When a Negative is a Positive
For many of us just the thought of visiting a beach or waterfall or being in the midst of a thunderstorm exhilarates us. Is it the sound of the waves crashing, the free fall of water, the thunder and snapping of light? Perhaps all of that. You see, at places of such phenomena negative ions are found in copious amounts.
So, what are negative ions? Ions are atoms or groups of atoms, which have either a negative or positive charge. Negative ions are oxygen atoms charged with an extra electron. They’re created in nature when moving water, air, sunlight and the Earth’s inherent radiation break apart air molecules, and are most prevalent in natural places particularly around moving water or after a thunderstorm.
That taste in the air and feeling we get at the beach, near a waterfall or after a storm is our body (and soul) being saturated by the beneficial effects of negative ions.
Clearly, negative ions are our friends. Studies have shown that they can boost mood, ease depression, and even improve physical health. They have been found to clear the air of pollutants, odours and allergens (positively charged particles, i.e. positive ions) like pollen and mould, and hazardous airborne particles like bacteria and viruses.
These special air particles are known to be biologically active when they enter our bodies, although exactly how they work is still unknown. They appear to help boost production of protective antioxidant enzymes, and lead to beneficial changes in neurotransmitters and hormones in the body. Preliminary research conducted by Michael Terman, Ph.D. at Columbia University Medical Center, suggests that high-density negative ion therapy may help those suffering from Seasonal Affect Disorder, a type of depression experienced in the winter.
Common experiences of spending time in negative ion environments, which are supported by many studies throughout the world, are:
- an increase in the sense of well being and mental clarity
- improvement in respiration
- increased relaxation, normalised breathing rate, and reduced blood pressure and tension
- improved energy levels and focus
- improved sleep
- reduced instances of headaches and sickness
- improved healing rate
- elevated mental concentration and performance
It seems being exposed to negative ions equals free health care — a pretty good reason to take good care of and spend more time in our natural world don’t you think?