Non-traditional methods of health care are very popular in our present culture. Some practices once considered ridiculous, such as acupuncture, are now quite acceptable within the mainstream of medical thought. The trends for alternative treatments come and go, and while many are eventually proven to be little but latter day snake oil, some seem to hold promise. To a degree, the health benefits of negative ions fall into this latter category.
There is much debate concerning negative ions, both pro and con. Most companies manufacturing these devices make a number of grandiose claims, all largely unproven. However, this is not to say that the claims lack a certain amount of validity. The ion generators may well contribute to good health, however the stridency of the advertising should be taken with a grain of salt.
One will usually read that ion generators clean the air of dust and dust mites, animal dander, and mold spores. It will often further be stated that negative ions can kill harmful germs and bacteria, and do away with smoke and unwanted odors. Normally, the sales pitch touts the generators as a boon to those who are afflicted with allergies or asthma. Some models are even equipped with an ultra-violet filter that is supposed to aid in the cleansing process.
The truth of the matter is that negative ion generators do remove a certain amount of particulates from the air. However, several clinical studies have shown that their effectiveness is often exaggerated. Machines producing negative ions can run into hundreds of US Dollars (USD) or more, and the consumer would be wise to consider all claims carefully. The generators might help asthma and allergy sufferers, but they are far from a miracle cure. People may have better results avoidign allergens as much as possible and consulting with a healthcare professional on possible drug therapies.
Some proponents say that negative ions may help those afflicted with depression, moods disorders, chronic fatigue, or seasonal affected disorder. In this case, there have not been enough large scale, clinical studies conducted to either validate or invalidate the efficacy of negative ions. However, some smaller studies do indicate that exposure to negative ions may well increase the levels of serotonin in the bloodstream. Serotonin is a chemical produced naturally in the body that leads to mood enhancement.