Salt Rock Lamps As Air Purifiers – Do They Work?


By Rachel McLaughlin

You may have seen these lamps in fair-trade stores such as Earth Bound, furniture stores, online, and even at your local Walmart for roughly $20-$50. Salt rock lamps have gained more and more popularity in recent years. Salt rock lamps are made from mined salt in Europe, parts of Russia, and, most often, in the Himalaya Mountains. The salt is then hollowed out in order to make room for a lightbulb which is powered by electricity. They usually come in colors of light or dark orange but are also found in light pinks.

While salt rock lamps provide dim lighting for a room, the main attraction to the product is its supposed benefits of purifying the air around it. Salt rock lamps have slowly been taking the place of air purifiers in homes as some believe that the heat from the bulb causes the salt to release negative ions.

These ions are typically found in “healthy air” such as that around the sea or mountains. Indoor air is typically filled with positive ions formed through the use of electronics such as computers and microwaves.Outdoor air provides more negative ions than inside a household, causing a need for an indoor increase of negative ions. Office workers in a room filled with negative ions are said to suffer less headaches and fatigue, but whether this is an actual benefit from the lamp has yet to be proven.

But is an increase of negative ions real or is it just hype?

It has been proven that airborne pollutants bind in the air with negative ions thus making them so heavy they fall to the ground and cannot be inhaled. This technology is used to rid the air of contaminants for allergy sufferers through the use of ionic air cleaners. A few studies have shown somewhat indicated that negative ions increase blood flow to the brain, improving concentration and reducing headaches such as is seen with the aforementioned office workers. The bigger the salt lamp, the warmer the bulb, the more negative ions are released into the air. Right?

Maybe. The salt rock lamps do release some negative ions, but most likely not enough to change an entire room’s air environment. Even Oprah and Dr. Oz have agreed that Himalayan pink sea salt inhaler is one of the top two alternative health secrets of 2010.

Dr. Oz claimed to his studio audience of his show that the pink salt, containing more than 84 minerals and elements, contains potassium that is beneficial for lowering blood pressure. However, this isn’t necessarily true. The pink salt does contain potassium but, like in the salt rock lamps, it hasn’t been proven to change anyone’s health for the better.


Photo by Darcy via Flickr CC License

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