The Ion Effect: How Negative Ions Boost Health

Matter is made from molecules and/or molecules that have a positively charged nucleus. This positively charged nucleus is circled by negatively charged electrons. When a molecule loses an electron, it becomes a positive ion. What this means is that a gap has opened up in the outer layer of electrons. Because negative ions each have an extra electron, they can balance the positive charge from the molecule’s nucleus, effectively stabilising it. It is a kind of teamwork in which both positive and negative ions benefit from the merge.

Another (perhaps more familiar) name for positive ions is free radicals. In the natural health world, many people know of free radicals due to their reputation for causing poor health and even chronic diseases like cancer. Negative ions can bond with positive ions outside of the body, rendering them harmless. That’s why negative ions are thought to prevent the growth of both bacteria and cancer cells.

Negative ions are why walking in nature feels so good

Forests are famous for their negative ion output, which makes sense when you think about the combination of refreshment and tranquillity gained from a walk in nature. There is a reason for this – the negative ions present are literally waking up your body’s cells. The reason for their presence is plant photosynthesis and the movement of water, and the air in the countryside is a lot more balanced than city air, which has far fewer negative ions. However, some weather conditions may also produce positive ions. For example, people say that the air feels ‘charged’ before a storm; this is due to the proliferation of positive ions.


The full moon is said to produce more positive ions in the atmosphere, unsettling peoples’ moods and leading to unstable behaviour; this may be the true reason behind the term ‘lunatic’ being coined.

In the 1950s several studies concluded that increases in morbid moods were down to increases in the number of positive irons being carried through California and central Europe on hot, dry winds. The Swiss even attributed this atmospheric ionisation to an increase in crime.

You may also have noticed a marked difference in the way you feel when surrounded by electronic equipment for an extended period, whether that be in the office, or environments dense with electromagnetic radiation. It may be pretty obvious, but these kinds of environments are the opposite of nature in more than just aesthetics – where nature is filled with negative ions, these man-made environments are equally rich in positive ions. The crackling feeling under the fingertips when you place them on a recently turned-off television screen is evidence of positive ions.

The health-conscious will seek negative over positive

Naturally, it’s negative ions that health-conscious individuals will be seeking more of in a culture where we are surrounded by synthetic, positive ion-inducing environments. For those people who aren’t able to get out and into nature often enough to feel consistently healthy, there are ways to increase the negative ions in your environment.

Negative ions are associated with better sleep, better mood and generally more energy. They are considered to be of benefit to many mental imbalances like depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). In trials, subjects exposed to even the lowest density of negative irons reported what equated to a 17% improvement.

Negative irons are reported to reduce stress and increase physical and mental performance. Studies have also shown that people working on computers felt a reduction in stress as well as an increase in general performance when exposed to negative ions.

Ways to introduce negative ions into your environment

Himalayan Salt Lamps

Himalayan salt actually comes from Pakistan or Poland. Although the efficacy of these lamps hasn’t been proven, many claim to experience noticeable health benefits from having them around. They are said to bind with pathogens in the air and neutralise electromagnetic radiation in the environment.

Because negative ions bind to germs and airborne particles, they may play a part in the reduction of irritation in the respiratory tract. They are also thought to benefit blood flow.

Distilled Water

Distilled water is an incredibly powerful detoxification tool. It has a negative ionic charge, where inorganic materials have a positive ionic charge. It is for this reason that distilled water, which is totally ‘empty’ is able to leach inorganic materials from the body. Distilled water acts as a vacuum, carrying waste matter out of the body and cleaning out the organism at a cellular level.

It is able to clean out the cells because water molecules are the only molecules small enough to get inside the cells. In this way, negatively charged distilled water flushes out positively charged, old toxins from the cells. Other kinds of water actually carry a multitude of contaminants and actually deposit positively charged inorganic matter into the cells and joints of the body.


It is possible to get ready-made air purifiers. They aim to do what a good old walk in the woods will do for you, in the home or office. All of these measures will help you to feel better, but if you’re a city-based person who doesn’t experience too much nature, if there is any way to reestablish your broken connection with nature on a regular basis, this is the best way to feel good mentally and physically, all year round – and that’s about way more than just negative ions.


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