Being out in nature is good for us. From forest bathing to surfing, a simple walk outdoors to swimming in lakes and the ocean—it’s the combination of movement and breathing in fresh air that gives our entire body and mind a healthy boost! It’s especially important to seek some time with nature when we spend so much time indoors during the winter months.
What is it about fresh air that makes us feel happier and invigorated? They’re called negative ions.
Negative ions are odorless, tasteless, and invisible molecules that we inhale freely in natural environments, such as forests, waterfalls and beaches. When inhaled, negative ions are believed to produce biochemical reactions that help relieve stress and increase energy levels.
Ions are molecules that have gained or lost an electrical charge. They are created in nature as air molecules break apart due to sunlight, radiation and moving air and water. The air circulating in the mountains and the beach is said to contain tens of thousands of negative ions —much more than the average home or office building, which contain dozens or hundreds, and may even register a flat zero.
Generally speaking, negative ions increase the flow of oxygen to the brain; resulting in higher alertness, decreased drowsiness, and more mental energy. They also may protect against germs in the air, resulting in decreased irritation due to inhaling various particles that make you sneeze, cough, or have a throat irritation,” says Pierce J. Howard, PhD, author of The Owners Manual for the Brain: Everyday Applications from Mind Brain Research and director of research at the Center for Applied Cognitive Sciences in Charlotte, N.C.1
It’s estimated that one in three people are sensitive to the effects of negative ions. If you are one of them, simply opening a window and breathing in fresh air can cause an immediate effect of feeling lighter and almost euphoric. According to Dr. Howard, you may be one of them if you feel sleepy when you are around an air-conditioner, but feel immediately refreshed and invigorated when you step outside or roll down the car window. Air conditioning depletes the atmosphere of negative ions and natural air replenishes it.
Negative ions provide more benefits than just freshening the air. They can help clear the air of allergens such as pollen, mold spores, bacteria and viruses, as well as dust, pet dander and cigarette smoke. This occurs when negative ions attach themselves to positive ion particles in large numbers and negatively charging those ions. When that happens, those allergens become too heavy to remain airborne and are prevented from being inhaled!2
Natural energy sources of negative ions come from five main areas: 1. radiant or cosmic rays in the atmosphere, 2. sunlight including ultraviolet rays, 3. discharges of electricity in the air after thunder and lightning, 4. the shearing forces of water (as in a waterfall), and 5. plant-generated ions from natural growths.3
When indoors, the use of an air purifier can help to freshen stale air affected by dust, pet dander, cooking fumes, poor room air circulation, heat and humidity, and the proximity of grounded devices that may emit counteracting positive ions (such as computer monitors and other electronics).
We encourage everyone to experience the KenkoAir Purifier® for themselves. Once you do, you’ll want to share your experience with those you care about, because as we say at Nikken, “to breathe is to live” and living well means breathing clean, refreshing air filled with negative ions! Ask your Nikken Consultant how to take advantage of special pricing on the KenkoAir Purifier by ordering through the Yes! My Wellness Home link through the end of March.