Negative Ions and their Positive Effects
The effects that air ions have on our psyche have been documented in scientific literature for close to 100 years. Yet there hasn’t been a great deal of conversation in regards to how the air we breathe impacts our mood or well-being. Most people know that a walk through a park, a swim in the ocean, or a trip to the mountains leaves them feeling recharged, but few know the science behind what those deep breaths in nature are actually doing to our bodies and minds.
Positive and negative ions occur naturally in the air. However positive ions, also referred to as free radicals, are molecules that are missing one or more electrons. Because of this electron absence, positive ions locate healthy cells to essentially steal electrons to replace the ions they are missing. In doing so they create cellular damage and oxidative stress. And this type of cellular damage and stress has been linked to aging, depression, illness, fatigue, memory loss, body pain, etc…
On the flip side there are negative ions, which are extremely beneficial to us as they contain extra electrons. It’s believed that once these negative ions reach our bloodstream, biochemical reactions occur and our bodies and minds benefit. Negative ions have been shown to enhance our immunity, neutralize free radicals, create a healthy and happier state of mind, as well as reduce anxiety, stress, and mood imbalances.
The highest concentrations of negative ions are found in clean air. This is the air you would find at the ocean, waterfalls, beach, mountains, forests, parks, and even after a heavy rainfall. Meanwhile positive ions are found in pollution, cigarette fumes, HVAC systems, computers, and certain chemicals and toxins.
Unfortunately in our daily lives we are surrounded by positive ions, but it is possible to recharge ourselves by breathing in additional negative ions. By opening your windows for as little as 10 minutes a day, you’ll help clear stagnant air. Going on a 15-minute walk outside will also help balance your positive/negative ion ratio. And of course a vacation, weekend getaway, or additional time outdoors in nature and/or around moving water will help significantly.