It’s that time of year again. While autumn and winter have their own form of beauty, it’s a simple fact that the colder weather also brings coughs and sneezes with it. There are plenty of tips on keeping healthy over these seasons (and eating well is certainly important). Here are three fascinating devices which foster wellness now and all year round.
So Well Himalayan Salt Lamps
With all the warnings about table salt, you could easily be forgiven for thinking that all salt, in all forms, is just plain bad for you. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Here’s the science. Salt absorbs water (which is why it has long been used as a way of preserving food over the winter). As it absorbs the water, it absorbs whatever is in the water, for example smoke particles from autumn bonfires or pollen in summer. Left to itself, salt eventually reaches a point where it becomes saturated and hence stops absorbing more water. With salt lamps, however, the heat from the lamp keeps the salt dry and hence the cycle continues. The special property of Himalayan salt lamps is that they are known to generate negative ions, which help to counterbalance the positive ions created by electromagnetic radiation.
While science is still trying to work out whether EMR causes any serious and/or long-term harm it is known that excessive doses of EMR does cause at least short-term health issues such as tiredness and stress. EMR also lowers the body’s immune system, which is particularly bad in winter. The extent to which Himalayan salt lamps can counterbalance EMR is still being investigated, but given the number of electronic gadgets in the average modern household, it seems appropriate to have one of these lamps as they are both beautiful and healthful.
Steam is, of course, water vapour. As a vapour, it is absorbed in the air we breathe and transported around the body in the respiratory system, whereas the water we drink is processed by the digestive system. This means both that the health-giving effects of steam are felt more rapidly than the effects of drinking water. Also, it is transported quickly to the various parts of the body which have the greatest need for air, most notably the lungs. This is the reason why leaning over a bowl of hot water with a towel over your head has long been used as an effective treatment for blocked noses. As anyone who’s tried it will confirm, this is hardly the most comfortable approach to using steam. These days steam showers and saunas provide a much lovelier way of making the most of steam. They promote health at any time of year and are particularly beneficial in the colder months when people are often most susceptible to blocked sinuses.
Some people love winter and find its short days and long nights cosy and comforting. For others it’s just a trial to struggle through until the sun begins to make itself properly felt again. The concept of the winter blues has been known about for years and more recently science has given it a name – Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Having accepted that SAD is a real condition, scientists have now started investigating its causes and at current time, the working theory is that sunlight plays a role in brain function, particularly the function of the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus produces important hormones such as melatonin and serotonin as well as helping to regulate your circadian rhythm (body clock). When the hypothalamus is unable to perform as it should, a person may feel continually sleepy, lack appetite and be generally moody. All of these are classic symptoms associated with SAD. The fact that some people are affected by SAD while others love winter may be linked to genetic or other factors. While there’s nothing can be done about the absence of the sun itself, sunshine lamps (which are totally distinct from tanning lamps) basically mimic sunlight and can provide a welcome boost over the winter period.