I love hiking to waterfalls and being near them. It was on a waterfall hike when I was 20 years old that I came to the conclusion that my husband Matt was THE ONE. One of my favorite Sunday memories is having “church” under a waterfall with my family. As I sit recalling my waterfall memories one thing is very consistent–every memory is joyful.
Waterfalls are happy places! Inevitably, the forest surrounding a waterfall is bound to be lush and full of life. They are beautiful, wild, and constantly changing. However, I only recently learned that waterfalls also have healing properties. There are actually scientific reasons that it feels amazing to be near them.
The pictures above were taken at Twin Falls in Washington State.
It’s All About Negative Ions
Waterfalls create an abundance of negative ions, and negative ions are awesome! According to WebMD, “negative ions are odorless, tasteless, and invisible molecules that we inhale in abundance in certain environments . . . Once they reach our bloodstream, negative ions are believed to produce biochemical reactions that increase levels of the mood chemical serotonin, helping to alleviate depression, relieve stress, and boost our daytime energy.”
The higher the concentration of negative ions, the better. As you breathe them in, they get to work doing powerful things for your body. Benefits include helping your metabolism, immune system, digestion, blood pressure, sleep, and emotional state.
Now, I know that we’ve been hearing a lot in this time of COVID about little invisible villain droplets floating around, and so you might have feelings when you see the word “droplets.” Just remember, negative ions are the superhero version of droplets, and you want these guys in your lungs. Negative ionization has been studied for more than 100 years, and according to researchers, it offers tremendous health benefits. Here’s what negative ions do for you:
- help to regulate sleep patterns and mood
- increase energy
- reduce stress
- increase alertness
- boost immune system function
- increase metabolism of carbs and fats
- kill or inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, viruses, and mold species, such as E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and the bacterium that causes tuberculosis
Are you ready to be near a waterfall RIGHT NOW?
In addition to all of these amazing benefits, waterfalls are simply beautiful to look at. The peaceful sound of water falling can help you quiet your mind and be present. Most waterfalls require a little hike to get to them, an experience that builds a connection with nature. Visiting waterfalls with people we love helps us create cherished memories (and gets us unplugged and away from screens).
This past weekend, we revisited one of our favorite hikes to Green Lake, which includes a beautiful waterfall. I noticed that EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. we met on the trail was happy, exuberant, and generally thrilled to be there. Those negative ions were working! My mood was definitely boosted by our hike, and my cheery attitude lingered for the rest of the day.
Where is your favorite waterfall?
I’d love it if you would comment below with the name of your favorite waterfall and your state. Share the good vibes with others!
So you’re saying PLEASE go chasing waterfalls? Sorry. I love this post! Is the ocean the same? Crashing waves?
I also heard that the legendary Santa Ana winds in Southern California (these hot winds that blow in during the summer and are said to make people and animals act crazy) blow positive ions in from the desert into cities…. Joan Didion did a whole essay about it. And now I am going to have to do some HARD googling about ions.