, a pediatrician and professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, outlined suggestions — many of which are similar to AAP's.</p><p>Remote learning protocols must stay in place, especially as some schools stagger home and in-building learning. If another shutdown needs to occur, children will rely on distance learning completely, so it must be easy to switch to, he said.</p><p>He suggested giving parents a daily checklist to document their child's health. Kids should be screened quickly on arrival and be given hygiene supplies. Maintenance staff should use appropriate PPE and have regular cleaning schedules. A notification system should be in place if a case is identified, Sharfstein recommended.</p><p><a href="https://www.albany.edu/rockefeller/faculty/erika-martin" target="_blank">Erika Martin</a>, PhD, an associate professor of public administration and policy at University at Albany, said nutrition assistance and health services should be included. She called for tutoring programs with virtual options as well as technology access.</p>
Supporting Staff<p>Teachers and staff will be affected by safeguarding measures, noted <a href="https://directory.sph.umn.edu/bio/sph-a-z/rachel-widome" target="_blank">Rachel Widome</a>, PhD, an associate professor of epidemiology and community health at University of Minnesota.</p><p>"In order for all of the in-school precautions to work well, we'll be asking a lot of teachers and staff," Widome told Healthline. In addition to their usual workload, they'll now be asked to monitor mask-wearing, ensure children are keeping distance, and be aware of any symptoms.</p><p>Along with Sharfstein, Widome called for an increase in financial support. More employees will likely be required so teachers and staff members can keep up with the added demands.</p>
Should Kids Go Back?<p>While these guidelines may help get some schools to reopen, many people don't think children should go back to school over fears they could contract the disease and spread it to other vulnerable family members like grandparents, infant siblings, or their parents.</p><p>In a <a href="https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2020/07/08/peds.2020-004879" target="_blank">Pediatrics</a> commentary, <a href="https://www.md.com/doctor/william-raszka-md" target="_blank">Dr. William V. Raszka, Jr.</a>, an infectious disease specialist at The University of Vermont Medical Center, argued that schools should open because school-aged children are far less important drivers of COVID-19 than adults.</p><p>But he says the risk and benefit is not equal among all students ages 5 to 18.</p><p>"Elementary schools are arguably higher priority for face-to-face schooling, since younger children are at lower risk for infection and transmission, and since parental supervision of younger children's distance learning may be particularly challenging," added Sorensen, who penned a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/channels/health-forum/fullarticle/2767411" target="_blank">June article in JAMA</a> with reopening tips. "That means middle and high schools are more likely to emphasize distance learning."</p><p>Specific student populations, such as special education students and students with disabilities, would also benefit greatly from more time spent in face-to-face environments, Sorensen said.</p>
What Parents Can Do<p>Parents should ask for and receive frequent updates from schools about plans for the fall. They should also be informed about plans if and when COVID infections are identified, Sharfstein said.</p><p>"I'd like to see parents investing now, during the summer, in doing things that can slow and stop the spread of the virus in their communities," Widome said.</p><p>"Now is a good time for kids to practice wearing masks and get used to them as they may be wearing them for longer stretches if school starts up in person," Widome suggested.</p><p>She recommends parents try different mask designs and materials to see what children are more comfortable wearing.</p><p>"If you are using cloth face coverings, it's good to have extras on hand," Widome added.</p><p>Parents should model healthy behavior at home and while out in public — another thing that could affect how well children adapt to reopening practices, Sorensen said.</p><p>"Children may want to know more about face coverings," added <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/leescott/" target="_blank">Lee Scott</a>, chairwoman of the Educational Advisory Board at <a href="https://www.goddardschool.com/" target="_blank">The Goddard School</a>. "Dramatic play, such as creating or wearing a face covering, may help some children adjust to this concept." Schools can also show children photos of what faculty members look like in their masks so the students are familiar with that appearance.</p><p>Johns Hopkins University recently released its eSchool+ Initiative, a slew of resources surrounding education during the pandemic. These include a <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-checklist/" target="_blank">checklist for administrators</a>, report on <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/ethics-of-reopening/" target="_blank">ethical considerations</a>, and a tracker of <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-policy-tracker/" target="_blank">state and local reopening plans</a>.</p>
- Trump Admin Rejects CDC Reopening Guidelines - EcoWatch ›
- How Do You Stay Safe Now That States Are Reopening? - EcoWatch ›
- Florida Breaks U.S. Daily Record With Over 15,000 New ... ›
By Eoin Higgins
Over 300 groups on Monday urged Senate leadership to reject a bill currently under consideration that would incentivize communities to sell off their public water supplies to private companies for pennies on the dollar.
<div id="fea63" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9a6f211c2bc5aedd34837944cb8eeedf"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1281000111481294849" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Water in Illinois is overwhelmingly public. Why is Tammy Duckworth sponsoring a bill that aims to change that? https://t.co/1V36Kkd99s</div> — The American Prospect (@The American Prospect)<a href="https://twitter.com/TheProspect/statuses/1281000111481294849">1594249201.0</a></blockquote></div>
- DNC Ignores Progressive Climate Activists - EcoWatch ›
- Who's a Climate Champion and Who's a Climate Disaster? - EcoWatch ›
- California Makes Face Masks Mandatory to Fight Pandemic ... ›
- Here's Why COVID-19 Can Spread So Easily at Gyms and Fitness ... ›
- Hot Weather and COVID-19: Added Threats of Reopening States in ... ›
- Trump Plans to End Federal Funding for COVID-19 Testing Sites ... ›
The Washington Redskins will retire their controversial name and logo, the National Football League (NFL) team announced Monday.