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Negative ions (electrons) are more abundant near water and in nature because they are created as molecules break apart due to sunlight and moving air and water.

"The action of the pounding surf creates negative air ions and we also see it immediately after spring thunderstorms when people report lightened moods...The best part is that there are relatively no side effects, but we still need to figure out appropriate doses..." says ion researcher Michael Terman, PhD, of Columbia University in New York.

From director of research at the Center for Applied Cognitive Sciences in Charlotte, N.C, Pierce J. Howard, PhD, author of The Owners Manual for the Brain: Everyday Applications from Mind Brain Research:

"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.  Air conditioning depletes the atmosphere of negative ions".

"High concentrations of negative ions are essential for high energy and positive mood (Thayer, 1996)[1]. In fact, Marian Diamond, a professor of neuroanatomy at the University of California, Berkeley, has found that levels of negative ions are inversely related to levels of serotonin in the brain. Negative ions suppress serotonin levels in much the same way that natural sunlight suppresses melatonin. Hence the invigorating effect of fresh air and sunshine and the correspondingly depressed feelings associated with being closed in and dark. If you deplete the air of negative ions, you experience an increase in serotonin and its attendant drowsiness and relaxation—not what you want when mental agility is demanded. Diamond's research (1988)[2], along with other information on ions, is summarized in Yepsen (1987).[3"]   Air conditioning depletes the atmosphere of negative ions."

This is why I jumped at the chance to visit my daughter in Florida this spring.  I took advantage of the instantly ionizing experience of swimming in the ocean.  I thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful relaxing effects.

Next I will be sharing how to tap into negative ions without having to be near the ocean, mountains or even out in the countryside.

Have a happy and hands-on-healthy week.