We have all heard the expression ‘a breath of fresh air’, but have you thought about how good for your health fresh air can literally be?
What are Ions?
Ions are invisible, charged particles that can be found in the air. They can be either positive or negative. Both are present in nature. Positive ions are formed when an atom or molecule has lost an electron due to high-energy impact. They can be generated by natural forces such as lightning, decay of radioactive minerals and ultraviolet rays. Negative ions, on the other hand, have gained one or more extra electron to become negatively charged. They are naturally generated by evaporating water, waterfalls, in the mountains, forests and can also be found in high concentrations by the beach or riverside.
The activation of negatively charged ions in nature:
How Do Negative Ions Work to Purify the Air?
Negatively charged ions can bind to pollutant particles in the air such as dust, mold and others that are positively charged, leading to the formation of clusters, which are heavier. The clusters then fall to the ground resulting in an improved quality of the air.
Ions with negative charge can also be produced through water molecules which explains why they are so abundant near fresh, flowing waters. The air around waterfalls, for example, can contain between 30,000 to 100,000 negative ions per cubic centimetre, while that in air-conditioned offices or in an overheated home can be zero to only a few hundred per cubic centimetre.
Negative Ions and Health
Many studies on negative ions have shown that they have a number of health benefits as opposed to positive ions. These include:
- Increased energy levels
- Mood elevation
- Relaxation & Reduced anxiety
- Improved sleeping
- Stronger immune system
- Improved function of the lungs’ protective cilia
- Increased learning ability
- Improved physical performance
- Lowered resting heart rate
- Decreased severity of stomach ulcers
Fresh Ideas for Your Well-being
To ensure that you are exposed to clean air with more negative and less positive ions here are a few suggestions that you can try:
- Take a walk in the park or near a stream/beach/waterfall
- Exercise outdoors as opposed to in air-conditioned gym
- Spend some time in the garden
- Install a water fountain or live plants in your home
- Avoid smoking at home
- Use natural fibres such as cottons, linens, bamboos and wools as opposed to polyester or plastic
- Leave your hair to natural dry instead of using a hair dryer when possible
- Install a commercial air-ioniser in your room
- Dry clothes in fresh air when possible as opposed to a clothes dryer
- Replace bright fluorescent globes with low-wattage bulbs
- Turn all electrical appliances off at the power point before going to sleep