“The amount of time we spend in front of a screen or holding a phone can generate a lot of positive ions, enough to disrupt our emotional state,” says Michael Terman, professor of Clinical Psychology at Columbia University’s Medical Center. Terman explained that equalizing these ions with negative ones enhances the mood and eliminates the stressors that can trigger depressive disorders, irritability, and insomnia.
The other claim, discussed in more detail below, has to do with a study published on the effects of ionization in neural structures and blood flow in laboratory rats. In a similar issue of blindly comparing different scales, these rats (which are both not human and much smaller than humans) were directly fed negatively ionized air at high concentrations that would be inconceivable for a block of salt to produce, even if it did produce some small amount of ions.

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder and CEO of Wellness Mama, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


A 2013 study in the journal BMC Psychiatry reviewed data from several studies found that overall, negative air ionization has no overall effect on anxiety, mood, sleep or personal comfort. However, those studies did document a slight reduction in depressive symptoms, with higher levels of impact from higher concentrations of negative ionization. The analysis also showed a slight improvement in seasonal affective disorder, even with lower ion concentrations. The explanation for this weak effect is that the sun's stronger rays in the summer produce more negative ions than during the winter, and negative ionizers are potentially mimicking those summer-like conditions, said Dr. Alan Manevitz, a psychiatrist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. However, a more established way to mimic summer conditions is with light therapy, which has been studied more extensively, he said.
That doesn’t mean the people who have experienced benefits are entirely wrong, though. Kogan told SheKnows it’s possible the lamp provides a placebo effect. Essentially, a person believes the salt lamps will help, there’s a psychological component to their issue, and thus the lamp does relieve some of their symptoms. “It’s more of a mind-body effort, really, because it’s not like there’s some kind of biochemical being released from the lamp,” she said.
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Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder and CEO of Wellness Mama, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.
Nowadays, most of us are living in a metaphorical ocean of electromagnetic (EM) radiation which flows from our electronics (ie: television, computer, cell phone, tablet, appliances, sterio, etc). While they may be invisible, the long-term effects of EM exposure can be quite serious. Constant exposure to EM radiation is known to increase stress levels, cause chronic fatigue, and decrease the body’s immune response, among other things.
So yes, they’re beautiful, and you’re totally welcome to get one for that purpose. It’s just unlikely to provide any measurable medical benefits. But if you want one to add to your meditation routine or because it fits with your decor, go for it. “It’s a nice new-age prop to have,” Kogan says. “But also we have to be smart and not fall prey to marketing claims.”
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