What Is Ionic Rock?
Promising to blend beautiful mood lighting with tangible health benefits, the Ionic Rock is a salt crystal lamp that is powered by a standard electrical outlet. The entirety of the lamp (minus the base it sits on) is made from rock salt, otherwise known as sodium chloride.
The minds behind this product state that it is able to cleanse the air around the lamp of bacteria and irritants such as dust and pet dander, as well as promote relaxation and serotonin production in order to balance out your mood and relieve stress.
They also claim that the lamp actively attracts and removes positive ions in the air that can adversely affect your mood. What exactly does that even mean, though? For the average person, what exactly is happening here, and what can you expect as a result? Let’s take a closer look in the next section.
A Science Fueled Look at Ionization
With all this talk about negative and positive ions, you might be asking yourself what an ion really is. To put it in simple terms, an ion is a charged particle that is created whenever atoms gain or lose electrons, according to this BBC article.
The article in question mentions that metallic atoms form positive ions, while non-metallic atoms form negative ions. So, the question now becomes, can ions really alter your mood as the manufacturer of the Ionic Rock suggests?
There is some precedent for this claim. According to an article from WebMD, negative ions can be found near beaches, waterfalls, mountains, and other pristine locations in nature. Once inside your bloodstream, the article states that they are believed to produce biochemical reactions to increase serotonin, a mood-controlling chemical in the brain.
Numerous clinical studies have also illuminated ties between negative ions and reduced instances of depression, such as this study conducted in 2005. This is great to know, but perhaps the biggest question still remaining is a simple one; can a block of sodium chloride really emit enough negative ions to make a difference in your home?
As it turns out, the answer is probably not. According to an in-depth analysis on Snopes.com, Caltech professor of chemistry Jack Beauchamp wanted to find out if the leading salt lamp on Amazon.com would truly be able to emit negative ions, so he bought one and ran it through his lab’s quadrupole ion trap mass spectrometer, which can measure any ions being emitted from the device.
What did he find? In his own words: “We turned it on and looked for negative ions. We looked for positive ions. We waited for the lamp to heat up. The bulb inside eventually does heat the rock salt, but we didn’t see anything.”
In this limited study, there were no measurable ions produced by the lamp, positive or negative. It’s worth noting that this was a non-peer reviewed, basic experiment, and as such it should not be taken as absolute truth, especially in relation to the Ionic Rock, which was not used in this specific test.
However, the lamp used here uses the same sodium chloride composition found within the Ionic Rock, so one could surmise that the results might potentially be similar between the two products, although there are no guarantees.
Moreover, Beauchamp felt skeptical that any of these devices could produce ions, regardless of the brand: “I can’t think of any physical process that would result in the formation of Ions from heating rock salt, with and without the presence of water vapor in any amount. Rock salt has a face-centered cubic structure which would not be expected give rise to electric fields that would generate ions around individual crystals.”
But what about the claim that the Ionic Rock can remove irritants and bacteria from the air? Based on our research, it does indeed look like many air filtration devices utilize ionization to help remove dust and other contaminants from the air. But again, if there are no ions being released from the device, there would be no mechanism by which these particles could be captured and “cleansed”.
Next up, let’s take a look at how much the Ionic Rock will cost, as well as what the return policy entails should you decide to make a purchase.
Ionic Rock Pricing & Returns
The Ionic Rock is currently available directly from the product’s main website, and as of the time of this writing it costs $19.99 plus $5.95 for shipping and handling. There is also an optional mini Ionic Rock night light available for an additional $5.95 fee.
As for the return policy, the company offers a 90-day money back guarantee on all products ordered from the website. To process a refund, you’ll need to reach out to customer service at 1-800-382-7549. Lastly, the company states that processing and handling fees are not refundable.
Alternatives to the Ionic Rock
At this point, you might be wondering if there are any comparable alternatives to the Ionic Rock. There are quite literally hundreds of different salt lamps on the market today, and almost all of them make some sort of claim about releasing negative ions and improving your mood.
Despite the lack of conclusive evidence from clinical sources (as mentioned above) that this is scientifically possible, many of these lamps have thousands of positive reviews behind them, including one product that features over 12,000 reviews, 69% of which were 5 stars. Why might this be?
While we didn’t test any of these options firsthand, it could possibly be that many people simply like the overall aesthetic of these salt lamps, or that perhaps there is a placebo effect of sorts happening. But this is pure conjecture at this point. Whatever the case, there appears to be thousands of satisfied customers using these sorts of products every day and enjoying them.
What does this mean for your search for the perfect salt crystal lamp? We’ll cover this as we conclude in the next section.
The Bottom Line
Bringing everything that we’ve learned about the Ionic Rock into focus, the claims made by the makers with regards to how the device works do not line up with the information we found above in the Ionization section of this overview.
Specifically, the Ionic Rock claims to emit negative ions and clean the air around the lamp, but we were shown that tests involving a simple block of sodium chloride and a light bulb (the same core components that make up the Ionic Rock) did not emit any sort of ions due to the very nature of the way they are produced and radiated.
As for the claim that the lamp can increase serotonin production in the brain, improving your mood and relaxation as a result? This one is a bit trickier to dissect. While this would be extremely difficult to test using the scientific method due to its subjective nature, one could make the argument that a lamp like this simply provides a cozy ambience to a room that can promote relaxation on its own, which has some merit in and of itself for the right individual.
This seems to be backed up by hundreds of reviews for salt lamps online that have users praising the look and feel of the products themselves, often stating that the warm light emitted from the devices has a comforting, calming effect.
Based on all of this information, we’d recommend shopping for a salt lamp specifically with aesthetics in mind. If you’re looking for the negative ionization in particular, you might be better served to look into purchasing a standalone ionizer that will be able to fulfill that role more effectively.