Are you fatigued, depressed, or constantly sick? Negative ions may be of benefit. Sounding like Orwellian doublespeak, the statement “positive is bad, negative is good” is scientifically backed. Hundreds of research articles over the past thirty years have shown evidence that negatively charged air ions are actually good for our health, while positive air ions are not. Unfortunately, household conveniences have created environments where many are now surrounded by an excess of positively charged ions and therefore lack the benefits of negative ions. Negative ionizer machines can help restore the balance.

What Is a Negative Air Ion?

A negative ion is a molecule with a negative charge assigned to it. Negative ions occur commonly throughout nature and can create an overall sense of well-being. Negative ions are found after a rainstorm, near waterfalls, in forests, and after lightning strikes. The refreshing smell in the air generated after a storm is due to the presence of negatively charged air ions.

What Is a Positive Air Ion?

Positive ions are positively charged molecules (such as carbon dioxide) and are believed to have negative health effects on humans, both physically and mentally. When pollution, dust, or smoke is present, positive ions are found in high concentrations and can have adverse affects.

Is Your Computer Monitor Harming You?

We all enjoy the conveniences of modern technology, but at what cost to our health? Many of our homes, offices, and autos are inundated with pollution and an excess of positive air ions while lacking the beneficial negative air ions. Negative ions are neutralized when air goes through ducts or by exposure to tobacco smoke, cleaning chemicals, furniture or carpet glues, and even electronic devices like TVs and computer monitors. The positively charged monitor neutralizes the negatively charged air ions.

Air Pollution

The dangers of indoor air pollution have become well known to many over the last ten years, and the term sick building syndrome has become a common topic on national morning news programs. However, few focus on actually restoring negative ion concentrations as the benefits are seldom realized.

Exposure to outdoor pollution can be just as harmful. With commuters spending record time on freeways and highways, exposure to auto exhaust is unavoidable, as is exposure to harmful positive ions when in traffic. These ions leave many of us feeling angry, frustrated, and irritable by the end of our drive. Perhaps lack of negative ions are partially responsible for the road rage phenomenon?

Effects of Positive Ions on Human Health

* Depression
* Fatigue and irritability
* Poor memory
* Difficulty concentrating
* Increased risk of colds, bronchitis, and other lung or sinus infections
* Chronic cough
* Allergy symptoms
* Delays in wound healing

Benefits of Negative Ions

Negative ions have air cleaning properties. Airborne dust, pollens, and other common pollutants are positively charged. If the concentration of negative ions is increased, the air will be cleaned. Simply, the negatively charged ion molecule binds to the positively charged pollutant, causing the air impurity to fall to the ground surface and out of one’s breathing space. Routine cleaning removes the impurities from the carpet or floor.

What Can Air Ionization (Negative Ions) Do for You?

* Evidence shows that negative ions clean the air of dust, molds, bacteria, soot, and household odors.
* Air ionization minimizes allergies and asthma by eliminating common triggers.
* Air ionizers have been reported to be helpful to people with seasonal affective disorder by regulating hormone levels and minimizing depression symptoms.
* Air ionizers clean the air of pollen, therefore being helpful for those with hay fever and other seasonal allergies.
* Air ionizers have been reported to help relieve tension and improve sleep. (I can personally attest to negative ionizers helping one sleep better. As a matter of fact, I used to turn my negative ionizer off before tests in college so I would not sleep too deeply.)

Reported Physiologic Effects of Negative Ions1

* Decreased respiratory rate (indicating relaxation)
* Decreased blood pressure (not a substitute for current medical therapy)
* Increased feelings of well-being
* Increased vital capacity
* Decreased blood inflammation (as measured by erythrocyte sedimentation rate)
* Increased wind pipe (trachea) cleaning by stimulating ciliary activity
* Increased resistance to infection by minimizing exposure to germs
* Suggested adjunctive therapy for chronic rhinitis, sinusitis, migraines, insomnia, wound and burn healing, asthma, hay fever, emphysema, bronchitis, and more

How Can You Generate Negative Ions in Your Home?

Every day, when we shower, we are generating our own negative ions in our home. Falling water is a great negative ion generator, and this likely explains the popularity of home and desktop fountains. Furthermore, fountains are known for creating a calm and gentle environment. Obviously, allowing a shower to run for the purpose of creating negative ions would not be practical. However, use of a home fountain or a commercial negative ion generator would.

Late night infomercials have made ionizer machines more accessible, usually with three easy payments. However, when choosing a negative ion generator, it is important to choose a manufacturer that not only has a solid warranty, but also a machine that has scientific studies to back up its effectiveness. Unfortunately, there are only a few of these high-density negative ion generators available. It is important that one does research and investigates the various high-density negative ion generators on the market before making a choice. Units can cost anywhere from ninety-nine to over five hundred dollars. I personally do not recommend combination ionizer/HEPA filter models if the goal is to benefit from air ionization as these ionizers are usually more of a marketing ploy and are usually of low concentration.

Overall, evidence shows that negative ions and exposure to them have numerous health benefits. Likewise, positive ions have negative effects on our health. In this fast-paced society, where our mood can be affected by our external environments, it becomes apparent that restoring balance should be paramount.


Goel, N. “Bright Light, Negative Air Ions and Auditory Stimuli Produce Rapid Mood Changes in a Student Population: A Placebo-Controlled Study.” Psychology Medicine 36 (2006): 1253–63.
Grinshpun, S. A., A. Adhikari, B. U. Lee, M. Trunov, G. Mainelis, M. Yermakov, and T. Reponen. “Indoor Air Pollution Control through Ionization.” In Air Pollution: Modeling, Monitoring and Management of Air Pollution, edited by C. A. Brebbia, 689–704. Southampton, UK: WIT Press, 2004. Study used the Wein VI-2500 Negative Ionizer.
Sulman, Felix Gad. The Effect of Air Ionization, Electric Fields, Atmospherics and Other Electrical Phenomena on Man and Animal.
Terman, Michael, and Jiuan Su Terman. “Treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder with a High Output Negative Ionizer.” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 1 (1995): 87–92. Study used the Wein VI-2500 Negative Ionizer.
Wein Products. VI-2500 High Density Negative Ionizer Product Manual. Los Angeles: Wein Products, 2000.

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health”, visit

Author's Bio: 

Eric Madrid, MD, is a board-certified family physician who practices in Temecula, California. In addition to seeing patients, he conducts product research and development for, an online retailer of negative ionizers, air purifiers, water filters, and other home health products. He personally uses the Wein VI-2500 High Density Negative Ionizer in his home and the Wein Auto-Mate 1250 auto ionizer in his car as they have numerous scientific studies to back their effectiveness. E-mail with any questions.