My most important role in life is that of being a great Dad to a wonderful son. I am able to express my creativity by being a Designer of Sunglasses and other Eyewear. I opened Salt Lamp Creations because I think that Natural Himalayan Crystal Salt Lamps are beautiful!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Salt Lamps and Snake Oil

Posted as a direct Quote from the Los Angeles Times by where we have always promoted Salt Lamps as a thing of beauty rather than focus on their curative power. We are NOT the Canadian company quoted in the article:

Ho-Ho Hocum Gift products that Claim To Boost Health and Well-being

Salt Lamps

These functioning electric lamps enclosed in a chunk of salt have been adding their pleasant glow to health fairs and mall kiosks for years. Unlike most light fixtures, illumination isn't their main selling point. Salt lamps are touted as a natural source of "negative ions" that supposedly improve the health of anyone nearby.

Shopping over the Internet, you can quickly find salt lamps in many shapes, including pyramids, angels and, appropriately enough for the season, Christmas trees.

The claims: According to one Canadian website, the negative ions released by salt lamps will relieve stress and "clean ambient air." The cleansing power of the lamps supposedly makes them "especially helpful for relieving the symptoms of allergies and asthma." The site also claims that the lamp's soft orange color can boost mood and improve the focus of children with attention deficit disorder. Other sites claim that salt lamps can treat migraines, insomnia, depression, sinusitis and viral infections.

Bottom line: If glowing crystals fit the home d├ęcor of your friends and family, salt lamps might be a good present. But experts see two basic flaws behind the claim that users will ionize their way to good health. First, it's not possible for a chunk of salt to release a significant amount of negative ions, says Victor Stenger, a professor emeritus of physics and astronomy at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. There isn't nearly enough energy in a lamp to break up the ionic bonds between the sodium and chlorine in salt. "If that were true, we'd have chlorine gas coming out our salt shakers."

Nadeem Azeem, a partner (at the Canadian company) says he has heard such criticisms before but believes that his lamps really do produce ions. "Believe" is the key word. "We haven't done any studies," he says. "But I'm sure that meters can measure the ions."

Even if these salt blocks somehow released ions through a loophole in the laws of chemistry and physics, they couldn't deliver on their health claims, says Michael Terman, director of the Center for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. Terman's studies have found that large doses of negatively charged oxygen ions generated by a machine can help ease depression in people with seasonal affective disorder -- a finding touted on several salt lamp sites. But there's a world of difference between oxygen streaming from a machine and chlorine supposedly trickling from a rock, he says. "I was dismayed to see my research touted by salt lamp companies. It's disgraceful." As for the claim that the color of the lamps can dramatically improve mood or treat ADHD -- "that's just nuts," Terman says.

Other studies of negative ions (from machines, not salt) have had decidedly mixed results. For example, a review published in 2003 found no evidence that negative ions can improve symptoms of asthma.

The Canadian company owner says his salt lamps can't really be compared to machine ionizers. "Salt lamps don't produce as many ions as a machine," he says. "In nature, things happen very slowly." Or, some would say, not at all.

At Salt Lamp Creations ( you can read about how Salt Lamps are made and shop for Salt Lamps as simply things of beauty crafted from 250 million year old Salt (carbon dating fact!)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The answer, in my opinion, is yes they work. I'm a senior citizen that has been plagued with sleep issues for a long time. I bought a lamp for my son for Christmas to help him with his snoring....then I got one for me. I still have my little trips to the potty, but I don't have nights laying in bed wondering when the sleep angel will come. I am sleeping "good" for me now. Anything other than chemicals to get us old folks a good night's rest is worthy of my praise. Snake oil or not, mind over matter or not, I'm sleeping. That's what matters!

11:49 AM  
Blogger Jerry said...

I am of course thrilled that you, as a senior citizen, have found value in your Salt Lamp Creations Salt Lamp that reaches beyond their beauty. I can't argue with a success story.

Anyone else have a comment?

4:49 PM  
Blogger mscherrylane said...

Interesting posts Jerry. I think they create a pleasant ambience and are indeed calming. In terms of particle attraction-I do notice that they definitely attract cigarette smoke (from the way they turn black)and do pool water if turned off! I also use a negative ion generator machine simultaneously in my house...but I have definitely heard a while ago of a hospital that used them in their children's wards. I like to hold them when they're warm- they definitely feel "nice" - I think some of us are more receptive to this "energy" than others.

11:43 PM  
Blogger Jerry said...

Indeed Salt Lamps are Hygroscpic meaning they attract and absorb moisture from the air surrounding them. As they pull in the ,oisture from the air the also collect the paticles in the air like dust and possibly smoke. Thus the Salt Lamp acts like a "collector" of pollutants and airborne particles and draws them in.

I too, find myself enjoying the warmth eminating from an illuminated Salt Lamp. Thanks for the post

12:43 AM  
Blogger A said...

All I have to say about salt is that companies that age meat use it to prevent bacteria from growing on the meat. Mind you, this is without applying the salt directly to the meat. Example, there's a restaurant in New York (wish I could remember the name) that ages meat in a climate controlled room with a giant wall of salt. When I say climate controlled I don't mean freezing or even close to normal refrigeration temperatures. The wall of salt somehow prevents bacteria from growing on the meat. The meat can be dry aged for 90+ days in this environment. I'm not sure how the giant wall of salt is preventing bacteria from growing on the meat, but it's certainly a note worthy aspect of the element. According the the restaurant owner, the salt purifies the air, which allows the meat to age without breaking down due to bacteria. If someone is prone to bacterial infections, perhaps salt lamps might actually help prevent them in some cases. Obviously this is under the assumption that the person were to never actually leave their home. Anyway, interesting possibilities.

1:59 PM  
Anonymous June said...

Realy nice thing that i stumbled upon your blog..I'm also a big fan of these himalayan salt lamps and have them in every room in my house.Their soft glow is very relaxing and soothing for body and mind.

6:38 AM  

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