The medicine of sea air
As I type this, I'm staring at the ocean. Today, I have chosen my office to be at the Bedruthan Hotel and Spa that overlooks Mawgan Porth beach. It's quieter than it was in the summer, there isn't a child around, and only a few tables are occupied. This has allowed me to get one of the highly sought after seats right at the front of the restaurant that has unrestricted views of the bay. The sea is more ferocious than last time I was here, maybe a little angrier. There's white water all along the shore line, and the waves aren't as predictable as on cleaner days. There's a lone surfer in the water, but every wave is a close out and he's having a pretty difficult time getting out back. The skies are blue and although it’s cold outside, it’s at least dry. It's the perfect day for a walk along the cliff tops which I plan to do after typing this.
I often take myself for walks. It's my favourite thing to do whenever the weather is fine. I'll try to rearrange my whole day just to squeeze in a little time to be by the sea. I often take a thought with me on my walks. Whether it be a new idea that I need some time to process, or something that I’m working on internally, the sea air helps me think. Fears seem less real when I'm walking, stress dissipates, and creativity is unleashed. Wandering along the cliff tops on my own gives me perspective.
I always feel better after being outdoors, and it wasn't until recently I learnt that there's actually a scientific reason for this. It has to do with ions. Ions are all around you in your atmosphere and despite being invisible they strongly affect your health and well being.
An Ion is a molecule that has lost or gained an electron through atmospheric forces and environmental influences. There are both positively charged ions and negatively charged ones, which is somewhat confusing in terms of their health effects, as its negative ions that have a positive effect, and positive ions which has a negative effect. Remember that last point, it's important.
Positive Ions = Negative Effects
Negative Ions = Positive Effect
Heres some science stuff that I didn't write.
What Are Positive Ions?
Positive ions are usually carbon dioxide molecules that have been stripped of an electron. Also known as positively charged ions, they have been demonstrated to have a negative effect on your body when you are exposed to them in excess. This is particularly the case with your lungs and respiratory tract but your immune system can also be affected. This is because positive ions are so small they can be absorbed directly into your bloodstream from the air you breathe. An excess of positively charged ions in your environment is believed to contribute to tiredness and a lack of energy, tension, anxiety and irritability. Positive ions in the air have even been investigated as a contributing factor for asthma and depression. In nature, positive ions are commonly formed by high winds, dust, humidity and pollution and are at their highest levels just before an electrical storm. This has been hypothesized as why so many people feel so uneasy before a storm and why respiratory problems are commonly reported at this time as well. If you’ve ever spent a lot of time walking beside a busy road you will have experienced the tiring effects of a highly positively charged environment. Unfortunately, our modern-day homes and workplaces have also become chronic generators of potentially harmful positive ions. Additionally, unless you live in the country, opening your window may not be that beneficial anyway. Large towns and city environments generally have far more positive ions and far less negative ions in the air when compared to country environments.
What Are Negative Ions?
Negatively charged ions are the opposite of positive ions and they have directly the opposite effect on your health, mood and energy levels. Negative ions are created when a molecule gains a negatively charged electron. Due to this nature, they are statically attracted to airborne particles like dust, mold and other pollutants and potential allergens. By attaching to these pollutants and allergens they give them a negative charge and, rather than drifting in the air, they are grounded and fall to the floor or nearest surface. Even bacteria and viruses circling in a room can be cleared by negatively charged ions attaching to them and removing them from the air. In the natural world, negative ions are in abundance, particularly in forests, at the beach and most intensely near waterfalls. This is a good part of the reason why you usually feel so great in these places and find it difficult to be tired or depressed.
The seashore is an environment where water is always falling and this produces an atmosphere where you have 2,000 negative ions to every 1,000 positive. This is the ratio that human beings respond to most favourably. Sea air and sea spray is full of negative ions which improve our ability to absorb oxygen by neutralising damaging free radicals (positive ions). These negative ions can also balance levels of sertonin, the feelgood hormone, making us less prone to anxiety. So next time you’re by the beach, make sure you take some long deep breaths and soak up all those negative ions. If you don't live by the sea heres 4 other ways you can up your doses of negative ions.
1. Invest in an ionic Hairdryer. Hairdryers are a major in house producer of positive ions (the bad stuff). However, Ionic Hairdryers charge the ions negatively, meaning that when in use they shower you with good vibes. About 3 years ago I bought a T3 Ionic hairdryer from Space NK for around £150. I bought it because my hair had just got past the bra strap point and was beginning to take an absolute age to dry. Ionic hairdryers cut the drying time in half, and they look after your hair a lot better too. I recently borrowed my mum's hairdryer, which was the first time i’d used a non ionic hairdryer in years, and my hair took close to 45mins to dry (it usually takes me 15mins with my ionic dryer), and my hair was dry and frizzy after (its usually quite shiny and smooth). It made me realise how much better the ionic hairdryer's are for your hair but I wasn't aware until recently what it was also doing for my health and well being. Theres a few designs on the market producing them at a range of different powerpoint. They are more pricey than normal dryers but in my opinion they are soooooo worth it. Check them out outline and read a load of blog reviews to make sure you get the right one for your hair type.
2. Take a bath or shower. Once again the falling water principle creates an atmosphere that has more negatively charged ions than positive. This is why most people find baths calming and relaxing. Add beautiful products like scrubs, bubble bath and oils to the mix and you'll be in there until you prune.
3.Invest in a Himilayan salt lamp. I don’t yet own one of these but I'm continuing to research online to find the right one for my home. Basically, pollutants in the air are held in water vapours. The salt attracts moisture from the air (and with it it's pollutants), and then when the lamps are hot (they come with bulbs in them) the vapour is evaporated back into the atmosphere but the pollutants are trapped in the salt rock. Aside from cleaning the air you breath they also produce negative ions.
4. Buy a negative ionizer machine. I dont have one of these and I dont think i’ll buy one. I live about 30seconds from the beach and our doors and widows are often open allowing fresh negative ion rich air to flow in. However, if you live in a city this may be a really good option for you. Theres plenty of blogs reviewing different models and you should be able to find something in your price range.
Hope thats been helpful guys. Im sure you'll all be googling to find out more.