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Nature’s Healing Touch: Negative Ions and Cancer

Published by Connealy, MD on June 6, 2024

Nature’s Healing Touch- Negative Ions and Cancer

Our connection to nature is deeply rooted in our evolutionary history. Spending time in nature has been essential for our physical, mental, and emotional well-being since ancient times. However, in today’s modern world, we are more disconnected from nature than ever before. Our lifestyles often involve spending long hours indoors, surrounded by technology and artificial environments. This disconnection from nature can lead to various health issues and stress.

Reconnecting with nature and spending time outdoors is vital for optimal health. Modern science is beginning to recognize the countless benefits nature offers for our physical, mental, and emotional wellness.

New research has shown that spending time in nature can lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone), reduce blood pressure, reduce inflammation, boost immune function, and promote relaxation. These physiological responses contribute to a sense of calmness and restoration when immersed in natural settings.

Electron Loss

Our cells can lose electrons when they are under cellular stress. For example, exposure to radiation, pollution, and certain chemicals, chronic inflammation, and aging can cause oxidative stress, or the loss of electrons. Positive ions, also commonly referred to as free radicals, are molecules that have lost one or more electrons. These ions are invisible, but harmful to our cells because they ‘steal’ electrons from the body to neutralize their charge. This ultimately harms cells and can result in changes that lead to the development of cancer. Some of these include:

  • DNA damage
  • Protein damage
  • Cellular dysfunction
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction
  • Cell death

Conversely, negative ions are atoms or molecules with extra negatively-charged electrons, meaning they contain more electrons than protons. These ions can ‘donate’ electrons to cells. In fact, antioxidants prevent damage from free radicals by donating electrons to our bodies. 

Negative ions are abundant in nature, especially around waterfalls, on the ocean surf, at the beach and in mountains and forests. When water molecules in these environments are agitated, such as by the crashing of waves or the movement of air through trees, they can release negative ions into the air. These negative ions are created when an atom or molecule gains an extra electron, giving it a negative electrical charge.

Sources of positive ions:

  • WIFI
  • Cellular devices
  • Air pollution
  • Microwaves
  • Toxic chemicals
  • Fluorescent lights

Sources of negative ions:

  • Waterfalls
  • Beaches
  • Ocean surf
  • Forests
  • Mountains
  • Rivers, streams, ponds, lakes, etc.
  • Thunderstorms & rainfall
  • Water fountains

Benefits of Negative Ions:

In natural settings like waterfalls or forests, the presence of negative ions can have various effects on the environment and our bodies:

  • Air Purification: Negative ions are known to attract and bind with airborne particles like dust, pollen, mold spores, and bacteria. This process causes these particles to become heavier and eventually fall out of the air, leading to cleaner and fresher air.
  • Reduced Inflammation: Negative ions can act as antioxidants, neutralizing free radicals in the body that contribute to inflammation and oxidative stress.
  • Improved Cellular Function: Negative ions may enhance the absorption of oxygen by cells, leading to improved cellular respiration and energy production.
  • Improved Blood Flow: Negative ions have been associated with improved blood flow and microcirculation, ensuring efficient delivery of nutrients and oxygen to cells and removal of waste products.
  • Stress Reduction: Being in environments rich in negative ions, such as near waterfalls or in forests, is often linked to reduced stress levels and feelings of calmness. This effect is sometimes referred to as “negative ion therapy” or “forest bathing.”
  • Increased Energy: Some studies suggest that exposure to negative ions can boost energy levels and alleviate feelings of fatigue or lethargy. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the energy currency of cells. Negative ions may stimulate ATP production, providing cells with more energy for essential functions.

Negative Ions and Cancer

Because these ions help restore cell function and mitigate damage and inflammation, they are especially helpful for cancer. One animal study found that negative ions “significantly enhanced the cytotoxic activity of natural killer cells, and significantly decreased the incidence of cancer and inhibited tumor growth. Anti-tumor effects were attributed to enhancement of natural killer cell activity.” Authors concluded that negative ions inhibit carcinogenesis, suppress tumor growth, and improve cachexia.

Water-generated negative air ions activate NK cell and inhibit carcinogenesis in mice PMID: 16171944

Some ways to increase exposure to negative ions:

  • Walk barefoot outside in grass
  • Take dips in the ocean
  • Go for mountain hikes
  • Spend time outside after thunderstorms
  • Take walks in a forests

Biological effects of negative air ions on human health and integrated multiomics to identify biomarkers: a literature review PMID: 37170052

Our bodies have evolved over millennia in natural environments, and there are real physiological reasons why being outdoors in nature has a calming and healing effect on us. Exposure to natural elements like sunlight, fresh air, water, and green spaces has been linked to reduced stress levels and  enhanced overall well-being. A  major component of healing any condition is connecting back to nature!

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