There are plenty of believers in the benefits of Himalayan salt lamps and plenty of disbelievers, including scientific studies. For those of us that can perceive and appreciate the energy of the elements around us, these salt lamps have a important presence beyond the implicated benefits.
The Supposed Benefits
There are three main benefits to Himalayan salt lamps – light, negative ions, air cleaning.
Warm, Soft Light
The pinkish-orange color of the salt creates a warm-colored soft light. It is great for ambient light and can sometimes be left on in rooms where people are sleeping as a night light.
When lit with a warm incandescent light bulb, the Himalayan salt lamps release negative ions into the air. These negative ions, when in a high enough concentration, have been found to elevate the mood of persons in the room, and even help relieve stress.
The nature of salt is that it pulls in moisture. As the Himalayan salt lamp is absorbing moisture from the air, it is also pulling in some of the pollutant molecules in the air. The theory is that these pollutants remain attached to the lamp surface and the moisture evaporates.
My Experience with the Himalayan Salt Lamp
I acquired my first salt lamp from a local witchcraft store and put it to use quick enough. It was set up in my home office with a timer, so that it turned on about 30 minutes before the start of my workday and then turned off at about bedtime.
I didn’t really notice any difference in the environment for the first few weeks. The light which the lamp created was pleasant and like many other witches, I like rocks. I enjoy the appearance and feel of the many crystals and stones that surround me in my home. So I kept using the light.
A Bigger Bulb
One day, I noticed the light did not turn on. The bulb had burned out. I was tempted to replace it with an LED based bulb, but I remembered reading that the incandescent bulb was needed to warm the Himalayan salt and create the benefiting reaction. The hardware store didn’t have any of the 7-watt bulbs in stock, so I went to the next size. I picked up a pack of 10-watt “appliance” bulbs. They had the same candelabra sized base needed for the lamp.
By the end of the next workday, I noticed I was feeling a little better and less stressed than usual. I looked at my salt lamp and just stared for a moment. When I reached for it, I noticed it was warmer to the touch than I remembered. I used an infrared thermometer to discover that the surface of the salt was at 98.7 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s about normal body temperature.
I managed to get a hold of another 7-watt bulb a few days later and put in the lamp. After several hours, it only brought the surface of the salt to 97.3 degrees Fahrenheit. That small temperature increase of the brighter bulb caused the benefits of the Himalayan salt lamp to occur.
We visited some friends who had several Himalayan salt lamps in their house. I mean, several per room of the house. I’d guess they have at least a few dozen spread throughout the house, including the stairwell. The easy-going, relaxed atmosphere of this house convinced us that we needed more lights. We have since purchased a couple more lights for use elsewhere in the house and I imagine the quantity will grow over time.
Our friends run their salt lamps 24-hours a day. I took the lamp in my home office off the timer and found that the surface temperature now consistently reads 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit.
The key trick is the light bulb needs to warm the salt, in order for the lamp to actually work. Run your Himalayan salt lamp for several hours and check the surface temperature of the brightest points of the lamp. If the temperature is too low, the lamp may not be very effective. Replace the bulb with the next level wattage bulb to generate more internal heat.1 Be sure not to exceed the rating of the socket used with the lamp.
Some of the salt lamps on the market come with a dimming switch. If the light is too dim, it may not generate enough heat to activate the Himalayan salt and the lamp is only being used for ambient light.
Just one light might not be enough. The size and energy of your space may require multiple lights, placed strategically, to help with perceiving the benefits. Larger is not necessarily better – multiple small Himalayan salt lamps will serve a space better than a few larger units.
You should never get your Himalayan salt lamp wet, but it is necessary to use a damp towel to wipe off dust and pollutants from the surface every so often; perhaps once or twice a month. With proper handling, the lamp should provide a lifetime of service.