What is a Crystal Lamp ?
Real Himalayan lamps are hand chiseled solid blocks of ancient crystal salts, like this beautiful one I have. They have a soft pink color, often pinkish orange, due to the high concentration of trace minerals contained within the salt.
Inside the hollowed out middle of the salt rock lamp is a light bulb to generate both light and heat. This is important for their reported benefits and salt lamps won’t work properly without a heat-producing light.
How do Himalayan Salt Lamps Work?
Water vapour is always circulating in the air of any room of your home. This water vapour carries along with it allergens like dust, pollen, pet dander, smoke particles, and even bacteria and viruses.
Salt is hygroscopic, meaning it attracts water molecules from the surrounding air. A large block of rock salt, like a Himalayan crystal salt lamp, is especially attractive to water vapour and its attached pollutants.
Once attracted to the lamp, these microscopic compounds remain on the salt and not floating in the air where you could previously breathe them in.
As Himalayan salt lamps slowly become saturated with water vapour they attract from the air around them, the heat from the lamp inside dries them, thus continuing the hygroscopic effect for as long as the light is on.
This heat also re-releases water vapour back into the air. Importantly, any airborne contaminants attracted to the salt lamp remain trapped there and will not become airborne again.
Occasionally, perhaps every few weeks, it’s good to turn off your salt lamp for an hour, let it cool and then gently rub it with a damp cloth to clean away trapped dust and particles. The rest of the time just leave it on and let it work to clean the air in your home.
Do Salt Lamps Really Work to Generate Negative Ions?
Can rock salt lamps produce beneficial negative ions? This is the biggest question most people usually have when buying Himalayan pink crystal lamps for their reported health benefits.
The answer is yes, but not a great deal of them. Salt lamp benefits do include negative ion generation. It appears primarily from the moisture evaporating on the heated rock salt, though the photoelectric effect may also have a role in ion generation.
However, as a negative ionizer, crystal salt lamps have a limited range and small output and aren’t considered nearly as effective as a good negative ionizer like one of these.
Some point to the cumulative effect of keeping the salt lamp on at all times and how this can slowly generate more and more negative ions and improve the air quality over time. One reported test showed significantly more negative ions after a few days of having the salt lamp on in the room tested versus the initial test.
This may well be the case, and pink salt lamps are certainly a beautiful addition to any room. Practically though, their negative ion producing range is quite limited. Don’t expect a small Himalayan crystal salt lamp to flood a large room with negative ions.
Even a very large one like this, while stunning to look at, will only produce a small radius of beneficial negative ions.
Instead, it’s best to consider negative ions from salt lamps as an added benefit and position them with their short ionizing range in mind.
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