The Science of Soothe & The Himalayan Sensation Part 1
We like to have fun on this website, but we also take pride in offering our products in a scientifically grounded way. Himalayan salt products in general sit at a curious intersection between an effective and necessary element of human health, and a curiously interesting novelty we all know and love, in the form of salt lamps.
Over the last five years, the consumer driven demand for this product has been staggering to say the least. We estimate upwards of 5-10 million salt lamps have been sold in the US over the last 5-10 years by dozens of manufacturers and importers. On one hand we are happy to step in and serve the buying public with as much as we can produce, but on the other hand, as a health and wellness advocate I cannot help but ask why these things are so desirable and why so many customers report various, but fairly consistent health benefits.
This page is not meant to be a dissertation, or explanation on a heretofore unknown and unmeasured natural force brought about by these salt lamps, it is rather meant to facilitate a conversation as to what exactly is happening in the relationship between Himalayan salt lamps and the people who love them.
I could probably fill a book with the anecdotes from customers and entrepreneurs alike, but I will keep the story as concise and fact focused as possible.
In The Beginning
I don't personally know who imported the first Himalayan salt lamp into the US, but I doubt they knew what they were getting started. In fact, one of the core reference materials related to Himalayan salt products and their origin is from an out of print book called "Water And Salt" The Essence of Life by __________. Before I continue, it's important to know that we as a company do not necessarily endorse the concepts covered in that book, but we do tend to generally keep an open mind, while keeping the following perspective:
The underlying philosophy behind this perspective is If the potential, albeit questionable alternative health/medical/healing practice modality is generally safe, non-toxic and has no independently verified medical documentation speaking out against potential health hazards of said practice, and there is at least 1 person benefitting from it, then I say we 1. stay out of the way of people's pursuit of happiness & health 2. explore it to the fullest extent possible especially if millions of people are flocking to it in what seems to be an "organic" way.
That said, the scientific method and it's rigorous application is pretty much what brought humanity out of the dark ages, so let's not forget whose shoulders we stand on.
While Himalayan salt seems to have a various health positive effects, or at least health-neutral novel applications, there isn't a lot of independently verified literature like you would see for a modern pharmaceutical or even "heath supplement", related to Himalayan salt in any form that I can find. With that knowledge the journey as follows is taken carefully with respect to broadly accepted health and medical standards.
As it stands today, we are serving customers in five categories, practically all of them consumer driven from their genesis, which means we simply went toward what the customer said they wanted, and found a way to serve that need.
While this might seem like common sense, it's important to recognize the rarity of creating synthetic demand via brute marketing power, especially in consumer goods.
Pakistani Connection > USA
Many people do not know that all pink Himalayan salt is sourced in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains located exclusively in Pakistan. Throughout these pages you will come to learn the quirks and challenges of doing business with a developing nation in a politically sensitive part of the world. Pakistani culture is close cousin to India, and far more Americans have experienced Indian culture, so some threads run true for both like the seemingly endless folk remedies being promoted and hustled, but as the chief marketing dweeb, I don't let any of that affect what we are doing, but I can't say the same for many/most of our competitors.
Snake Oil, Or Pink Gold?
Now, if you're involved in the stock market, selling marginally useful items might come more naturally, but as a from scratch startup, following consumer demand and serving that need is literally how we stay in business. I write this to dispel the myth that there are unscrupulous advertising execs getting paid millions to write misleading health claims on ours, or any Himalayan salt product for that matter. As you'll come to read, it's almost certainly not the case with Himalayan salt lamps.
Sure, there are exceptions, but I find unethical or untrue claims to be a result of ignorance and desperation far more than an act of deception, statistically speaking. That said, I restate our commitment to creating an educated conversation around the pink salt phenomenon and keeping things scientific as much as is beneficial.
I wanted to clear that up before we jump into the five most popular and fastest categories we see today, but one more thing, I hear a small voice of caution telling me not to share our business details with outsiders for fear of competition, because if you want to try and export salt from Pakistan in a way sufficient to run a business, I wish you the best of luck because you have your work cut out for you. If you really want to get into the salt business, you should partner with us because we're a direct source processor and manufacturer and we can compete with anyone in the US or PAK, on price, quality, and most importantly ethical sourcing.
We may not be the only importer in the USA, but we've got six and seven figure checks from fortune 500 companies that say we know what we're talking about.
Ironically, and hilariously, almost every time we get invited to the corporate headquarters of companies like Sam's Club or TJ Maxx, or Bed Bath & Beyond, they almost without fail say, and I quote: "We met with your supplier earlier this year" to which we say "oh?" and they reply "Company X states they are the largest supplier of Himalayan salt products to the USA, and they supply practically all Himalayan salt companies in the USA." And we proceed to laugh and politely tell them they were 100% categorically misled, and can provide as much evidence need to back up our claims. As I've said before, all pink Himalayan salt comes from a very specific region found only in Pakistan, and there is no way to get the pink stuff without making a few Pakistani friends.
Without further adieux, I present to you the five hottest categories in Himalayan salt today.
1. Salt Lamps 2. Cooking/Eating Salt 3. Bath Soak & Scrub Salts 4. Animal Supplements 5. Salt Rooms/Caves.
1. Salt Lamps - As we have discussed, millions of these have been sold taking various shapes and embodiments including rough stones, bowls with heated massage stones, night lights, pyramids, aromatherapy diffusers, tea lights, fire baskets, lion's, tigers and bears oh my! The lamps vary in size from .5 lbs, to over 100lbs. Various Himalayan salt importers have various and often times ridiculous claims on their packaging. Often these lamps and their packaging are made and imported by scrappy entrepreneurs who have family ties in Pakistan, which is the only place in the world known to have the pinkish-orange mineral rich pristine crystal salt we know and love. Many times the claims advertised are clearly false, borderline illegal (in the eyes of the FDA) and the English is so poor, it's hard to take them seriously.
Most claims (and our customers have reported them all voluntarily,) relate to air quality and breathing. The most common "theory" related to the effectiveness of salt lamps is on account of alleged negative ion generation that is induced by the salt pulling moisture out of the air. While we haven't used a negative ion detector, we do know that salt lamps can and do pull moisture out of the air which is evidenced by a pool of water that sometimes form at the base of the lamp, especially in homes and rooms with high humidity. From what I understand, when a water molecule is pulled into the salt's molecular lattice, the water releases a negatively charged ion into the air and negative ions bind to positively charged particles like dust and pathogens which they then neutralize and fall to the floor.
This is a well known phenomenon in science and is apparently present in areas where large amounts of water a frothed and churned either the beach, or near a waterfall. I am told there are certain places such as burn units who give patients negative ion chambers to speed up healing of the skin.
From what I've come understand, the amount of negative ions salt lamps generate is relatively small in number compared to what nature can do and there are even machines that can reliably generate negative ions.
Truth be told there isn't much literature that I could find on this. I'm not a researcher by profession and I'd prefer to connect with someone who was, to bring clarity to this, but as of now the negative ion hypothesis is on everyone's tongues, but we cant confidently speak into this presently.
We will come back to this in the 5th section, but suffice to say we don't know if there are any known and measurable health benefits that Himalayan salt lamps directly provide, but we are compelled by the consumer driven growth of this category.
2. Cooking/Eating Salt: This category is probably a little more simple in scope, but equally curious. As far as we know, Himalayan salt has been imported for eating as long as, if not longer than salt lamps. We do know that Himalayan salt has "trace" minerals both essential and non. While the health benefits as it related to modern medical knowledge would say the amount of minerals may not be significant enough to impact health, interestingly, foodies have taken to the salt for it's smoother and fuller flavor that it provides delicate gourmet foods, especially sweets.
Those that make "The Great Salt Switch" to pink Himalayan salt will come to notice standard iodized table salt taste more bitter or acidic than it's pink cousin. Towing the line as an all natural health product Salt Skill brand Himalayan salt touts itself as a back to nature core ingredient to get back to clean, healthful and delicious home cooked/eating.
There are several compelling reasons that Pink Himalayan salt is being featured as a hot new food ingredient at trendy restaurants, and high end snack companies alike, our customers respond by picking up more salt at the grocery store.
The market trend for this category is compelling as we sit on the precipice of a clean eating revolution. As an advocate and student of clean eating myself, I can personally attest to how fantastic and energized one can feel when they get their food back to the basics. We find the market's appetite for solid fact based health food information to be insatiable, and when they find a brand, ambassador or product they appreciate, they will thank you with their wallet.
Quick shout out to Entrepreneurs and influencers who want to feature/sponsor our salt in their vlogs, or as ingredients in their products. Contact me here.
Any by the way, while most of the cheeseburger munching population consume too much salt, there are health concerns related to underconsumption of salt, and this is specifically important to those who make their own food, or those who have their diets very finely tuned. If this is you, I challenge you to put quarter teaspoon (pinch) of salt in your breakfast and let me know if you notice any increase in energy and mental acuity. Now, if you at a huge steak with french fries before bed last night, I don't recommend this experiment.
3. Bath Soaks & Scrubs: This category is just as juicy as the rest, with bath soak king EPSOM, who has lost his clothes in the courtyard, as he has been outsourced to chemical factories in China. His humble English roots he has long forgotten, but his sales numbers in the US remain strong. But his pink cousin boasts an unprocessed, more pleasant bath experience. Just like the other categories we inhabit, independently verified studies are sparse, but good old consumer driven feedback in the form of year after year growth suggests that we are on to something.
Is there something going on between the salt in the bathwater and the skin/body, maybe, but we do know hot water baths can be very relaxing and put the mind into an almost meditative state, and practicing meditative states have shown to have very positive effects on the brain and body alike. So whatever gets you there is good by me. Combine that with almost zero possibility of serious side effects, I say let the salt baths continue.
4. Animal Supplements: This category is the least glamorous, but most indicative of the effectiveness of Himalayan salt as a health food. By trade, I'm a marketer and it is my job to take a good product and make it as presentable as possible by wrapping it in the best packaging imaginable within a given budget. This is something I've become very successful at over the last several years, but here's catch. You can't fool an animal with fancy marketing and packaging. Sure, an informative package can convince an inquisitive horse owner to try out product, but as the saying goes you can lead a horse to it's salt lick, but you can't make him try it! It's a good thing we don't have to.
Time after time we have customers report how strongly their horse/s takes to the salt in a way they never have before. We've heard of owners reporting faster recovery times after traveling, and even stories where their horse having tasted the Himalayan lick simply will not go back to their old mechanically pressed salt block. True Himalayan rock crystal salt lasts longer than other salt and 7 out of 10 horses surveyed would agree, "it's the pink salt for me." Alas, there are also rare cases where the horse couldn't be bothered to even look at a salt lick, but there's a cynic in every crowd I suppose.
If you've been reading this far you are now more of a product expert than many sales reps we've attempted to train who wouldn't read the sales material and wondered why they weren't closing sales. So maybe with your help we don't have to hire any more knuckle dragging sales people. Don't get me wrong, I love and respect the sales profession, but excellent sales people are unicorns. Besides, this is 2018, and we have affiliate programs and applications for anyone who wants to help promote Salt Skill products on their respective platforms. Or, if you'd like to walk into the belly of the beast and apply to be a sales director, visit our employment page.