Indoor Waterfalls and Negative Ions

The Positive Effects of Negative Ions Have you ever noticed how good it feels to breathe fresh country air? Or how about the feeling you get when you're near the sea shore, or standing by a waterfall? Your mother always said fresh air would do you good, but is it really something in the air that makes you feel so alive? Well, Yes! Negative ions to be precise...

You Mean The Air I Breathe Can Affect My Mood? Absolutely. The vigorous feeling you get from fresh country air is caused by thousands of tiny particles called negative ions. Conversely, harmful positive ions are largely responsible for the groggy feeling you get after a long day in the car or behind a computer screen. Bringing more negative ions into your environment, as with the use of an indoor water fountains, can bring that fresh air feeling into your home or office every day.

But What Is A Negative Ion? A negative ion (or to be more proper, a negative-charged ion) is a molecule that has an extra electron attached. The negative ions that we are addressing here, the ions produced by indoor waterfalls and mountain streams, are oxygen ions.

What Do They Do? Negative ions have been proven to have a positive impact on health, mood, and energy, affecting serotonin levels in the brain. Negative ions also bond with impurities in the air, adhering to suspended particles and removing them.

How Are They Produced? Negative ions may be produced in several ways. The ions we are concerned with, oxygen ions, are most commonly produced through disturbance of water molecules, such as in fast flowing rivers or indoor waterfalls. The disturbance of water molecules occasionally displaces an electron, causing it to break off from its host. This spare electron then seeks out another oxygen molecule as a host, giving this molecule an extra electron, and therefore a negative charge.

Where Are They Found? Because negative ions are produced in large quantities by flowing water and sunlight, air in rural areas has many hundreds of times more negative ions than air in a large metropolitan zone. Negative ions account for the healthy, vigorous feelings many experience when breathing "fresh country air." The air around Niagara Falls or another turbulent water source, for example, may contain between 30,000 and 100,000 negative ions per cubic centimeter. On the other hand, the air inside an office or a sealed automobile may contain anywhere from zero to a few hundred negative ions per cubic centimeter. Indoor wall fountains are one way to help improve the negative ion content in such enclosed spaces.

Why Are There So Few Negative Ions in the City? This disparity between "city air" and "country air" actually has much to do with the modern devices we use, and even the fabrics we wear. Synthetic materials like plastics, and man made fibers like nylon carry their own positive charge which can neutralize the negative charge of beneficial ions in the air. Electronic devices, or more specifically, the electromagnetic fields they produce, also have the effect of neutralizing negative ions in the air. The buildings in which we spend most of our time also tend to be sealed to the outside world, so they don't allow for proper ventilation. The average office, typically a sealed environment with an abundance of computers and plastics, will generally have a very low negative ion count; only a few hundred negative ions per cubic centimeter. Since Americans spend approximately 90% of their day indoors in environments like this, its no wonder we feel better on a hike in the mountains.

What Are The Effects of Negative Ions? When negative ions are dispersed in the air from floor fountain and inhaled by human beings, they can have a profound effect on health, and particularly on mood. The effects of negative ions are fairly well known in Europe, where some institutions like hospitals are actually required to ionize their air. The root causes of why negative ions are good for us are not precisely known, but the effects have been proven in many clinical trials. Those who spend time in environments with a high concentration of negative ions are less likely to be depressed, are less prone to migraine headaches, have more energy, and simply feel better throughout the day. Negative ions can also improve the quality of the air in our homes.
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