NEGATIVE ION THERAPY
(Investigator 181, 2018 July)
Air is made up of molecules. Each molecule has a core, or nucleus, of
positively charged protons surrounded by negatively charged electrons.
In a stable atmosphere, nature seeks a balance in which there are as
many electrons as protons so that the positive and negative charges
cancel one another out. Electrons, being considerably lighter than
protons are easily displaced — and when this happens the equilibrium is
upset — ions are created. The displaced electrons which then become
negatively charged, attach themselves to normal molecules, such as dust
particle, and causes them to cling to room surfaces rather than float
freely in the air.
The discovery of ions is attributed to Jean Antoine Nollet (1700-70), a
French abbe and physicist, who also discovered osmosis, invented an
electroscope and improved the Leyden jar.
In 1775, Father Gina Battista Baccaria of the University of Turin, Italy, wrote:
"It appears manifest
that nature makes extensive use of atmospheric electricity for
promoting vegetation and besides (such electricity) constantly prevails
when the weather is serene and certainly contributes to promote
vegetation. And we have also observed that artificial electricity has
the same effect".
In the 1890s, scientists found that this air electricity comes from
charged molecules — or ions — of gas. It was not until the 1920s
however, that researchers took seriously the claims of the natural
philosophers who argued that air electricity was in fact a vital part
of the process that creates and sustains life.
These proponent ideas led to the invention of negative ion generators
to purify the air by neutralising positive ions with negative ions. An
abundance of positive ions is believed to increase levels of serotin in
the nervous system leading to depression and irritability. Proponents
of negative ion therapy (aeroiontherapy) claim that illness can be
prevented by using these generators. However, these devices cannot
produce enough ions to change the air in a room effectively, and
scientific studies over many years have failed to support the claims
made on their behalf.
In 1977, Fred Soyka, a principal proponent of negative ionisation,
wrote a book, The Ion Effect, extolling its benefits. A review by
Warner Clements in the Skeptical Inquirer takes the author to task,
pointing out the many errors and contradictions in the book, and for
failing to point out that ion generators also generate ozone. Ozone is
toxic, and was a factor in the demise of early consumer-type air
ionisers in the 1950s.
American Medical Association, 1993. Alternative Health Methods. American Medical Association. Chicago.
Barrett, Jarvis, Kroger & London. 1997. Consumer Health: A Guide to Intelligent Decisions. Brown & Benchmark Publishers.
Clements, Warner. 1980. The Ion Effect, a book review. Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. 4 No.3, p.66-68.
Krueger, AP. 1973. Are Air Ions Good for You? New Scientist. UK. June 14, 1973.
---------------- 1963 Influences of Air Ions on Certain Physiological Functions, Medical Biometeorology—Weather Climate and the Living Organism. Elsevier, Amsterdam, N.Y.
Soyka, Fred. 1977. The Ion Effect, Bantam Books Inc.
H. 1999 Alternative, Complementary,
Holistic & Spiritual Healing, Australian Skeptics Inc