Negative Ions Create Positive Vibes
There's something in the air that just may boost your mood -- get a whiff of negative ions.
Generating Negative Ions
In fact, every home has a built in natural ionizer -- the
But when it comes to springing for that negative-ion generator
you saw advertised in the local paper or on the web, buyer beware, says
"There is a major problem with advertised units," he tells
WebMD. "Output levels are not ... specified in a way that could advise
And, he says, the cost of apparently equivalent units ranges
from $100 to $1,000.
"The safest course of action, in my opinion, would be to use
units that have been demonstrated effective in our clinical trials and trials
to come," he advises WebMD readers.
Room air circulation, heat and humidity, the proximity of
grounded devices that may emit counteracting positive ions (such as computer
monitors) may affect output levels (of a negative-ion generator), he
"We have tried to minimize the influence of these factors by
adding grounded wrist-straps [commercially available] or grounded bed sheets
[not yet available] for connection to the ionizer," he says.
The possible interaction of negative-air ion therapy and
antidepressant drug or light therapy for seasonal depression has not yet been
investigated, he says. "It stands to reason, for example, that drug ...
dose could be tapered [even to zero], if the patient responds to negative ion
"I would advise anyone who experiences clinically significant
depression to try negative-ion therapy only under doctor's guidance, and that
doctors read up on this methodology before OKing such a trial, especially if
the patient is already receiving other treatment," he advises.
What About Allergies and Asthma?
Harold Nelson, MD, professor of medicine at National Jewish
Medical Center in Denver, was so excited when he first heard of negative-ion
generators 20 years ago that he went out and bought one to study among allergy
and asthma patients.
Unfortunately, the findings were "not terribly encouraging. We
couldn't demonstrate anything," he tells WebMD. "I was disappointed. I had high
expectations and they did not pan out, " he says.
The best bet for people with allergies and/or allergic asthma
is to try to eliminate exposures, he says. "If you can't, or if you still have
symptoms, then medication is the next step and fortunately we now have
excellent medications," he says.
Published June 2, 2003.