So you’ve heard me talk quite a bit about negative ions and their health benefits, but what about positive ions and their health effects? If you’ve read my other posts, you might see me talk about how you need to counteract your long time exposure to the build-up of positive ions like in your car and your office full of electronic equipment but what are they exactly? And what happens if you are exposed to them? What are the health implications of positive ions? Where do they come from? How can one lessen exposure to them?
I have answers. You’ve come to the right place. We are going to dispel all your questions right now in one post. Let’s get to it!
Ions That Aren’t So Positive
I know the name is kind of confusing…
POSITIVE ION…” shouldn’t it be positive for you?”
NEGATIVE ION…” shouldn’t it be negative for you?”
Well, no, not really. Please don’t do what 90% of people (myself included) do when they first hear these terms by equating atomic charges with motivational/emotional connotations. So let me explain. I need to get a little science-y so please follow me here…
An ion is an atom or a molecule that has lost or gained an electron.
An electron is a negatively charged microscopic particle.
An atom or molecule loses an electron (-) = positive charge (+)
If it gains an electron (-) = negativecharge (-)
How does a molecule or atom lose an electron aka become an ion? This happens when just enough energy acts on the air and breaks a molecule either through lightning, ultraviolet or cosmic radiation, friction from airflow or airborne sand/dirt, falling water, and more which can knock an electron loose. A loose electron attaches itself to a stable molecule making it negatively charged. Meanwhile, the molecules that just lost that electron becomes positively charged.
We experience that process with air cleaning machines called ionizers or negative ion generators that create negative ions to attach to and drag down airborne particles (dust, dander, pollen) which can be positive ions to the ground and other surfaces so they don’t magnetize into the negative ions in our bodies when we breathe. Make sense?
But why does this matter? Well, our bodies and all living things have a bioelectrical field (aka “The Force”….any Star Wars nerds?), and interaction with ions can influence that field via mood, energy, focus, immune system, oxygen intake, blood flow, and overall health. Our bodies have capacitance or hold a neutral electrical charge meaning we have a balance of negative and positive ions. The catch is that when negative ions enter our body they are known to cause biochemical reactions that improve oxygen, blood flow, and other processes while when positive ions enter our body they are known to disrupt our naturally occurring electrical currents that trigger our oxygen/blood flow, hormone levels, and overall well-being.
Oh, the places you’ll go, the feels you’ll feel…
What do a lot of positive ions feel like? Well if the picture above doesn’t describe it well enough, you are either sad, tired, lethargic, sick, stressed, cranky, unfocused, or just overall feeling “meh”. It also seems like this is happening for no apparent reason as if you were glued to the screen of your phone binge-watching Friends on Netflix while downing Rocky Mountain Road ice cream with marshmallows on a Sunday night and not sure why tomorrow’s Monday feels so depressing.
You could be in an office filled with electrical devices like laptops or cell phones that emit positive ions, you could be an airtight air-conditioned home in a crowded industrial city, or you could be in your poorly-cleaned and poorly-ventilated car that has fast food bags and lingering cigarette smoke. Maybe you are even feeling anxious and short-breathed right before a thunderstorm that is about to unleash its fury. Congratulations! You’ve been Punk’d by what scientists like to call “positive ion poisoning”.
So what do a lot of negative ions feel like?
Well, maybe the rain has cleared and you’ve taken a walk outside to take in and let out a nice deep breath. AHHHHHH….how does that feel? You venture into the park or a nearby forest and feel just a little more alive. Maybe you take a drive down to the beach with your windows down and feel the refreshing ambiance of the waves crashing onto the shore until you start yoga posing like the Instagram champ the guy above appears to be. Sweet.
If you’ve ever witnessed the majestic beauty of a waterfall gushing down into a body of water, you may have experienced some unexplainable bliss. In those situations, you may feel a certain aliveness, an ease of breathing, emotional stability, less stress, greater mental clarity, and a recharge to your entire system. Congratulations again! That’s your body with an abundance of negative ions.
The Struggle is Real
Numerous scientific studies since the early 20th century have shown that excessive exposure to positive ions are associated with higher stress, lower energy, greater risk of disease, higher allergies/asthma, etc. while excessive exposure to negative ions lowers stress, raises energy, lowers risk for disease, reduces allergies/asthma, improves oxygen and blood flow and more.
Unfortunately, in the modern tech-crazed world we live today, the average ratio of positive ions to negative ions is speculated to have reversed from 1:2 to 2:1 as compared to the world that our ancestors lived in. This is due to the massively increased use of cell phones and laptops and other electrical devices that are scientifically shown to emit positive ions and free radicals (unstable molecules). This is also due to industrialization and urbanization of towns and nature lands which introduced all kinds of pollution, people, buildings, cars, construction zones, and the removal of plants/nature, etc.
That’s precisely why I created this site: to let people know about negative ions to counteract their highly probable positive ion abundant environment(s) and/or habits, and the best ways they can get them.
So what do I do about it?
Easy. Take a hike.
No, but seriously, getting outside every day is the easiest way to get them or going to any untamed place in nature. You can open your house windows if you live near nature (not if you live in a busy city). Keep your car clean (I’m guilty of this one) and use a car ionizer like this one. You can plug in an air purifier that has an ionizer like the Atlas Air PurifierI personally use or the Surround Air Intelli-Pro andTwin Air ProI’ve written in-depth reviews about on here. Also keep in mind these only work better if it’s in combination with keeping your home or office vacuumed, swept, dusted, and overall clean (I’m guilty again lol).
TAKE A BREAK FROM YOUR PHONE AND LAPTOP.
TURN IT OFF.
GO SNIFF A PLANT.
All in seriousness, for the overwhelming majority of people, this is probably their biggest source of positive ions and negative health effects other than what they are orally consuming. I know the internet, apps, social media, and smart devices, in general, are highly addicting, but what is more important?
Ask yourself that before you open Facebook or Instagram… do I want to make myself (fill in the blank with one of the negative positive-ion health effects I mentioned) and possibly increase my chance of brain cancer by mindlessly and incessantly scrolling every day? I promise no one is going to be hurt and you are not going to miss anything by not being on as much, but that might be the case if you are sick or depressed.
If you prefer the uber natural route, there are even certain houseplants you can put in your breathing space that naturally emit negative ions like bamboo palm, peace lily, Ficus/Weeping Fig, Gerber Daisy, or Golden Pothos.
As you can see, this is not even the beginning of an exhaustive list of ways you can get negative ions and combat those positive ions from infringing on your health and happiness.
Positive Ions begone!
Have any questions? Leave a comment below. 🙂
This video can help further your understanding of positive ions and their effects on us: