What Are Salt Lamps and Where Did They Come From?
Salt deposits were found in Pakistan, near the Himalayas. From there when the ocean dried up, it left behind a large mineral rich salt deposit. Where the deposit was located was protected from civilization’s contamination and pollution.
It is rumored that Alexander the Great discovered it when his troops were on top of the salt and the horses started to lick the ground back in 320 BC.
From there, the old wives tale tells the story of the men mining the salt never having any health problems. Which led everyone to believe the salt had natural properties to help fight illnesses and diseases.
What has been transformed to current day is salt lamps. A small chunk of salt is broken off and a hole drilled into the bottom to allow a light (lightbulb or tea-light candle) to be put on the inside.
This is where the ides that the heat from the light helps distribute negative ions into the air. Which in theory can help an individual with breathing.
To this day individuals use this homeopathy therapy as well as many other therapy options.
Are Salt Lamps What They Seem to Be?
From what Exponent Health Sciences have proven, there is not a known benefit to salt lamps.
Their results have proven that salt lamps do not project any negative or positive ions, which backtracks original claims that salt lamps can help.
EHS states that “researchers [do] not recommend the use of room air ionizers to reduce symptoms in patients with chronic asthma.” This group of researchers determined that no salt lamp, or air ionizer can help or alter effects of respiratory diseases.
The same study showed that in a group of 11 male volunteers (ages 18–25) that no significant effect on respiratory function when exposed to positive, negative and no ions in the air.
They also tested 16 asthmatic men and women (ages 15-53) to see if ionized air would affect breathing. There was no change after 2 – 120 minute periods.
The issue that EHS scientists have discovered is that negative ions do not help respiratory function.
From there, Doctors have been brutally honest about the benefits of salt lamps.
Dr. Kuriakose , while speaking with the Today show, addressed her thoughts on salt lamps. She believes that "you can somehow thin out mucus (with salt). But with salt lamps, I don’t think the data is there.”
There is no data to prove that salt lamps can emit enough negative ions to help with lung diseases or any other serious medical condition.
Dr. Kuriakose also was quoted saying she has never recommended a salt lamp to her patients.
With salt lamps not being recommended by doctors, clearly it is under studied or doesn’t work as the myth has led.
What Are The Claims That it Works?
Many “natural lifestyle” blogs claim benefits in salt lamps.
Some users claims to feel the benefits from their own salt lamps at home.
The benefits that are being claimed by blogs and individuals alike are cleaning the air, reducing allergy and lung disease symptoms, and sleeping better.
The idea of cleaner air from a salt lamp is thought that the lamp draws in water molecules from the surrounding area and are absorbed into the salt. This does not actually occur because the lamp is not warm enough to draw in those molecules.
Reducing allergy and lung disease symptoms can occur if the lamp puts out negative ions, which was proven incorrect from the study above.
Finally, the idea that you will sleep better with salt lamps is due to the lamp releasing negative ions.
Positive ions can cause sleep issues because they can be absorbed into your bloodstream and this can cause tiredness, lack of energy and irritability.
Though these all sound good, all the claims behind the benefits are debunked by the study we listed above.
All the claims require the salt lamp to draw in molecules or produce ions. Sadly salt lamps are incapable of doing either because they do not get warm enough to do so.
Should I Still Get One?
Though there is currently no proof that salt lamps can provide any form of health benefits, they do help with seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
So they in turn can possibly help with COPD and similar diseases, if the individuals affected also have seasonal depression.
The study showed that patients who are woken up by naturalistic dawn simulation and high-density ionization can work as antidepressants that do not require a doctor prescription.
The natural light can help wake up patients who suffer from SAD and may need some help getting up and out of bed at a reasonable time.
Even if you do not feel the need for a lamp due to seasonal depression, they still are calming to look at and pretty to have.
What About Salt Therapy?
Like salt lamps, salt therapy is using Himalayan salt to help “heal” patients. Dr. Edelman believes that it could be more legitimate than salt lamps.
The theory behind salt therapy working is the idea that with a lot of congestion and mucus, the inhalation of salt particles can help break up the mucus.
This in turn helps patients who have a constant buildup of mucus.
This would allow patients to then cough up the mucus or digest it, either way, getting it out of their system.
Currently there are no studies to prove that salt therapy can work, but it is a medical free option.
Some hesitation with salt therapy is the possibility of inflicting bronchoconstriction in some individuals. This is the inflammation of the lung and similar airways. This can be a very scary for individuals with already underlying breathing issues.
Asthma is a high-risk for salt therapy as it can cause an asthma attack to trigger in patients. Many salt therapy facilities recommend checking with your doctor as some may deter you from going to the salt rooms.
Another issue that could arise is cost. A lot of lung disease medication can be costly, and salt therapy can be expensive as well. This puts the idea of both medication and salt therapy out of the picture for many individuals due to cost.
Lastly, a fear with doctors is if the room stays too warm, the salt room can form the perfect conditions to grow bacteria. This growth can the cause a bigger issue with those who already have a lung disease.
Can I Try A Saline Bronchodilator?
Hypertonic saline means that the cell is shrinking. This occurs when the water in the cell moves from the inside to the outside of the cell
The study, ran with 164 patients, showed some effectiveness. The group given the saline had fewer pulmonary exacerbations compared to those in the control group.
This study also addressed the fact that the saline bronchodilator did not have any association with causing worse bacterial infection or inflammation.
Overall using a saline bronchodilator seems to have some medical benefit, but be sure to consult your doctor before you attempt to use one.
It may cause harm to your health versus helping you.
Are These Forms of Salt Therapy Healthy for Me?
Salt lamps have no negative effect for your health, as there is no actual effect to cause you harm.
As the studies above proved, salt lamps do not change ions in the air, or release those ions.
Salt therapy has not had any negative effect proven, but there is more of a risk as there is salt particles in the air from the higher amount of surrounding salt.
We always recommend that you proceed with caution, keep an eye out for any new studies about salt lamps and therapies. It is important to see what current research is finding.
Per usual, always speak with your doctor about use of salt lamps and salt therapy before participating in either forms of Himalayan salt use. Your doctor knows your health best and can let you know if either uses can be beneficial to your health.
What do you used to help your COPD and mucus buildup?