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A Himalayan salt lamp is a home decor item often sold as an air purifier. Those selling the item, made from crystal rocks, often claim that a salt lamp is beneficial to one's health and overall well being. While science has refuted these claims, these natural light fixtures can make an interesting addition to a home.
The Himalayan mountain range, home to Mount Everest, is where the crystal rocks used in a Himalayan salt lamp are mined. These rocks are estimated to be over 200 million years old, and range in color from off white to dark brown, with orange and pink being the most common. The rocks are formed from the natural salt water at the base of the mountain range; due to the lack of development in the area, salt rocks gathered from this area are considered to be among the most pure in the world.
In order to maintain their integrity, the crystal rocks used to make a Himalayan salt lamp are mined without the use of explosives, thereby making them relatively expensive to obtain. Most manufacturers of these lamps procure the salt rocks from the Himalayas in Pakistan, although crystal rocks do form in other locations in the mountain range. While these rocks are used for the traditional Himalayan salt lamp, there are several manufacturers selling ionic salt lamps, which typically do not use stones from this area.
A Himalayan salt lamp can be either one large rock that sits on a base or a group of smaller rocks held in a basket. The large rock usually has part of the center carved out to make room for a light bulb, while the basket style simply places the rocks around and on top of the light source. Manufacturers often claim that when the heat of the lamp comes in contact with the rock, it purifies and cleanses the air.
There have also been claims made that a Himalayan salt lamp emits negative ions which cancel out the positive ions given off by household electronics. This is believed to improve overall health and restore balance to a space. These claims, however, have not been proven by science. While researchers have found that a Himalayan salt lamp can purify the air directly around it, one lamp, no matter the size, apparently will not have any real effect on a room.
Due to the history of the materials used to make salt lamps and the unique, soft orange lighting they typically give off, they have grown in popularity as a home decor item. These salt lamps are often used in environmentally conscious homes and sometimes as a part of feng shui to balance the energy in a room. While the claims made concerning Himalayan salt lamps are sketchy, many have found them to be a beautiful addition to their home.