Health Benefits of Negative Ions
What are negative ions?
The feeling of improvement you get from a breath of fresh air on the morning of a camping trip is no coincidence. Nature is one of the greatest healing forces available to us still to this day. It is no magic trick that removing yourself from the clutter of your busy everyday life to relax can do wonders for your health. However, there’s more to it than simply getting away. The reason nature can make you feel so great is something produced by naturally occurring forces such as sunlight, water, air, and even the earth’s radiation. Something too small to be seen, they are negative ions.
Ions are an atom that has gained or lost a charge. So when we say negative ions we are talking about an oxygen atom charged with an extra electron. They are a necessity to human health. Negative ions are found in high quantity in places that have large bodies of water; this could be a beach, a lake, or a waterfall for instance. One natural producer of negative ions that everyone typically has in their home is a shower. The steam produced from the heat of the shower generates negative ions and is a contributing factor to why we feel so refreshed and revitalized when after taking one. To a similar effect, when there is a thunderstorm, you are left with an interesting and refreshing taste in your mouth. This is because the storm has saturated the air around you with negative ions. Negative ions are scientifically tied to a lot of health benefits, but getting them is not always so easy.
Our homes and offices are so often bogged down by clutter, waste, and technology that they tend to be lacking in negative ion exposure. As a result, a prevalence of positive ions may take root in our surroundings. Positive ions can be anything from harmful toxins, airborne viruses, or many other things that can make us sick and feeling less than ready to carry on with our daily routines. Many of us live in areas where natural negative ion generating factors have been either removed or tampered with. This can lead to more instances of illness, more cases of headaches, and an overall feeling of decreased mood and energy. Negative ions may be invisible, but their benefits for your health do not go unnoticed.
The benefits of negative ions are not something you have to wait to kick in. Once you begin exposure, you will feel an immediate difference. You take that feeling of a bright sunny morning on the beach with you. You can take the benefits of a weekend getaway to your favorite wooded seclusion with you. Negative ions are essential to living properly and making an active effort to make sure you are getting a vital amount can be the difference between living life and excelling at it.
Let’s Clear the Air
In areas that are ripe with positive ions, there is an increased chance of you getting sick. This is because airborne toxins and allergens are generally perpetuated by positive ions. An increase in exposure to negative ions can have a combative effect for both you and the environment you occupy. This has to do with the charge of the ions. Negative and positive ions attract each other. So when you release negative ions into an area with a lot of positive ions, they will attach themselves to each other and fall to the ground. Without the potentially harmful positive ions looming in the air, your chances of experiencing their negative effect greatly decrease. They say opposites attract and things that are the same repel. It just so happens that when it comes to negative ions the reverse is also true. The negative charge of the ions forces them away from each other and as a result, the more there are, the much greater distance the negative ions will cover. In terms of both distance and your health, a little exposure can go a long way.
You don’t have to be SAD
Exposure to negative ion therapy is generally great for your energy levels and mood. Most importantly, it has been scientifically linked to having benefits combating Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. A common winter-time form of depression, SAD is experienced by upwards of 6-7% of Americans. That’s roughly two million people that share this single form of depression. In a study conducted at the Columbia University Medical Center, doctors claimed that their findings indicated an exposure to therapy that involved ions showed about 50% of patients regaining energy and mood levels. Additionally, when the therapy is acclimated to the each individual’s sleep cycle, the percent of those that experience an improvement climbs to about 80%. The benefits that negative ions have on those with SAD can be attributed to effects they have on both the biological and mental conditions of the patients. Negative ions are a proven method to improve your mood and energy levels without having to have medical prescriptions for antidepressants. The biggest benefit of this is that with negative ion therapy, you do not have the long list of side effects that typically come with medications. (1)
Negative ions don’t just clear out your external conditions, but your internal conditions as well. Breathing in negative ions can have an impact that improves your respiratory system. The cilia in your trachea are tasked with keeping harmful airborne particles away from your lungs. A benefit of negative ions is an improvement in the function of these cilia. By functioning better, you are able to stay healthier and breathe cleaner. You reduce your risk of getting sick from airborne particles dramatically. Additionally, negative ion effects have also been linked to improving the breathing conditions of those with asthma. Positive ions are directly related to heightening the conditions in which asthma thrives. By introducing negative ions into the equation, you are able to counteract the harm caused. Breathing is something a lot of people often take for granted. You owe to yourself to take care of your lungs and improve your body’s ability to function correctly. (2, 3)
They say you should get eight hours of sleep a night, but with all the stress in your life that can be a real challenge sometimes. Studies have shown that negative ions combat the effects of positive ions on your brain, returning your serotonin level to a normal level. What this means is two very important things for your health: better sleep and less stress. Serotonin is excreted by your brain and affects your feelings of happiness. The remainder is left to perform other tasks for your body, one of which involves your ability to sleep. By normalizing your level of serotonin, negative ions improve your ability to sleep and how well that sleep will be. In a study, it was discovered that rats exposed to ion treatment were able to handle larger workloads. A normal level of serotonin also allows for a decrease in stress levels. You are left with more of a feeling of control in situations where you would typically be overwhelmed. Improving the quality of your sleep and managing your levels of stress are important aspects of controlling your life that can be aided by negative ion therapy. (4)
Those of us who work in offices understand the toll that extended computer use can have on the body and mind. A common occurrence in office settings is frequent headaches due to the disruption and lack of exposure to negative ions. Messy offices filled with electronics and other people are not ideal for your health. You are constantly exposed to electromagnetic fields and airborne allergens that can trigger headaches and a loss of focus at any time. During a 16 week trial conducted by Surrey University at a company called the Norwich Union, it was discovered that the occurrence of headaches was reduced by 78% when they installed negative ion emitting machines in the office. As a result, the company was convinced to keep them installed as the benefits for their workers were deemed noticeable. Being exposed to negative ions affects the flow of oxygen to your brain. This, in turn, impacts the level of concentration and attentiveness you can maintain throughout your day. Negative ions can not only keep your mind pain free, they can keep it alert and maximize its effectiveness to work long hours. (5)