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Negative ion generators are a type of electrical device that creates charged particles, called negative ions. Health benefits from ion therapy may include prevention of allergies and treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Negative ions may also increase the flow of oxygen to the brain. When a negative ion generator runs continuously, it creates what is known as ionized air. Air ionizers use an electrically charged plate to create many negative ions. These plates add an electron to many types of gasses in the air.
Positive ions have been suggested to have negative health effects, such as dry eyes, depression, and unclear thinking. Common household devices that generate positive ions are appliances such as hair dryers. Some advocates of negative ion generators claim that the positive ions generated by common household devices cause subtle changes in the body's chemistry, which may manifest as any number of symptoms.
Negative ion generators may also attract microbes and dust to their electrically charged plates. The circulation of disease-causing microbes and allergens in the area may therefore decrease.
Ion therapy became popular in the 1970s when a researcher published several scientific articles which attributed an improvement in several breathing problems to the placement of air ionizers in the area.
Today, air ionizers are sold in some mainstream specialty and department stores. Air ionizers are more popular in Japan and Eastern Europe than they are in the United States and Western Europe.
Though air ionizers are sold on the premise that they may prevent and reduce the severity of respiratory problems, such as allergic bronchitis, allergic sinusitis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and hay fever, high quality medical trials using air ionizers to treat these conditions are lacking. More information is needed before a strong clinical recommendation can be made.
Recent research has investigated the use of air ionizers for the treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of yearly depression that occurs in the winter for individuals living in the Northern hemisphere and in the summer for individuals living in the Southern hemisphere.
You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.