The salt of the Himalayas, or salt rose of the Himalayas, is a mineral salt. It’s a salt that comes from a mine, in particular the salt mine of Khewra in Jhelum. This mine lies in the foothills of the Salt Range – a range of mountains in the Punjab province of Pakistan.
These salt deposits were formed during the Jurassic era, so it’s considered a fossil salt. Its formation was produced by precipitation of minerals that form the crystal and it contains elements such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, manganese, fluorine, iodine, zinc, chromium, copper, cobalt and gold. But what makes this salt stand out from the crowd is undoubtedly its pink color, caused by the ionization of potassium chloride with iron and copper.
The salt is usually sold in large crystals, often being shaped into lamps where the internal light shines through the pink hues, giving it an eerie lumionous effect. It’s an unrefined salt, so it contains mineral elements common in other salts and few trace elements.
Himalayan pink salt benefits
Proponents of halotherapy claim that salt from the Himalayas can purify and dehumidify the air, oxygenate the brain and reduce the symptoms of mood disorders. In addition, they supposedly improve the pain of arthritis and regulate blood pressure better. Even health spas have claimed that they are able to improve the symptoms of lung diseases, asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Salt lamp science
The way in which Himalayan salt provides these health benefits, is due to the production of negative ions (particles with negative charges to the outside), through which they would reduce humidity and air pollutants, carrying out all the benefits described. However, the two main compounds of the salt of the Himalayas are sodium chloride. This compound is very stable, and although it’s hot, no solitary ion with a negative charge would be released. To get to that point, the temperature of the salt would have to reach 816 ° C, and that’s pretty impossible to achieve with a lamp of just 15 watts, as is often used in spas. In fact, if it reached that temperature (816ºC) there would be a serious fire hazard.
A small amount of water vapor in the air could adhere to the surface of the salt, and part of that water vapor could dissociate the salt into sodium and chloride ions. But as soon as the water vapor dries, the two types of ions will recombine immediately to form salt, so it is unlikely that the process will produce negative ions.
The evidence of negative ionization benefits in health is very weak. In studies conducted, they found that global air ionization does not have a general effect on anxiety, mood, sleep or personal comfort. However, these studies documented a slight reduction in depressive symptoms, with higher levels of impact of higher concentrations of negative ionization. The analysis also showed a slight improvement in seasonal affective disorder, even with lower ion concentrations. However, there is no solid evidence of research indicating that it benefits depression.
Studies have published that negative ions could slightly affect the circadian rhythms of people, although they did not have any impact on anxiety or exercise levels.
The strongest evidence that supports any benefit of negative ions is as an antibacterial agent. A 1979 study showed that high levels of negative oxygen ions could kill bacteria. Ionizers could also reduce the prevalence of bacteria on the surface and in the air in refrigerators. However, that investigation was applied only to the disinfection of food or work surfaces, and did not make any claim about health benefits.
The positive results observed in the negative ionization studies can be caused by the placebo effect; The few studies that show the benefits do not show a clear relationship between perceived benefits and ion concentration, which means that it is reasonable to conclude that if there were no added ions in the air, but people were told that the air has been ionized, they would also report feeling better.
Judge for yourself
There is a lot of debate about whether salt lamps work – why not try one out for yourself. A small himalayan salt lamp will cost you between $20 and $30 on amazon – have a look and see the latest prices.