Why do we find such places as mountains, waterfalls, and seashores so refreshing? These areas are known to have very high concentrations of negative ions. If you remember feeling particularly energized the last time you visited a waterfall, the ocean, or a rapid river, you were probably experiencing the natural energy of thousands of negative ions. Research has shown there may be a correlation between the quantity of negative ions a person is exposed to and his or her overall sense of wellness.

What is an ion? An ion is an electronically charged particle, atom, or group of atoms. According to University of California scientist Albert P. Kruger, an ion is formed when so much energy acts on a gaseous molecule that an electron is ejected.

He writes, “there are ions in the air around us all the time, but changes in their concentration or in the ratio of positive to negatively charged molecules can have marked biological effects on plants and animals.”

According to the Ionizer Site, negative ions are generated when there is a transference of energy into the air. For example, ultra-violet light from the sun, the splitting of water into droplets by waterfalls and surf, and the natural radiation in rocks and soil are all transfers of energy that emit negative ions into the air. Hence, we tend to appreciate and relax with vacations in places by the ocean or in the mountains near waterfalls and high concentrations of rock and soil. Because of this, our immune systems function better and we enjoy better health and mental functioning.

Many of us live in areas that have high levels of positive ions. This is often inevitable since most population centers have high levels of industry, commerce, population, and traffic, which are all known to create positive ions and thus eliminate the negative ions from our atmosphere. Negative ions readily attach to air-born particles and clean the air by giving particles of dust, pollen, and smoke a static charge and dragging them to the first surface area to which they can cling.

So, when an area has higher quantities of air pollutants – car exhaust, cigarette smoking, people breathing, etc., – the negative ions decrease in proportion to the positive ions.

In the office environment, fluorescent lighting, air conditioning systems, and electronic equipment all reduce the quantity of negative ions and instead increase the positive ions in the air.

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