The truth about Himalayan salt lamps: should you get one?

To put it simply, a real Himalayan salt lamp is a large piece of pure Himalayan salt from Pakistan with a small bulb inside. Besides its unique design and a warm dim light when lit, many people believe that the lamp provides a lot of health benefits, varying from easing the symptoms of asthma to boosted blood flow. It has been advertised that these lamps release negative ions into a room, providing various benefits, such as neutralized electromagnetic radiation from household electronics.

How does Himalayan salt lamp work?

Once the lamp is on, gradually the heat is generated, which then attracts moisture. The evaporation of water through salt emits negative ions. It is said that a larger area will need a bigger lamp so that more negative ions could be emitted.

But how much of this is actually true? Let’s find out.

Air ionization

All health benefits associated with using a salt lamp come from one feature it is said to have: emission of negative ions.

IMG_7149
Calming Himalayan salt lamp in the evening

First of all, let’s quickly go through some important theory.

An ion (1) is defined as an atom or molecule, which has gained (or lost) one or more of its electrons, giving it a net positive or negative electrical charge. At any given time, there are both positive and negative ions. The latter ones are the good guys out there, since they clean air of mold spores, odors, cigarette smoke, bacteria, viruses, dust, and other hazardous particles. Having less of those particles in the air prevents you from having any respiratory problems or other health issues (2, 3, 4, 5). As a result, your serotonin levels are boosted, mental alertness is improved, and general-well being is promoted.

On the contrary, positive ions, produced by air conditioning, electrical equipment (think of your TV, computer, mobile phone, etc.) and other household items do the opposite – they were proved to contribute to tiredness, lack of energy, tension, anxiety, depression and even asthma.

Here come the Himalayan salt lamps, which are claimed to release negative ions into the air that ‘cancel the positive ions out’.

But the question is: how much of negative ions do Himalayan salt lamps actually emit? According to The Negative Ion Information Center (NIIC) (6), not that much. In fact, during the test, the emissions were so low they could barely be measured. However, NIIC didn’t mention neither for how long the lamp had been lit during the experiment nor how big the lamp was. Maybe keeping a decent-sized lamp for several hours would generate enough negative ions for one room? Unfortunately, there is no further scientific evidence to estimate the amount of negative ions that salt lamps emit, so we can only assume.

5 reasons to (still) buy a Himalayan salt lamp:

  1. May improve air quality. As previously discussed, assuming a salt lamp emits negative ions, it reduces the electromagnetic radiation and cleans the air from various hazardous particles in the air. In any case, your air quality will certainly not get worse from using a salt lamp, so why not to try? Maybe after all it will do the promised work.
  2. May ease asthma and bronchitis symptoms. Salt therapy has been found (8) to have various benefits when it comes to respiratory problems. Salt lamp may possibly give similar effects, but on a smaller scale than a real salt therapy, of course.

    IMG_7156
    Himalayan salt lamp (possibly) improves air quality
  3. Great low-light lamp for night. Modern light sources (phones, tablets, TVs, computers) emit plenty of blue light that many of us spend a lot of time staring at, especially in the evening. Salt lamps, on the contrary, offer a warm orange low-light, making it a great light source for the evening and night as it doesn’t negatively affect your sleep.
  4. Calming effects. Soothing salt lamps may help boost your mood and relieve anxiety, as the soft orange hues are often used for light and color therapy. Furthermore, that small amount of negative ions it emits may also be helpful in boosting your mood (9).
  5. Accessory for interior. With its unique shape and color, this lamp is surely great for decorating your house and creating a peaceful atmosphere.

Tip: According to experts (7), you should clean your rock salt lamp with a lightly damp cloth when it gets dusty, instead of immersing it in water. After cleaning, dry it with a soft towel. Furthermore, it is advised to keep lamps as long as possible, as the warmer they get the more they purify the air in your environment.


Do you have a Himalayan salt lamp? Have you noticed any positive effects? Share in the comments below!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. katielshore says:

    Loved this post. I’ve been curious about these salt lamps for a while but also sceptical about the many health claims. I like how you are being evidence based about it & providing us with the facts. Thank you ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LeafyJoy says:

      Thanks for your positive feedback! I am glad it’s useful 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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