Studies suggest that air with an overall depleted ion count (positive and negative) or an abundance of positive ions and a lack of negative ions, does not promote a healthy environment and should be treated as polluted air. (Our indoor environment is much more toxic than outdoors, and that’s saying something.)
Try to be mindful about how many chemicals you’re bringing into and using in your home. Use natural cosmetics and cleaning products, and try to buy your food as chemical-free as you can afford or have access to.
What: Negative ions are abundant in nature, especially around waterfalls, in the ocean, at the beach and after a storm. They are widespread in mountains and forests.
Why: They release endorphins, our feel-good hormones. Indoor air that has a higher concentration of positive ions can lead to ‘Sick Building Syndrome’ or even symptoms usually associated with ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder’.
The degree to which negative ions contribute to overall wellbeing and health is scientifically proven. They help to-
– neutralise free radicals, (the bad guys)
– revitalise cell metabolism
– enhance immune function
– purify the blood
– balance the autonomic nervous system, promoting deep sleep and healthy digestion.
Negative ions are present in the air we breathe in and they are also present in our bodies. Normal ion counts in fresh country air is 2,000-4,000 negative ions per cubic centimeter. At a large waterfall you might find over 100,000 negative ions. Polluted air such as in large cities might have less than 100 ions. Indoor air also has concentrations of positive and negative ions just like the air outside. A well ventilated home will have similar concentrations of air ions as the outdoor air. Normal outdoor air (unless you are at the ocean or in the country) will have slightly more positive ions compared to negative ions. Indoor air can receive a higher negative ion count through simple things like showering or having a water source like an indoor fountain or an artificial negative ion generator. The air can also become positively charged or have an abundance of positive ions through pollution and static electricity in your home. Polluted air with a high particulate count of dust, synthetic building materials, synthetic carpets, synthetic furniture, synthetic fabrics and clothing, plastics and urethane finishes all greatly upset the normal ion balance. The air will become statically charged, thereby attracting the negative ions and subsequently depleting or absorbing them. The end result will be indoor air with a depleted supply of negative ions and an oversupply of positive ions.
Negative ions stimulate defence cells in our bodies, which support resistance to disease. Negative ions enhance our mood, stimulate our senses, improve appetite and sexual drive, provide relief from hay fever, sinusitis, bronchial asthma, allergies, migraines, even post operative pain and burns. The body is better able to absorb oxygen into the blood cells, oxidize serotonin and filter airborne contaminants.
The most important benefit of negative ions is that they clear the air of airborne allergens such as pollen, mould spores, bacteria and viruses. Besides that they also clear the air of dust, pet dander and cigarette smoke. Negative ions perform this function by attaching themselves to positively charged particles in large numbers and negatively charging those particles. As a result, these viruses, bacteria and pollen spores become too heavy to remain airborne and are thus prevented from entering your breathing passage where they can make you sick. In other words, negative ions form a protective circle around you.
How: The most obvious way is to get outside into nature. Bush walking, camping, finding a beautiful waterhole and/or waterfall to hang out in, or even just walk around your neighbourhood, assuming the pollution isn’t terrible. Have your bare feet touch the earth as often as you can (this is called ‘earthing’), gardening is wonderful, get in the ocean and wade, swim or surf. Internally, get some indoor plants, and an ioniser/dehumidifier/diffuser is another good way to absorb the positive ions. I have one that I can add essential oils to it and it also has a soft night light, so it’s great to leave in the bathroom or kids room overnight. ‘Salt lamps’ are great way to encourage negative ions in your home and/or workplace. I have a few scattered around my place, but be warned – they tend to melt a little in humidity, so you’ll need a plate under them, or get an electric one.