What are Negative Ions?

by Vivien Mah    

Woman standing in a field

You have probably heard about the health benefits of having an ioniser or ionic air purifier – but do you know what that really means? To understand what they do, we have to know what negative ions are and what they do.

Ionisers are devices that disperse charged ions that then attach to particles in the air. They help to remove allergen or asthma-inducing particles from the air. They work on the principle that negative ions help to clean the air of harmful pollutants.

What is a Negative Ion?

In 1883, British scientist, Michael Faraday discovered the law of electrolysis. The needed amount of electricity to collect 1g of atom is always the same, regardless of the kind of atom. In short, an ion is a particle with an electric charge, and an ion can be either an negative ion (anion) or a positive ion (cation)

Things that form positive ions are polluted substances such as cigarette smoke, sulfurous acid gas, nitric oxide, carbon monoxide, ozone and other organic compounds. Negative ions eliminate these polluted substances to clean the air.

How a negative ion generator works

Do you know that fresh feeling you experience when you’re in the deep forest or by a waterfall? The air in these places are filled with negatively charged ions. Negative ions are what gives the air that fresh, clean feeling.

The ions in the air changes with the weather condition. The amount of positive ions in air increases especially when there is a line of discontinuity, a cold front, or low pressure passing through. As a result of this, the amount of negative ions in our body decreases, and the amount of positive ions increases. In turn, this can make us prone to illness or feel generally unwell.


Generation and Effect of Negative Ions

Negative ions are generated in a number of ways, and may be naturally occurring or man-made. Waterfalls, for example, generate millions (if not billions!) of negative ions, which is why the air around waterfalls is so refreshing. We have our own negative ion generator at home, too, in the form of a ‘mini waterfall’ – the shower. Now you know why you always feel so good after a nice, hot shower.

Other ways that negative ions are generated include:

  • Corona discharge (where 2 poles discharge : air purifier, air conditioner)
  • Leonard type (Dissociation of water : Waterfall effect, electrification, air purifier)
  • Electric discharge (single pole discharge : air activator, electrification of water and oil)
  • Electromagnetic induction (minus electric potential, electric potential system, different types of jewel friction)
  • Catalytic equation (metal, oxidized titanium, etc.)
  • Radiating substances (radon, radium, etc.)
  • Electrical mineral (turmarine, crystal, amber, etc.)
  • Natural mineral (magnetic iron, veinstone, feldspar, etc.)
  • Coal
  • Minerals (coral, shellfish, fossil, clay, etc.)

Benefits of Negative Ions

Negative ions are beneficial to the human body in four major ways (from “Economy Daily News” – January 30, 2002) :

  • Strengthen the functions of autonomic nerves
  • Reinforces collagen (tissues that are resilient and tension-related)
  • Improves the permeability of the cell’s prototype plasma membranes (improves metabolism)
  • Strengthens the body’s immune system

Studies have shown that negative ions can clean the air of:

  • Dust
  • Pollen (grass, weed, and tree pollen)
  • Dust mites
  • Animal Dander
  • Smoke
  • Odour
  • Mold spores
  • Germs

Negative ions help to relieve symptoms of:

  • Allergies
  • Hay fever
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder
  • Depression
  • Chronic fatigue


Why are Positive Ions Bad? 

Positive ions, on the other hand, lie within our polluted cities in car exhausts, factory fumes, cigarette smoke, and dust. Indoors, they are found on clothing, furniture, metal ducts, and air conditioning outlets. Room air circulation, heat, humidity, and devices such as televisions and computer monitors also emit counteracting positive ions that deplete the air of negative ions. Positive ions absorb negative ions by neutralising or positively charging them, diminishing the good effects that negative ions give us.

Studies show that positive ions rob us of our good senses and dispositions. For example, one study found that positive ions lower our resistance to airborne allergens by slowing down sweeping action of the tiny hairs in our throat and cutting down mucus flow. Positive ions were also found to cause contracture of the back tracheal wall, vasoconstriction and increased respiration rate.


Advantages of an Air Ioniser

Air ionisers recreate the waterfall, beach, and mountain environment, giving you that fresh, calm feeling from the billions of negative ions that are released.

Air ionisers also clean the air in your home or office by releasing negative ions that wrap themselves around positive ions that are responsible for stale and polluted air, drawing them back into the ioniser.

The result is a much healthier environment, making it a great health product for people suffering from asthma, allergies, immune and respiratory ailments.

Unlike conventional air purifiers and cleaners, air ionisers are not fan-driven, therefore conserving power and more silent in operation. They also don’t have parts that need regular replacement because there are no physical filters that get dirty.

If you’d like to improve the air quality in your home, invest in dehumidifiers, humidifiers and air purifiers that feature built-in ionisers. These will release millions of negative ions into the air to clean and purify the air in your home to help you live and breathe better. 


J Altern Complement Med  Treatment of seasonal affective disorder with a high-output negative ions http://www.biopsychiatry.com/sadion.htm

Air Tamer https://www.airtamer.com/negative-ions-positive-effect-human-body/

WebMD http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/negative-ions-create-positive-vibes

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for general reference only. Please seek advice from professionals according to your needs.