Negative Ionized Air May Have a Positive Impact on SAD
Ionized air reception is showing great potential in treating seasonal affective disorder (SAD). With the use of ionized air purifiers and generators, some individuals are experiencing positive mood enhancement that otherwise might only be possible with the use of drugs.
In this alternative SAD treatment, millions of negative ions (invisible atoms with negative charges) balance out the pollution caused by positive ion energy to replace stale air and create a fresh, breathable space. Breathing in this balanced air has been proven to stabilize moods, especially in colder months when seasonal affective disorder is at its peak.
Ionized Air Basics
To understand why ionized air is effective, it’s important to understand precisely what ionized air is and how it works. The term ionization refers the structure of a molecule. While positive ions are atomic particles that have fewer electrons (negatively charged sub-atomic particles), negative ions have extra electrons. In general, an excessive amount of positively charged ions in the air tend to make air unhealthy to breathe, potentially causing negative health effects, such as SAD.
While positive ions are typically generated through exhaust, pollution and other byproducts of industrial processes, negative ions result from natural processes, including:
- forest breezes
- ocean waves
Most studies state that negative ions contribute to that euphoric feeling of being outdoors. For example, the action of a breaking wave produces negative ions that, in turn, reduce the population of positive ions. As negative ions are attracted to positive ions (opposite charges attract), they form molecules with no charges. This results in a lower concentration of positive air ions, which, in turn, results in fresher, cleaner, crisper air.
Because people tend to stay indoors for extended periods of time during the winter, they are exposed to more positive ions and less of the natural negative ions. Researchers speculate that this ion imbalance can cause some to develop SAD.
Introducing negative ions into indoor air rich in positive ions can balance out the air, reducing the unhealthy positive charge. As negative ions adhere to positive ions, the attraction of opposite charges causes these ions to form heavy molecules that eventually fall to the ground under the pressure of gravity, promoting cleaner air and potentially reducing the negative symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.
Ionized Air Reception and SAD
Positive ions appear in the forms of dust particles, viruses and a host of other unwanted pollutants. They’re especially present in today’s airtight homes and buildings, where circulating fresh air is nonexistent. Some experts speculate that the imbalance of positive and negative ion activity causes a reduction in a person’s levels of serotonin, a natural chemical responsible for elevated moods. Reduced levels of serotonin can be directly responsible for the development of seasonal affective disorder.
To stimulate the body’s production of serotonin and, therefore, treat SAD, ionized air reception therapy that reintroductions negative ions into a person’s atmosphere can be extremely helpful. In fact, negative ionized air can:
- boost energy levels
- decrease allergen exposure (Allergens are substances that cause a person to suffer from allergic reactions.)
- increase blood-oxygen levels
- increase metabolism
- stimulate mental alertness.
To date, ionized air side effects are few, if any. The only danger lies in using ionized air purifiers improperly (i.e. placing it in a room that is too small to handle the low-level ozone emissions).
Choosing Ionized Air Purifiers
Ionized air purifiers discharge negative ions balance the charges of molecules in the air. The level of ion output will vary widely among brands. In general, look for products that produce negative ions in the “trillions,” as ionization in levels lower than this is ineffective.
Ionizers come in various sizes to fit in just about any location, from the car to a room in your office or home. Because ionizers generally only cover just a few feet or one room, you may want to own more than one if it’s in your budget. Also, multi-story homes may benefit from having units on each floor. Newer products that use radio waves to transmit negative ions throughout the home are currently being tested and will likely be available soon, eliminating the need for multiple ionizers within a single home.
As you are choosing where to locate your ionizer, keep in mind that you should avoid placing it in an enclosed space, such as a closet, or next to larger appliances, such as refrigerators. These two locations will prevent the proper dispersion of negative ions.
Studies continue investigate the effectiveness of ionized air reception therapy and SAD. While no conclusive scientific evidence currently exists, many individuals are experiencing the positive effects of increasing the balance of negative ions in the air they breathe.
Comtech-pcs.com (2007). What Are Negative Ions? Retrieved December 8, 2007, from the Comtech Research LLC Web site: http://www.comtech-pcs.com/whatareions.html.
DeAngelis, Tori (2006). Promising New Treatments for SAD. Retrieved December 8, 2007, from the American Psychological Association Web site: http://www.evitamins.com/healthnotes.asp?ContentID=2953007.
Healthinfo.cedars-sinai.edu (2007). Ionized Air (Negative Ions). Retrieved December 8, 2007, from the Cedars-Sinai Web site: http://healthinfo.cedars-sinai.edu/library/healthguide/en-us/Cam/topic.asp?hwid=hn-2953007.