At the Himalayas Salt Lamps & More store on Main Street in Mesa, the cliché phrase "worth its weight in salt" has a literal meaning.
Himalayas proprietor Lily Neff, like many other people, believes that salt crystal rocks have healing properties, and if you have a Himalayan salt lamp in your home, it can help purify the air and eliminate problems from snoring to asthma to allergies.
The lamps, many of which emanate a warm orange glow, are beautiful to behold, regardless of whether or not you believe in New Age healing methods. And the Himalayas Salt Lamps & More shop in Mesa is one of few places in the Southwest that carry these products. Just walking around the store is a zen-like experience.
The main room of the store houses a beautiful, giant amethyst geode (marked "sold"), and a selection of small salt rocks and bars. Peaceful pipe and flute music wafts from the store speakers. Behind the main room is another room, filled with shelves upon shelves of salt lamps. Most of the lamps are still in their natural, crystal rock shape, but there's also a handful of hand-carved salt lamps in the shapes of skulls, birds, and even bottles. And the "speleotherapy cave" room (first room to your right when you walk through the door) is quite possibly the most peaceful place on Main Street.
Speleotherapy is therapy involving salt in caves and enclosed places, and this room is built to look like a cave with adobe mud walls. There are a few tables and chairs in the room. The only sources of light are the glowing orange salt lamps set up around the room, and a purple light emanating from a table-top water fountain. An information placard on a stand at the room entrance claims that for centuries, people have hidden in caves near salt sources and emerged with fewer breathing problems.
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When heat from a light bulb warms the salt lamp, the salt releases negative ions. The negative ions supposedly bond to pollutants in the air and neutralize them. The practical up-side is that Himalayas salt lamps use standard light bulbs and are supposed to last a lifetime and need no replacement. The downside is you don't want to get them wet, or they'll dissolve (and therefore, not last a lifetime).
Neff says the salt crystals are mined from the Himalayan Mountains, but most Himalayan salt is really Halite, mined from the Khewra Salt Mines in Pakistan, about 186 miles from the Himalayas. Prices range from $35 for a small (five to eight pound) light color lamp to $129 for a large (12 to 14 pound) dark color lamp. Colors range from peach to rose to orange to red.
Himalayas Salt Lamps & More is located at 240 W. Main Street in Mesa. Call 480-570-9248 or visit www.himalayassaltlamps.com for more information.