You don't know what you're missing if you've never had a Himalayan salt lamp. It's like having an open window - a gently glowing natural source of fresh, clean air - at your desk, in your living room, next to the bed or wherever you like.

Before we get into the health benefits of using Himalayan salt lamps in your home, it may be helpful to take a brief chemistry lesson:

All matter (the human body, air, water, etc.) is composed of molecules made up of atoms composed of three types of particles: protons (positive charge), electrons (negative charge) and neutrons (no attack). Electrons orbit their molecules like planets orbit a star. Occasionally an electron flies away, and when it does, it leaves behind a positively charged ion whose sole purpose in life is to fill the void left by its little lost electron. In other words, it wants to steal a replacement electron from another molecule. Because of differences in molecular structure (number of electrons in the outer orbit, strength and structure of electron bonds, etc.), some materials lose electrons much more easily than others.

With this basic understanding of the behavior of positive and negative ions fresh in our minds, let's look at the top 10 benefits of the Himalayan Salt Lamp.

1. Salt lamps Clean and deodorize the air.
Probably the most well-known benefit - and why the majority of people use them - is because of their incredible ability to remove dust, pollen, cigarette smoke and other pollutants from the air. "But how do they do that," you ask? "It's just a big lump of salt with a light bulb in it, right?"

Well, but no. There is much more to it than that.

Himalayan salt lamps purify air through the power of hygroscopy, which means they attract water molecules from the environment and absorb those molecules - as well as any foreign particles they may be carrying - into the salt crystal. As the HPS lamp heats up due to the heat produced by the bulb inside, that same water evaporates back into the air and the trapped dust particles, pollen, smoke, etc. remain. Locked in the salt.

2. Reduce allergy and asthma symptoms.
Because Himalayan salt lamps remove microscopic dust particles, pet dander, mold, mildew and the like from the surrounding air, placing a lamp or two in the rooms where you spend the most time can severely reduce allergic symptoms. Even people suffering from asthma should notice a big difference after a week or two. (In fact, pink Himalayan salt is so good for your airways, there are even HPS inhalers!)

3. Relieves coughing
When the Himalayan salt lamp heats up and begins its hygroscopic cycle of airborne particles, the charge of the molecules released also changes. (Remember our chemistry class?) Most homes are filled with positively charged ions that are not particularly good for one's health. Positive ions are created by a number of things, but the main source for most of us is our electronics.

One of the health disadvantages of inhaling lots of positive ions in the air is that the cilia (microscopic hairs) along the trachea (also known as: windpipe) become sluggish and do not work as well to keep contaminants out of our lungs. Because a Himalayan pink salt lamp absorbs water and particles from the air, it also takes positive ions with it. When the heated salt then releases cleaned water vapor back into the air, it also emits negative ions that have the opposite effect on our airways - increasing vibrating hair activity to keep your lungs clean.

What this all means in a nutshell: in addition to removing pollutants from the air, pink Himalayan salt lamps also help your body filter the air more efficiently, preventing foreign particles you happen to inhale from entering your lungs.

4. Increase energy levels
Taking a drive through the countryside with the windows open, spending time at the beach or camping in the mountains, or just taking a shower first thing in the morning are all things that many people find invigorating. It's no coincidence that these are all activities that expose us to elevated concentrations of negative ions, such as those generated by Himalayan salt lamps. It is a fact that positive ions undermine our bodies of energy. Unfortunately, all too often we try to diagnose the problem as something completely different.

If you feel constantly tired and don't know why, try placing a Himalayan salt lamp in the room or rooms where you spend the most time. After about a week, you should notice a difference.

5. Neutralize electromagnetic radiation
Today, most of us live in a metaphorical ocean of electromagnetic (EM) radiation coming from our electronics (ie: television, computer, cell phone, tablet, appliances, stereo, etc.). Although they may be invisible, the long-term effects of EM exposure can be quite severe. Constant exposure to EM radiation is known to increase stress levels, cause chronic fatigue and reduce the body's immune response, among other things.

While emitting negative ions into the air, Himalayan salt lamps work to neutralize electromagnetic radiation. Keep one next to the computer, television and other electrical appliances you use often to reduce the potential danger to you and your family.

6. Sleep better
Another side effect resulting from overexposure to positive ions in the air is that it robs you of a good night's sleep. This happens because those positively charged particles can actually reduce the blood and oxygen supply to the brain, resulting in irregular sleep patterns. Pink salt lamps from the Himalayas are natural generators of negative ions and thus can help reverse this problem. Keep one or two around your bedroom to improve air quality so you can get a better night's sleep.

Remember, even if you're like me and can't sleep unless the room is completely dark, you can always turn off the lamp at bedtime. Just leave it on for the rest of the day so it can do its job while you are awake. People in humid climates should be aware that HPS lamps tend to weep when the salt cools. You definitely want to protect the surfaces by placing a saucer underneath and follow the use and maintenance instructions that come with your lamp!

7. Improve mood and concentration
Himalayan pink salt lamps are a great way to naturally improve your mood or help you relax and unwind at the end of the day. At the same time and on the other side of the coin, HPS lights are great for improving concentration. Again, this is due to the effect of the negative ions on your body, improving blood and oxygen supply to the brain and other organs, as well as giving a boost of serotonin - the neurotransmitter that makes us (literally) happy.

8. Treat seasonal affective disorder
In addition to generating negative ions that improve mood and energy levels, the soft, natural light given off by a pink Himalayan salt lamp is so close to the warm glow of the sun that they can even be used to relieve symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. This year, as the days grow shorter, fight lethargy by surrounding yourself with a few HPS lights on timers.

9. Reduce static electricity in the air
While not a "health benefit" at first glance, static is nasty stuff. It causes stress, embarrassment and frustration. Static zaps you when you least expect it, when you reach for a door handle, kiss your husband or wife before bed, or try to pet your dog or cat. Static static can give you a bad hair day, make it impossible to remove crumbs or coffee grounds from the kitchen counter, and even cause you to accidentally go to work with a sock attached to the back of your shirt....

(Okay, so that last one may have been a bit of an exaggeration.) The point is that static electricity can be hugely annoying, and pink salt lamps from the Himalayas are a natural way to neutralize the airborne ionized particles that cause it.

10. Eco-friendly light source
Last but not least, Himalayan pink salt lamps are environmentally friendly. Although only an estimate, the reserves from which HPS is mined measure somewhere between 80 and 600 million tons and are expected to last at least another 350 years at the current extraction rate. The base of an HPS lamp is generally carved from durable wood such as neem. Some lamps use a low wattage bulb that consumes very little energy, while others are powered by a lit candle.

Choosing and installing your Himalayan pink salt lamp
When it comes to buying Himalayan pink salt lamps, coverage is determined by the size of the crystal. Smaller lamps (like this 5.4 lb) are good for the average bedroom, while larger lamps (like this 12 lb) are better for spaces like the living room or study. Calculate on average that 1 lb of HPS crystal will purify the air in an area approximately 4' x 4'.

If you can't find a large enough lamp for a particular room, remember that you can use several lamps scattered around the room for the same effect.

If you really love a breathtaking Himalayan salt lamp, then this Everest salt lamp is really for you. At 15-18″ long and weighing over 50 lbs, it is one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring available. Get your own here.

I highly recommend putting together an entire home collection of these beautiful lamps, even if you only buy one or two at a time. Start by buying appropriately sized lamps for those rooms where you spend the most time, then move on to rooms with many electrical appliances and complete your collection by adding lamps to seldom-used rooms.

For added variety, consider adding these Himalayan pink salt tea light holders to your HPS collection for a portable air purifier that can move around your home with you.

Remember that pink salt crystals from the Himalayas will begin to melt with prolonged exposure to high humidity. Therefore, be careful and keep a close eye on HPS lamps near steam sources such as dishwashers, washing machines or showers.
As mentioned earlier, it can take about a week for the results of generating negative ions to be noticeable, so don't give up if you don't feel the improvement right away.

More ways to purify the air in your home
Himalayan pink salt lamps are not the only way to improve the air quality in your environment. Combine them with air-purifying houseplants or any of these other simple but brilliant techniques to naturally purify the air in your home so you and your family can breathe the healthiest, cleanest air possible!