“Why Does Water Make Us Feel Good?” (from chapter Water Is Life)
As a little girl, I used to get caught in the odd thunderstorm that swept through my small town on a sudden wind. I could taste the fresh air after the storm and felt exhilarated by it. What I didn’t know then was that the air was charged with negative ions from both the lightning and the rain.
We are all familiar with the feeling of well-being we get from moving water—rivers, waterfalls, crashing or surging waves, thunderstorms, fresh snow, transpiration by plants, even showers and fountains. Part of this feeling comes from negative ions in the air. Negative ions are basically oxygen ions with an extra electron attached, produced through water molecules. As early as the 1700s, with the work of Swiss researcher Horace Bénédicte de Saussure, scientists have shown that negative ions are generated by moving water and also by plants when exposed to intense light during photosynthesis. Negative ions actually clean the air. They do this by attaching to positively charged particles such as pollen, mould, bacteria and dust, which then become too heavy to stay airborne.
A country meadow may typically contain from 2,000 to 5,000 negative ions per cubic centimetre (cc); mountains, forests and seashores may provide up to 50,000 negative ions/cc. Niagara Falls may generate anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 negative ions/cc in its surrounding air. The negative ion concentration is well below 100/cc on a city freeway during rush hour or even in an office environment.
Rooms with air conditioners contain the lowest concentrations of negative ions. This is because they produce positive ions, as do most electrical equipment, carpets, upholstery and many synthetic materials. In an article on Body and Soul, Louise Deasey makes suggestions for increasing the concentration of negative ions in the environment you occupy. She suggests you install a water fountain and live plants in your home and avoid the use of synthetic fibres in furniture and clothes, in favour of natural fibres such as cotton, linen, bamboo and wool. Dry your clothes in fresh air instead of using a clothes dryer, and let your hair dry naturally when you can. Replace bright fluorescent lights with low-wattage bulbs. Hand-wash clothes instead of taking them to the dry cleaners.
This article is an excerpt from “Water Is…” (Pixl Press) by Nina Munteanu