Can a lamp improve your health?

After moving into our tiny dorm, my roommate (like most freshman) had too much stuff and not enough space.  She had to decide what was important enough to stay and what would have to go back home.  I saw a large, glowing, salt-lamps-2orange/yellow rock taking up a large portion of her desk and recommended she gave that the boot.  I immediately regretted my suggestion when she turned around with a look of disgust on her face.  “It’s not a rock, it’s a salt lamp and you’ll thank me later when our room is clean and you don’t get sick” I was very skeptical, until about a month later.  The bulb in the lamp died.  For a few days nothing changed but slowly we noticed dust collecting in our room, and both of us developed small colds.  Was it a coincidence, simply ironic timing, or was the salt lamp keeping us healthy?

The claim is that these lamps emit negative ions into the air and air with more negative ions is what causes the benefits. They say that these salt lamps can increase energy, neutralize electromagnetic radiation, better sleep, improve mood and concentration, treat Seasonal Affective Disorder(SAD), and reduce static electricity in the air.  It’s true, an increase in negative ions in the air would cause all of these benefits, but salt lamps produce barely any.  A study showed the negative ions produced by salt lamps were almost too small to measure.  Therefore, the salt lamps can’t cause any of these benefits.

Although they don’t produce negative ions it has been proven that salt lamps do help clean the air.  Water vapor constantly floats around the air and carries dust, pollen, and other microscopic compounds with it.  The lamp attracts water in the air, along with the pollutants.  Once attracted the compounds stay on the lamp rather than floating in the air.

dust            It would be beneficial for my roommate and I to conduct a well thought out study to support/contradict the other studies I found.  We would take a notebook and write down how we were feeling (stuffy nose, sore throat, etc.), the cleanliness of our room and quality of air (dusty/clean), how we slept, and our overall mood.   We could do this for two weeks with the salt lamp and two weeks without and repeat several times.  If we wanted to have a larger size study we could have some of our friends get salt lamps and do the same thing.



7 thoughts on “Can a lamp improve your health?

  1. Luyi Yao

    This topic is amazing! I never think that a lamp can improve health. Although it is not effective but still interesting. What’s more, that salt lamps do help clean the air shocks me. I’ve written a post related to SAD, and I know that SAD cannot be easily treated. So I also have voiced skepticism about that lamp can increase energy, neutralize electromagnetic radiation, better sleep, improve mood and concentration, treat Seasonal Affective Disorder(SAD), and reduce static electricity in the air.

  2. Mairead Donnard

    This is such a fascinating topic to blog about! Like you, my roommate brought a rock salt lamp to college too and when I questioned her about it she gave a similar response that your roommate gave you. Even though there is a science behind the rock salt lamps, I personally am skeptical. The reason I say this is because my roommate gets strep throat all the time and I have had a decent number of colds and that lamp is still glowing. With this being said, it made me believe that there is a possibility that our rock salt lamp is fake. Here is an article that you might find interesting:
    It talks about how to tell if you have a fake salt lamp. I definitely think I do, but you seemingly did not!

  3. Olivia Anne Browne

    Great post! Very interesting. The fact that dust started to develop and you got colds is very coincidental. That is crazy. To be honest, I have never even heard of a salt rock ! Good job creating your own study, it is very inventive. The idea of this salt rock kind of reminds me of my roommate last year and her essential oil diffuser.
    Check out this article on essential oils.

  4. Lauren Eve Ribeiro

    I immediately had to stop to read this blog because my mom just bought a bunch of salt lamps to put throughout our home. When I came home for break I was confused as to what these things were sitting in every room of our house. And my mom explained that she had read about them online a few weeks back and placed them throughout the rooms. She said that every since placing them she noticed less dust, and that the rooms smelled cleaner and that she didn’t notice as much irritation from dog hair left behind. Personally, I did not notice any difference when I got home and my dad said that he has not noticed a difference either. I think that people who are believers in salt lamps fall subject to the placebo effect. I believe that although it would be interesting to see the results of your study, they would not be completely accurate.

  5. Francis Patrick Cotter

    Although I am not sure about a salt rock, I have also been bombarded by the health effects of lamps. My friend in high school had a huge lamp in his room. However, it wasn’t used to light up the area. He was medically prescribed to get the lamp in order to minimize his reliance on caffeine in the morning and provided vitamin D to his skin. This anecdotal evidence may not be completely convincing, but research, such as the one shown in this article ( ) show the mechanism for how light, artificial or not, has proven health benefits.

  6. Kateryna Okhrimchuk

    Although the study you cited failed to prove that the salt lamp produced negative ions that ultimately provided all of those health benefits, it can’t be a coincidence that both of you didn’t get sick until the bulb in the lamp died. This could’ve been due to the placebo effect, the fact that you believed that the lamp was actually helping, so you didn’t get sick. Considering the fact that you can do extreme things like convince yourself that you are drunk if given a drink that someone claimed to have alcohol in it, it is not surprising that you got sick when the bulb died. Although conducting an experiment with your roommate would help you see if the lamb prevented the two of you from getting sick, we have to remember that we cannot rely on anecdotes and one result to speak for the whole topic. That’s what happened with the girl who claimed that she had developed terrible spasms when she walked forward due to a vaccine, when in reality she was faking it. If a great number of studies were done on this topic, it would be interesting to see a meta analysis of all the results to truly find out if the lamp improved our health.

  7. Claudia Lynn Hatch

    This was one of the more interesting blogs that I have read, and I appreciate how you tied in your personal experience. However, I think you needed more studies to back this up. I think it was great that you designed a mini study, but in order to come to a conclusion, I would have liked more evidence. It seemed more like a short story than a scientific blog. Here is a video that explains some of the benefits of slat lamps!

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