Whether online or from a friend, you’ve likely heard about the
supposed health benefits of salt lamps, from their ability to combat
anxiety to boosting your energy in big ways.
In fact, some go as far to tout the increasingly popular products as a
cure-all for negative feelings, lethargy, inability to sleep, and even
high blood pressure. But are any of these claims true? According to Snopes,
they definitely aren’t — and they all stem from the false belief that
salt lamps are “natural ionizers” which emit negative ions.
Believers in the power of these lamps argue that when turned on, the
blocks of rock salt attract water from the air, which is evaporated by
the heat of the lamp.
This process is said to produce an abundance of negatively charged ions, which then “counter
the positive ions that both surround us and make us feel bad.” They
also “increase oxygen flow to the brain” and “offer protection from
airborne toxins,” among other supposed benefits.
Studies have, in fact, found that negative ions could improve mood and help treat seasonal affective disorder. However, this would require very high concentrations of negative ions — something salts lamps don’t emit.
Curious about the claims, Jack Beauchamp, professor of chemistry at
Caltech, decided to put them to the test by hooking a salt lamp up to
his lab’s quadrupole ion trap mass spectrometer and, unsurprisingly, saw
no positive or negative ions.