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Accentuate The Positive With Negative Ions

If you find yourself invigorated by the forces of nature, like the pounding surf at the ocean or the refreshed air after a thunderstorm, you've already experienced the positive effects of negative ions in the air. While you may not have understood the science behind it, your body and mind reacted to the change in the charge of the air, bringing you renewed energy and focus. You can take advantage of the positive effects of negative ions by adding a Himalayan salt lamp to your home or office.

What are Negative Ions and Why Do I Want Them, Anyway?

Adding negative ions to the air to bring about a positive attitude and improve health and well-being may seem counterintuitive. Like most people, you probably associate anything negative with bad and anything positive with good. When it comes to charged molecules, the opposite is true.

  • Both negative and positive ions occur naturally when a molecule or atom loses or gains an electron. This results in both positive and negative ions. In the case of ions in the air, most positive ions consist of carbon dioxide molecules that have lost an electron. Positive ions are believed to contribute to stress, weaken the immune system and generally make you feel sluggish and unwell. 
  • Negative ions have the opposite effect. These ions attach to the pollutants and impurities in the air and render them impotent. That means you experience renewed energy when you are exposed to high levels of negative ions.

What Causes Positive and Negative Ions?

  • Positive Ions: Positive ions can occur naturally due to radiation from the sun, but that's not all that causes positive ions. Some would contend that our busy lifestyles are the biggest positive-ion generators. Consider these common culprits that add positive ions to the air in your home.
    • Computers and Electronics (including televisions, e-readers and tablets)
    • Home Appliances
    • Clothes Dryers
    • Hair Dryers
    • Air Conditioners
    • Heating Systems
  • Negative Ions: Negative ions also occur both naturally and artificially.
    • Moving Water  (such as waterfalls, streams, and the ocean surf)
    • Thunderstorms
    • Forests and Mountains
    • Taking a shower
    • Water Features (such as small waterfalls or water lamps)
    • Ion generators (such as Himalayan salt lamps)

Is there any research to support the benefits of negative ions?

If you were inclined to believe that using ion generators, like the Himalayan salt lamp, to add negative ions to your home and elevate your mood was just a fad, you may be surprised to learn that scientific studies confirm the positive benefits.

  1. The director of research at the Center for Applied Cognitive Sciences in Charlotte, N.C., Pierce J Howard, claims that positive ions cause more blood flow in the brain, which leads to increased alertness and mental energy, and decreased drowsiness.
  2. The University of California's professor of neuroanatomy, Marion Diamond  found that patients exposed to high levels of positive ions showed increased symptoms of depression. As the level of negative ions decreased, the level of serotonin (a neurotransmitter associated with depression) increased giving rise to feelings of drowsiness.
  3. Columbia University studies  showed that exposure to high levels of negative ions from negative ion generators is as effective as antidepressants for treating those with either seasonal or chronic depression.

While the positive effects you will experience from a Himalayan salt lamp may vary due to personal sensitivity, the size and quality of the lamp, and your environment, nearly everyone experiences increased energy and a feeling of well-being. Try adding a lamp to your work area to combat the effects of working near a computer all day or add one to your bedroom to enjoy its warm glow and promote a restful night's sleep.