Negative Ions

The change in the atmosphere can be felt before the destination is even reached, from as far as several miles away.

A peace rolls over one’s psyche, like a blanket of calm.

It is the lure of the tides, the pounding of the surf that draws humans to the edge where land meets the vastness of the ocean.

Sand and salt mix with flotsam and jetsam creating ridges of sea washed ribbons.

Waves break just off the shore. Science has discovered that the negatively charged ions produced by the surf have positive health benefits to people.

Excerpt from Web MD

Negative ions are odorless, tasteless, and invisible molecules that we inhale in abundance in certain environments. Think mountains, waterfalls, and beaches. Once they reach our bloodstream, negative ions are believed to produce biochemical reactions that increase levels of the mood chemical serotonin, helping to alleviate depression, relieve stress, and boost our daytime energy.

Ions are molecules that have gained or lost an electrical charge. They are created in nature as air molecules break apart due to sunlight, radiation, and moving air and water. You may have experienced the power of negative ions when you last set foot on the beach or walked beneath a waterfall. While part of the euphoria is simply being around these wondrous settings and away from the normal pressures of home and work, the air circulating in the mountains and the beach is said to contain tens of thousands of negative ions — Much more than the average home or office building, which contain dozens or hundreds, and many register a flat zero.

“The action of the pounding surf creates negative air ions and we also see it immediately after spring thunderstorms when people report lightened moods,” says ion researcher Michael Terman, PhD, of Columbia University in New York.

The Fairegarden clan makes a yearly pilgrimage to the ocean. When we lived in Southern California, the weekends were filled with beach days. It was the only place that the four offspring could play together without fighting amongst themselves. Now we know why.

Shrimp boats troll the waters fishing for crustaceans to be used for tasty dishes served at local restaurants.

The beach is where my usual early rising and early to bed is shifted to more normal patterns. No more waiting for the light of day when on this vacation, the day starts without me!

The view from the rental house at Isle of Palms, South Carolina contains a sliver of the magical power of the sea.

All is calm.
Links to our previous beach vacation stories:
2009-Sea Creatures
2011-Water, Wind, Earth and Fire
2012-The Shark Tale
2013-Garden Dreaming


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26 Responses to Negative Ions

  1. Les says:

    Ion theory works for me. I am glad you had a good time, there is nothing like a week at the beach for restorative powers. We are headed south (way south) at the end of the week and are hoping a stop in the Holy City is on the agenda. I want to show my son where I once spent a 3 year vacation.

    Glad to hear it, Les. Enjoy your vacation and teach your children well!

  2. Interesting! No wonder my family always have such a great time when we are in the mountains or at the beach. Your photos make me even more excited for our trip to Lake Michigan (it is almost like being at the ocean…water as far as you can see). Enjoy your vacation!

    Thanks Karin. We are back from the beach now and enjoyed it very much. I never post about being away until I return home. Enjoy your trip with your family!

  3. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    This is one of those instances where a negative creates a positive. I know you have enjoyed your vacation. It looks so appealing.

    Thanks Lisa, good one! We did have a wonderful time being together with family at the beloved ocean.

  4. Barbara H. says:

    Thanks for taking me along! I can feel that ocean breeze on my cheeks and hear the rhythmic rolling surf as I sit here, hot and dry in Alabama.

    My pleasure, Barbara. Hot and dry back here in Tennessee, too. I have been watering like mad to try and save the garden, while dreaming of the endless water meeting the blue horizon.

  5. Steve says:

    Being as “landlocked” as I am these days, your post reminds me of the nearly 40 years I have spent living in Pacific Coast seaside cities. For those who might not understand the peaceful interest allowed by walking by the sea at any time, I am not sure there is an equivalent anywhere else in Nature. It’s as if you are a genius simply by placing yourself there. The oceans are a human’s real Soul Bath.

    I like that Steve, Soul Bath. It’s so true. Living most of my life in landlocked states, our time in SoCal was spent at the beaches every weekend. We just couldn’t get enough of it. Now, the yearly week at the Atlantic shoreline with occasional visits at other times is soaked up to our gills.

  6. Cindy, MCOK says:

    I need some negative ions!

    Yes, we all do, Cindy!

  7. This makes me look forward to my beach trip! In the Web MD article, it mentions that computer monitors emit positive ions. I wonder what effect that is having on all of us?

    Have fun at the beach, Kathy! The positive ions from computer staring can’t be good.

  8. Layanee says:

    Now I want to go to the beach. Serenity now!

    Ha Layanee! Yes, serenity now.

  9. I wonder if the same effect on a smaller scale applies to certain garden fountains? This research makes me want to install a pond with a waterfall in my garden. I bet by sitting close to a garden waterfall, some benefits may be achieved.

    I think so, MMD. We have a small pond/waterfall and feel the peacefullness of it all year. We only run the waterfall during the warmer months, but the sound of falling water is magical music to us all, including the wildlife.

  10. Randy says:

    So that’s the secret to Betsy and George’s endless supply of energy. It’s coming from the waterfalls they visit! LOL Great read Frances, thanks for the info. :0)

    Thanks Randy. Visiting waterfalls, for any creature is a good thing. There are falls near here that I do not visit nearly often enough. Must rectify that!

  11. Good to know there is a scientific reason that we all feel so rejuvenated after a stay at the beach or the mountains … or a lake. 🙂 Enjoy your lovely surroundings.

    Or a lake, yes! It is something we have known all along, isn’t it, Janet, but now we have science to back up that easy, peaceful feeling.

  12. Linda says:

    Great post, Francis! And to validate it I’d like to share something (not to make it about “me”, but more people should know this.) I have 2 diseases that can kill me, that are triggered by stress. After 26 yrs, 8 surgeries and dodging amputation twice, I finally have control. Even my docs at UCSF are amazed at my progress. I started acupuncture, herbs and I use a negative ionizer, in my home. Since using these holistic methods, my life has changed completely! Thanks for educating your bloggers. Drugs are not always the answer.

    Oh my, Linda, I admire your courage in the face of such dire problems, thank you for sharing. When doing the research for this post, I noticed that there were machines that claimed to emit negative ions, good to know they work. I could not agree more about drugs not always being the solution to problems, too. Good luck to your continued healthy ways.

  13. Ah, just seeing the photos is helping me destress, and today I kind of need it. Thanks!

    Thanks Sharon. I am sorry you had stress that needed the negative ions, but it IS Monday.

  14. This is such a dream! Love that kind of scenery! Love the pictures! Thanks for sharing! 8)

    Thanks Vert. It is a dreamscape, and being away from all worries and cares helps, too. It was a good vacation.

  15. Nice–I’m very jealous as everything is dry around here. Time for a walk to the lake. Thanks for this calming post. 🙂

    Thanks Plant Postings. Upon our return home, the garden was dry as a bone and the temps near 100. Very sad, but thoughts of the ocean waves helps us stay calm, as we water.

  16. You’re at my beach! This is where I love to go. :o)

    Woot, Casa Mariposa! This is a great family beach, we all love it here. I am so glad you do too!

  17. Gail says:

    Frances, it does look wonderful. Walking the beach in the early morning, the first cup of coffee in hand, is a treat for me. I have to get to the beach soon! I wake up early no matter where I go, but, my early and your normal time may be the same thing! xoxogail

    Thanks Gail. I do the coffee first, then go down and walk the beach usually. I don’t have enough hands for the camera and coffee cup. You do need to get in some beach time! Normal, what is that, anyway? HA

  18. Enjoy all those lovely ions…I too feel so much better near water which is why I have a pond, but there is something about the ocean…now I know what it is…as I contemplate retirement, I need to add more time near the ocean…loved it as a child on the Jersey Shore…an CA beaches are so gorgeous…

    Thanks Donna. A pond is a good thing to have, but the beach is best. We used to go to the Jersey Shore when we lived in PA, it was the very first time I had ever seen the ocean. It was love at first sight.

  19. commonweeder says:

    So it is all about ions! I will add this to the arsenal of argument of reasons for actually going to Plum island for a weekend, and not just talking about it. Thank you.

    Apparently so, Pat. Who knew there was a scientific reason why we love those beaches? You do need to do more than just talk about going. HA

  20. skeeter says:

    And here I thought all those great feelings were just as simple as being away from the every day struggles of this thing called Life… Now we know there is more to it. Enjoy your Family time at the beach and I hope that Debby’s winds and rain do not drop by for a visit…. Breathe in, Breathe out, Breathe in, Breathe out…

    Thanks Skeeter. We are home now, I don’t ever post about our vacations until we are safely back from them. I feel more secure doing so, whether it is necessary or not. The weather was delightful, actually cooler at the shore than back home. My poor dry garden!!!

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  22. Simon Smith says:

    Very interesting theory. I think just the sight of the beautiful palms and the beach would be enough to keep me happy!

    Thanks Simon. Everything about the beach makes us happy, good to know there is scientific evidence about the why of it.

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  25. Hi Frances
    This truely makes sense to me. I grew up on a 90 some odd mile long lake in Northern British Columbia. Water has long been the place where I find myself gravitate towards when I need to “breathe”. I now live close to Lake Michigan and I love to go and walk the beaches as often as I possible can.

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