Himalayan Salt lamps are the latest wellness trend to hit the market. People across the nation are rushing over to their nearest health food store to get their hands on one of these glowing, pink rocks. Many, however, don’t actually know what they’re buying or why, and don’t know how to tell a good product from a money grab. We’re hear to help shed some (soft, irregular) light on the matter.
What is Himalayan Salt?
Himalayan salt comes from the Punjab region of Pakistan, found in the salt mines 5 000 feet below the Himalayan Mountain range. It is believed to be billions of years old, composed of the dried remnants of original sea salt from the Precambrian Age. Due to the incredible pressure the salt has been under over the 4 billion years of its existence, it is said to be 99% pure, containing over 84 minerals and trace elements. Its pink hue (and occasionally other colors) indicates its mineral content. (1)
4 Potential Health Benefits
Though there are no scientific studies done on the benefits of Himalayan Salt Lamps themselves, there is some evidence that the pink salt may have health benefits.
1. Respiratory Health
Himalayan salt is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. Halotherapy, or the inhalation of micronized dry salt in a specific environment, has been used to treat chronic Bronchitis. This is because of the salt’s ability to loosen and help remove excessive mucus from the lungs and rid the air of pollutants like pollen that can cause breathing difficulties. (1)(2)(3)
2. Prevent Muscle Cramping
The minerals in Himalayan salt may help with electrolyte balance and prevent muscle cramping, especially when exercising in hot environments that cause you to sweat a lot. You can make a sole solution for drinking or soaking in a tub post-exercise. (1)(4)
3. Purifies the Air
One of the main reasons people are interested in salt lamps is because of its proposed air purifying benefits. It’s suggested that the block of salt attracts water vapor and the air pollutants that come along with it. The heat from the lamp causes the water to evaporate, leaving behind the dust, pollutants, chemicals, and even toxins from our electronic devices so that you don’t breathe them in. (1)(5)
4. Sleep Aid
A small study showed that low levels of sodium in your blood stream can cause a decrease in blood volume. Your sympathetic nervous system becomes highly active as a result, and you wake up more frequently and have trouble falling back to sleep once awake. The thought is that a salt lamp can potentially help you relax and sleep soundly. (1)(6)
5 Ways to Tell if Your Lamp is a Fake
Salt lamps are a hot commodity now, and unfortunately there are those who are making cheap knock-offs and selling them for the same price as the real ones. (7)
1. Poor/Non-Existent Return Policy
Real Himalayan salt lamps are not very durable and therefore can easily be damaged in transportation and shipping. Most good manufacturers have an accommodating return policy for that reason. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that the lamp is a fake, it’s in your best interest to choose a brand that will allow you to exchange your lamp if it arrives to you a little banged-up. (7)
2. Extreme Durability
If you buy a salt lamp that shows no signs of damage when you accidentally drop or bang in to it, you should return it and look for a different manufacturer. A real lamp is delicate and can become damaged easily. (7)
3. Wrong/No Country of Origin
Himalayan rock salt can only come from the salt mines of Pakistan. If the packaging doesn’t list Pakistan as the site of origin, or the company makes no mention of it on their website, chances are it’s a fake. (7)
4. Resistant to Moisture
Himalayan salt lamps are highly sensitive to air moisture. In warm, damp environments, such as in the bathroom after a hot shower, your lamp doesn’t sweat, it is not absorbing the water vapor in the air and therefore not providing any benefits. (7)
5. Color and Light
Himalayan salt lamps are either soft pink or orange in color, and provide only a gentle light. You may see white lamps, however white Himalayan salt is extremely rare and therefore very expensive. If you see lamps of other colors, or an inexpensive white lamp, chances are those lamps, and any lamps made by that manufacturer, are not real. If your lamp is bright enough to fill up a room, that’s also a tell-tale sign that it is fake. (7)
Though conclusive studies have yet to be done on Himalayan salt and salt lamps, the anecdotal evidence and potential benefits make them worth trying, especially for those with respiratory problems. If you have experience with salt lamps, leave a comment below and help us open the discussion.