Negative Ions Create Positive Vibes
Taking in a Dose of Fresh Air can Work Wonders for Your Health
Negative ions are odorless, tasteless, and invisible molecules that we inhale in abundance in certain environments. Think mountains, waterfalls, and beaches. Once they reach our bloodstream, negative ions are believed to produce biochemical reactions that increase levels of the mood chemical serotonin, helping to:
- Alleviate depression
- Relieve stress
- Boost daytime energy
Ions are molecules that have gained or lost an electrical charge. They are created in nature as air molecules break apart due to sunlight, radiation, and moving air and water. You may have experienced the power of negative ions when you last set foot on the beach or walked beneath a waterfall.
While part of this euphoria is simply being around these wondrous settings and away from the normal pressures of home and work, the air circulating in the beach is said to contain tens of thousands of negative ions — much more than the average home or office building, which contain dozens or hundreds, and many register a flat zero
Columbia University studies of people with winter and chronic depression show that negative ion generators relieve depression as much as antidepressants.
How Negative Ions Affect Your Brain and Renew Your Energy
According to Pierce J. Howard, PhD, author of The Owners Manual for the Brain*, negative ions increase the flow of oxygen to the brain, resulting in:
- Higher alertness
- Decreased drowsiness
- More mental energy
“They also may protect against germs in the air, resulting in decreased irritation due to inhaling various particles that make you sneeze, cough, or have a throat irritation,” states Dr. Howard.
And for a whopping one in three of us who are sensitive to their effects, negative ions can make us feel like we are walking on air. You are one of them if you:
- Feel instantly refreshed the moment you open a window and breathe in fresh, humid air.
- Feel sleepy when you are around an air-conditioner.
- Are immediately invigorated when you step outside or roll down the car window.
Air conditioning depletes the atmosphere of negative ions, but an ion generator re-releases the ions that air conditioners remove.
*Everyday Applications from Mind Brain Research and director of research at the Center for Applied Cognitive Sciences in Charlotte, N.C.