I’m on a waterfall kick. Since doing some research on the health benefits of negative ions, and visiting the falls at nearby Ringing Rocks Park last week, I’m off to find more.
This weekend I’m heading to Taughannock Falls State Park in Ulysses, New York. It boasts a waterfall with a 215 foot drop, slightly higher than Niagara on the American side but with much smaller volume. It’s the highest drop east of the Rockies. The park’s Gorge Trail, open all year, puts you next to the spray of the falls. According to the Park Ranger I spoke with today, the falls are only partially frozen and water’s still coming over the top.
The falls and gorge create a natural amphitheater and the dense spray rising from the bottom of the falls creates a heavy mist — full of negative ions!
Negative ions are air molecules that have lost an electrical charge because they’ve been broken apart by things such as sunlight, moving air or moving water. They’re in abundance in places like waterfalls, the mountains and the beach. When we breath in large quantities of negative ions, it increases the flow of oxygen to the brain and reduces the amount of the mood chemical serotonin in the bloodstream, creating a feeling of mild euphoria.
At the base of Yosemite Falls in California, there are about 100,000 negative ions per cubic centimeter. (A cubic centimeter is the size of a sugar cube.) In fresh country air, there are about 4,000 and on an L.A. freeway at rush hour, there are 100 negative ions per cubic centimeter.