No longer just a fixture of massage therapist’s offices, the appeal and possible benefits of Himalayan salt lamps has caused a surge in their sales over the last few years. They are aesthetically pleasing and cast a peaceful peach glow over a room. Many believe that they have healing attributes as well.

Himalayan salt was formed over 250 million years ago where the sun dried up the saltwater of the original, primal sea. It is abundant in trace minerals, electrolytes and elements making it very popular with health food advocates as a seasoning of choice.

Advocates of Himalayan salt lamps tout their ability to improve indoor air quality. To understand why and how “right on” these enthusiasts might be, we have to talk a little simple science. Fans of salt lamps tout their ability to fill the air with negative ions. Negative ions are typically created by forces of nature like thunderstorms, waterfalls and ocean waves. They increase the flow of oxygen to the brain and may energize the cilia of the trachea allowing the lungs to function better. Because salt naturally attracts water, the heat created by the salt lamp causes the water to evaporate and create negative ions. There is some doubt as to how effectively the small bulb can heat the lamp to cause the reaction. It can only produce negative ions in small amounts. However, by placing it near electronics one might be able to cancel out at least some of the positive ions being emitted through electromagnetic radiation, which have a negative effect on the body. We are bombarded with EM due to all of the modern gadgets in our homes. Due to the fact that negative ions bond to and neutralize positive ions, even a small source such as a salt lamp could prove beneficial.

While the jury may be out on just how strong those other benefits might be, there is another reason to try a salt lamp in your home. The warm glow of the lamp may help you wake up a bit easier during the winter months. I purchased one last winter and used it to help gently wake me up in the morning. Because the winter mornings are so dark, it’s hard to rouse yourself with a harsh alarm and not feel jolted into the less than welcoming morning. Instead, try putting the lamp on a timer so that it turns on about 15 minutes before your alarm. The slight orange glow mimics early morning sun and just might help you wake up much more gently and a little less groggy!