Learn about benefits of negative ions.
Positive and Negative Ions
Before we can explain the benefits of negative ions it is important to understand some basic science on what ions actually are.
An ion is a molecule, or atom, that has gained or lost an electrical charge.
Atoms themselves are the smallest unit of matter and are composed of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Atoms are the building blocks of all matter: solids, liquids, plasma, and gas.
This means essentially everything in the world is made up of atoms, including the air you breath.
When the number of protons or electrons in an atom changes it becomes an ion.
Ions are classified as either positive or negative and are created in nature when an air molecule breaks from certain events.
Positive Ions – A positive ion is an ion that has lost electrons and as such has higher protons resulting in a positive charge. Pollutants including smog, radioactive material, synthetic carpet, paint, and electronics all carry a positive charge in the air.
Positive ions, despite the name, are generally considered detrimental to your health. Excess positive ions can expedite oxidation of your body at the cellular level resulting in a host of inflammatory diseases we’re all too familiar with in this day and age.
Positive ions have high concentrations within buildings, cities, and near electronics.
Negative Ions – A negative ion is an ion that has gained more electrons than protons giving it a negative charge. The phenomenon such as moving water, air, and sunlight can cause negative ions. Negative ions, on the other hand, offer a beneficial effect on the mind and body.
The concentration of negative ions is very high within forests, by the ocean, waterfalls, caves, and other natural locations.
Ions are not visible to the human eye. In fact, they are so small that once they are breathed in, they absorb into your bloodstream through your lungs and also your skin.
The word “Ion” actually means “to wander” or “go” from the Greek language.
Health Benefits of Negative Ions
If you’ve ever had the opportunity to stand near a waterfall, relax near a beach, or walk through a dense forest, you may recall the soothing effect these experiences had on you. This is a health benefit of negative ions. Part of this experience can be attributed to the significantly high quantity of negative ions found in these natural areas. Negative ion counts in these areas reach in the tens of thousands.
On the other hand, in an indoor location such as an office or home, positive ions far outweigh the negative ions.
In fact, tests have indicated levels as low as a few hundred negative ions to thousands of positive ions. Some locations even have absolutely no negative ions at all!
Ever felt stuffy, irritable, or unable to focus while sitting at your desk near electronics for long periods of time? This can also be attributed to the high concentrations of positive ions.
Due to environmental pollution and other factors, there are significantly more positive ions in the air compared to negative ions.
Some of the benefits of negative ions can be seen in the table below:
|Negative Ions||Positive Ions|
|Promotes Alkalinity||Increases Acidity|
|Reduces Inflammation||Promotes Inflammation|
|Improves Concentration||Impairs Concentration|
|Relieves Stress and Anxiety||Stress & Anxiety|
|Helps Regulate Serotonin||Impacts Serotonin in Brain|
|Improves Air Quality||Breathing Difficulties|
|Promotes Restful Sleep||Sleep Disturbances|
One example of how ions affect you is static electricity, or when you touch a door knob and shock yourself. As the ancients believed, the air is electric, and it is all around us. It influences your life whether you’re aware of it or not.
You may have also heard of people complaining about knee or joint pain prior to a storm. This phenomenon is so common it led to joking that some people can “predict” incoming storms.
In actuality, this phenomenon might be explained by the huge increase in positive ions in the air prior to a storm.
Negative Ions Science
To date, over 5000 scientific studies have been done worldwide on benefits of negative ions. It has been concluded for some time now that they influence our health in various ways. Here are a few interesting studies to note:
- When certain types of wind such as dry dusty winds blow across area’s in the world it has been noted that incidents of crime increase in association with the wind. Winds of this type carry large amounts of positive ions which may influence serotonin, the “feel-good” hormone in one’s brain. This can lead to an “on edge” feeling. In fact, many countries in the western hemisphere recognize this and offer more lenient crime sentences for criminals if the crime occurred during one of these winds.
- In one study, two sealed rooms were sprayed with salmonella. One of the rooms was left as is and the other room had negative ions introduced. After 3 hours, the rooms were tested and the room with negative ions had no traces of salmonella where the other untouched room still contained dangerous levels of salmonella.
- Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are a major problem in today’s world. It poses a serious threat especially for the immune-compromised including the elderly and children. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria is primarily found in hospitals. A study in the UK found incidents of acinetobacter infection fell to zero ionizers were placed throughout the hospital during a year-long study. It was so astonishing that the hospital even asked to keep the negative ionizers!
As you can see, the benefits of negative ions are significant!
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