Negative ions or anions just may be the most positive that can happen to you. Most of us have heard about negative ion generators or the so-called ionizers and the plethora of anion bracelets and charms being peddled online, but are negative ions true? Do they exist at all? Are they really good for us?
What are negative ions?
Negative ions are odorless, tasteless, and invisible molecules that are abundant in certain surroundings such as beaches, mountains and waterfalls -- places which are incidentally very relaxing. In fact, negative ions may be the reason why these places do us so much good.
The theory is that when we inhale these anions and they get into our bloodstream, these negative ions create a cascade of biochemical reactions which increase the blood level of serotonin, a powerful stress- and depression-relieving substance and one which improves energy levels.
The science behind negative ions
You know how pristine beaches, cool mountain air and windy panoramic views make you feel, right? There’s nothing quite like it inside the four walls of your home, no matter how beautiful your abode may be. What could have spelled the difference? Well, apart from the wondrous sights and sounds of the great outdoors, the distinguishing elements are negative ions -- negatively-charged particles which are circulating at levels of around tens of thousands as against the measly hundreds or even flat zeros that are found indoors.
How are negative ions created?
- Sunlight, radiation, the pounding of water and the currents of air are all said to break apart molecules in nature so that these molecules either lose or gain an electrical charge. Dr. Michael Terman, PhD, ion researcher at the Columbia University in New York, explains it this way: “The action of the pounding surf creates negative air ions and we see it immediately after spring thunderstorms when people report lightened moods.”
- Negative ions are also generated by certain minerals such as Tourmaline and Germanium.
- They can also be generated artificially, hence the proliferation of ionizers and ionizing technology in air and water filters, air conditioners and air fans.
Another evidence of the existence of anions is the prevalence of depression during winter when people are forced to stay in anion-deprived situations that is, indoors almost 24/7. Columbia University studies show that negative ion generators have as much anti-depressant effects as anti-depressant drugs.
There are said to be 5,000 studies to date on negative ions and they are all available online for all and sundry to investigate.
How anions purify indoor air:
Nearly all particles suspended in the air -- minute dust, dust mites, etc. -- have a positive charge. When there are negative ions present in the air -- either naturally existing or generated by ionizing devices -- the positive and negative ions bind to each other and the union becomes too heavy to float on air so that they settle on the floor, making them easy to sweep off or vacuum out.
As of the present, I have heard of fans, air conditioners, refrigerators and washing machines which generate negative ions. I have also come across tourmaline wristbands which emit anions. If you are a maker or seller of any of these items, I would be willing to review them here. Please drop me a note via my Contact page.
I still maintain, though, that the best way to get our dose of anions is to hit the beach, hike up the mountain or breathe in the fresh, cool air of the great outdoors. Experts suggest that for optimum health, we have to spend at least an hour each week in naturally anion-rich places. It’s free, and it comes with other sensory delights as well.