How Positive and Negative Ions Affect Your Mood

waterfall It’s another windy day and you’re in a bad mood, in fact everyone is in a bad mood. Why is it that when the wind blows a certain way, everyone is in a bad mood. The saying there’s an ill wind blowing is actually true and it is all in the ions.


The Evil Winds


The wind can cause people to feel terrible and it’s not just because of what it does to your hair. The saying there’s an ill wind blowing is actually true. Wind puts people in a bad mood as studies have shown that more fights, crimes, heart attacks and other ills occur when there is an ill wind blowing.

Those pesky dry winds like the Santa Ana of southern California, the Chinooks of the Rocky Mountain eastern slopes and the Foehn winds of the Swiss Alps just seem to make your nerves on end. There is actually a scientific reason for this.

The reason is the positive ions produced by these winds. In the case of these winds and ions, positive is not a good thing.

A 1974 study conducted by the Swiss Meteorological Institute has shown that these ill winds do cause physical problems such as headaches, dizziness, eye twitching, nausea, fatigue, saline disorders, water retention, respiratory problems, asthma, slower reaction time and a host of other even more serious problems. Mental disorders caused by the increase in positive ions are nervousness, emotional unbalance, easily irritated, apathy, listlessness, insecurity, anxious and depression.

What Are Ions?


Ions are a charged molecule or atom. It is charged because the number of electrons does not equal the number of protons. When an atom has an unequal number of protons and electrons it is an ion. If it has more protons than it does electrons, it is a positive ion, called a cation. And if it has more electrons than protons it is a negative ion, called an anion.

Nature creates these ions in a variety of ways as air molecules breaking apart from sunlight, radiation, water and moving air such as wind. In the case of the positive ions created by certain winds, those winds are the case of friction as the winds move down hills and mountains causing friction and dry air. You probably have felt the power of both positive and negative ions, the bad with the dry winds blowing and the good when you were at a beach or near water or after a thunderstorm.

Wind creates positive ions
Windy day creates positive ions/source

Sick Building Syndrome


Could the ratio of positive ions to negative ions be a cause of sick building syndrome? Air conditioning and heating systems force air through the vents, this causes the depletion of negative ions and increase in the bad positive ions. Electronics such as computers and all the peripherals create massive amounts of positive ions, as the day wears on you feel more and more drained. This could be from the overload of positive ions in relation to the negative ions in the room or building. Our homes and buildings are becoming more sealed to the outside air, which causes less airflow and more of the positive ions to build up.

Vitamins of the Air


Negative ions have been called the vitamins of the air since they help the body by increasing the flow of oxygen to the brain, which results in being more alert and less fatigued. According to Pierce Howard PhD, director of research at the Center for Applied Cognitive Sciences in Charlotte, N.C. “negative ions might also protect us against germs in the air, resulting in decreased irritation due to inhaling various particles that make you sneeze, cough, or have a throat irritation." Normal air is about even in positive to negative ions. When you are near water, this ratio increases 2:1 in favor of the negative ions.

There have been many studies that have shown that negative ions increase reaction time on driving tests. In schools they were shown to sharpen mental function and reduce errors and caused less fatigue. Studies conducted by Dr. Igho Hart Kornblueh of the American Institute of Medical Climatology showed that negative ions could give relief to sinus problems, hay fever, bronchial asthma, migraines, allergies and post-operative pain. This is believed to be partly because negative ions kill germs.

In the US, negative ion generators can only be sold as air purifiers, and for that purpose they don’t seem to work very well. If you want something to clean your air, then look into getting a HEPA air filter. To add negative ions to your office or home you could try one of these ion generators, but you should read reviews such as you would find in Consumer Reports. There is also the worry about the production of too much ozone, which can lead to sore throats, respiratory problems and other health problems.

We all have built in natural ion generators in our homes, so the next time you don’t feel good from allergies, headache, and fatigue or stressed out, go and turn on your shower and just sit in the bathroom for a while. The running water in the shower is a negative ion generator.

© 2009 Sam Montana

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