Have you ever wondered, why just by sitting on a seashore where the huge waves bounce on the beach or sputter against the rocks, you feel rejuvenated? Or, sitting by the side of a waterfall enjoying its pristine beauty and getting the occasional splash on your face of moistened water particles, you start to feel more energetic? On the other hand, sitting and working inside a centrally conditioned or central-heating office, mall or similar, for a longer period you feel exhausted, suffocated and sickly, why?
We do not realize that there is ‘electricity’ around us all the time. Be it your home, workplace, inside your car or similar, it interferes with your wellbeing. It’s known as ‘Ion Effect’. Ion is an electrically charged atom or group of atoms, either positively charged (pos-ions) or negatively charged (neg-ions), generated as a result of the loss or gain of electrons during chemical reactions, by electric sparks or exposure to certain form of radiation, like, X-rays, Gamma-rays, ultraviolet radiation etc. Atom is the smallest particle that can retain the chemical properties of an element which cannot be broken down to anything simpler.
The energy in moving water generates a whole lot of ions. As the water breaks up into fine particles with the splutters, the positive ions remain with the larger drops and flows away quickly into the river or sea, but the negative charges fly free with the fine spray into air of the vicinity that surrounds you, making you refreshed and energetic. Hot or cool air forced through the ducts of central cooling or heating systems result in loss of almost all the neg-ions and mostly pos-ions are forced out with the air flow. A similar situation occurs in closed cars. By an experiment, automobile makers Daimler-Benz, found that in closed car cabins, most drivers’ reaction time slows down dramatically on account of accumulation of more of pos-ions. Imbalances in the natural electric charge of the air can make one sick, dizzy, lethargic etc. But a better mixture and balance of ‘good’ ions can make one healthy and energetic.
Unfortunately, our mother earth herself is negatively charged, hence, it tends to repel the negative ions and drive those away from its surface where all living beings exist resulting in more of pos-ions in the ambience. It is estimated that there can be somewhere between 1000 to 2000 ions in every cubic centimeter of air over an open land. The usual ratio is five positive to four negative. Primary and the natural source of ions on the earth’s surface is radio activity of the ground and sun rays. Incidentally, earth’s only satellite Moon is also negatively charged. During full moon time the moon is nearer to the earth than any other time. During full moon or nearer to that, outer face of the ionosphere is repelled and is pushed closer to earth increasing the pos-ion concentration in the earth’s surface. This may lead to explosive and/or irrationally violent behavior in some, but most may be simply troubled temporarily.
Scientific experiments conclusively say that an overdose of pos-ions is bad for the health while an overload of neg-ions is beneficial. Experiments also reveal that the Homo-sapiens in particular and the animal world at large in general, are all ‘bio-electric’ creatures who react to the various levels of air-electricity in the environment, positively or negatively. Dr. Sulman’s experiment indicate that, people in a pos-ion atmosphere did badly when asked to do a simple intelligence test. But their performance improved dramatically with normal ion balance in the air and improved still further with a slight overdose of neg-ions in it. Atmospheric ions can affect our health, wellbeing, efficiency, emotions and mental attitude, albeit in different degrees. Negative ions, the ‘good’ ions, are called ‘happy ions’ or ‘vitamins of the air’, whereas positive ions are called ‘grouchy ions’. Both types of ions are unstable, revert to their stable or passive structural state fast. But generation of ions in an active environment is a continuous happening.
For our comfort and pleasure we have built jungles of concrete leaving precious little open space. In addition, we increasingly use various equipments and facilities, adding fuel to the already burning fire. In modern man-made urban ‘ion prisons’ we hardly leave any open space for natural generation of a balanced ion environ, benevolently given to us by nature. Continuously increasing levels of pollutants in air tend to deplete the neg-ion counts even more. Fortunately, plants continue to be the saviors of humans in more ways than one. They are nature’s most prolific source of happy neg-ions, sourcing the negative electrical charge from the earth and eject it to the air from the tips of their leaves. That precisely is the reason why we feel so comfortable, relaxed and happy near or inside a lush green forest.
Technology could develop ionizers that can produce happy neg-ions. In many developed countries Negative Ion Generators are installed in commercial buildings, offices, long-distance truck drivers’ cabins etc. There is no known harmful consequence from the artificial generation of neg-ions except, perhaps, that they may keep you alert and awake for longer than you need be. But technology cannot simply be substitute for nature. Next time you feel emotionally disturbed, lethargic, depressed, unnecessarily hyper, sleepless or similar, including a fight with your spouse, or a show down with your boss or a subordinate, don’t please rush to your doctor or the psychiatrist immediately. Instead go out to an open field, or if possible to the sea shore or near a river or a waterfall, inhale the fresh air deeply, you might be relieved and relaxed because your state might have been on account imbalances of ions in the office or home environment!
(The author of the column is a former Vice President of Reliance Defence & Engineering Ltd., Gujarat. Presently, he is a freelance writer, management consultant and professional trainer. He can be reached at email@example.com.)