Have you ever stopped to think just why you feel so good walking in the woods, on a beach or near a river, breathing the fresh air in the mountains, or perhaps just breathing the fresh air after it rains?
Why is this? The human body’s magnetic field is made up of both positive and negative ions. Over-exposure to positive ions – caused by electrical equipment such as computers and mobile phones – can affect our magnetic field and drain energy, making us feel tired and lethargic. However, water in motion produces abundant negative ions, bringing more energy and vitality.
Negative ions are odorless, tasteless, and invisible molecules that we inhale in abundance in certain environments such as the ocean but also mountains, and waterfalls. 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, and boost our daytime energy. So one very simple way to get one’s fill of negative ions (as well as daily exercise) is by walking briskly along the beach while swinging both arms and taking in big breaths of the sea’s healing air.
Both positive and negative ions occur naturally in the air. However, the environment we live in today has far more sources of positive ions (also called “free radicals”) than in the past, creating an electrical imbalance in the air and our bodies. Free radicals are atoms, molecules, or ions with unpaired electrons, highly reactive; they "steal" electrons from healthy cells to neutralize their own charge, causing cellular damage. Our modern world is overcome with positive ions and severe air pollution. Void of negative ions, our health is adversely affected, our moods are altered from our natural 'high' to increased levels of stress and other health issues from depression, insomnia, and fatigue. In short, while the ocean is reported to contain tens of thousands of negative ions, an average home or office building, may contain a few hundred or sometimes none.
“Sick building syndrome” is more common today than it was 20 years ago. Most homes and offices are built air tight and when the heating or air conditioner is running, this causes friction which depletes the negative ions. Positive ions can be produced by: a discharge of voltage in high-voltage networks, heating and air-conditioning systems, TVs, radios, transmitters, radar systems, computers, exhausts and cigarette fumes, smog, radiation and harmful chemicals and toxins. No wonder people spending too much time indoors suffer from headaches, poor concentration, allergies, and depression.
It’s time we get back to basics, people! The healing properties of negative ions have been recognized for thousands of years. Different cultures and societies have embraced the power of negative ions for centuries. The ancient Greeks recommended seaside health spas to cure skin diseases, and in the 1800s the English developed seaside resorts to treat the depressed and unwell. So if you’re able to seize the day and find a way to recharge in nature this season, run don’t walk and just do it!