Himalayan Salt Lamps: More Hype Than Science

himalayan salt lampA reader submitted a question about the Himalayan salt lamp, wondering if it is connected in any way to the New Age or the occult.

No, Himalayan salt lamps are not affiliated with the occult or the New Age, but they are a favorite of New Age enthusiasts who believe heated salt crystals emit negative ions into the air that do all kinds of miraculous things for our health.They claim this is why people have been going to salt mines for centuries to relax and rejuvenate themselves because of the very dry, negative ion environment of these mines.

The infamous alternative medicine promoter, Dr. Joseph Mercola, explains how the “oxygen-rich” negative ions in the air neutralize and balance the positive ions, something that a salt lamp can reproduce, thereby purifying the air we breathe and positively affecting our overall health.

“Many published articles and scientific studies report how negative ions in the air can have positive effects,” Mercola writes. “One demonstration of that is how they potentially increase the growth rate of certain plants.”

Wellness Mama says that “Since things like airborne mold, bacteria, and allergens often carry a positive charge, they can be neutralized by negative ions.”

If this is true, does this mean that salt lamps work?

Not according to serious science. “It’s commercial hype,” says Dr. Michael Termin, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University. “The ions emitted by activated salt are completely different from the negative air ions from clinically tested apparatus that produces superoxide, and which may act via enhanced blood oxygenation. In Columbia clinical trials, high-density negative air ionization produced an antidepressant effect far superior to low-density ionization (the latter being typical of home air purifier).”

In other words, even though salt lamps do emit some negative ions, it is not nearly enough to effect any change in the atmosphere – or your health.

 

 

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