In recent years something called Himalayan salt has been trending. It’s also featured in some trending diets since it’s keto-friendly, for example. You can also buy items called Himalayan salt lamps that are decorative lights for homes. In terms of the lamp’s contents, it’s a rock salt from the Himalayan Mountains’ foothills. You might have seen this salt advertised as “pink Himalayan salt.” While the salt is slightly pink it has a chemical structure that’s similar to table salt. Fun Fact: table salt is 98% sodium chloride. There’s no question that rock salt and sea salt are good options if you’re looking for Plan B instead of regular iodized salt. However, it’s also important to separate fact from fiction.
That’s also true of these salt lamps. Supporters claim it can provide many health benefits like boosting mood, improving sleep and relieving allergies. These are bold claims that might seem odd since we’re talking about salt instead of essential oils. Whenever there’s a trend in alternative medicine it’s important to take a closer look. We’re basically talking about the 2% difference between Himalayan salt vs. regular salt. It’s also important to consider whether the salt can provide these other benefits. Taking a closer look can help to sort everything out.
What Is Himalayan Salt?
This is the nitty-gritty of the issue because the lamp is mostly used as a home decoration. The salt is used this way as aromatherapy instead of food so it’s also critical to consider the claimed benefits. More on that later.
Let’s start with the chemical structure of the Himalayan salt. It’s 98% sodium chloride. This is the exact same percentage as table salt so in that regard there’s nothing outstanding about most of the salt’s chemicals.
So how about the other 2%? It contains small amounts of minerals known as “trace minerals.” They include magnesium, potassium, and calcium. It’s this chemical combo that gives the salt a pink color.
The salt’s color is one issue but it doesn’t mean that it’s healthier than white salt. However, it’s also interesting that the pink salt has a different flavor than table salt. This is due to the 2% of the salt that’s different from table salt.
Himalayan-sourced salt is used in different ways. They include seasoning food, cooking meals, and preserving food.
In fact, it’s interesting that pink salt blocks are used for different purposes. They include cutting boards, cooking surfaces, and serving dishes. In fact, the pink salt is sometimes even used as a bath salt. That’s right!
Other options include candle-holders and Himalayan salt lamps.
The so-called Standard American Diet (SAD) often includes high-sodium foods/meals. This can cause high blood pressure and increase the risk of events like strokes and heart attacks.
That said, sodium is important in our diets because the essential mineral provides benefits related to:
- Dehydration prevention
- Low blood pressure (prevention)
- Infection prevention
- Central Nervous System (CNS)
- Muscles (contracting/relaxing)
Researchers have also studied the effect of salt on mood. It seems to help boost moods and reduce symptoms of depression. More research is needed for this effect.
What Is a Himalayan Salt Lamp?
Let’s get to the main details of this decorative light made of Himalayan salt. These salt lights are believed to be a type of “natural ionizer.” In other words, they alter the circulating air’s electrical charge.
Ions are simply chemical compounds that have a charge. That’s because the proton/electron number isn’t balanced.
These chemicals get made in the air naturally when changes happen in any environment. In fact, air ions are made in different areas like:
An air ionizer also makes ions through an artificial method. Here’s how it works. The lamp first heats up salt. It’s believed that water that evaporates from the salt then makes ions by attracting that water.
It’s an interesting theory but does it work? It’s not clear if any salt lamps make large amounts of ions. In fact, it’s unclear if they make even one ion.
Benefits Of Himalayan Salt Lamps
Here are some of the main claims made about the benefits of Himalayan salt lamp:
1. Mood Boosts
This is one of the biggest claims made about the salt lamps. Some past animal studies show that breathing in lots of negative ions floating in the air might camp up a “feel-good” chemical that can boost mood.
The problem is human studies don’t seem to support that theory. Air ionization doesn’t’ seem to provide any major psychological benefits in terms of feelings or mood. Lots of negative ions might affect mood but it’s unclear.
2. Better Sleep
No studies have been done to test if salt lamps can help you get more shut-eye. That said, one study showed that ions didn’t help people to relax.
3. Better Air Quality
The lamps are advertised as helping people with conditions/diseases like asthma or allergies that are affected by air pollution. There’s a caveat. There doesn’t seem to be any solid evidence that salt lamps can improve a home’s air quality.