Positive and negative ions are simply an atom or molecule with an extra charge. Those that have more positive electrons than negative ones are considered positive ions, while those that have an extra negative electron are called negative ions.
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Despite their name, positive ions don't always have a good impact on your health. Likewise, negative ions sound harmful, but can actually have a positive effect on your overall health.
Once you understand how positive and negative ions can interfere with or elevate your health, you can take necessary steps to make sure that you have the optimal levels of each inside your body.
Where Do Positive Ions Come From?
Most positively controlled ions can be found indoors. They come from things like electromagnetic fields, which studies have shown have negative health consequences for many people. Fluorescent lighting, carpet, metal, plastics and air pollution are other sources of positive ions.
Your exposure to these materials and the substances they release can have many effects on the body. If you spend a lot of time indoors, whether at home, at work, or elsewhere, you could have an unhealthy build-up of positively charged ions inside your body. If you're suffering from health problems, you may want to consider whether your indoor environment could be to blame.
Health Effects Of Positive Ions
When you have an excess of positive ions in your body, there are many negative consequences that you could be suffering from. Because these positive ions are concentrated indoors, you may suffer from these issues more during the cold winter months or when you are too busy to find time to be outside.
One recent Japanese study found that people with more positive ions than negative could often blame weather conditions like cold fronts and low pressure systems for certain health issues.
People with arthritis often experience an increase in their symptoms and pain when the weather changes, which research says is because certain types of weather increase the positive ions in the air, therefore increasing the number of them present in your body.
Additionally, asthma sufferers may notice an exacerbation of their symptoms when positive ions are more plentiful. When the wind blows more positive ions into your environment, you could experience breathing difficulties or an asthma attack.
When there are too many positive ions in your environment, there are a plethora of other health issues you may experience. They can range from mild to severe, and balancing the positive and negative ions in your body can help. Too many positive ions can cause allergies, lethargy, infections, depression, anxiety and suicidal feelings.
When you are surrounded by the electromagnetic fields produced by computers, cell phones and other technological devices, you could experience an influx of positive ions, leading to impaired brain function, fatigue, headaches, poor concentration, low energy levels, nausea and vertigo.
If you regularly experience any of these conditions, it might be a good idea to see someone who can help you determine whether your environment could be to blame.
Where Do Negative Ions Come From?
Despite sounding like something that wouldn't be good for your body, negative ions are actually helpful and beneficial to health. You get negative ions from spending time in nature. Unlike positive ions, which are produced by weather fluctuations and pollution, negative ions are plentiful in the woods and places that have moving water.
Spending time near a waterfall or river, hiking in the forest or otherwise communing with nature is one of the best ways to increase your negative ion count, something that has some pretty big health benefits.
Health Effects Of Negative Ions
Increasing your concentration of negative ions is a very important way to improve your health for a variety of reasons. They work to increase serotonin levels in your body, which improves mood and balances your mental health, helping combat depression and anxiety.
Research also shows that people that suffer from seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, can benefit from increasing their negative ions.
Things like a sunrise or a picnic by a creek can boost negative ions, helping fight the symptoms of the condition. In addition, people with depression that afflicts them year round can also benefit from the negative ions produced by being in a natural setting or finding a way to mimic a nature environment.
Finally, an influx of negative ions can combat anger that goes along with depression and anxiety.
When it comes to stress, your body needs more negative than positive ions to properly keep it in check. Studies show that people engaging in a stressful task experience fewer of the markers that go with it when exposed to negative ions than those who did the task without the negative ions.
In addition, negative ions also have a positive effect on your blood pressure, helping to regulate it and keep it from becoming too elevated as can happen during stressful times.
If you know that positive ions have a negative impact on breathing and asthma, it makes sense to assume that negative ions can help the problem. In fact, research shows that negative ions increase cilial activity, which helps expel foreign matter from your respiratory system, helping combat allergies and breathing conditions like asthma.
Finally, negative ions can increase your immunity in general, helping you feel healthy and well on an ongoing basis. They can also help keep your bones strong and help you recover physically from things that tax your body, such as exercise, surgery or a health complication.
How To Balance Your Levels
Negative ions purify the air, so being in clean, healthy places is an important way to boost your negative ions. Your best options are getting outside somewhere and enjoying your natural surroundings.
As mentioned above, water and trees are the main things you're looking for, so enjoy a day at the beach playing in the ocean, or go camping in the mountains somewhere where you'll be among the trees. Other options include spending time in your backyard, taking a walk through a nearby park or swimming in a local waterfall.
When all else fails, taking a shower can also increase your negative ions. Experts say that if that's your only option when it comes to finding moving water, that you can benefit in much the same way as you would from the ocean or a river. You might also consider adding a fountain to your backyard or installing a small tabletop one in your home.
Other ways to lower your exposure to positive ions and increase your exposure to negative ones include taking a break from your cell phone and other electronics, opening the windows in your home when the weather allows, scattering some salt lamps in your home and removing carpet from your floors in favor of hardwood or ceramic tile.