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Ancient Crystals with Modern Benefits: Salt Lamps Help Freshen and Cleanse the Air

Dec 01, 2010 ● By Isabella Samovsky

Many experts agree that connecting to the Earth is crucial for health, and anyone who has felt better after breathing fresh forest air or cool ocean breezes knows this to be true. For those times when communing with nature isn’t possible, crystal salt lamps offer similar benefits.

Dry salt therapy, known as speleo or halo therapy, has been soothing inflammation and boosting respiratory health since the 1800s, when Polish physician Dr. Feliks Boczkowski discovered that breathing pure, ionized air in salt mines seemed to cure respiratory conditions. During World War II, German physician Dr. Karl Hermann Spannagel studied the improved health of patients who escaped bombing by hiding in salt caves. More recently, people have sought the healing salt caves of Eastern Europe for their antibacterial, antimicrobial and antifungal benefits. Today, large salt crystals are hewn into commercially available lamps designed to offer some of the therapeutic properties of salt caves.

How Salt Lamps Work

When heated by a light bulb, pure crystal salt lamps attract water molecules from the air and release negative ions into the environment, simulating the benefits of a salt cave. Negatively charged ions help cleanse the air by attaching themselves to positively charged contaminants and allergens, which fall to the ground and out of your breathing space.

Crystal salt lamps may also help combat potentially harmful electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from everyday electronics such as televisions and computer monitors, whose frequencies of 100 to 160 Hz (cycles) are much higher than the Earth’s average of 7.83 Hz. Concerns that continuous exposure to these higher EMFs can stress the immune system have prompted studies conducted by numerous scientific bodies, including the World Health Organization. Crystal salt resonates at 8 to 10 cycles per second, reinforcing the Earth’s (and our body’s) natural frequency.

Beautiful and Long-Lasting

Crystal salt lamps are beautiful and simple, and many people buy them for their warm, glowing light alone. Their natural colors of amber, browns and purples add a sense of serenity to homes and offices, and therapists, doctors, Reiki masters and feng shui and healing practitioners often include salt lamps at their workplace.

Available in natural forms, dramatic shapes or carved designs, lamps are typically hand-chiseled from a solid block of crystal salt excavated from Polish salt caves, Persian salt beds or pristine sea beds, millions of years old, at the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. They require only the replacement of a small light bulb to maintain their power and beauty for a lifetime.

Buying Tips

When purchasing a lamp, seek reliable, established companies that sell fair-trade lamps from artisans dedicated to sustainability, environmental responsibility and social justice. For safety’s sake, buy one with an attached, steady base and a UL-listed cord, and make sure the light fixture inside and the bulb itself are secure.

Shape and carving do not affect performance, but if you’re buying the lamp for therapeutic use, make certain it fits your room size. Bedroom lamps should have a dimmer switch.

Finally, be aware that salt lamps do best when left on; the heat of the bulb keeps the ionization process stable and prevents scaling of salt crystals.

Through their healing properties and natural beauty, salt lamps offer a simple way to soothe modern life.

Isabella Samovsky owns Solay Wellness, Inc., located at 8051 N. Ridgeway Ave., in Skokie. Solay specializes in fair trade salt lamps and Himalayan salt-inspired health, wellness and culinary products. Visit or see their ad in the Community Resource Guide.