OF NEGATIVE IONS
Earl Mindell, RPh, MH, PhD
BEST-SELLING AUTHOR OF EARL MINDELL’S NEW VITAMIN BIBLE
1. What Are Negative Ions? 3
2. A Brief History, 9
3. Health Benefits of Negative-Ion Exposure, 25
4. Negative-Ion Devices, 61
About the Author, 89
To my wonderful, beautiful, and talented
grandchildren, Lily and Ryan.
Thank you for having a “happiness effect”
on our family every day.
No truly comprehensive text such as this one is ever the work of just one person. Over the course of writing this book, helpful contributions came from a number of different sources, leaving me with many people to thank. I would first like to thank Patricia Sisler, daughter of Dr. Clarence Hansell, for the background information on her father and his pioneering work in the field of negative ions. Without Dr. Hansell’s dogged perseverance in the face of an unknown phenomenon he felt deserving of study, the power of negative ions might have been left unexamined, and this book certainly would not have been written. Patricia supplied me with the documentation I required to shed light on her father’s important work. I am lucky to have been able to find her, and I am grateful that she was so responsive to my requests.
I would like to thank my editor, Michael Weatherhead, who essentially took the rough draft I’d given him and crafted it into a readable, intelligible, and thorough book. His keen sense of structure and highly skeptical eye kept me on track and set this work on a solid foundation. Such critical resolve was necessary to bring credibility to this incredible subject.
Special thanks go to my publisher, Rudy Shur, who had the open mind and generous spirit to get behind this project and see it through to its best possible conclusion. It goes without saying that I could not have done this without him, but I will continue to say it anyway.
Lastly, it is absolutely imperative that I thank the many scientists and researchers who, over the past handful of decades, have taken the time to conduct and publish studies on negative ions and their effects. The field of negative ions has been one of little interest to the mainstream medical establishment up to this point, and performing good research on this subject is not in any way considered a means of achieving notoriety or earning praise. It is a thankless job at the moment, which is part of the reason I have written this book. I hope its publication moves the subject of negative ions from the fringe of the medical world to a place of acceptance.
As a registered pharmacist, I have always found it ironic that so many doctors view the use of nutrition to heal the body as some sort of alternative medicine. In spite of the fact that countless studies have demonstrated the protective effects of good nutrition, our medical system is rooted in the belief that medication is the only means of relief from our most common health ailments. In an effort to change this mindset, I have spent over thirty years of my life writing books on the topic of nutrition and health, so I was surprised to find myself writing a different type of health book recently. I hadn’t really planned on writing this book, but sometimes something catches your attention, and you just have to go with your gut. So, why write a book on negative ions? You can thank billionaire Mark Cuban.
As it turns out, one of the shows my wife and I enjoy watching is Shark Tank. It’s a clever show on which entrepreneurs of start-up companies are given a few minutes to pitch their products or ideas in front of a group of potential investors, or “sharks,” as they like to be called. Once a pitch is over, the “sharks” are given an opportunity to question the presenter. Understandably, these investors often want to know how far the entrepreneur has gone with the idea, how much money the business has made, what the presenter’s business background is, and what the future may hold for the business. Once the questions end, each “shark” has an opportunity to make a cash bid for a percentage of the business. The premise is simple and the results can be life-changing for the contestant. On one particular occasion, however, something happened that just didn’t seem right—at least it didn’t seem right in my opinion.
A young man was introduced as having a wristband that reversed certain health issues. It was based on the fact that the band emitted negative ions. As he began his pitch, Mark Cuban, one of the investors on the panel, interrupted him to ask what the science was behind the product. The young man looked at Mark like a deer caught in the headlights. Mark asked him again. Whether or not the man had an answer, by the look on his face, it was evident that he was not prepared to respond to such a question, or that he was simply in a state of shock—which I’m assuming could happen when you are being recorded for television. The second non-response was the beginning of Mark’s tirade against the product. Cuban boiled the whole thing down to quackery. Needless to say, that pretty much ended the presenter’s pitch as well as his chances of getting any “shark” to back his product.
Over the next day or two, I thought about that segment and the way in which the product was dismissed outright as worthless. Now, while I didn’t know a great deal about negative ions at the time, I knew several people who had worn similar bracelets, and who had told me how they had worked for them. Out of curiosity, I began to read up on the topic. Through an online search, I found there were hundreds of websites devoted to the negative ions. I began reading everything I came across, and, as is my habit, I started taking notes. What I found was very interesting. There were sites that provided scientific studies on the benefits of negative ions, sites that sold negative-ion products with their own takes on the associated health benefits, and sites that called negative-ion products all a big sham. It was, however, the abundance of positive scientific research that won me over. But if what I was reading was true, why hadn’t the many health benefits of negative ions become common knowledge instead of holding the dishonorable title of quack medicine?
Over the course of the next few months, I began to do more and more research on this subject. It became clear to me that there was, indeed, a jumble of fact and fiction running wild on the Internet. I began, slowly but surely, to sort out the truth. Where a so-called fact or study was cited, if I could not find its original source, I would eliminate it from consideration. Additionally, as I began to put the pieces together, I learned of the fascinating history behind the development and use of negative ions. This history also pointed out how the medicinal establishment of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s—to put it kindly—minimized the health benefits of negative ions. By the time my work was done, I realized I had enough to put together a book on the topic—a book that would, perhaps, answer Mark Cuban’s question, “Where’s the science”?
In closing, let me make the following points: I believe what you will find as you read The Happiness Effect is a simple and economic way to mitigate a number of health issues with absolutely no side effects. I believe negative ions may work better for some individuals than others due to biochemical differences between our bodies, but I also believe negative ions can be a blessing to many people. I will also say that, as a consumer, you must always make certain the product you wish to purchase is up to par. While I have provided some guidelines regarding negative-ion devices in this book, you should always do your homework before buying any product that may affect your health. I hope you find this book helpful.
Dr. Earl Mindell, RPh, MH, PhD Beverly Hills, California
What if I were to tell you there is a force found in nature that can provide you with a feeling of well-being, energize you, allow you to sleep better, relieve your allergies, increase your ability to concentrate, and cheer you up? Sounds crazy, right? But this force exists, and it’s something that you cannot get from a bottle of prescription drugs.
While the pharmaceutical industry certainly has a wide variety of pills to offer those afflicted with health conditions, the problem is that most of these options are expensive and associated with potentially dangerous side effects. While millions, if not billions, of dollars have been spent in the marketing of these problematic options, there has been a simple, natural, low-cost remedy available that may be beneficial in the treatment of a handful of everyday health issues—and with no side effects. This form of therapy has been observed and studied for over 100 years, but chances are you have never heard of it. If you have heard of it, you may not think it works.
For most people, this remedy sounds too good to be true, and that’s exactly what pharmaceutical companies would like you to believe. To the medical researchers who have spent years studying and documenting this natural phenomenon, however, the science is clear. The goal of this book is to provide you with a clear understanding of how negative ions work and how you may find tremendous relief through exposure to these tiny therapeutic chemical elements.
The text begins by defining negative ions and explaining how they may work to ease various health disorders. It goes on to look at the history of negative ions, revealing that Nikola Tesla, one the world’s most brilliant inventors and research ers, may have been the first person to recognize their effects on people. Readers are then given insight into the specific health conditions that may be relieved or mitigated through exposure to negative-ion therapy and its many benefits, hopefully learning how to use the power of negative ions to overcome their own health issues. This book includes some of the major research on negative ions that has been conducted over the last hundred years, detailing the advantages associated with these fascinating atoms and molecules. Lastly, readers will find a handy reference guide to negative-ion generators, which should provide all the information needed to make an educated decision on which one to use.
Good health may be something you wish for others or for yourself, but wishing doesn’t ensure that it will happen. By taking responsibility for your well-being, you may be able to achieve the good health you seek. By learning as much as you can about safe and proven alternative treatments for certain ailments, you may obtain the relief that has thus far been elusive.
I hope this book leads you to a life full of energy, happiness, sound sleep, and rejuvenation, leaving you able to overcome any challenges that may come your way.
CHAPTER 1: What Are Negative Ions?
Think back to the most recent time you visited a beach, lake, or even the local park. How did the environment make you feel? Chances are you felt energized, alert, and rejuvenated. That’s because in addition to the beautiful scenery and relaxing activities, there were thousands of invisible moodenhancers all around you called negative ions.
While you may be unaware of it, negative ions are responsible for that sudden rush of feel-good energy you experience when you walk outside for the first time after eight hours in a sterile, air-conditioned office. Depression, mood disorders such as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and even allergies to spores, pollen, and dust have all been shown to improve with enough exposure to negative ions. The benefits, however, don’t stop there. Negative ions may be beneficial in all areas of your personal health and well-being, including sleep, weight loss, concentration, and athletic performance.
This chapter will look at what negative ions are and how their many healthful effects were discovered. As you will learn, the good news is that you don’t have to travel all the way to the nearest waterfall to expose yourself to negative ions. In fact, anyone can enjoy the advantages of negative ions, regardless of geographic location. One of the easiest ways to experience the benefits of negative ions would be to drive out to the country, roll down your car window, and breathe in some fresh air. Here’s an example that’s even closer to home: Take a shower. Don’t you feel more awake after a shower? While you may not have realized it, this sense of refreshment is the product of negative ions.
Of course, science has been able to harness the force of these ions in a more controlled manner, as you will find out in Chapter 4. Before we get to that, however, the first thing you should understand is the nature of this amazing electrical wonder.
In order to understand what ions are and what they do, we must discuss electricity. We can see the power of electricity in our homes as it provides the energy that enables lights to shine, appliances to run, and temperatures to rise and fall according to our needs. The electricity we use at home is carried by wires. The human body is, in a manner of speaking, wired in the same way. Electricity flows through your nervous system, allowing your heart to beat, your skin to feel, and your brain to think. Without this “charge of life,” there would be no life—human or otherwise. It is clear that electricity plays an important role in our own abilities to function as well as in the world at large. So, what are the elements that make up electricity? To answer this question, we need to understand a little bit about physics.
The physical world—everything you know—is composed of very tiny chemical elements called atoms. Molecules are formed when two or more atoms are joined together chemically. For example, think of a Lego set. Consider a single Lego piece an atom. When you combine two Lego pieces together, you create a molecule.
At the center of each atom is the nucleus. The nucleus is made up of particles known as protons and neutrons. Protons possess a positive charge, while neutrons do not have any charge. Like moons orbiting a planet, particles called electrons spin around the nucleus. Electrons are negatively charged. When there are an equal number of protons and electrons in an atom, the molecule is said to have a neutral charge. When these particles are unbalanced, the atom or molecule is called an ion and holds either a positive charge or a negative charge. An ion with more protons than electrons is called a positive ion, while an ion with more electrons than protons is called a negative ion. Both positive and negative ions occur naturally but may also be created by man-made devices. Moreover, both types of ion can affect behavior and attitude.
THE POSITIVE IONS AROUND US
Positive ions can be created by hot desert winds, cell phones, radio and television transmitters, cell towers, and direct current power lines. While their effects on humans are controversial, the results of being exposed to too many positive ions do not appear to be good. Arguments can be made that too much exposure to these ions may be detrimental to your health and well-being. Positive ions may even have the potential to increase emotional distress, disrupt brain function, induce problematic metabolic changes, cause fatigue, and interfere with the functions of the immune system. Research seems to indicate that some people may be more prone to the negative effects of positive ions than others.
While the negative effects of positive ions have not been determined conclusively, what we do know is that modern lifestyle has placed all of us in an environment that is permanently creating positive ions. A quick glance around any room in your house will reveal many of these man-made positiveion generators, such as your cell phone, television, laptop, or air conditioner. Your work environment is likely similar, trapping you in a vicious cycle no matter where you go, and leaving you feeling tired and unmotivated all day long. At the same time, when it comes to office buildings, often a building’s insulation is such that it does not allow the inflow of beneficial negative ions to offset all the harmful positive ions being generated inside. Engineers and construction workers go to great lengths to make buildings as insulated as possible, which helps business owners maintain and regulate temperatures inside their offices more easily. The downside to this superior insulation is that it not only prevents negative ions from coming in but also keeps the positive ions from cell phones, microwaves, dust, pollution, and stale air from escaping. The result is poor air quality.
Thankfully, negative ions are much more prevalent in nature than positive ions. They can be found at beaches, by lakes, on mountains, near waterfalls, and after thunderstorms.
NATURE’S NEGATIVE IONS
In nature, the most common molecules include hydrogen, carbon dioxide, oxygen, and water. When a violent natural event, such as a heavy waterfall hitting the surface of a lake, is in the midst of occurring, its sheer force ejects electrons from water molecules and spreads them into the air, where they then search for other molecules on which to cling.
In the waterfall example, the electrons leaving the water molecules tend to attach themselves to oxygen molecules. As mentioned, once an atom or molecule acquires more electrons than it has protons (in this case, extra electrons from the water molecules), it instantly becomes a negative ion. Thus, as the force of the waterfall removes a few electrons from each water molecule, thousands of negatively charged oxygen molecules are created and the air is made rich in negative ions. The sheer number of negative ions in the air you breathe causes you to feel clear and revitalized almost immediately. If you’ve ever been to a waterfall and taken a deep breath, that surreal alertness and sense of self-awareness is the abundance of negative ions at work. Negative ions can be measured in cubic centimeters, and a typical waterfall setting can have as many as 5,000 negative ions per cubic centimeter. Visit Niagara Falls and you’ll experience a whopping 100,000 negative ions per cubic centimeter.
People who suffer the ill effects of airborne allergens receive an added benefit from negative ions. As negative charges attract positive charges, negative ions attract allergens such as dust, mold, and pollen, which are positively charged. The allergens combine with the negative ions, forming clusters that become heavy and fall to the ground to be swept up instead of inhaled.
Sadly, upon returning from any trip during which negative ions were plentiful, you will most probably be welcomed back to an office environment that rewards you with fewer than 50 negative ions per cubic centimeter. And if you leave the air conditioner on or get stuck in traffic during rush hour, that number will plummet to almost zero.
Waterfalls, of course, aren’t the only way to experience a healthy dose of negative ions. You can visit the beach and stand near the shore, where the waves crash into the shoreline and are constantly moving. If the weather doesn’t warrant a trip to the beach, you can always try the negative ion generator right in your own home: the shower. In the shower, water crashes against the walls and your body, and you are right in the middle of it all. After only ten or fifteen minutes in the shower, you will already feel refreshed and ready to take on the day.
While, understandably, the physical action of negative and positive ions cannot be seen by the naked eye, scientists today are able to measure the level of ions made by both natural and artificial means. In spite of the observable changes in human behavior after exposure to negative ions, there has been a great reluctance on the part of the conservative medical community to accept the many benefits provided by these molecules. But why shouldn’t we consider as treatment this effective remedy to a host of problems? Negative ions can be self-administered, have no problematic side effects, and cost a great deal less than a daily regimen of drugs to acquire. As you shall see in the next chapter, there is a remarkable history behind the discovery of negative ions and their benefits—one that includes some of the world’s greatest minds.
CHAPTER 2: A Brief History
It may have been an article written by Nikola Tesla in 1900 that opened the door to understanding the medical benefits of ions, but the power of electricity has always played an important role in the development of human society. It is worth noting that what we take for granted today was a great source of mystery for millennia.
IN THE BEGINNING
Early humans living in caves knew of electricity through the bolts of lightning unleashed from the heavens during thunderstorms. While they may not have understood the science of electricity, they quickly learned to fear and respect this majestic power from above—a power that produced uncommonly loud claps of thunder, split mighty trees in half, started fires, and extinguished the life of any poor soul standing in the wrong place. Over time, this phenomenon would be given a divine quality according to various religious traditions. From the Greeks to the Romans, from the Chinese to the indigenous tribes scattered throughout the world, lightning had a special meaning.
It would take the scientific minds of the Age of Enlightenment of the mid-eighteenth century to give serious thought to understanding the nature of electricity. One of the earliest investigations of lightning was proposed by Benjamin Franklin at the outset of the 1750s. To prove that lightning was, indeed, electricity, Franklin suggested flying a kite with a key attached to it in the middle of a thunderstorm. Although we do not know that Franklin actually performed this famous experiment, as the story goes, he mounted a piece of wire to the kite as a lightning rod, and then attached a key to the bottom of the kite string, which was connected to a Leyden jar. This jar would be used to “collect” the electricity from the lightning. During a storm, he noticed the wet string of the kite being charged with static electricity and decided to touch the key, receiving a mild shock. This shock, along with witnessing the electrified string and subsequently charged Leyden jar, was proof that lightning was, in fact, a form of electricity. Moreover, Franklin was the first to theorize the cause of a bolt of lightning as the exchange of a negative force and a positive force. Based on these notions, Franklin would invent the lightning rod, which would be used to protect structures from catching fire as a result of lightning strikes.
In Europe, additional theories were soon being devised and experiments conducted in an effort to better understand this force of nature. In the 1770s, Father Giuseppe Toaldo, a famous Italian physicist and professor, influenced by Benjamin Frank lin’s new invention, decided to measure electricity’s impact on plant growth. He claimed that plants growing next to a lightning rod’s conductor wire grew almost ten times taller than identical plants only a few feet away. In 1775, Father Giovanni Battista Beccaria of the University of Turin set out to determine if electricity had an observable effect on plant life as
well. In his Treatise upon Artificial Electricity, he wrote, “With regard to atmospheric electricity it appears manifest, that nature makes and extensive use of it for promoting vegetation.” These were the first steps towards recognition of electricity’s influence on the natural world and all living things.
At about the same time, French physicist Jean-Antoine Nollet, the first to be named professor of physics at the University of Paris, planted several dozen mustard seeds in two separate containers and electrified one of the containers using an electrostatic generator. At the end of one week, every seed in the electrified container had sprouted and grown a few millimeters, while the other container showed little progress. While these experiments showed that the use of static electricity improved the growth of plants, the underlying physics of electricity would not be explored until the mid-1800s.
In 1830s England, Michael Faraday documented the movements of ions as he studied electrical charges in gas-filled tubes, which were essentially early versions of cathode tubes. And while scientists throughout Europe were debating the nature of these particles, it was Julius Elster and Hans Friedrich Geitel, two lifelong friends and physics teachers working together at the Great School of Wolfenbüttel in Germany, who stated that electrostatic fields were made up of the electrically charged particles known as ions, which could be found in the air all around us. Their discovery would be one of the first major steps towards realizing just how electrically charged our environment really is.
TESLA OPENS THE DOOR
It would take the vision of an engineering genius to refine the electrical system we use today as well as to recognize the true power of negative ions. Nikola Tesla was born in Serbia in 1856. After studying physics and engineering at the Austrian Polytechnic Institute in Graz and the University of Prague in the 1870s, he immigrated to the United States in 1884. First working at Thomas Edison’s laboratory in 1884, Tesla soon left Edison’s employ, feeling mistreated by his American employer, who was much more focused on business success and finances than on real technical advancements in electrical engineering.
With the financial backing of other supporters, Tesla would develop technologies to generate and transmit alternating-current (AC) electricity, experiment with x-rays and radio communication, and work with General Electric to create the first modern power station at Niagara Falls. While his interests were many and varied, he devoted a great deal of research to the study of the electrical properties involved in xrays, wireless communication, ionization, electromagnetic flux, and Earth’s field of gravity.
Tesla’s most widely known invention may be the highvoltage transformer known as the “Tesla coil,” which he created in 1891, after conducting dangerous experiments that involved hundreds of thousands of volts of electricity. According to Margaret Cheney’s Tesla: Man Out of Time, these experiments led Tesla to announce “the therapeutic deep-heating value of high-frequency currents on the human body,” which would initiate the creation of “an enormous field of medical technology, with many early imitators both in America and Europe.” While this field of technology was mainly focused on the possible medical uses of “heat production resulting from the bombardment of tissue with high-frequency alternating currents,” which today include x-ray, microwave, and radio wave applications, Tesla was also interested in the health benefits of what he called “cold fire.” This “cold fire” was essentially the brush discharge from a low-power device, which Tesla felt both refreshed the mind and cleansed the skin. In fact, he may have been simply describing the effects of negative ions.
Perhaps Tesla’s most notable depiction of the power of negative ions came as a result of his disappointment at being bested by German scientist Carl von Linde. After Linde reported his breakthrough in the process of liquefying oxygen—a process on which Tesla himself had been working— Tesla became depressed. As described by author Margaret Cheney, the inventor relied on his “electric treatment” to overcome his sadness, stating “I was so blue and discouraged in those days . . . that I don’t believe I could have borne up but for the regular electric treatment which I administered to myself. You see, electricity puts into the tired body just what it most needs—life force, nerve force. It’s a great doctor, I can tell you, perhaps the greatest of all doctors.”
Although Tesla was not at all interested in turning his small Tesla coil into a business in the field of medical equipment, he allowed a third party to produce and sell these devices to the doctors and professors who had been phoning in from all over the country with inquiries. Sales of his medical coil soon brought him some money, which he used to finance new inventions.
In its June 1900 issue, The Century boasted a “remarkable article by Nikola Tesla,” “The Problem of Increasing Human Energy.” [See page 18.] In this piece, Tesla discussed his machine, the Tesla coil, and the way in which it allowed electrical current to flow through the air. Technology at that time had been using wire to conduct electricity, as technology still does today, but Tesla had been able to use air. In connection with this phenomenon, Tesla also described a remarkable feat. He had allowed the electricity being carried through the air to pass through his body with absolutely no harmful effects. He had “demonstrated that powerful electrical discharges of several hundred thousand volts, which at that time were considered absolutely deadly, could be passed through the body without inconvenience or hurtful consequences.”
While this description would surely have been enough to thrill readers, Tesla mentioned another significant observation in his article. To quote the inventor, “These oscillations produced other specific physiological effects, which, upon my announcement, were eagerly taken up by skilled physicians and further investigated. This new field has proved itself fruitful beyond expectation, and in the few years which have passed since, it has been developed to such an extent that it now forms a legitimate and important department of medical science.” Using electrical currents emanating from his Tesla coil, it seems Tesla had been able to create positive ions and negative ions—something that had not been done before, or, at least, had not been recognized by the scientific community at the time. Most likely, Tesla was referring to the physiological effects brought about by exposure to the negative ions generated during his experiment—the very same ions that hold the potential to heal the body and change an individual’s attitude. Unfortunately, Tesla never built upon the potential of these findings, though he had been fascinated with them at the time. Instead, he chose other paths to follow—ones that met his ever-changing interests.
Despite giving very little attention to his coil’s medical applications, “[i]n his old age Tesla was gratified to hear his invention of electrical oscillation devices for medical therapy receive high accolades.” The truth is that the therapeutic implications of Tesla’s work are still being explored in the medical field. “As is typical of so many of Tesla’s inventions, scholars still do not know the whole range of their possible applications.”
THE WORK OF DR. HANSELL
It was not until the early 1930s that the first specific investigation into the biological effects of ionized air began, thanks to an American research engineer named Dr. Clarence Hansell. An inventor of extraordinary merit, Dr. Hansell founded and directed the Rocky Point Research Section of the RCA Radio Transmission Laboratory in 1925, and by the time of his death in 1967, had been granted over 300 US patents, second only to Thomas Edison.
As Dr. Hansell worked in his laboratory in 1932, he noticed something peculiar in the behavior of one of his laboratory assistant engineers. When his assistant worked next to the electrostatic generator, he seemed to experience mood swings whenever the generator changed its polarity and thus the type of ions it released into the air. If the generator produced negative ions, the assistant felt a sense of euphoria and was more energetic. When the machine made positive ions, however, the assistant would experience a drop in mood and would easily become aggressive and be more prone to headaches. Hansell reasoned that this behavior change was more than likely due to one thing—the type of ions being generated by the lab’s large generator. He clearly recognized that the ionized air had produced a powerful biological effect on his assistant. But there was more.
As he studied his engineer’s behavior, Dr. Hansell observed something else that was just as intriguing. The lab he worked in was always full of dust, owing to all the activities that were going on. For those who suffered from allergies, the particles floating in the air only made their conditions worse. As soon as the ion generator began producing negative ions, however, something amazing happened. Those allergy sufferers who were closest to the generator experienced the complete disappearance of their symptoms. The more Dr. Hansell observed this phenomenon, the more he came to realize that it was the negative ions that could not only alter mood but also alleviate allergies by eliminating the offending specks from the air.
Working with his machinist, Al Streib, Dr. Hansell created a small mobile device that could produce negative ions. He and Streib tested their machine on family members and friends, and could quickly see how effective it was at getting rid of airborne allergens and boosting mood. Over the next few years, Dr. Hansell approached the executives at RCA, asking them to consider producing a similar tool, but RCA saw no value in its commercial production.
In 1945, Dr. Hansell served as a scientific investigator with the Technical Industrial Intelligence Committee in Germany for the US Government. His interest in ions had not waned. While there, he continued to investigate and report on information concerning air ionization. He theorized that by putting a negative-ion device in submarines, he could reduce the amount of allergies in the air of the vessel and improve the moods of the sailors.
This ionization theory led to an association with Mr. W. Wesley Hicks, President of Wesix Electric Heater Company. Mr. Hicks soon became one of the most active promoters and the most effective supporter of air ionization research in the United States. Their association continued until the death of Mr. Hicks on December 8, 1960. It was Mr. Hicks’ involvement in the commercial application of negative-ion equipment that opened up the field for the introduction of artificially ionized air produced by air conditioners.
As Hicks was developing negative-ion equipment, Hansell continued to research and write about the therapeutic potential of negative ions until his death. Unfortunately for both Hicks and Hansell, the work on negative ions in the US came under attack as quackery by the medical establishment throughout the post-war era, in spite of the existence of evidence to the contrary. Whatever negative ion research done or equipment created in the United States, it was quickly labeled fraudulent by the mainstream scientific community.
Along with a handful of European nations, it was predominantly the Soviet Union that resumed government-sanctioned studies on electricity and ionization soon after the war. It was Russian pride and emphasis on its athletes that led their researchers to continue the work on negative ions. Their immediate goal was to see how effective it could be in improving their athletes’ performance abilities.
As historical record proves, while scientists of the eighteenth century sensed the connection between electricity and its influence on life—specifically plant life—it was scientists of the early twentieth century who came to understand the physical nature of negative ions. Beyond the real breakthroughs that both Tesla and Hansell had made in connection with ions and human behavior, however, the potential of ionized air was brushed under the carpet in the United States. While emphasis in this country focused on finding magic potions in the form of pharmaceuticals to cure a wide range of illnesses, other scientists from around the world looked towards the fascinating subject of ions for better, safer, and more concrete answers.