When you walk into L.A. Wellness, you may enjoy breathing in the sublime scent of Palo Santo that we burn, or feel the good vibes coming off of the Himalayan salt lamps. But is this just new agey hippie stuff, or do these things actually have healing properties? I recently came across two fascinating articles that demonstrate the efficacy of smoke and light in purifying the air and in killing germs.
The first article, “Killer Germs” Obliterated by Medicinal Smoke (Smudging), Study Reveals reveals modern scientific research about how the ritualistic use of plant smoke, which is used the world over as a way of ‘cleansing’ the spirit, purifies the air of harmful bacteria.
The other article, Air-purifying church windows early nanotechnology cites Queensland University of Technology study findings that stained glass windows painted with gold purify the air when they are lit up by sunlight. In a similar way the interaction of light with Himalayan salt crystals creates negative ions in the air, which not only can kill germs but also exhibit a protective effect from harmful EMF radiation from electronics.
Upon reflecting on these articles (see what I did there?), I find it strange how easy it is for our culture to accept the idea that pharmaceutical inhalers and radiotherapies impact our chemistry and physiology, while we look with skepticism at the idea that light and smoke therapy have any therapeutic application. How different are they really? What do you think?
Joe Curcio, L.Ac