The idea of an “Evil Wind” might be a bit much, but the sense of Chinese ancient culture adds just a bit of drama to a real live phenomenon. As Jim Karnstedt and Don Strachan have pointed out in their article, “Negative ions... Vitamins of the Air...”, there’s both good news and bad news when the wind blows. It all depends on what you’re downwind of (waterfalls or cow feed lots), and the source of ions in the air.
Jim Karnstedt and Don Strachan’s article is reprinted here as received (via e-mail). The good news is that all the money you spent on your Feng Shui water fountain was likely well worth it in terms of negative ion production. That’s the good news. [P. S. Feng Shui literally translated means “Wind and Water”!]
When certain kinds of winds begin to blow throughout the world, hospital admissions, suicides, and crime rates skyrocket. One country -- Switzerland -- even accepts the blowing of the “Foehn” during the commission of a crime as mitigating evidence in court.
These “notorious” desert and sea winds are also linked to minor illnesses and malaise epidemics. Victims’ claims range from sleeplessness, irritability, tension, migraines, nausea, palpitations and hot flashes with sweating or shills to tremor, vertigo, swelling, breathing difficulty, and frequent intestinal movement. In addition, elderly persons are affected with depression, apathy, and fatigue...
What causes these “witches’ winds,” as they are often called, to differ from others? What do they posses or lack that make them a dread to the lands or oceans they blow across?
According to the experts, positive ions rob us of our good senses and dispositions, while their counterpart, negative ions, enhance them, stimulating everything from plant growth to the human sex drive.
[Did you get that? Negative ions are good for sex. Buy another water fountain! Put it in the bedroom! Feng Shui works! Frodo lives! ...or something like that.]
For the uninitiated, ions are charged particles in the air, formed when enough energy acts on a molecule such as carbon dioxide, oxygen, water or nitrogen -- to eject an electron. The displaced electron attaches itself to a nearby molecule, which then becomes a negative ion (neg-ion). The original molecule (minus an electron) is now a positive ion (pos-ion). These ions, in turn, react with dust and pollutants to form larger particles. Small neg-ions (usually no more than 12 gaseous molecules clustered around a charged atom or molecule) are short-lived and highly mobile. As long ago as 1789, the Abbe Bertholon, European monk speculated that ions exist and affect people. He recorded the responses of medical patients and normal people to changes in the electrical state of the ambient air. More than a century later, in 1899, two scientists named Elster and Geitel proved the existence of ions. Only since the 1930s have researchers been probing their secrets..
In nature, ions are formed in a variety of ways. About half are created by radioactive gases. Radioactive substances in the soil, cosmic rays, ultraviolet rays, air flow friction, falling water and plants all produce the other half. For example, they stream off the leaves of plants, most notably pines and asparagus ferns. Ions are apparently also created by the phenomenon of “subterranean suspiration.” As Fred Soyka, author of The Ion Effect , told the first Ions and Light Conference held this summer  in Atherton, California. “Solar and lunar influences cause the water table to rise, forcing air out of the earth.” This prompted Federal Aviation Administration research psychologist, Bruce Rosenberg, to charge the earth with having “bad breath.” Being negatively charged, he said, “it breathes positive ions.” Normally only about one atom in 100,000,000,000,000,000 is ionized making a total of maybe 1000-2000 ions per cubic centimeter (that’s like a handful of planets floating in a circle 4 billion miles in diameter).
These are usually balanced pretty evenly between positive and negative, with a slight edge toward positive. “However, the normal may not be the optimal,” Fred Soyka told New Realities. “On the seashore, where water is always falling, you have about 2000 negative to 1000 positive. That seems to be the ratio human beings respond to most favorably.” We have all experienced this positive effect, regardless of our proximity to waterfalls or the ocean. Every home has a built in, natural ionizer -- the shower. Our daily bath rituals are, in effect, the practice of preventive medicine.
Research has shown that falling water creates thousands of negative ions by splitting other wise neutral particles of air, freeing electrons to manifest their vitalizing function. These electrons join up with smaller air particles, thus giving them a predominantly negative charge. Waterfalls have always been the favorite habitat of mystics and artists. The inspiration and romance generated at places like Niagara Falls and Yosemite have a direct relationship to the lowering of serotonin levels in the blood, caused by the waves of negative ions from the spray of these falls. Those notorious dessert and sea winds mentioned previously raise the ion count, but overbalance the positive -- up to a ratio of 33 to 1 positive [to negative ions]. As the winds blow through arid areas, they stir up dust and the neg-ions are leeched out. In Israel such winds are called the Sharav; in the Alps the Foehn; along the Mediterranean the Sharkiye (called the Sirocco in Italy and the Xlokk in Malta); in Africa the Simoon, Hamsin and Harmatan; in southern France, the Mistral. There is the Boras of the Adriatic, the Karaburan of the Gobi, the Zondi of Argentina, the Tramontana of Spain. In the U.S., the Chinook plagues the Rockies and the Santa Ana the southern California desert. Still other winds pos-ionize India and Australia. Whatever their name, throughout the world, they are known to blow no good.
One might postulate that the culprit is really humidity, wind or temperature changes, not positive ionization. That has been considered, but doesn’t account for the fact that weather-sensitive people react to the approaching Sharav 12 to 24 hours before meteorological instruments do. Positive ionization remains the culprit. So much for natural pos-ions. The really lethal doses of pos-ions lie within our polluted cities, which William Radley, president of the Bio-Environmental Systems, refers to as “ion prisons.” Car exhausts, factory fumes, tire dust, cigarette smoke, cooking and heating fumes, dust and soot gobble up neg-ions, either neutralizing or positively charging them.
Inside, steel and concrete buildings act as electromagnetic Faraday cages, absorbing the charges of negative ions. Synthetic building materials, clothing and furniture coverings eat up more; so do the metal ducts covering heating and air conditioning outlets. The positive static charge of plastics takes care of the rest, so that in a typical interior, the neg-ion count may be below 100 per cubic centimeter. (The minimal amount for optimum human functioning is about 1000/ccm.) [I.e. a lack of neg-ions result in non-optimum activity.]
In the words of Dr. William Rea, Chief of Surgery at Brookhaven Medical Center in Texas, “Houses don’t breathe like they used to.” Several people have investigated the mechanisms of pos-ions’ debilitating effects.
According to the Russian ion pioneer, Vasil’yev, ions act on the endings of pulmonary afferent nerve fibers, altering the functional state of the central nervous system and, through it, the peripheral organs. Sulman, et al (1970) found that weather-sensitive people excrete more of the neuro-hormone serotonin than non-sensitive people. Serotonin is secreted by the pineal gland and the intestines. It affects sleep, mood, nerve impulses, blood-clotting and contraction of smooth muscles. LSD effects are caused by a serotonin inhibitor, and chronic serotonin depletion is characteristic of some types of mental anomalies. Sulman’s work supports the findings of American ion dean Dr. Albert P. Krueger, who discovered that the specific negative ion or oxygen speeds up the rate at which serotonin is oxidized in the bloodstream. Krueger also found that POs-ions slow the sweeping action of the tiny hairs in our throats from 900 to 600 beats per minute and cut mucus flow, thus lowering our resistance to airborne allergens. For example, the POs-ion carbon dioxide causes contracture of the back tracheal wall. POs-ions also cause vasoconstriction and increased respiration rate. Oddly enough, notes ion author Soyka, “About five percent of the population seems to react well to a positive charge. They feel euphoric.”
If POs-ions are the bad guys, neg-ions wear white hats and shoot silver bullets. Their beneficial effect was first discovered in 1932 by Dr. C.W. Hansell at RCA Laboratories. Dr. Hansell was startled by the violent mood shifts of a co-worker who sat beside an electrostatic generator. He observed carefully and discovered that his colleague was ebullient when the machine produced neg-ions and morose when it made POs-ion.
Subsequently researchers (mostly abroad) have found that neg-ions reduce neurosis and anxiety, heighten appetite and thirst and stimulate sexual behavior. They improved performance of voluntary movements: 81.2 percent of drivers with neg-ion generators scored in the top half on driving tests: 86 percent in the top half on reaction time. In school they sharpen mental functioning and reduce error rates. After a year with neg-ion generators in their classrooms, a group of kindergarten teachers reported that their students concentrated better and showed almost no “weather effect.” Hyperactive kids were calmer. Absenteeism was down (except on Mondays) and the teachers themselves felt less fatigued. Neg-ions promote alpha brain waves and increase brain wave amplitude, which translates to a higher awareness level.
Neg-ion induced alpha waves spread from the occipital area to the parietal and temporal and even reach the frontal lobes, spreading evenly across the right and left brain hemispheres. All of this creates an overall calming effect. On the physical side, they have given relief from hay fever, sinusitis, bronchial asthma, allergies, migraine, and burn and postoperative pains. Along with the burn pain relief, they lesson infections, dry the burns faster, heal them more quickly, and leave less scarring. After operations, not only did 57 percent of Dr. Igho Hart Kornblueh’s patients treated with large doses of neg-ions (10,000/ccm) feel less pain (as opposed to 22.5 percent of controls), but restlessness and infection were also reduced and healing quickened.
But why are ions therapeutic? Partly because they kill germs. Back in the 1930s. a Russian team headed by A L. Tchijevski found that large ion doses of either polarity retarded bacteria colony formation on plates. Ionization also sterilized enclosed air. Latter experiments duplicating Tchijevski’s work noted an exponential bacteria decay rate of 23 percent per minute for untreated air 34 percent per minute for air with pos-ions, and 78 percent per minute for negatively charged air. They concluded that the pos-ion decay rate was due to simple bonding or the ions with the bacteria, whereas the neg-ions actually killed them.
Or forward to:
2003© Copyright Dan Sewell Ward, All Rights Reserved [Feedback]