I recently took a few days off from my reflexology practice to go to the Lake District. Unusually, the weather was on my side, which meant plenty of walking plus a boat trip on Lake Coniston. Whilst there was no water pouring from the heavens on this occasion, this wonderful landscape is dominated by it. Walking around lakes, alongside rivers and becks, waterfalls and mountain tarns.
Stickle Tarn beneath the summit of Pavey Ark high above the Langdale Valley. A place of tranquil calm and clean fresh air. I rested by the tarn sharing a welcome flask of tea with Mr J after a particular gruelling descent from the top. Diamonds of light played across the surface of the water in the sunshine and the Stickle Ghyll (stream) poured from its rim to cascade to the valley far below. The two peaks we had climbed earlier, cradled the tarn, mirrored in its depths. At that moment there wasn’t anywhere on earth I would rather have been. I experienced feelings of calm and total well-being. Pure happiness derived from fresh air! Actually, this is a scientific fact. In locations like this, the air is electrically charged with happiness! Or to put it more scientifically, negative ions.
What Are Negative Ions?
Negative ions are naturally created by the world around us. Sunlight, mountains, forests and especially where there is moving water – crashing ocean waves, rivers, waterfalls and during a storm.
A negative ion (anion) is an atom or molecule where the number of electrons it contains is greater than the number of protons, creating a negative electric charge. When water molecules collide, they become positively charged. These interact with the surrounding air molecules which become negatively charged as a result.
How Do Negative Ions Work?
Negative ions are small enough to be absorbed by our bodies, into the skin and bloodstream. They can then work their magic on our health and well-being by producing a positive chemical reaction. Airborne negative ions attach to pathogens which are neutralised and made harmless thanks to the electric charge. There have been many scientific studies into the positive health benefits of negative ions which are:
Benefit psychological health
Promote deep sleep and healthy digestion
Enhance immune function
Himalayan Salt Lamps and Their Link to Negative Ions
While I was in the Lakes, I purchased a Himalayan salt lamp for my reflexology treatment room. Basically, it is a chunk of rock salt mined at the Khewra Salt Mine in Pakistan. It is hand crafted and hollowed out to fit a bulb inside. It is pinkish in colour and when lit from within gives off an attractive soft glow. Negative ions are claimed to be an environmental benefit of salt lamps. Salt is a hygroscopic material, meaning it attracts water molecules and in doing so, tiny contaminants are removed from the air and negative ions are released. This is supposed to give the same health benefits I noted earlier but in reality, the amounts of negative ions produced by the lamp may be too small to be of much help.
No matter what the actual health benefits are, when lit, the Himalayan salt lamp is a beautiful object. The soft glow has a wonderful calming effect and has certainly enhanced the ambience of my room.
As for those negative ions - all the more reason to get out to the stunning watery places of our countryside and coast.
Just sit awhile and breathe it all in.