Himalayan Salt Lamps: How They Work And Benefits

Written by Ravi Teja Tadimalla

All of us who have come across salt lamps and have wondered whether they work. Well, the opinions are polarizing. Certain skeptics view them as a harmless myth, while long-time advocates swear by them.

If you are thinking of buying a salt lamp, this comprehensive guide will help you understand if it is worth it. From understanding its purported health benefits to decoding how it works, we have you covered. Read on.

What Is A Himalayan Salt Lamp?

The authentic Himalayan salt lamps are made from the mineral-rich pink/orange Himalayan salts harvested in Pakistan’s Khewra Salt Mine region (1). What makes this salt special is the fact that it is a million years old. The salt is similar to the composition of table salt, but its rosy-pink color comes from its magnesium, potassium, and calcium content.

A light bulb is placed inside large chunks of the pink Himalayan salt. When turned on, this lamp emits a warming and calming pink glow that is believed to soothe one’s mind and body.

But how does this salt lamp actually work? We will understand the same in the next section.

Do Himalayan Salt Lamps Actually Work (And How)?

It is important to understand that there is not enough scientific evidence to prove the efficacy of Himalayan pink salts in providing health benefits.

The manufacturers claim that the salt lamps can act as natural ionizers that release helpful negative ions into a room and purify it. Some research suggests that negative air-ion therapy may help people dealing with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) (2).

How does negative-ion therapy work through salt lamps? Himalayan salt lamps can supposedly change the charge of the surrounding air and produce ions that attract water particles (3). These particles then get evaporated as a salt solution when heated by the lamp. The user ultimately ends up passively processing these negative ions that are known to have health benefits.

Even though salt lamps may produce health-benefiting ions, it is unclear whether they can have significant amounts of negative ions to be genuinely beneficial. More research is warranted to conclusively prove the efficacy of Himalayan salt lamps.

In the next section, we discuss some advantages of owning a Himalayan salt lamp.

Top 4 Benefits Of Owning A Himalayan Salt Lamp

Most people use Himalayan salt lamps as decorative pieces. The following advantages warrant better scientific research.

1. May Boost Your Mood

Exposure to higher concentrations of ions in indoor air may improve your cognitive performance and mental well-being (4). However, another study indicates no effect on anxiety, mood, relaxation, sleep, or personal comfort with increased air ion exposure (5). However, the study did claim that negative ionization did lead to lower depression ratings among the participants.

2. May Help Purify Room Air

The Himalayan salt lamp is known to purify indoor air by removing harmful pathogens. It may be beneficial for people with respiratory issues such as asthma, allergies, etc. However, more research is warranted in this regard. For example, while studies suggest that negative ions in considerable quantities may kill dust mites, the lamp does not produce enough ions to cause any pest extermination (6).

3. May Help You Sleep

There is no direct research linking the benefit of using a Himalayan salt lamp for better sleep. However, considering that the lamp emits a dim, soothing light, it may help create a calming, sleep-friendly environment.

4. May Elevate The Ambiance

The salt lamp can be an attractive decorative piece at home. It also can create an inviting and relaxing environment at home and allow you to unwind before bedtime.

You may go for a Himalayan salt lamp for these advantages. But what should you look for in a lamp before you buy one?

What Should You Look For When Buying A Salt Lamp?

  •  Go for a lamp with darker pink crystals. The darker the pink, the higher the quality of the light.
  •  Ensure the lamp salt is made of pink salts extracted from the Khewra mine in Pakistan.
  •  Consider the size of your room before choosing the lamp. For instance, a lamp weighing 2 to 3 kilos should suffice for a smaller room.
  •  Avoid lamps that give away excess light. Such lamps might be fake. Authentic Himalayan salt lamps emit a soft, warm glow.
  •  Be wary of lowly-priced white Himalayan salt lamps. Himalayan crystals are expensive to be mined and processed into a lamp. Hence, the finished product is usually not cheap.

The Bottom Line

Himalayan salt lamps seem to have more of aesthetic, therapeutic, and decorative benefits. More research is warranted to prove their efficacy in offering the much-touted health benefits such as improved sleep, reduced anxiety, and better mood.

But you may use these lamps to create a warm and friendly ambiance at your home. Just keep in mind the factors you need to consider before picking one.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Do salt lamps purify air?

No scientific research has proven that the Himalayan salt lamps can effectively purify the air.

Can they ease allergy and asthma symptoms?

No, the Himalayan salt lamps cannot ease respiratory issues such as allergy and asthma.

Is sleeping with a salt lamp good for me?

The Himalayan salt lamp emits a dim, pink light that may have a calming effect on your mind and body after an exhausting day at work. It may offer you better sleep, though this effect is not proven by research.

Why is my salt lamp turning black?

Your salt lamp may turn black if it is mined from a lower-quality crystal salt.

Why is my salt lamp turning white?

An accumulation of salt residue on the lamp’s surface may cause the lamp to turn white.

Why does my Himalayan salt lamp sweat?

Your lamp might be sweating due to the presence of excess moisture. Ideally, try to keep your lamp on for at least 16 hours a day, every day, to prevent it from sweating and to ensure the salt block remains warm.

Should my Himalayan salt lamp get hot?

No. Your lamp itself should only ever be warm to the touch, and never too hot. You are likely using the wrong globe size if it does become too hot to handle.


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  1. Chemical Characterisation of Himalayan Rock Salt
  2. Promising new treatments for SAD
  3. Exposure to illuminated salt lamp increases 5-HT metabolism: A serotonergic perspective to its beneficial effects
  4. Exposure to Air Ions in Indoor Environments: Experimental Study with Healthy Adults
  5. Air ions and mood outcomes: a review and meta-analysis
  6. Effect of a commercial air ionizer on dust mites Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus and Dermatophagoides farinae (Acari: Pyroglyphidae) in the laboratory

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Ravi Teja Tadimalla is an editor and a published author. He graduated from SRM University, Chennai, and has been in the digital media field for over six years. He has a Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition & Research from Wageningen University. He considers himself a sculptor born to chip away at content and reveal its dormant splendor. He started his career as a research writer, primarily focusing on health and wellness, and has over 250 articles to his credit. Ravi believes in the great possibilities of abundant health with natural foods and organic supplements. Reading and theater are his other interests.