From my Department of I Never Heard of That Before comes the Himalayan salt lamp. Whatever this thing is, it’s supposed to have healing, cleansing properties. What’s not to like? Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
Himalayan salt is rock salt (halite, which is sodium chloride or NaCl) that comes from the Salt Range mountains in Punjab in Pakistan. Himalayan crystal salt is mined 5,000 feet deep!
If you want to get technical, Himalayan salt is found throughout a region about 190 miles south of the Himalayan mountain range. Perhaps calling the mineral Salt Salt would have been too confusing?
Mineral impurities tinge this natural mineral salt a pretty pink, white, or red. It is used as table salt to season food, as a material for cooking and food presentation, spa treatments, and decorative lamps.
All mammalian bodies (including ours) need salt every day in order to function properly and enjoy good health. A normal level of sodium in the blood is essential for cellular function, nerve conduction, digestion, and ability to absorb nutrients and eliminate waste products through the urine and stool.
Pink Himalayan salt from the Khewra Salt Mine in Pakistan is regarded as the cleanest salt available anywhere, over 99 percent pure. Residents of the Punjabi area use their local rock salt in the traditional way, to season their meals and as a preservative for meat and fish.
Pink Himalayan sea salt contains over 84 minerals and trace elements, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, and iron. This makes it a nutritious substitute for regular table salt – without boosting your sodium blood levels.
Commercial table salt is highly processed which removes almost all trace minerals that occur naturally when the salt is mined. Compare the 97.5-99.9 percent sodium chloride content of commercial table salt with the 87 percent sodium chloride content of unrefined Himalayan sea salt. The 10 percent difference is due to essential trace amounts of vital, life-giving minerals lost through commercial processing.
Dietary needs aside, some enthusiasts say that lamps made from Himalayan salt do more than add ambiance to the room: they impart healing energies. They do this because the salt is made up of dried remnants of Earth’s original, primordial sea – you know, the one that dates back to the planet’s creation?
The thinking here is that salt lamps are natural ionizers, meaning that they change the electrical charge of the circulating air from positive (bad) to negative (good).
One enthusiast wrote that owning a Himalayan Pink Salt Lamp was “like having an open window” and called it “a softly glowing natural source of fresh, clean air.”
Real Himalayan salt lamps are hand-carved, solid blocks of Himalayan salt. The center of the lamp is hollowed out by hand. A light bulb is placed in the interior cavity that produces both light and heat. Like any lamp, a salt lamp won’t shine without a working bulb hooked up to it.
Salt is hygroscopic – it attracts water molecules to itself. “Being the big hunk of salt that it is, a Himalayan salt lamp is believed to work by attracting the water molecules,” according to Dr. Axe. The water vapor that surrounds the lamp contains indoor air pollutants such as mold, bacteria, and allergens. But when the water vapor touches the lamp’s body, it is thought that the toxins become trapped in the salt.
The heat from the lamp dries the polluted water it collects so it can attract more polluted water vapor to cleanse on a perpetual basis, “releasing the water vapor back into the air but holding on to the health-hazardous pollutants.”
Although formal, scientific studies have lagged behind positive user feedback, the benefits to be gained from bathing yourself in the light from a Himalayan salt lamp are purported to include the reduction of:
- Air pollution (toxic pathogens)
- Airborne bacteria and viruses
- Positive ions (usually carbon dioxide molecules which can have a negative effect on the body if exposure is excessive)
- Electrosmog caused by electronic devices
- Symptoms for patients with asthma, allergies, and other illnesses
- IgE level (immune system oversensitivity)
In addition, basking in primordial salt light loosens excessive mucus and speeds up mucociliary transport (the removal of particles from the airways as the result of the movement of the mucus coating due to the beating of the underlying cilia).
Ions are molecular compounds that carry a charge because they have an unbalanced number of protons or electrons. Any atmospheric alterations caused by waterfalls, waves, storms, natural radioactivity or heat produce ions in the air – naturally and pretty much constantly.
Basically, a Himalayan salt lamp does the same thing as a commercial air ionizer – but without the hum of a motor. Plus, it’s pretty to look at. That alone can lift your spirits and make you feel better.