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.
As discussed above, “boundless amounts” of negative ions would be a bit of a stretch, given the total and complete lack of any ions generated by our lamp. Ignoring that fact, however, brings us to the claim that positive ions make us feel bad and negative ions make us feel great. In terms of effects on mood, there is some research that suggests that negative ions can play a role in the treatment of seasonal affective disorder. A 1998 study in JAMA psychiatry found, for example, that:
This unique salt lamp is made from natural Himalayan salt crystals hand mined in the Himalayan mountains. Once lit the lamp will emit a calming amber color. Heating the salt with the included bulb releases negative ions into the air, creating an effect similar to an ionizer, purifying the surrounding air. Due to the natural variation in Himalayan crystal salt, weight, size, color and shape may vary. UL Approved cord and lamp.
If you've been scratching your head over what exactly a Himalayan salt lamp is, here's a quick explainer. This wellness product is created out of pink salt crystals that are native to areas close to the Himalayas, like Pakistan. The pink salt is used in everything from cooking slabs for grilling to what's known as "salt therapy" at local spas. When it comes to the lamps, the pink salt is thought to release negative ions into your space, which would be able to get rid of dust particles that may affect your health. Because of that, many believe that it can do everything from increasing your energy levels to alleviating symptoms of allergies. There's also claims that these pink salt lamps can even help boost your overall mood and can help you sleep more soundly.
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.
All the claims described above rely on the singularly false assertion that a block of salt with a light bulb inserted inside will naturally emit negative ions. That argument, when intelligible, usually invokes some sort of interplay between the salt, which attracts water from the air, and the heat from the light evaporating that water, as described in a non-peer-reviewed 2010 paper in the Pakistan Journal of Molecular Biology:
Some electromagnetic waves carry so much energy per quantum that they have the ability to break bonds between molecules. In the electromagnetic spectrum, gamma rays given off by radioactive materials, cosmic rays and X-rays carry this property and are called ‘ionizing radiation’. Fields whose quanta are insufficient to break molecular bonds are called ‘non-ionizing radiation’. Man-made sources of electromagnetic fields that form a major part of industrialized life — electricity, microwaves and radiofrequency fields — are found at the relatively long wavelength and low frequency end of the electromagnetic spectrum and their quanta are unable to break chemical bonds.
Where do you purchase one that can be left on for long periods of time? I want to be sure if my fiance leaves the thing on overnight, we won’t burn the entire house down! My friend told me about the base of your salt lamp really matters. Wood doesn’t do so good, but having a steel base helps to absorb moisture and its safe to use for long periods of time. There’s so many brands out there manufacturing these, so be sure to look out for a steel base!
Himalayan salt lamps have the ability to chemically and physically transform a room, and have unique health benefits. People who use pink Himalayan salt lamps say that they help to increase blood flow, reduce allergy symptoms and even help to get a better sleep. Some of the other health benefits of Himalayan pink salt lamps (HPS lamps) include reduction of mental health related disorders, improvement of skin conditions and respiratory problems such as asthma and even colds.
This brings me to my next point. Atoms and molecules are less reactive when their valence electrons are organized in pairs. If they have an odd number of valence electrons, or if they have a few that are not paired together then they are called “free radicals” (Wikipedia). This does not mean that free radicals are only cations (positive ions). They can be cations, anions, or neutral. For example, neutral sodium atoms have one unpaired electron which can participate in chemical reactions with other elements, and Methylene (CH2), has two unpaired electrons on the central carbon atom. Free radicals are also not all bad. Wikipedia also states that free radicals play a key role in biology where they help to regulate the body. Usually when people talk about harmful free radicals they are referring to oxidants which loosely speaking are molecules which take away electrons from cell membranes, proteins, and DNA (cancer-causing mutations) in the human body. This is probably where the idea of free radicals being positive ions comes from because they like to steal electrons.
Even though they don’t make a huge difference in negative ions and they aren’t going to be as effective as an air purifier, they make a great addition to a space and definitely have a positive impact in some way. The aesthetic alone makes the lamp worth keeping around, and if it has an effect on the air and helps to calm our minds even in the slightest, then it’s even more worth it!
There are two main arguments one could make to suggest negative ions increase oxygen flow to the brain or provide you with more energy. The first one is that negative ions increase respiratory function and, as a consequence, would allow your body to deliver more oxygen overall. This claim, though oft repeated, has very little evidence to support it. A 2013 systematic review of papers investigating a relationship between exposure to ions and respiratory health stated:
“I love your Himalayan salt lamps, I bought one for my six year old daughter Izabella who suffers from severe allergies. She had inner nose nodules and within three days of sleeping with her lamp they have shrunk in size. She has had her lamp for months, she has also had less allergy fevers. I love this product!!!! I also bought one for my mother Donna age 78, who has had asthma since she was a child. She also suffers from emphysema, so breathing and coughing is a normal in her everyday life. Since having the salt lamp in the family room where she spends most of her time, she has drastically stopped coughing so much. She is also down on how much she uses her inhaler a day, seriously down from 8 times to 2, that is amazing!!!!“ Gabriel Mollina
The soft, calming pink light emitted by salt lamps may be more helpful in decreasing nighttime exposure to blue light, such as the light you find in your cell phone, computer or tablet. Blue light may reduce the quality of your sleep as well as your cognitive performance the following morning (Hatori, et. al, 2017). At nighttime, the pink glow from a salt lamp may be better on your eyes than other types of artificial light.
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