I think the most surprising thing about Himalayan salt lamps is that many of them are actually fake.
I had a fake lamp. I thrifted a big sparkly one on a wooden base, and I thought it was a total steal. The bulb inside was burned out and I didn't realize the benefits of the salt lamp (because it is hygroscopic) only worked when a "heat source" interacted with the lamp. In order to release the beneficial negative ions - like sleeping with the window open (notice how those afternoon, window-open naps are always so restorative?) - a heat source needs to warm up the salt lamp. The lamps themselves don't produce negative ions on their own, like I assumed.
And if they're fake, we're not getting the health benefits that they offer.
My lamp's wooden base was screwed into the lamp... and I was too lazy to find the right tiny screwdriver to open it up and change the bulb. A year later, I accidentally dropped the lamp... and it didn't break.
Hmm... weren't these babies supposed to be super fragile?
Yes. They are. After some more probing, I discovered I had a fake lamp. So even if I had changed the bulb, I wouldn't have received the health benefits that I thought this lamp would offer me.
Signs your lamp is fake:
IT DOESN'T BREAK
These lamps are incredibly fragile. If they're accidentally hit or dropped, they can crack in half or have a large chunk of them break off. They need to be packaged extremely carefully in order to be shipped to you.
IT DOESN'T "CRY"
When salt lamps are in a humid location, they "cry" and leak quite a bit. I had a salt lamp in my studio that had poor air circulation. In the hot prairie summers, I noticed the lamp crying and melting, making a mess all over the table it was sitting on. A fake lamp won't cry.
IT CLAIMS "MOISTURE RESISTANT"
To expand on the previous point, if you're buying a salt lamp, and it claims to be "moisture or water resistant" anywhere with your purchase, you can bet it is fake, since these lamps are very prone to crying.
IT ISN'T FROM PAKISTAN
The only place you can harvest the salt is in Pakistan, so if the lamp claims to be derived from somewhere else, you won't have the lamp you think you do.
HOW TO USE YOUR SALT LAMP IN YOUR BEDROOM
KEEP IT ON
While it may not always be practical, for the potential to get the maximum health benefits, your lamp should be left on at all times. According to So Well (high quality salt lamp retailer), "It is important that your lamp stays on as much as possible so that it is warmed by the heat from the bulb. If you do not leave your lamps on for long periods of time (we recommend 24/7) your lamps can begin to “sweat” and leak salt."
This "crying" really can make a mess! Since these lamps are hygroscopic, they need to be warmed in order to pull the moisture from the air. If they can't do that, they can leak.
USE THE RIGHT BULB
Not all lightbulbs will produce heat (many LEDs don't). And those little USB salt lamps? They don't produce the health benefits you may assume they do, because the lights inside don't produce heat.
A good way to tell if the lightbulb (and therefore lamp) is doing its job is by touching the lamp to see if it is slightly warm; that's how you know your lamp has been on long enough to begin pulling moisture from the air. You can use lightbulbs that are up to 40 watts in your lamps! Just make sure the bulb is small enough to fit in the opening of your lamp. Some larger lamps can handle higher wattages but if you aren't sure, air on the lower side. If you touch the lamp and it isn't warm, the wattage probably isn't high enough.
ONE PER PERSON
There seems to be some disagreement on which size of lamp is good per room size, so for the bedroom, keeping one on your bedside (and your partner's bedside), is close enough to you while you sleep that your room size won't matter. Or just get this one I'm crushing on since it's basically an art piece.
Place the lamp on your bedside. Leave the lamp on at all times, or at least when you sleep. Due to the lamp's glow, it doesn't interfere with melatonin production, so your sleep quality won't be reduced due to light interruption. You can check out some other high vibe bedroom essentials here.
HOW THE SALT LAMP "WORKS"
Himalayan salt lamps come from one place: Pakistan. You can ensure your lamp is authentic if your retailer states this is where your lamps are harvested. Himalayan salt's mineral structure can move from crystalline to liquid when it is heated. When its surface becomes warmer than the air around it, it attracts the moisture and humidity in the air. Scientifically speaking, this causes the minerals in the Himalayan salt to "split into independent (positive) sodium and (negative) chloride ions," according to So Well.
"When the sun heats up our largest natural salt solutions, the oceans, it generates the natural energy vibration of which our entire global environment consists. Salt crystal creates exactly the same natural energy field. Scientifically speaking, this natural ionization process takes place millions of times, invisible to the eye, and without any influence to the quality of the crystal."
This is why we feel so good when we spend a day out on the water, the cool ocean breeze re-fueling us and charging us up! So bring the ocean to your bedroom, right?
HEALTH BENEFITS OF SLEEPING WITH A SALT LAMP
IMPROVES AIR QUALITY
Pulling moisture from the air also pulls out toxins, like bacteria and mould. Sleeping with a salt lamp and plants in your room does heaps for your health. Plant ladies, you can see all my plant posts here.
ABSORB NEGATIVE ENERGY
From a spiritual perspective, much like burning sage for smoke cleansing, Himalayan salt absorbs negative and unbalanced energy, bringing the space back to neutral.
GOOD VIBES - LITERALLY
Salt crystals hold a vibration that is very similar to the Earth's. This is known as the Schumann Resonance Frequency (think lightning!). This vibration that is similar to Earth's magnetic hum, can help bring our energy back into alignment.
Many people have heard of SAD lamps for seasonal affective disorder - salt lamps can have a similar mood boosting effect thanks to the hue they emit when lit.
EMFs or electromagnetic field radiation emitted from our electronics and wifi interfere with our health. Salt lamps help reduce EMF pollution.
My lamp is from So Well. They focus on fair trade in the Himalayans. And they're GIVING AWAY four Large and XL lamps! I'm trying to win one, too, but you might want to try! The contest is on until the end of April.