Beneficial Effects of Lightning
Al Qur'an is a book of guidance. It is also called the book of Wisdom. Qur'aan is not a book of science. However, in many verses (about 20 % of the Qur'anic verses) one finds hints or clues which have scientific meaning or refer to natural phenomena. For example, verses in Surah Rad or Thunder, 13: 1-13, have scientific meaning. The Ayah 12 reads:
By way Both of fear and hope
" Surah RAD, 13: 12
Allama Yusuf Ali in his note 1818
says, "Why look to evil rather than to good? To punishment rather than to
mercy?--To the fear in the force and fire of the lightning rather than to hope
of good and abundant crops in the rain which will come behind the lightning
In Note 1819 he says, " Nay,
thunder itself which may frighten you, is but a tame and beneficent force
before Him, declaring His praises, like the rest of creation. Thunder
thus aptly give the name to this Surah of contrasts, where what we may think is
terrible is shown to be really a submissive instrument of good in God's hands."
In Note 3530 one reads, "To cowards,
lightning and thunder appear as terrible forces of nature.
Lightning seems to kill and destroy where its irresistible progress is not
assisted by proper lightning--conductors. But lightning is also a herald of
rain-bearing clouds and showers that bring fertility and prosperity in their
Journals publish articles on
Lightning injury and death by lightning. However, the Qur'an specifically
mentions "hope" of lightning. It is interpreted as "hope" of good or a
beneficent force. In other words, Qur'an mentions beneficial effects of
lightning to mankind. What are the beneficial effects of lightning to mankind?
The purpose of this article is to answer this question in detail. The Qur'an
says as quoted above:
Verily in that (lightning) are Signs
for those who are wise." 30: 24.
"After a storm, the air feels clean
and fresh. Filled with negative ions."
People often report feelings of
pleasantness and well being following an electrical storm. Electrical storms are
generally preceded by higher level of positive ions and followed by higher
levels of negative ions.
What are Ions?
Air, like all matter, is made of
individual molecules. When the outer electrons of two or more atoms of the same
or different elements join together, the resulting particle is a molecule Each
of these molecules, in turn, contains smaller particles of positive and negative
charges (protons and electrons). Under normal circumstances there are equal
numbers of protons and electrons and their charges cancel out, leaving the
molecule electrically neutral. However, the negatively charged electrons are
lighter and more mobile. If they absorb energy from say, intense sunlight, they
have a tendency to "jump" from one molecule to another. When a negative charge
jumps from a molecule it upsets the equilibrium, leaving behind more positive
than negative charges. This molecule is now called a positive ion.
The electron arriving at the new molecule brings with it an extra negative
charge. This molecule now becomes a negative ion. When the
supply of energy is removed, the electrons will return towards the vacated
spaces and everything will return to balance, and zero charge.
Molecular oxygen is a prime example of the small gaseous molecules in the air we breathe. It remains neutral as long as the proton-electron balance is maintained. Because of an equal number of protons and electrons, atoms have no charge. However, if an electron is lost or gained, the molecule becomes positively or negatively charged respectively and an ion is created.
The simplest way to visualise an air
ion is as a tiny charge of 'static' electricity carried by the air. This can be
either positive or negative. The charged particles, or ions, are not merely
suspended in the atmosphere, they actually are part of the 'fabric' of the air
itself. The air around you contains billions of tiny, invisible, electrically
charged energy packets called IONS. Every time you take a breath, ions fill up
your lungs, and are carried by your blood into every cell in your body. Without
ions in the air, your body would not be able to process oxygen proper.
The air we breathe contains molecules
with electrical charges, both positive and negative. In ancient times they
probably had other names for this energy such as Chi, Ki, prana, pneuma, elan
vital and others depending upon the culture involved. Modern science is actually
quantifying this form of extremely valuable and life enhancing energy.
Lack of or imbalance of minute
electrified particles, called ions, and affects the environment, in which we
live and breathe. Research has shown that most of us who live, work and travel
in closed spaces suffer some degree of negative ion starvation or positive ion
overabundance. This has become extremely evident to NASA in their space travel
In nature, ions are generated in
abundance wherever energy is transferred into the air, by friction within wind
and rain, and surf. Certain events occurring in nature, such as lightning
discharges and falling water and air friction can cause electrons to be torn
loose from a molecule. These "orphan electrons" are then, 'adopted' by other
nearby molecules, transforming these molecules into negative ions. The parent
particles become positive ions. Negative ions are themselves the electrical
energy carriers of the air. Some examples of nature's ion generators are solar
(ultraviolet radiation) and cosmic radiation, air friction, lightening, falling
water (the splitting of water into droplets by waterfalls), sea beaches-ocean
surf and waves, evergreens and the earth's radioactivity (by natural radiation
in rocks and soil).
Electricity and Air.
It was RCA's Dr Hansell who, in 1932,
stumbled on the behavioural effects of artificially generated ions. He noticed a
startling swing in the moods of a fellow RCA scientist who worked beside an
electrostatic generator. Some days the scientist finished the day alert and in
bubbling good spirits. On the other days he was rude, ill tempered and
depressed. Dr Hansell investigated and found that the scientist was happy when
the generator was adjusted to produce negative ions but morose when it was
producing positive ions. Since then advances in technology have enabled
scientists to study the process in much more detail and thousands of scientific
papers have been published on the subject.
Winds of depression
The natural production of ions may
result from solar or cosmic radiation or the more mundane friction between air
masses such as between rapidly moving hot, dry air and the ground. These are the
"Witches Winds" that cause such discomfort periodically to the population in
certain areas of the world. In these areas, the seasonal winds that blow have
become legendary, bringing little short of misery and chaos to many of the local
inhabitants. In these places it has been known for generations, that the winds
bring feelings of anxiety, stress, depression and sleepless nights. Statistical
studies show that when they blow, more road accidents happen and suicide rates
increase. So real is the problem that it has been known for judges to take this
into consideration when sentencing and for hospitals to postpone some operations
until the winds cease!
In fact winds like these are surprisingly common across the world:
The Foehn is a dry southerly wind which blows from the Alps across Switzerland and southern Germany. There is the Sirocco in Italy and the Mistral in southern France. (It is said that Winston Churchill avoided visiting the Mediterranean coast when the Mistral was blowing).
In the Middle East they have Sharav - also known to the Arabs as Hamsin (the fifty days wind). Western Canada and USA have the Chinook - and in the area around California blow the Santa Ana and winds known in Indian mythology as "The Bitter Winds".
The Swiss Meteorological Institute made extensive studies into the problems arising from their local wind, the Foehn, and in 1974 published a list of physical and mental effects it was found to cause. These included:
What was the
difference between the air carried in these winds, which could cause so much
distress, and the air in the renowned health resorts, which had gained a
reputation for their special qualities of relaxation and healing? It was later
discovered that this unique quality in the air is its electrical charge, which
it carries in the form of ions. Paradoxically, if it carried a
positive charge, people (and animals for that matter) felt negative
and suffered the symptoms of the notorious oppressive winds.
Positive ions -
Many people find the
atmosphere before a storm is 'heavy' and oppressive. This has been attributed to
the high levels of positive ions that build up in the air, which are also
believed to be the trigger of "storm-sensitivity" in asthmatics and many other
people. Certainly, in laboratory conditions, similar symptoms could be triggered
in subjects when they were exposed to abnormally high levels of positive ions.
In the hours before the storms arrived, hundreds of people had reported to
hospital with severe asthma attacks. Was it due to positive ions?
Negative ions -
Places we find
refreshing such as in the mountains and near waterfalls and seashores - where
health resorts are traditionally situated - are found to have high
concentrations of negative ions. But areas with high levels of positive ions
often make us feel uncomfortable and irritable.
In addition to
providing you with a rewarding visual experience, waterfalls may also be
beneficial to your health. A person desiring to enhance his body and mind
through breathing exercises should do so by a waterfall. In Switzerland a woman
who suffered from migraine headaches would often go to a small waterfall on the
River Rhone. She would spend between thirty minuets to an hour by the waterfall.
"I go there just to breathe. It makes me feel better for hours." Nearly everyone
would agree that visiting a waterfall is a stimulating, refreshing and
The answer to what
causes these effects seems to be electrically charged atoms known as negative
air ions. At a waterfall negative air ions are produced by the energy of the
falling water. As the falling water breaks up into small droplets, electrons
(negatively charged parts of an atom) are knocked loose from the water atoms.
These electrons combine with oxygen atoms in the air to create negative air
ions. The negative air ions are inhaled into the lungs and absorbed into the
bloodstream. Negative air ions are not known to permanently cure anything. It is
believed that they help our bodies by accelerating the delivery of oxygen to our
cells. Some researchers believe that negative air ions may stimulate cells that
regulate our bodies resistance to disease.
On average there are
1,500 ions are found in a cubic centimeter (roughly the size of a sugar cube) of
fresh air. Of these about 45%, or 675, are negative ions; the remainder being
positive ions. At Yosemite Falls in California a reading of 100,000 negative air
ions per cubic centimeter was recorded.
Other Sources of
Many people in Europe
and Australia are aware of the benefits of negative ions to our health. These
negative Ions are essential for our health and well being. The freshness of the
air after a thunderstorm, on a mountain top, or by the seaside, are due to the
high concentration of negative ions in the air. On the other hand, the reduced
well being one feels in highly polluted areas, cars, factory smog, artificially
air conditioned offices, or when certain hot dry wind conditions exist, are
usually due to an unduly low negative ion balance (and therefore high proportion
of positive ions).
Negative ions can be
found in billions, on mountain tops, water falls and by the sea. Radioactive
substances in the earth's crust and cosmic rays cause most ionization. But fire,
crashing water (like water falls and surf), and plants during photosynthesis can
produce negative ions as well. They give the air its invigorating freshness,
which is so good for us.
Negative Ions in
Ions and our modern
In this modern life, we have created an environment that virtually eliminates negative ions from the atmosphere.
Because negative ions are readily attracted to airborne particles, (Which is how they clean the air - by attaching to particles of dust, pollen, smoke or dirt and dragging them to the ground.) every particle of pollution uses up yet another ion. So while there is a higher concentration of ions in the countryside, as you move into towns and cities, the dirt and pollution causes the level to drop dramatically.
Pollution from car
exhausts, cigarette smoking, overcrowding and even our breathing, all contribute
Here are some
average sample readings of negative air ions taken in various locations:
By a waterfall:
50,000 ions per cc. Pure air, very stimulating, exhilarating and
relaxing, germs cannot live in this air.
In the mountains:
5,000 ions per cc. Exceptionally fresh, clean and invigorating air,
Optimum 1,000 ions
per cc. the minimum level
one should sleep, work and live in
In an average
modern office: only 50 ions per cc. (
As you can see - A city office has probably the worst ion balance you can find!)
How Ionizers Work
Negative ions can be
be produced by copying any of the ways that nature uses - ultra violet (lamps),
radioactive sources etc. Indeed a bathroom shower provides a plentiful supply.
Air ions have two qualities:
The ions leaving the ionizer are small, high velocity ones. These are found to be most beneficial to health. If they collide with particles of smoke or pollution near the ionizer, they pass on their "static" charge. This particle is then strongly attracted to the nearest "earthed" surface. (which could be a wall or the shelf on which the ionizer is placed - so make sure it is washable!)
Out into the room the ions naturally begin to slow down. As they drift, pollutants such as dust, pollen, cigarette smoke and even vaporized substances like aerosol propellants and car fumes are attracted to and cluster around the ions. This has the effect of making the ion grow in size. There comes a point where it is too heavy to be carried in the air, so it falls to the ground.
The ability of an ionizer to remove very fine particles from the air makes it extremely valuable for health. Recent studies indicate that the smaller the particle, the harder it is for our immune systems to cope with. So ionizers have a "double action" effect. They excel at removing microscopic particles - the most harmful - and at the same time they restore a "vitality" to the air - which our bodies appear to need for their everyday functioning.
The quoted range of an ionizer is usually the distance at which it can maintain a certain concentration of ions. (The standard figure is 1000 ions per cc of air - said to be the lower threshold level for health purposes). However most ionizers will have a cleaning effect over a greater distance.
A very important point
to be aware of: A badly designed ionizer may produce ozone, and with it
nitrous oxide. These are toxic substances and can cause respiratory difficulties
and stinging eyes (often the very thing they were purchased to cure). The WHO
(World Health Authority) guidelines, say that the maximum acceptable level of
ozone is 0.1ppm (parts per million).
How Negative Ion
Generators Clean the Air:
The effect of air ions
on the human organism has been the subject of much debate. Commercial units are
available which claim beneficial effects through the generation of negative air
ions into the atmosphere. Conversely, it has been claimed that an excess of
positive ions can cause discomfort and symptoms such as headaches and nausea in
The possibility that
air ions may affect human health has been suggested since the beginning of the
20th century. In the 1930's Yaglou et al published a series of papers
demonstrating physiological effects of air ions and showing that air ion
concentrations varied with diurnal and seasonal patterns. Yaglou suggested that
air ion control should be considered an important part of indoor air
Warm dry winds such as the Sirrocco (Italy), Sharkije (Egypt), Santa Ana (California), Hamsin or Sharav (Middle East) or the Foehn ((Central Europe), are associated with a sudden increase in morbidity (health problems). During these winds about 30% of the population were reported to suffer from migraine, depression, moodiness, lethargy or respiratory symptoms. Behaviour changes were reported to result in an increase in accidents and psychological illness. A further 30% suffered less, and about 40% suffered no effects.
According to Sulman (Israel) and Kreuger (California) there was some evidence that these health changes were due to atmospheric electrical changes, in particular air ion concentrations, and the ion polarity ratio (the balance between positive to negative air ion concentrations). Their work led to a hypothesis that serotonin was involved in a mechanism of interaction between ions and biological systems.
concentration of air ions is very low (in fair weather, circa 1000 ions/cc for
negative, and 1200 ions/cc for positive ions), Hawkins (1985) asserts that "the
evidence that ions do have biological effects is overwhelming." The main action
seems to be through entry through the respiratory system.
Kreuger (1976) reports research by Winsor and Beckett on human adults and children in which high concentrations of positive ions produced congestion in the nose and pharynx, and when prolonged affected the bronchi.
Hawkins reports that his own studies confirm a significant beneficial effect of negative ions, positive ions having no effect. He reports that negative ions result in greater improvement for complex tasks than for simple tasks.
Buckalew and Rizzuto
(1982) found that male subjects exposed to negative ions from commercial ion
generators for a period of at least 6 hours reported feeling more relaxed and
less tired. Reductions in irritability, depression, and tenseness, with
increased calmness and stimulation were associated with negative ion exposure.
Buckalew and Rizzuto (1984) found no significant effect on performance and
physiological condition of 24 male subjects after up to 6 hours exposure to
commercial negative ion generators. No alteration in basic cognitive
functioning, perceptual-motor performance, reaction time, or grip magnitude,
pulse, temperature and blood pressure were found. They state that: "There does
remain the possibility of a physiologic, psychologic or performance response to
higher concentrations of negative ions, and the need for investigation using a
treatment-by-levels approach remains. Another direction, given evidence of
psychological effects of negative ion exposure, is investigating interactions of
psychological state and performance effects."
Fornof & Gilbert (1988) reported that indoor air ion levels affect the reactions of children to stressors. Negative air ionization increased physiological tolerance of stressors and reduced secondary effects of stress in behaviour and performance. Improvement in conceptualization and attention span coincided with the indicators of reduced stress. Their results confirmed that people of different sympathetic nervous system reactivity respond differently to air ion levels. Autonomic nervous system stability was apparently improved.
In a 1984 review
Kellogg reports work by various authors on the clinical use of air ions,
especially in the treatment of burns and asthma. For example, Kornblueh et al
(1958) found that negative air ions, but not positive air ions, afforded relief
from hay fever. Kornblueh (1968) has found that burn victims reported cessation
of pain and early formation of eschars after exposure to negative air ions.
These effects were confirmed by others.
Inbar et al (1982)
have reported that negative air ions improved cardiovascular and
thermoregulatory system function in men performing a bicycle exercise trial in a
hot (40oC) environment. Heart rate, body temperature and perceived
exertion were all reduced.
Hawkins (1985) reports
that high concentrations of serotonin have been associated with migraine
headache attacks. Thus an increase in negative ions would be expected to reduce
migraine attacks. Reduced serotonin levels result in a mentally relaxed state
and reduction in feelings of depression. Sulman et al have reported that
individuals suffering Sharav wind (in Middle East) sensitivity have been
successfully treated by inhalation of air containing excess negative ions, or by
administration of serotonin blocking drugs (Kreuger 1976).
The situation is confused, however, by other factors. Negative ions appear to reduce serotonin via enhancement of monoamine oxidase activity. Paradoxically, mental illness is often successfully treated using drugs which inhibit this activity and cause a rise in serotonin levels in the brain.
The motor vehicle
The air ion balance
and levels which may be experienced by personnel in a motor vehicle are not
currently reported. This information is essential for assessment of the possible
air ion responses of occupants of a vehicle.
A second factor which
may be extremely important is the subject's body voltage. A high body voltage
could considerably alter the ingestion rates of ions. Ions of like polarity
would be repelled from the body, and an effective depletion of ingested ions of
this type can be expected. Similarly, ions of the opposite polarity would be
attracted, and enhancement of ingestion of opposite polarity ions can be
expected. Thus it is possible that the same effect as positive ion enhancement
could be produced by a high negative body potential, even if the ambient air ion
concentrations are balanced. Control and reduction of body voltage to a near
zero condition can be expected to reduce any such effects and restore ion
ingestion to that due to the ambient air ion balance condition. For Muslims body
voltage to a near zero condition is achieved when they perform the Sajda
(prostration) in Salat(contact prayer).
Effects on our
Besides cleaning the
air we breathe, negative ions aid in mood elevation and increased oxygen intake
resulting in the feeling of alertness and vitality-similar to the feeling we get
when we are in a beautiful forest or near a crashing waterfall or the fresh
feeling of breathing crisp, clean mountain air.
Negative ions can
provide major benefits for asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, energy, hay fever,
allergies, sleep & snoring, depression, emphysema, sinus, migraines, colds &
flu, nausea (all types) chemical sensitivity, fibromyalgia, cigarette smoke &
other odors, computers & office pollution.
Research has shown that negative ions can:
(a) Reduce histamine, which triggers hay fever.
(b) Affect levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter or a neuro hormone associated with anxiety, stress and
(c) Have a beneficial effect on anyone suffering from bronchial complaints such as bronchitis asthma, catarrh and the common cold.
(d) Help sufferers of insomnia, migraine, emphysema, eczema,
headaches, tiredness, and general feelings of malaise.
( j )A decrease in the serotonin level is calming and increases defenses against infection (as proven with influenza-
( k) Negative ions
produce an increase in hemoglobin/oxygen affinity so that the partial oxygen
pressure in the blood rises but the partial dioxide pressure decreases. This
results in reduced respiratory rate and enhances the metabolism of water-soluble
vitamins. In addition, negative ions produce an increase in pH making body
fluids more alkaline.
The effect of negative ion depletion varies from person to person; the least fortunate can suffer migraine, asthma and severe depression.
Most authorities on the subject agree that ions act on our capacity to absorb and utilize oxygen. Negative ions in the bloodstream accelerate the delivery of oxygen to our cells and tissues, whereas positive ions slow down this delivery of oxygen, producing symptoms markedly like those in anoxia (or oxygen starvation).
serotonin, linked with mood and stress, is also influenced by ion levels in air.
Too many positive ions alter the levels, causing stress and discomfort.
Increasing the negative ion concentration helps bring relief. Researchers
believe that negative ions may stimulate the reticulo-endothelial system, a
group of defense cells in our bodies, which marshal our resistance to disease.
Treatment with negative ions has produced dramatic improvement in the healing of
severe burns and the reduction of pain.
Offices and organizations that have installed negative air ionization equipment have found that their employees are less likely to get colds, report absent less frequently and are generally more cheerful and alert. Use of negative air ionizers in the closed and artificial atmospheres of submarines and spacecraft.
Our modern vehicles
have many problems. Basically they are a plastic-lined metal shell, with air
supplied through ducting. All these factors dramatically increase positive ions.
Opening a window can cause problems, letting in polluted city air. Many drivers,
(long-distance drivers particularly) find using an ionizer in their vehicle
helps their alertness and concentration - and in some cases, their passenger's
travel sickness - along with the usual benefits of removing pollen and smoke. In
the cities, in closed rooms, in cars etc., the proportion of negative ions is
markedly reduced compared with undisturbed nature. According to the experts,
positive ions rob us of our good senses and dispositions, while negative ions
enhance them, stimulating everything from plant growth to the overall well being
of the human body.
The Qur'anic verses
inspire the readers to new scientific discoveries as quoted in Surah Rad, 13:12.
In nature there are many sources of negative ions, which have many beneficial effects on humans.
In general, those people with sensitivities to airborne allergens will, understandably, have a greater and more immediate response due to the cleansing action of the negative ions. Children, in particular, seem to respond quickly. Children breathing negatively ionized air were superior in incidental memory and that difficulties experienced in dichotic listening were offset.
Given the right conditions, healthy food and pure water, our bodies will usually right themselves and develop properly. But so often we neglect the air we breathe. Most of us live our day-to-day lives in an environment invisibly polluted, and devoid of negative ions.
By using an ionizer we
can help purify the air of these microscopic pollutants and restore the ion
balance that our bodies have evolved to respond to.
Reading and deeper
understanding of the Qur'an leads to many discoveries that will enhance the
quality of life of all human beings. Muslims who were the intellectual giants
about 1,000 years ago are marginal in today's world in all facets of human
endeavors. It is hoped that articles like these will inspire them to do research
and advance intellectually to reclaim that number one position once again,
The consensus of the
literature reviewed is that environmental air ion concentration levels and
balance can affect a wide range of biological organisms, including humans.
Elevated negative air ion levels are widely reported to have beneficial effects
on humans including enhanced feeling of relaxation, and reduced tiredness,
stress levels, irritability, depression, and tenseness.
Depleted ion levels and enhanced positive ion levels are reported to have no effect, or deleterious effects.
Ions, a web page located at: http://www.aranizer.com/ions.htm
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environmental medicine. 53, (8) 822-3, Aug 1982
Buckalew L W, Rizzuto
A. Negative air ion effects on human performance and physiological condition.
Aviation, space, and environmental medicine. 55, Part 8, 731-734, Aug 1984
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a web page located at: http://www.odatus.com/ions.html
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