The Importance of Negative Ions

Have you ever wondered why we feel so good when we are outside in nature, walking in a forest, or by the beach, hiking up or skiing down a mountain, enjoying a lake or waterfall? We soak up the sun and breathe in the fresh clean air. This air is filled with tens of thousands of negative ions.

Our environment and our body is made up of both positive and negative ions. Ions are particles, either molecules or atoms, which are electrically charged. Some particles are positively charged and some are negatively charged. Positive ions are molecules that have lost one or more electrons. Negative ions, on the other hand, have extra electrons which are negatively charged.

Electrical equipment such as computers, cell phones, air conditioners and other devices which we are constantly surrounded with, can cause an over-exposure to positive ions. Inflammation and pain in the body are due to an excess of positive ions. Positive ions cause our muscles to contract, they weaken us and make us feel tired, depressed or lethargic.

Negative ions on the other hand, increase the flow of oxygen to the brain. We feel more alert. They also produce biochemical reactions in our body that increase the production of the feel-good hormone serotonin. They are believed to alleviate depression, relieve stress, and decrease our pain and boost our physical flexibility and energy. They balance the autonomic nervous system, revitalize cell metabolism, and enhance immune function. They help us to sleep well and to have smooth digestion.

We don’t usually have the choice to leave our cell phone or computer behind and spend the day in nature. Most of us have jobs that require us to be around electronics all day long. Ideally, we should even connect barefoot with the earth every day, a practice which is called earthing. Three years ago, I examined if earthing helps with jetlag and found that it made a huge difference. But for us here in North America, and for many other places in the world, it is winter right now, which makes being barefoot outside challenging.

How else can we get the negative ions we need? Negative ion emitters or insoles for your shoes which release negative ions into your body are two ways of decreasing your inflammation and pain and getting the health benefits.

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Snow Day

We had a snow day yesterday; school buses were cancelled and schools were closed. We spend most part of the day in our PJs, enjoying the luxury of not having to be anywhere.

I am self-employed and when I don’t work, I don’t earn any money. So I could regard a snow day, when everything shuts down and people stay home, as a day of lost income. Yet, I found myself as excited as my 13 year old, chanting “It’s a snow day; I love snow days!”

There is a certain magic inherent in a snow day. It is a guilt-free unexpected extra holiday; like getting another unexpected gift when your birthday is already over. A higher power has decided we will get another day off, a day where we cannot work and where everybody understands that we cannot possibly go out onto the roads. Meanwhile, we feel perfectly healthy and can actually enjoy the day fully.

Snowman with coat

The snow is part of the magic of the day. Something seems to call us outside into the perfect whiteness and hopefully sunshine to play, to frolic around without care. Before the snowplough comes, the world has a beautiful stillness to it. Do we perhaps long for that stillness in our everyday life?

Another part of the magic is that we do not need an excuse to be unproductive in the regular sense. In our society, being “lazy” is one of the worst things you can be called. We are chronically overtired and depleted because “laziness” is a collective shadow.

Western society as a whole has disowned “not doing” as “being lazy”. We push ourselves daily, weekdays and weekends, to do more, to work harder, and to have end results to prove our productivity. With limited time to recharge our body and our soul, we end up feeling chronically tired. The long line-ups every morning at the Tim Hortons drive-thru certainly seem to speak to that depletion. I would claim that we long for that state of being which allows us to recharge without artificial stimulants.

Snow Day

The popularity of yoga also speaks to that longing. At the same time, some of the forms of Western yoga emphasise the exercise part of the yoga over the meditative aspects. Our Western belief system of “doing is better than being” even influences and limits what could bring us the needed balance for our over-busy lives.

A snow day is perfect for play, for relaxation, for allowing some joy and spontaneity into our life which is usually planned through from the first moment of the day to the last.

How can we have more snow days in our life? Do we really need to wait for Mother Nature to give us a snow day? Or can we plan our own little “snow day” once in a while; can we give ourselves the gift to let go of all our “have to’s” and “should’s” for a few hours, or even a whole day?


Angelika, 905-286-9466