These days you can walk into almost any department store to see Himalayan Salt Lamps in the home decor section. They used to only be carried in natural health stores, but now they can be found just about anywhere. So is this just a new coffee table trend? Or do Salt Lamps have any real healing properties?
The main two components to focus on when it comes to Himalayan Salt Lamps and their potential healing properties are that they emit Negative Ions and are Hygroscopic.
Whats are Negative Ions?
A positive ion is a molecule which as lost an electron, leaving a ‘gap’ in its outer layer of electrons; a negative ion has an extra electron- a negative ion wants to bond with something to get rid of its spare electron.
Positive ions are known as free radicals. There are clear and documented links between free radicals and health problems such as cancer.
The theory is that negative ions will bond with the positive ions in the atmosphere, neutralizing them before they can affect the molecules in your body.
What happens with a Himalayan Salt Lamp when it is lit, the heat from the bulb inside warms up the Salt and releases negative ions. Though there has been limited research on the amount of negative ions released from a Salt Lamp, it has been suspected the longer the light is on, the more negative ions are emitted.
What are the Health Benefits of Negative Ions?
-Negative ions have been shown to inhibit bacterial growth and slow the development of cancer cells,
-Exposure to negative ions is proven to improve mood in those who suffer from seasonal depression (SAD). A 1995 study by Columbia University showed that 30 minutes a day of exposure to a concentrated source of negative ions led to a dramatic reduction in the severity of depressive symptoms, with no side-effects observed.
-Other studies have indicated negative ions may improve blood flow and prevent damage to lungs.
-These negative ions are said to neutralize electromagnetic radiation from household electronics, and even prevent the build-up of static electricity.
-In a study on people completing a 40-minute task on the computer, exposure to negative air ions reduced stress and anxiety and improved performance.
Negative Ions are naturally found in places like seashore, in forests, near waterfalls and on mountains.
Salt Lamps are also Hygroscopic:
Salt is hygroscopic, which means 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. This water vapor can also carry indoor air pollutants like mold, bacteria and allergens. Once the water vapor comes in contact with the salt lamp, the pollutants are believed to remain trapped in the salt. Since the lamp is heated, the salt dries out and is able to continue the cycle of attracting water vapor and pollutants, releasing the water vapor back into the air but holding on to the health-hazardous pollutants.
– The heat from a small light bulb keeps these beautiful crystals dry and in turn releases negative ions.
-The fact that special Himalayan pink salt inhalers exist, and that they seem to have tremendous beneficial effects on asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory ailments rules in favor of the exotic salt.
The Conclusion on Salt Lamps:
The healing effects of negative ions have been well-studied. Claims for Himalayan salt lamps are unproven, but are based on plausible science. Salt in the air really does help breathing problems, and negative ions really are linked to better moods.
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