I got a rock.

Last Thursday in class we took our first pop quiz on an article that summarized an extremely thought-provoking study. As we can all probably remember, the TIME Magazine article described a depression study done on hamsters. When the hamsters were exposed to light at night, they suffered changes to their hippocampus. The decrease in melatonin resulting from this could be a cause for depression (Kluger).

Our last question on the quiz asked if rational people should shut the blinds based on the experiment. As we went over the quiz in class, we deduced that a rational person should follow this suggestion, because as Andrew said, making the small sacrifice of shutting off the lights every night is better than the horrible depression that could eventually arise from keeping them on.

But what if there was a light that, when kept on at night, actually improved our health? SC200, it exists. On Monday night, I received an unexpected package in the mail from my mom’s best friend, Karen. Karen is extremely notorious for sending me gifts that some would consider “Zen” while others label “crunchy.” This gift was no exception. I tore open the package and came face to face with…drum roll please…this:

A chunky, heavy, light up rock. The proper name: a Himalayan Salt Lamp. Basically, these lamps are oversized slabs of Himalayan Salt surrounding a light bulb (WellnessMama). I know; it didn’t really seem like anything special to me either. But these lamps do so much more than merely decorate your most frequented household room! In fact, here is a list of the top ten reasons to purchase one.

The importance behind the Himalayan Salt Lamp is its natural ability to produce negative ions. Negative ions and positive ions both exist in the natural world, but are created by completely opposite things. Electronic devices and machinery give off positive ions, while natural occurrences like rainstorms, lightning, and sunlight produce negative ions. Negative ions cancel out positive ions, purifying the air of the toxins that electronic devices tend to give off (WellnessMama).

Not only do the Himalayan Salt Lamps purge the air of its electronic toxins, but they also clean mold, dust, and bacteria (all of which consist of positive ions) from the air. All of these negative ions at work naturally increase the flow of blood and oxygen to our brains—aiding us in our sleep patterns and concentration abilities (Taylor).

So this brings us back to the debate of whether or not to sleep with this light on. Personally, my roommate and I have kept our Salt Lamp on every night since Monday; consequently, we’ve both noted slight improvements in our sleep patterns, and our overall abilities to relax and breathe in the room. While it is too soon to tell whether or not this will have a depressing affect on us in the long run (or whether we will actually benefit fully from the lamp), we both agree that the dim orange glow is more soothing than sad. Sorry to say Charlie Brown, but sometimes getting a rock isn’t always a bad thing.

Additional Sources:

Kluger, Jeffery. “Depressed? Kill All the Lights.” TIME 29 Nov. 2010: n. pag. Print.

4 thoughts on “I got a rock.

  1. evk5294

    I really enjoyed reading this article (made me laugh a lot). I went to a small “crunchy” college in Asheville, NC for a little while and this salt lamp was definitely a crowd favorite down there. It would be interesting to see some kind of study done on sleep patterns and this lamp. Another fad that was incredibly popular was healing stones, and crystal energies. I can’t say that I completely am on board with the ideas, but its definitely an interesting topic. Here’s a website completely dedicated to healing stones:


    Last semester, I also got to watch James Randi debunk crystal power and here’s the video:

  2. Marielle Concetta Ravally

    I definitely find this to be an interesting read. Though many find things such as crystals and holistic healing to have some sort of place in the world, I always think are their benefits actually justified or are their purely a result of “mind-over-matter”. A previous reply mentions that they are in possession of the same lamp as you, yet have not noticed any of the effects that you have. You went into this experiment knowing exactly what the lamp was and what is was trying to promote. Could this be a reason why you felt more relaxed? Not because you actually were, but rather you knew what the desired results were and subconsciously conceded? This being said, I do find your information about positive and negative ions to be very interesting. Thank you for sharing your story!

  3. Hannah Gluck

    This is very interesting to me because I noticed that my roommate brought one of these but I had no idea there was this science behind it. We have only been using it for light/decoration purposes because I had no idea a rock could do all these different things. At the same time I find this a little hard to believe. How can a rock clean the air of toxins, dust, and bacteria. I feel like it might work a little but not enough for me to notice a drastic change in the air in my dorm room. Its just very hard for me to understand how such a small rock can make such a huge change. Maybe i’m just being negative, I dont know. I think im gonna try and test it out and get back to you on this one.

  4. Abigail Roe

    Very interesting blog post. So this lamp is salt and the salt gives off negative ions? As I was reading this, I was wondering if the lightbulb inside was emitting positive ions? If so, do the negative ions being let off by the salt block, cancel out with the positive ions given off by the lightbulb? Just some food for thought. This made me curious about salt lamps and I sort of want to purchase one now. It sounds quite relaxing. Another component to the soothing ambiance of this lamp might be the color it radiates. Maybe the dull orange/peachy color alters the hippocampus in a positive way. Overall, great job with this blog. I learned about positive and negative ions, which I had no idea what they were before this. Informative and enjoyable to read.

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