Here at Jungle Miami we believe in doing everything like nature intended. We preach whole foods, we excercise barefoot, we drink water, and we breath fresh air. That's why we're the Jungle.
So check out this article on the curative effects of fresh air by Thomas Valone, a licensed professional engineer, physicist, and environmental consultant. It'll blow your mind!
"Fresh Air Curative Effect Related to Ions and Traces of Ozone"
Ions and trace amounts of ozone have been found to be the two missing ingredients of typical indoor air. This article traces the history of ion and ozone research, including medical findings. Modern home and office buildings are often airtight with windows that do not open. As indoor pollutants build up, sick building syndrome is on the rise. A few parts per billion of ozone, along with a healthy dose of negative ions, sanitizes, deodorizes, and revitalizes the air. This synergistic combination has been found to produce a wide range of health benefits, which are described in this article.
Not until 1752 was the secret of atmospheric electricity discovered -- when Ben Franklin in the U.S. and d'Alibard, a French investigator, working independently, proved that lightning occurs when thunder clouds discharge electricity. It was a reasonable explanation -- foreshadowed years before when one observer had noted crackling and flashes when he rubbed a lump of amber and held it closed to a finger. "It seems", he had suggested, "in some degree to represent thunder and lightning."
Another form of atmospheric electricity, more subtle than celestial phenomena, was discovered by Lemonnier, who found that an iron wire attached from the top of a building to the bottom produced sparks at times. It even vigorously attracted dust particles in fine weather, indicating that it was electrified. The electricity must be coming from the air.
Father Giambattista Beccaria of the University of Turin made careful observations for 20 years. He finally wrote, "It appears that nature makes extensive use of atmospheric electricity for promoting vegetation." He also added, " We have also observed that artificial electricity without sparks has the same effect on vegetation."
What was this electricity that these early pioneers were experiencing? Not until the latter part of the 19th century did Elster and Geitel in Germany and J.J. Thomson of England discover ions in the air. "Ion" comes from the Greek for "traveler". The term was first used to describe charged atoms moving in solution. For example, when table salt is dissolved in water, the sodium chloride splits into sodium ions and chlorine ions which will migrate to negative and positive electrodes respectively.
Air ions are somewhat different from ions in solution. Energy is needed for their formation -- even the shearing of water droplets in a waterfall supplies enough energy to make the fine spray carry a considerable load of small negative air ions while the heavier positive ions stay in the tumbling water. Ion concentrations have been measured at spas located near waterfalls to be as high as 35,000 per cubic centimeter of air.
Urban Air Is Ion Depleted
However, modern urban environments present a different kind of air quality: ion depletion.
Very few human activities add small ions to the air while many of them lead to ion loss. Industrial pollutants, traffic-engendered smog, and the ducts of ventila-tion systems all strip ions from the air.
As a result, we suffer not only the direct toxic effect of pollutants we generate but also long continued exposure to air in which the normal total ion concentration of about 2,000-3,000 per cubic centimeter (as found in the relatively clean air of open country) is reduced to barely detectable levels. Headache, somnolence, loss of attention, and general discomfort are just some of the initial reactions to air ion depletion.
Treatment of Disease With Ions
As noted in the book, The Ion Effect, by Fred Soyka (Ballantine Books, 1991), electronic negative ion generators have been used for the treatment of migraines, bedsores, allergies, asthma, catarrh, hay fever, eczema, burns, emphysema, and even as a substitute for tranquilizers. It was discovered that negative ions lowers serotonin in the body, and this explains why people tend to feel more alert, stable, and energized in their presence. Dr. Kreuger found that bacteria, staphylococci, and fungi growth is halted in the presence of negative ions, which explains the healing side effect. Dr. I. Kornblueh mounted experiments at the Northeastern Hospital, U. of Penn. Graduate Hospital, and at the Frankford Hospital in Philadelphia where he was able to report that 63 per cent of patients suffering from hay fever or bronchial asthma "have experienced partial or total relief" from negative ion therapy. Positive ions, on the other hand, make breathing more difficult, from Russian studies.
Ion and Ozone Synergy
Russian studies have also pointed indicated that "atmospheric ozone and ions are the vehicles of freshness". In studies at the Academy of Medical Sciences, Drs. Gubernskii and Dmitriev found that 0.005 ppm (parts-per-million) to 0.02 ppm of ozone added to normal deozonated indoor air increased animals' resistance to the cold, to infection, to toxic substances, and to oxygen deprivation. A general increase in the immune "biological potential" and the vital capacity of the lungs was reported.
Also produced during a thunderstorm, three atoms of oxygen combine in a temporarily stable molecule called ozone. As soon as ozone encounters almost anything, including another ozone molecule, it breaks apart and oxidizes the substance. This includes odor-causing chemical gases, bacterial and microbial cells, and even dust particles.
Present in fresh country and mountain air in the average concentration of 0.03 ppm, atmospheric ozone is what gave your mother's clothes on the line that fresh smell.
Not surprisingly, nature uses ozone to clean the air, even in polluted cities like Los Angeles and Mexico City, where ultraviolet light in the presence of "photochemical smog" produces enough ozone to break down the automobile hydrocarbons in the air. Where there is a lot of auto exhaust and sunlight, nature creates a lot of ozone to oxidize the poisons.
Ozone is a disinfectant. Twin City Testing Labs in Minnesota demonstrated a steady decline in 5 strains of infectious microorganisms in 4 hours with as little as .05 ppm of ozone. These "bioaerosols" , often incubating in dirty air ducts, could be projected to be completely eliminated in 24 hours from the Twin City Labs test data. It has been argued that the same disinfecting action takes place in the human sinus cavities (where invading microbes first take hold) as well as further down the respiratory tract, while breathing fresh mountain air containing trace amounts of ozone.
If we go this far, it is also interesting to note that ozone is virucidal (East West magazine, Sept. 1989). Therefore, the question about its effect on the incidence of the common cold can be raised. East West describes virus-killing medical techniques that are being researched for a wide range of diseases.
Office Buildings Cause Dis-Ease
The most detailed account of the beneficial effects of trace amounts of ozone on the repiratory system comes from Drs. Gurbernskii and Dmitriev who report "that conditioned air causes employees working in office buildings to complain of headaches, weakness, a general poor feeling, oxygen deprivation, and leads to increased illness, rapid fatigue, and a reduction of the capacity to work."
They also note that "in addition, the number of colds, rheumatism, severe catarrh, of the upper breathing passages, cardio-vascular disorders significantly increased" with conditioned air even in the absence of indoor air pollution.
Ozone-Ion Complex Fights Sick Building Syndrome
Tests were done with less than .01 ppm of ozone reveal that "the levels of oxygen in the blood increase relatively quickly and remain at a high level for the duration of the experiment." They conclude by stating that "atmospheric ozone has a positive effect on animals and people. It is important to note its positive effect on the breathing system, blood composition, arterial pressure, immune system, general feeling of well-being, and mental and physical work capability." They note further that "the ozone-ion complex is a necessary component of fresh air that gives it a curative effect."
If that isn't enough, we find that in the journal Priroda (1976, No. 9, p.26), the above researchers report that, with tests of 0.005 to 0.02 ppm of ozone for 2-5 months, "an increase in the resistance to the cold, to the presence of toxic substances , and to anemia was discovered." In addition, they discovered an increase in hemoglobin and quantity of red blood corpuscles as well. The same article refers to the decrease in complaints of stuffiness (3.8 times less complaints) and 44% more positive remarks for an average of 0.0075 ppm (less than 0.01 ppm) of ozone.
Artificially Add Ions and Ozone
The researchers conclude, "After analyzing the composition of air in the internal environment of a person's dwelling in all sorts of buildings, it is possible to conclude that the optimum situation is a set of complex factors (ozone and ionized regime...) which, evidently, in the future will be necessary to artificially introduce into air conditioning systems. Without this favorable effect the air will be lacking."
Precisely reproducing quantities of ozone and ions found in fresh air is the best answer to revitalizing the home and office since people spend on the average 90% of their time indoors, often with windows that are sealed shut.
About the Author
Thomas Valone is a licensed professional engineer, physicist, and environmental consultant. He is a former college professor who is the author of two books and over 100 articles on popular science topics.
©Copyright 1996 by Thomas Valone, M.A., P.E.
(Explore Issue: Volume 7, Number 1)