Oxygen ionization describes when the molecules of oxygen (O2) energetically add an electron (O2– = electrically negatively charged ionized oxygen) or energetically takes an electron (O2+ = electrically positively charged ionized oxygen). There are two topics to consider when discussing ionized air. Atmospheric air ionization and Therapeutic ionized oxygen. Because most people are interested in therapeutic ionized oxygen, we will start with this discussion first. Following this, we will discuss atmospheric air ionization and how it is contributing to low ionized oxygen level.
OXYGEN AS THERAPY
There are a number of situations in which the oxygen supply of the tissues and cells declines: lack of exercise/motion, toxins, infections, tobacco smoke, allergies, emotions, anesthetics, immune suppressive therapies, radiation, chemotherapy, hypotension, certain electrical field exposures, low thyroid, and most notably, aging. Too little oxygen in the body leads to an inefficient metabolism and excessive formation of oxygen radicals (ROS). The consequence is a drop in mental and physical performance, cellular and organ dysfunction, and if prolonged progressive diseases.
It has been estimated that two thirds of the population suffer from chronic hidden oxygen deficiency (L. Fodor in Ref. 1, Page 54). These people often appeared tired or older than their age outdated appearance, suffer from fatigue, insomnia, reduced mental clarity and concentration, forgetfulness, reduced physical performance and tissue repair, light-headedness, tinnitus, headaches, muscle cramps, heart complaints, etc.
Can you influence this chronic oxygen deficiency in a simple way? Dr. Ivan Engler reported that 980 seniors given ionized oxygen (IOT) had their measurable oxygen supply value, several important laboratory parameters, psychological and motor achievement, as well as appearance and quality of life improve by about 5-10 years. They had been “rejuvenated.” (Ref. 1, Chapter 11.5, 24.5, the so called Anti-Aging & Geriatric Program). Ionized Oxygen Therapy (IOT) works holistically, supports all therapy methods or reduces their undesirable side effects by the five “R” mechanisms:
Re-oxygenation by increasing the oxygen supply in the cells
Reduction of free radicals (ROS) with O2+
Regulation of the vegetative, regulatory situation
Re-hydration – by drinking ionized oxygenated water
Revitalization with improvement of the biological age
Ionization is part of a healthy atmosphere. It is one of nature’s tools for maintaining and cleaning the air. Though positive and negative ionization exist together naturally in the atmosphere, and abundance of negative ionization appears to have very beneficial effects on humans, animal, and plants while an abundance of positive ionization seems to be detrimental.
There are five oxygen forms which can be energetically produced and each is produced differently, and therefore each is different in its biological effect. With normal ecological proportions in nature, also in the healthy body, they all seem to be working in well balanced, probiotic (= biologically favorable) quantities.
IONIZED OXYGEN THERAPY (IOT) components
O2 Molecular medical-grade pure oxygen delivered at 6 lpm
O3 Ozone in trace amounts like in nature
1O2 Singlet oxygen in trace amounts like in nature
O2+ Positively ionized oxygen up to a concentration of ~100,000* per cc of O2
O2– Negatively ionized oxygen up to a concentration of ~100,000* per cc of O2
* selected according to the vegetative regulatory situation through VNS
The choice of oxygen ions (O2– or O2+) can be determined according to the clinical picture of the autonomic vegetative nervous system. It can be even more precisely and objectively determined by the VNS Diagnosis 3000 by Dr. Engler. Through contact with the gold electrodes of the VNS 3000, measurement of the electrical skin resistance (in k ) and the electrical skin conductivity (in µ Farad) on the palms determines one of the 9 possibilities. There are three vagotonic (V) – high, normal, and low; three normotonic (N) – high, normal, and low; and three sympathicotonic (S) – high, normal, and low. See the photograph.
The oxygen forms mentioned in the above table by an Oxygen Ion 3000 manufactured by Dr. Ivan Engler. No other oxygen therapies can offer that except the Oxygen Ion 3000. In general, negative ions (O2– ) have a relaxing effect; positive ions (O2+) have a stimulating effect. However, both ions have a profound regulatory effect on the nervous, immune, gastrointestinal, intercellular matrix, and inflammatory systems of the body. Both also act to change the body’s “terrain”, which refers primarily to the physical characteristics of the fluids of the body. These characteristics help determine what types of illnesses and infections a person is susceptible to, and changing these physical parameters helps to eliminate these susceptibilities and strengthen one’s overall health.
Ionized Oxygen Therapy (per Dr. Engler) uses all 5 oxygen forms and has been scientifically proven to be more effective biologically and therapeutically than medical oxygen (O2) alone. IOT has been utilized and researched since the 1920’s. IOT influences every aspect of physiology and metabolism and can be used in any condition when the specific content of O2– . and O2+ is determined through VNS 3000 testing.
Effects of IOT include increased mood and mental/cognitive functioning, increased energy and endurance, decreased healing time, decreased susceptibility to infections and illness, improved gut function, improved cell and cell membrane function, and normalization of gut flora. Although IOT can be used for any condition, it has been demonstrated to be particularly helpful in high blood pressure, low blood pressure, heart and circulatory disorders, migraine, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, all lung disorders (asthma, emphysema, etc.), cancer, arthritis, allergy, general stress, and fatigue.
IOT can also add ions to water. Ionized water provides energy directly to the organs of the body. It also helps augment the respiratory treatments, as it can be used on a daily basis at home. It can be used for any condition, or as a general health maintenance practice. Specific conditions require specific regimens determined by the VNS 3000, but for general purposes 0.5-1.0 liters of ionized water are consumed per day. Negatively ionized water is consumed for three days, followed by the use of positive water for 1 day. This cycle is continued for a total of 3-4 weeks. Then, no ionized water is consumed for 14-21 days, and the cycle is repeated. The water can also be used as an enema, which can be very effective for intestinal problems of all types. Water that is ionized will remain therapeutic for up to four weeks. Medications can be added to the water, providing enhanced effects.
Ionized air molecules make up only a very small percentage of the earth’s atmosphere. However, despite their small numbers, these molecules play a profound role in maintaining the health of the atmosphere by removing particulate and chemical pollutants. In the indoor environment, ionization provides an even wider spectrum of benefits, including the destruction of bacteria and elimination of odors. However, conventional construction and ventilation techniques tend to negate the benefits of ionization.
Natural Sources of Atmospheric Ionization
A small number of natural processes contribute a constant supply of ionization to our atmosphere. These natural sources of ionization include (1) the effects of radiation, (2) effects of the earth’s electric field, (3) the movements of wind, and (4) the splashing of water (Lenard Effect).
1. The decay of naturally occurring terrestrial radioactive materials; radiation from the sun and cosmic radiation, all cause ionization in the atmosphere by stripping electrons from air molecules. The molecules effected in this way become positive ions due to the loss of electrons. The free electrons immediately get picked up by the surrounding neutral molecules, which thus become negative ions (Sulman, p. 102).
2. The electric field of the earth causes ionized molecules to gain kinetic energy as they move along the 400,000-volt gradient that exists between the ionosphere and the surface of the earth. When a fast moving ion collides with a neutral molecule, the neutral molecule loses one or more electrons. The loss of electrons causes the neutral molecule to become a positive ion. The electrons knocked free during the collision are immediately picked up by surrounding neutral molecules; resulting in new negative ions (Jokl, p. 268).
3. Winds and weather are a large source of ionization. The movement of weather fronts produces great amounts of ionization through friction. Air masses moving against the earth, or against other air masses cause a transfer of electrons, and thus ionization (Sulman, p. 245).
4. Falling water also produces ionization. Whenever water droplets collide forcefully, small particles separate from the water surface carrying a negative charge into the atmosphere. The larger water droplets and the main body of water become positively charged. This phenomenon, named after its discoverer, is called the Lenard Effect (Jokl, p. 278).
All sources of ionization have the effect of electrifying the atmosphere. The electrical charge of the atmosphere at any location on the earth’s surface (aside from human factors) depends upon the productivity of these natural sources of ionization. The prevalence of either negative or positive ionization in any location will have an impact on the health of the animals, plants, and humans living in the area.
Effects of Negative Air Ionization
Anecdotal evidence for the helpful effects of ionization extend as far back as the 18th century. According to Krueger, more than two centuries ago Father Giambattista Beccaria of the University of Turin observed, “It appears manifest that nature makes extensive use of atmospheric electricity for promoting vegetation.” And I’abbe Bertholon suggested the idea that “electricity in the air influences the state of health and the cause of disease in animal and man” (Krueger, p. 2)
In the second half of the 20th century studies began to appear specifically stating the helpful biological effects of negative air ions. According to Pogrund (Sulman, p. 165), the reported physiological effects of negative air ionization include:
1. Decreased respiratory rate
2. Decreased basal metabolic rate
3. Decreased blood pressure
4. Produced a feeling of well-being
5. Increased vital capacity
6. Decreased skin temperature
7. Acceleration of the conversion of succinate to fumarate
8. Stimulation of cytochrome
9. Decreased eosinophilia and lymphocyte count
10. Increased CO2 combing power of plasma
11. Decreased blood sedimentation rate
12. Decreased muscle chronaxie
13. Increased ciliary activity
14. Increased frequency of mitosis
15. Increased resistance to infection
16. Suggested as therapy in chronic rhinitis, sinusitis, migraine, insomnia, tuberculosis, wound and burn healing, asthma, hay fever, emphysema, bronchitis, conjunctivitis, chlorine gas poisoning, preventing thromboembolism.
In studies conducted by the Air Ion Research Laboratory at the University of California, negative air ions killed many forms of molds and bacteria. The microorganisms eliminated by negative ionization include those that cause cholera and typhoid fever (Krueger, p. 4).
Negative ionization also appears to promote plant growth and shorten the time required for some plants to reach maturity. Reduction of negative ions is reported to decrease growth rates and cause the same plants to droop (Krueger, p. 4).
There is an established link between negative air ionization and the fluctuation of serotonin levels in humans and animals. Among other functions, serotonin causes the smooth muscles of the respiratory system to contract (Jokl, p. 238, Sulman, p. 162). Negative ionization has been shown to decrease serotonin; however, positive ionization increases serotonin levels (Kreuger, p. 5).
Negative ionization also has the effect of cleaning the atmosphere by removing particulate and chemical pollutants. As negative ions move through the air, they convey their electrical charge to dust, smoke, and water particles. The negative charge causes these particles to clump together and eventually drop to the ground (Sulman, p. 245).
The mechanism by which negative ions break down chemical pollutants is slightly more complex. The principle at work is summarized by the following maxim found in basic chemistry textbooks, “Negative ionization will reduce hydrocarbons and their derivatives to the common denominators of water, carbon dioxide, and any metal oxide.” For example, when formaldehyde (CH2O) is exposed to negatively ionized oxygen molecules, it initially breaks down into water (H2O) and carbon monoxide (CO). With continued exposure to the negative oxygen ions the carbon monoxide (CO) becomes further oxidized, transforming it into carbon dioxide (CO2).
This characteristic of negative ionization is also responsible for the added benefit it provides of elimination of odors. Odors result from the presence of particular molecules in sufficient number to reach the threshold of human olfactory sensation. As described above, negative ionization breaks down “hydrocarbons and their derivatives.” Most odor-causing molecules fall into this category.
Effects of Positive Air Ionization
Whereas negative ionization is generally considered to be beneficial, positive air ions appear to cause harmful effects (Sulman, p. 160). According to Pogrund (Sulman, p. 165), the reported physiological effects of positive air ionization include:
1. Inhibition of growth of tissue cell cultures
2. Increased respiratory rate
3. Increased basal metabolism
4. Increased blood pressure
5. Produced headache, fatigue, nausea
6. Produced nasal obstructions, sore throat, dizziness
7. Increased skin temperatures
8. Depressed rate of ciliary activity
9. Increased muscle chronaxie
10. Altered alpha wave of the EEG
11. Reduced succinic oxidase activity in the adrenals
12. Increased the blood level of 5-hydroxytryptamine
When positively ionized oxygen molecules are inhaled they have a very strong effect on lung function – they reduce respiratory capacity, which results in diminished resistance to stress and reduced mental ability (Sulman, p 339).
Positive ionization in the atmosphere results in part from the collisions of normal air molecules with dust particles and by friction between different cloud layers. Positive ionization always precedes certain types of weather fronts by one or two days, because electricity moves faster than the weather that generates it (Sulman, p. 339).
The problems of positive ionization are also associated with the phenomena known as “evil winds” such as the sharav in Israel, the foehn in Europe, and the Santa Ana winds in southern California (Sulman, p. 341). Effects associated with these winds include stress reaction, thyroid problems, breathing difficulties, disrupted biorhythms, and an increase in aches and pains (Sulman, p. 144). People who are especially sensitive to weather suffer the most from the effects of positive ionization in the atmosphere. Weather-sensitive people comprise approximately 30% of the general population.
In addition to the effects of wind and weather, positive ionization also dominates under conditions of foggy and/or polluted air. Particulate suspended in the air usually carries a positive charge. Stagnant, hot, summertime air in the vicinity of large cities can produce a “degree of static foehn”, which brings the same unhealthful effects as any other large source of positive air ionization (Sulman, p. 341).
You may conclude that positive ionization should never be used. So why does IOT use both the negative oxygen ions (O2) and the positive ions (O2+)? Both forms (O2– and O2+) neutralize free radicals. In the IOT concentrations of approximately 100,000 oxygen ions per cubic centimeter are used, which lie in the pico- or femto- range. According to the reversal effect of Schultze, respectively according to the experimentally proven Hormesis Theory of B. Cohen (Ref. 1, Page 108-110), toxic medicines (e.g. radon or oxygen radicals) applied in minimal concentrations have an effect as an antidote. This reminds us of a vaccination or a homeopathic remedy. This is theory. What about in practical terms? The IOT with O2+ as a “radical scavenger” had a significant effect during the two-year clinical application in patients with Multiple Sclerosis, or with older patients with severe circulatory disturbances of the brain where the aggressive radical is regarded as a cause (the Adjuvant Anti-Radical Program).
In addition, only electrically charged oxygen ions (O2+ and O2-) repair the cell membrane potential in radioactively damaged cells or selectively destroy cancer cells in vitro. These effects do not occur non-ionized medical oxygen (O2).
Ionization and the Indoor Environment
The acceptable minimum concentration of negative ions for indoor air is 200-300 ions per cm3. The optimal level is 1000-1500 negative ions per cm3 (Jokl, p. 289). However, the reality is that the concentration of negative ionization in the outdoor air is sometimes far below this acceptable minimal value, especially in cities. The situation is worsened by the fact that many characteristics of the indoor environment have the effect of reducing the amount of naturally available ionization.
The walls of buildings tend to decrease and even eliminate the normal atmospheric ionization. Walls constructed using wood or brick cause only a small reduction in atmospheric ionization. However, walls made of steel or of iron and concrete, create a Faraday cage effect around the enclosed space, shielding the interior from the outside ionization (Jokl, p. 274). As discussed earlier, ionized air molecules will help eliminate chemical and particulate pollutants from the indoor air, however, the greater the volume of pollutants the more the ionization is reduced.
Ventilation, heating, and air conditioning systems also reduce air ionization. The effect of propelling air through metal ducts reduces negative ionization at a loss of 20% every two meters (Jokl, p. 276). This process also produces a lot of positive ions. These effects are made worse with drier air and warmer ducts (Sulman, p. 105). This is why it is far better to keep windows and doors open in lieu of using heating or cooling systems.
Human occupancy further diminishes the supply of negative ionization in indoor air. Human activities introduce particulate and chemical pollutants, as well as microbes to the indoor environment. Additionally, all sources of fire (even the burning of natural gas) (Sulman, p. 106), and especially cigarette smoking (Jokl, p. 276), directly add large quantities of positive ions to the indoor air.
Together, these indoor environmental factors contribute not only toward a decrease in the naturally available negative ionization, but at the same time significantly increase the pollutants, microbes, and odors present in the enclosed atmosphere.
A solution that addresses all these problems is technology designed to augment the negative ionization in the air. Such devices have existed since the early part of the 20th century, however, not without two bothersome side effects. The most troubling side-effect of many machines designed to create negative ions is that they also create ozone (O3). Although small amounts of ozone occur naturally in the atmosphere, in excessive ozone is a respiratory irritant and is toxic to humans (Sulman, p. 106).
Huggins, Richard A., US Patent No. 4980796, 1990
Jokl, Miloslav V., Microenvironment, The Theory and Practice of Indoor Climate, Thomas, Illinois, 1989
Sulman, Felix G., The Effect of Air Ionization, Electric Fields, Atmospherics and Other Electric Phenomena On Man and Animal, Thomas, Illinois, 1980
Richard A. Huggins, BS in Electronics, University of California, MS in Electrical Engineering, Stanford. Mr. Huggins is the former CEO and Chief Engineer of Huggins Engineering, former CEO and Chief Scientist of both PEK Labs, and Cybergen Systems. Currently, Mr. Huggins owns and operates RC Enterprises, a company that devotes all of its resources toward manufacture and research for the environmental industry.
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