The first rock-salt lamps are said to have been used more than 6000 years ago. It is believed that they were discovered by accident when some water dripped into a big rock of salt, resulting in a dim light that revealed the shape of the chamber within. Many people believe that these first lamps were still not made by humans but had already existed on their own for many years before being found. One theory is that it has always happened this way: salt attracts moisture and over time salty water evaporates on the walls of its surroundings until the right conditions create a lamp..
Humans have been using lamps for thousands of years now. The oldest known examples of oil lamps are 7000 years old, made from animal fat and small stones. In Ancient Egypt, lamps were made of different materials, such as ceramics, stone, metal and glass. Almost all ancient cultures used to make salt lamps in one way or another.
In modern days, rock salt is still being used to make lamps because it has a high percentage of sodium chloride (NaCl), which provides an efficient light source when heated.
Rock-salt lamps are available in all shapes and sizes and can be made into almost any design imaginable: they come with electric lighting inside the salt crystals or with a candle holder attached underneath them; some even have multiple levels inside each other for various purposes such as aromatherapy compartmentalization.
The history of the conventional salt lamp with internal lighting is not very long when compared to its history in general. It began somewhere in the 1990s when the Himalayan Rock Salt industry came up with the idea of manufacturing lamps that can be lit on an internal bulb or with a candle. This led to a boom in sales and soon afterwards salt lamps became especially popular in India.
Today they are considered natural negative ion generators which purify the air by emitting infrared radiation and ultraviolet light waves, creating ions called ‘noctons’. According to people who believe this is true, these spectral waves have beneficial effects regarding electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EMF).
The idea that salt lamps are supposed to have healing effects has been discussed for centuries, but it was only in the 14th century when an ancient physician named Kalid Azad experimented with placing a large chunk of rock salt beside his patients’ beds.
He observed that these people seemed to sleep better and recover faster than usual. This finding made him even more interested in studying the effect of salt on human health; he later wrote several books about natural remedies based on local herbs and minerals, including one chapter which contained information about the positive influence of salt crystals.
As time went by, other healers came up with similar conclusions: if placed near the bed, Himalayan Rock Salt was helpful for relieving insomnia and other health problems such as headache, respiratory disorders and arthritis; it also improved mood and calmed one’s nerves.
Of course, these ideas were not based on scientific evidence but still many people started believing that salt lamps had healing abilities which made them even more popular.
The idea stayed alive for centuries and modern-day companies took advantage of this myth to sell their products. By now it is impossible to say how many ornaments are sold each year but some sources claim that the number varies between 200 thousand and 2 million units.
Today we know a lot about salt: its chemical composition (sodium chloride), properties (it is hygroscopic), uses (food preservation, de-icing, water softening) etc. People who still believe that it possesses healing properties refer to ancient texts and healers’ opinions and pay no attention to the advancements in medicine and science. But there is a group of people who swear by this method and claim that salt lamps have been helpful in their lives.