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All About Salt Lamps: What Do They Do?

Himalayan salt lamps are all the rage these days, and for good reason. These aesthetically pleasing lamps come in a surprisingly wide variety of styles and colours, from natural amber to hand-painted designs, and they boast an equal array of benefits. But, what exactly are these unique-looking lamps? And, how can they potentially help you?

Artful Decor

Himalayan salt lamps are, at their heart, decorative lamps. Although various types exist, the most common setup consists of a wooden base with a small light bulb and power cord with a “shade” that extends from the base and completely covers the bulb comprised of pink salt crystals which are extracted from areas near the Himalayas. When lit, these lamps emit a calming amber hue that provides the ideal ambiance for homes, workplaces, and areas of meditation. They are also great for physically mindful areas of activity, such as in a Tai Chi or yoga studio.

Of course, there is so much more to a Himalayan salt lamp than merely its artistic appeal.

Turning the Negative Into a Positive – Helping to Balance Yin and Yang

Himalayan salt lamps have the positive effect of producing negative ions. Despite its optimistic name, positive ions in the air, generally created by the electronic devices in our lives, are thought to cause a host of issues, both physical and mental.  Himalayan salt lamps draw in these positive ions and send back out negative ions. These negative ions occur in nature from things like the ocean and lightning. They produce positive effects such as increasing your energy levels by increasing oxygen and blood flow in the body. As such, having a Himalayan salt lamp around can be extremely beneficial to your overall health and well-being.

Help with Allergies, Asthma, and More

Perhaps one of the most interesting things about Himalayan salt lamps is their ability to help with allergies, asthma, and other conditions that involve particles in the air. The salt lamps are hygroscopic, meaning they attract moisture in the air to themselves, an act which often causes the lamps to “sweat,” particularly in moist environments. As the lamps attract moisture, particles in the air join along for the ride.

These little lamps pack a big punch in the fight against mould, dust, dander, and other air pollutants, as they actively trap contaminants in the salt. Light a salt lamp in your bedroom, office space, or any other area where you feel that the air could use a bit of freshening, and you can begin to breathe in clean air once again.

Guide Your Mindfulness and Aide Anxiety

Since a Himalayan salt lamp easily lends itself to creating a meditative environment, it is ideal for your mindfulness and meditation sessions. Mindfulness is an important part of your mental health, and while my upcoming book will touch on these topics in greater detail, salt lamps can provide a focal point for your meditative practises, similar to the flame of a candle. You can stare into the lamp as you would a flame, focusing on remaining in the present moment, or on a specific intention.

Mindfulness and meditation can provide great benefit to those suffering from anxiety, as with practises such as Tai Chi and yoga. With its soft glow, a salt lamp enhances the effective stress reduction of these activities. Plus, with the lamp ridding your space of positive ions, you’ll potentially experience further reduction in the levels of stress that they could be causing. It has been theorised that the negative ions it produces may have a positive effect on your mood by stimulating the production of serotonin.

Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder

The mental health benefits of Himalayan salt lamps are without question. Another area they seem to affect is in the condition of Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD is a major depressive disorder with symptoms that include a loss of interest in activities and social interaction. This disorder most often affects people during the winter months. This is thought to be, at least partially, due to the lack of sunlight during this time of the year. Himalayan salt lamps produce a glow that is similar to that of natural sunshine, helping you to reduce your risk of SAD throughout the year.

Finding the Lamp for You

While there are many options for Himalayan salt lamps, not all of them are created equal. It may be disheartening to learn that you have to ensure that the salt lamp you purchase is genuine. Carefully observe your lamp. If it gives off a soft glow, that’s a sign of a quality lamp. If, however, you have a brighter kind of light, similar to a typical table lamp, then it’s likely not the real thing. A true Himalayan salt lamp is likely to have originated from the salt mines of Pakistan, and, being made of salt, they are fragile. If you’ve dropped or knocked your lamp and it hasn’t at least chipped a bit, there’s reason to be suspicious.

Another thing to look at is colour. Most lamps will be pink to orange hued. White salt lamps do exist, but they are also a more expensive type of lamp, so if you’re seeking a white lamp, but noticing low prices, be on guard. Also, remember that it is normal for lamps to “sweat” during use. Truly, perhaps the most telling sign of whether or not your lamp is a real Himalayan salt lamp actually has to do with the retailer itself. Genuine retailers know how fragile their lamps can be and so have generous return policies, such as this lamp from Levoit, which carries a 1-year warranty and lifetime support. Levoit is one of the most reputable Himalayan salt lamp sellers on the market today, focused on quality and safety. Plus, their lamps are budget-friendly. You definitely don’t have to spend a ton of money to have a genuine Himalayan salt lamp.

What have been your experiences with salt lamps? Have you purchased one, or do you have questions about what your lamp can do for you? Let me know in the comments, and follow me on Facebook for more tips and tricks to better your health and well-being.

Help for budding authors!

If, like me, you have often contemplated becoming an author then it’s well worth you taking a look at Jericho Writers.

Their website is very well laid out, and offers a mass of free information to help get you started, irrespective of your entry level. I only came across them when the first draft of my book was nearly completed, but I can see that if I had used them at the very beginning it would have saved me a lot of ‘Googling’ time.

One of the main problems with searching on the internet is that information is either being provided by professionals who want your money, or failed writers who are now offering you the benefits of their mistakes! Neither option is inspiring, nor does it fill me with confidence.  I really need to feel I can trust someone with my hard work, and my money, before I fully engage with them.

At the very the beginning of the writing process an ‘expert’ told me that writing the book was the easy part. Oh how right he was! It has been a very steep learning curve for me along the way. Trying to find out what to do next at each milestone was really heavy going, so it was with great delight that I came across Jericho Writers now that I am looking for a professional editor.

Apart from being a great website and having really useful information, Jericho Writers has a huge ace up it’s sleeve which I discovered quite by chance. Long before I discovered the site, I had bought a book called ‘Getting Published‘ by Harry Bingham. I purchased this as a companion to the ‘bible’ of publishing here in the UK called the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook. Both books are well respected, trusted sources of information. Months later as I worked my way through the Jericho Writers website it suddenly dawned on me as to why the website was so useful. It was set up by none other than Harry Bingham himself, a successful published author in his own right.

Clearly, Harry has set out to make a difference! This is not another ‘How to make money from unpublished authors’ site, nor is it the kind of site which aims to guide you down one particular publishing route, i.e. their own. There’s a kind of democracy running through this site which is very refreshing. If, like me, you have already churned your way through many hours of Google searches, or you want to avoid doing that, then this is the site for you.

I am on the cusp of engaging with a professional editor, and Jericho Writers has set the bar for me. I do have a short list compiled from a few other sources, but Jericho is very much top of the list, and I have a strong feeling it is going to win.

If it hurts, don’t do it!

About 10 years ago down in London when walking home after a morning of teaching Tai Chi I found myself alongside my most elderly student. After a short time, I noticed that even though I was about 40 years her junior I was putting in quite some effort to keep up with her. Initially I was okay with this until I discovered that she would be walking about 80% of my route which meant continuing to go at a pace that was becoming embarrassingly uncomfortable! This was further exacerbated when she told me how she was a member of a local 70+ ramblers club, and that she was going to have to leave them because she was finding it difficult to keep up, what with being well into her 80s and also now having a dodgy knee…

Now, even with all my years of training in a variety of sports and specialised activities, and despite being outshone by anyone who’s seriously older than me, I still think that walking is one of the best exercises around; provided you’re sensible.

As with all exercise I always apply what I call my ‘golden rule’ which I also teach to all my students: “If it hurts don’t do it”.

This is a simple mantra that usually serves to protect most people apart from those that don’t listen to me and those that don’t listen to their own bodies. One such episode occurred when one of my younger students (she was only in her 70s) was informed by her GP that she had a raised cholesterol level. Being the type of person that she was my student went into a panic and without further consultation decided she best take up jogging. Fine you might say, until you understand that this is not by itself the best way to reduce cholesterol, nor is it a good idea to take up jogging if you have no experience of it, especially if you are in your 70s. Surprise, surprise, she put her back out within a hundred yards of her house.

After talking with her I ascertained that in her ‘panicked state, my student ignored all of the cardinal rules of any physical exercise:

  1. Understand what you are doing, or get expert advice if you’re not experienced
  2. Gently warm up before throwing yourself headlong into the activity
  3. Relax and enjoy it
  4. And finally – for the third time: “If it hurts don’t do it”

One of the main points I took from this is that although learning Tai Chi will automatically and unconsciously have beneficial effects on all areas of your life you still need to consciously apply it to gain the full benefit. Who knows, she might not have even made the hundred yards if she hadn’t been a Tai Chi player? The other point being that if you build up slowly you can achieve amazing things – and it really doesn’t need to hurt!

As I am a pragmatist rather than a purist I recognise that amongst my Tai Chi students, and indeed amongst the rest of you, there will be some people who feel the need to do other forms of exercise, e.g. long-distance running. Therefore, I thoroughly recommend a book entitled ‘Chi Running’ (link opens in Amazon.co.uk) which I have used myself on those occasions when I need to go at more than a snail’s pace. I don’t do serious amounts of running but I take the same view as I do with swimming, i.e. I can swim well enough to save my life in reasonably non-extreme circumstances such as falling into the river from a pleasure boat. Likewise, with running I can still catch a train when the taxi taking me to the station is forced to stop after knocking down a jogger trying to reduce their cholesterol. Fortunately for me it was less than a hundred yards to the station…