Cruise Without Sea Sickness- It's about your VACATION!

The definition of Sea Sickness


nausea and dizziness, sometimes accompanied by vomiting, resulting from the rocking or swaying motion of 
a vessel in which one is traveling at sea.


Causes of Sea Sickness

This condition is caused by the rocking motion of the craft. Most people tend to concentrate on the inner surroundings, or close the eyes and try to sleep. This will cease the worst effect of the disturbance.

The brain receives conflicting signals: while the eyes show a world that is still, our body, and in particular the equilibrium sensors located in our ears, send signals of a moving environment. This discordance causes the mind to send to the whole body a general alarm signal, in order to stop all activities, in particular the most complex of all, the digestion process.

ENJOY your Vacation!

Don't let your life's adventures be ruined by the onset of nausea and vomiting; alleviate motion sickness and enjoy journeys with your family with a RootBalance the negative ions balance you inside and out, this allows for the body signals to not be confused by the motion which makes people sick.

Root Balance is a silicone band, that can be worn anywhere on the body, wrist, ankle, etc. Don't worry you do not need to take it off if you go for a swim or take a shower, they are water resistant! It can be worn while you are sleeping too.  

These bands will not push/poke on pressure points or be an annoyance to you, they are comfortably worn with ease.  They are suitable for adults and children. Get on that fishing boat, cruise ship, catamaran, jet ski, etc, worry free! Enjoy your vacation to the fullest! Shop Now!


Written by Lauren St. Onge — June 22, 2014

World Champion Athlete Representing Root Balance Bands

Checkout World Champion Barefoot Waterskier Keith St. Onge.  Keith also known as KSO and is a huge fan of our negative ion bands.  We love our job!  How cool is it that we get to come in contact with such amazing athletes.  We highly recommend that you checkout some of his YouTube Videos. His talents shine, watch KSO Video Pictured below is a KSO and his most recent cover photo on The Water Skier magazine.  Does anyone see his right wrist?!?!! I spy a Root Balance bracelet! We are ROOTING for you KSO!

Memorial Day Sale!!!


This weekend is not about grilling out and having an extra day off.  Remember the men and women who have died serving while protecting the United States of America.  The Root Balance Camo bracelet is our best representation of the military, in honor of these soldiers we are giving you 20% off.  Wear it and remember! 

Use coupon code MemorialDay to receive 20% off all Camo bands. Expires 5-26-2014

Who is behind Root Balance?


In February 2014 I was in Tampa Bay, Florida checking out the Gasparilla ½ marathon expo with my father-in-law and we came upon a booth that had lots of excitement and people gathered around.  I saw the colorful bracelets on the table and the workers doing muscle testing on customers.  Quick to judge I walked away and didn’t want to deal with the scammers, to my surprise my father-in-law didn’t follow me when I walked away.  I turned around to see him in the middle of the group chatting it up with one of the girls working the booth.


I went back and stood behind him, I was a little annoyed that he has fallen for this and as I listened in on what the girl was telling him.  All I heard was bla bla bla science junk.  Then I was talked into doing a balance test.  I was determined to make sure I proved her wrong, this test was not going to work on me, I said to myself. Shoot! The first time it worked. I told her to do it again I was going to really be strong this time, and not let it work. Oh no it worked again.  Okay again, and again.  I made the girl test me about 10 times before I had given up and realized it was working. ***I was careful to watch her technique to make sure, she was pushing in the same spot every time and also pushing straight down. (Other companies have been known to cheat the test, giving negative ion bracelets a bad reputation) 


As stubborn as I am, I still walked away from the booth empty handed and had to do a little research, checking on my phone to make sure the company had a website and reading about bracelets.  My father-in-law and I continued to walk through the expo and talked about the Root Balance booth.  When we were done we went back to the booth to have her test us yet again.  We walked away with 2 bracelets.


I am such a skeptic!  When we got back to the hotel we started testing each other over and over and over and over again. We could not make it NOT work, it was insane! This little Tiffany blue band on my wrist was really doing something.  I sat down and decided to read the box, the box said it also helped flexibility.  I know that I can’t touch my toes; I have always been 2-3 inches away. I attempted without the bracelet, then again with and once again this little accessory proved to work! I was touching the floor. To make sure this wasn’t just in my head I did this to myself a few more times, and it worked every time for me.  Now I can finally say that I believed in this product.


As directed I went to the website and registered my product.  While on the website I saw a place that said become a dealer.  I clicked and read all about it and called the company. After a few days I ordered some product and became a Root Balance dealer.  When the bracelets arrived I packed them up and put them in my suitcase as we were traveling to Australia for a barefoot waterski tournament. 


I found that people would ask me about the band on my wrist quite often. I never mentioned it to anyone, unless they asked me about it.  It was amazing.  I showed all types of people and all of them were just as excited about it as I was and still am.


Arriving back in the USA I was low on stock, I did some calculations and talking with family and decided I was going to ask the owner if he had any interest in selling the whole Root Balance company.  It didn’t take long and after a few meetings as of May 7th 2014 I am the new owner of Root Balance, LLC. We appreciate all of your love and support!


~ Lauren St. Onge


Upcoming Marathons to Qualify for the Boston Marathon

These marathons are still open for registration and typically have a high percentage of BQs.

Boston Start 2013

The Boston Athletic Association announced registration for the 2014 Boston Marathonwill open on September 9 and will have an expanded field of 36,000 runners.

While registration is predicted to fill quickly, runners still might have a shot at qualifying for the 2014 marathon with a few upcoming races. Last year, registration for the roughly 22,000 time-qualifier spots opened on September 22 and closed just after the first weekend in October.

So if you're still waiting to register for a qualifier, your options are pretty limited. 

But for those who are looking, we’ve compiled a list of marathons in the upcoming weeks, still open for registration, that can be used as Boston qualifiers. We will continue to update this list.

(But - again - even with the expanded field next year, Boston registration likely will close long before many of these races take place.)

Layton Syracuse Marathon- Layton, Utah, August 31

Marquette Marathon- Marquette, Michigan, August 31

Pocatello Marathon, Pocatello- Idaho, August 31

Lake Chelan Shore to Shore Marathon- Chelan, Washington, September 7

Salmon Marathon- Tendoy, Idaho, September 7

Bozeman Marathon- Bozeman, Montana, September 8

Hall of Fame City Marathon- Canton, Ohio, September 8

Skagit Flats Marathon- Burlington, Washington, September 8

Sioux Falls Marathon- South Dakota, September 8

Ventura Marathon- Ventura, California, September 8 

Big Cottonwood Marathon- Salt Lake City, Utah, September 14 

Erie Marathon at Presque Isle- Erie, Pennsylvania, September 15

Adirondak Marathon- Schroon Lake, New York, September 21

Fox Valley Marathon- St. Charles, Illinois, September 22 

Jackson Hole Marathon- Jackson Hole, Wyoming September 22 

Quad Cities Marathon- East Moline, Illinois, Septmeber 22 

Akron Marathon- Akron, Ohio, September 28

Asheville Citizen-Times City Marathon- Asheville, North Carolina, September 28

Darlington Marathon- Darlington, South Carolina, September 28 

Huntsville Marathon- Huntsville, Utah, September 28 

The Oregon Marathon- Sherwood, Oregon, September 28 

Bellingham Bay Marathon- Bellingham, Washintong, September 29 

Half Moon Bay International Marathon- El Granada, California, September 29

Yonkers Marathon- Yonkers, New York, September 29 

Southern Tennessee Plunge Marathon- Winchester, Tennessee, October 5 

West Texas Crossroads Marathon- Odessa, Texas, October 5 

Portland Marathon- Portland, Oregon, October 6

Maine Marathon- Portland, Maine, October 6 

The County Marathon- Wellington, Ontario, October 6 

The schedule for qualifier registration for the 2014 marathon, scheduled for April 21, is:

  • Monday, September 9: Registration opens for runners who have met their qualifying time by 20 or more minutes.
  • Wednesday, September 11: Registration opens for runners who have met their qualifying time by 10 or more minutes.
  • Friday, September 13: Registration opens for runners who have met their qualifying time by 5 or more minutes.
  • Monday, September 16: Registration opens for all runners who have met their qualifying time.
  • Friday, September 20: Registration closes at 5 p.m. Eastern.
  • Monday, September 23: If spots remain, registration for time qualifiers will re-open, and will remain open on a first-come, first-served basis until the field of time qualifiers is full.

For 2014, the qualifying standards are the same as for 2013.

Boston qualifying times
Men's age groups

18-34 – 3:05
35-39 – 3:10
40-44 – 3:15
45-49 – 3:25
50-54 – 3:30
55-59 – 3:40
60-64 – 3:55
65-69 – 4:10
70-74 – 4:25
75-79 – 4:40
80+ – 4:55

Women's age groups
18-34 – 3:35
35-39 – 3:40
40-44 – 3:45
45-49 – 3:55
50-54 – 4:00
55-59 – 4:10
60-64 – 4:25
65-69 – 4:40
70-74 – 4:55
75-79 – 5:10
80+ – 5:25


2014 Boston Marathon Qualifying FAQs

LifeStrength Speaks Out about Balance Bracelets, Mark Cuban not buying it.


On a recent episode of Shark Tank, Mark Cuban, and some of the other sharks, spoke out against negative ion technology. When Ryan Naylor for Esso watches gave his demonstration, Mark Cuban had some harsh words: “I’m allergic to scams, seriously; this is not new, its been disproven. What you just saw was placebo effect. Theres athletes that wear it. It’s a joke. It’s a scam. It’s not real. I’m out.”

Naylor admitted that he had no laboratory testing to back any of the claims he made.

Balance bracelets have become very popular in recents years, and many companies have come under fire for making false claims that cannot be backed by any scientific evidence. One of the largest companies to fail in this category is Power Balance, who was making $11 million a year before filing for bankruptcy because they could not back their claims.

LifeStrength, a company specializing in negative ion bracelets and technology is now speaking out, saying their products are legitimate.

“We have third party verification for every claim we make, and we can objectively measure the negative ions our produced (sic) by our product,” says Brand Hunt, Director of Retail Channel Development at LifeStrength.”

“Overall, we do everything in our power to avoid looking like the business on Shark Tank,” says Joshua Taylor ,a rep for LifeStrength. “We have never felt the need to defend our product because we’ve made the research available to our customers.”

Opinions on these types of products vary widely. Obviously some people believe they work, because they are being purchased in major retailers across the country. Others thinks there is not enough evidence to justify their business. What do you think?

Negative Ions according to Team Ionic


Ions are invisible particles, either molecules or atoms, which bear an electric charge. Atoms, for instance, consist of an atomic nucleus that contains neutral neutrons and positively charged protons, as well as orbiting electrons that are negatively charged. When an atom is in a neutral condition, the number of protons (+) and electrons (-) is equal. When the number of protons and electrons is not the same, the particle becomes an ion that is either positively or negatively charged.

Positive Ion (Cation): an atom (or molecule) that has lost one or more electrons due to a high-energy impact. Natural forces that generate positive ions include the decay of radioactive minerals, radon gas, forest fires, lightning and ultraviolet rays.

Negative Ion (Anion): an atom (or molecule) that has gained one or more extra negatively charged electrons. Negative ions are naturally generated by evaporating water, ocean surf, waterfalls and ionic minerals such as Tourmaline.

How are Negative Ions generated naturally?


There are also certain minerals that emit Negative Ions for example Tourmaline and Germanium.

Can Negative Ions be generated artificially?

Negative Ions can be artificially generated by electrical devices such as Air Ionisers which use an external power source (electricity) to generate large quantities of Negative Ions. Our USB Personal Air Purifier Ioniser and our 8 in 1 Room Air Purifier Ioniser both use electricity to generate Negative Ions.

Facts about Negative Ions

  • Tasteless, Odourless.
  • Urban areas typically have much lower concentrations of Negative Ions in the air than rural areas.
  • Ionisation is mandatory in many European and Russian Hospitals.
  • In March of 1999, Good Housekeeping Magazine had its engineers test an ionizer by using a smoke test, and found that it cleared out the smoke in a tank.
  • A recent study by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture found that ionising a room led to 52% less dust in the air, and 95% less bacteria in the air (since many of the pollutants found in the air reside on floating dust particles).

How Negative Ions Purify the Air

Virtually all particles in the air have a positive charge, while negative ions have a negative charge. In which case, negative ions and particles magnetically attract to one another. When there is a high enough concentration of negative ions in the air, they will attract to floating particles in large numbers. This causes the particle to become too heavy to remain airborne. As a result, the particle will fall out of the air, and will then be collected by normal cleaning activities, such as vacuuming or dusting.

In nature, negative ions are generated by processes such as sunlight, lightening, waves from the ocean, and from waterfalls. "Concrete Jungles" minimize the natural production of negative ions by disrupting the delicate electrical balance between the atmosphere and the earth. Ioniser/ionic air purifiers recreate them with electrode pins ("needlepoints") to electrically produce negative ions.

What Ionic Products are available?

The most popular product we stock is the Ionic Balance Band (worn on the wrist) which uses Tourmaline to naturally emit Negative Ions. We carry a range of ionic products suitable for humans and pets.

Our USB Personal Air Purifier Ioniser is ideal for travel and can be plugged into any USB socket. Our 8 in 1 Room Air Purifier Ioniser can be used in the home or office and also comes with a 12v adaptor for use in the car.

Are there any scientific studies on Negative Ions?

Ancient peoples recognized that the air is "electric" so to speak, but it is thought that the formal study of ions did not begin until fairly recently. In 1899, two German scientists, Elster and Geitel, discovered that there are particles in the atmosphere that carry electricity. These particles were later named "air ions" by the British scientist Faraday. The word "ion" was taken from the Greek language, in which it means to "go" or "wander about."

To date over 5000 studies have been conducted on Negative Ions. Many of these are available online.

What is Negative Ion Therapy?


Negative ion therapy is an alternative form of health treatment that is based on the idea of using negative ions to drain the body of toxins that lead to a number of different health problems. While it is not generally accepted by the established medical community, many people report improvements in specific health ailments after undergoing the therapy, or making use of specially designed equipment to ride the home of irritants and toxins that inhibit the action of the negative ion charge in the space.

The basis for negative ion therapy as a health care alternative rests in the idea that the atmosphere is loaded with negatively charged electrons or ions. By using those electrons to remove elements that have an adverse effect on the physical and emotional well being of the individual, the body’s natural defense system can begin to make the necessary repairs and bring the individual back to a healthy state. Because the purpose of this therapy is to drain the toxins from the environment and the body, any condition that is interfering with the natural function of the muscles and nervous system are isolated and reduced through continued administrations of the therapy. As the impediments to good health are brought under control, the individual begins to enjoy an enhanced state of physical and mental health.

Negative Ions - Vitamins of the Air?


When certain kinds of winds begin to blow throughout the world, hospital admissions, suicides, and crime rates skyrocket . One country- Switzerland- even accepts the blowing of the "Foehn" during the commission of a crime as mitigating evidence in court.

These "notorious" desert and sea winds are also linked to minor illnesses and malaise epidemics. Victims’ claims range from sleeplessness, irritability, tension, migraine, nausea, palpitations and hot flashes with sweating or chills, to tremor, vertigo, swelling, breathing difficulty, and frequent intestinal movement. In addition, elderly persons are affected with depression, apathy, and fatigue.

What causes these "witches’ winds," as they’re often called, to differ from others? What do they possess or lack that make them a dread to the lands or oceans they blow across?

Nothing more than an ambulance of invisible, minute particles with an imperceptive electrical charge- positive and negative ions.

According to the experts, positive ions rob us of our good senses and dispositions, while their stimulating everything from plant growth to the human sex drive.

For the uninitiated ions are charged particles in the air, formed when enough energy acts on a molecule- such as carbon dioxide , oxygen, water, or nitrogen- to eject an electron. The displaced electron attaches itself to a nearby molecule, which then becomes a negative ion- neg-ion. The original molecule (minus an electron) is now a positive ion- pos-ion. These ions, in turn, react with dust and pollutants to form larger ions. Small neg-ions -usually no more than 12 gaseous molecules clustered around a charged atom or molecule- are short-lived and highly mobile.

As long as 1789, the Abbe Bertholon, a European monk, speculated that ions exist and affect people. He recorded the responses of medical patients and normal people to changes in the electrical state of the ambient air. More than a century later, in 1899, two scientists named Elster and Geital proved the existence of ions. Only since the 1930s have researchers been probing their secrets.

In nature, ions are formed in a variety of ways. About half are created by radioactive gases. Radioactive substances in the soil, cosmic rays, ultraviolet rays, air flow friction, falling water and plants all produce the other half. For example, they stream off the leaves of plants, most notable pines and asparagus ferns.

Ions are apparently also created by the phenomenon of "subterranean suspiration." As Fred Soyka, author of The Ion Effect, told the first Ions and Light Conference held this summer in Atherton, California. "Solar and lunar influences cause the water table to rise, forcing air out of the earth." This prompted Federal Aviation Administration research psychologist, Bruce Rosenberg, to charge the earth with having "bad breath." Being negatively charged, he said, "it breathes positive ions."

Normally only about one atom in 100,000,000,000,000,000 is ionized, making a total of maybe 1000-2000 ions per cubic centimeter (that’s like a handful of planets floating in a circle 4 billion miles in diameter). These are usually balanced pretty evenly between positive and negative, with a slight edge toward positive. "However, the normal may not be the optimal," Fred Soyka told New Realities. "On the seashore, where water is always falling, you have about 2000 negative to 1000 positive. That seems to be the ratio that human beings respond to most favorably."

We have all experienced this positive effect, regardless of our proximity to waterfall or the ocean. Every home has a built-in, natural ionizer- the shower. Our daily bath rituals are, in effect, the practice of preventive medicine. Research has shown that falling water creates thousands of negative ions by splitting otherwise neutral particles of air, freeing electrons to manifest their vitalizing function. These electrons join up with smaller air particles, thus giving them a predominantly negative charge.

Waterfalls have always been the favorite habitat of mystics and artists. The inspiration and romance generated at places like Niagara Falls and Yosemite have a direct relationship to the lowering of serotonin levels in the blood, caused by the waves of negative ions from the spray of these falls.

Those notorious desert and sea winds mentioned previously raise the ion count, but over-balance the positive- up to a ration of 33 to 1 positive. As the winds blow through arid areas, they stir up dust and the neg-ions are leeched out. In Israel such winds are called the Sharav; in the Alps the Foehn; along the Mediterranean the Sharkiye (called the Sirocco in Italy and the Xlokk in Malta); in Africa the Simoon, France, the Mistral. There’s the Boras of the Adriatic, the Karaburan of the Gobi, the Zondi of Argentina, the Tramontana of Spain. In the U.S., the Chinook plagues the Rockies and the Santa Ana the southern California desert. Still other winds pos-ionize India and Australia. But whatever their name, throughout the world, they are known to blow no good.

One might postulate that the culprit is really humidity, wind or temperature changes, not positive ionization. That has been considered, but doesn’t account for the fact that weather-sensitive people react to the approaching Sharav 12 to 24 hours before meteorological instruments do. Positive ionization remains the culprit. So much for natural pos-ions.

The really lethal doses of pos-ions lie within our polluted cities, which William Radley, president of Bio-Environmental Systems, refers to as "ion prisons." Car exhausts, factory fumes, tire dust, cigarette smoke, cooking and heating fumes, dust and soot gobble up neg-ions, either neutralizing or positively charging them. Inside, steel and concrete building act as electro-magnetic Faraday cages, absorbing the charges of negative ions. Synthetic building materials, clothing and furniture covering eat up more; so do the metal ducts covering heating and air conditioning outlets. The positive static charge of plastics takes care of the rest so that in a typical interior, the neg-ion count may be below 100 per cubic centimeter. (the minimal amount for optimum human functioning is about 1000/ccm.) In the words of Dr. William Rea, Chief of Surgery at Brookhaven Medical Center in Texas, "Houses don’t breathe like they used to."

Several people have investigated the mechanisms of pos-ions debilitating effects. According to the Russian ion pioneer Vasil’yev, ions act on the endings of pulmonary afferent nerve fibers, altering the functional state of the central nervous system and through it, the peripheral organs. Sulman et al (1970) found that weather-sensitive people excrete more of the neuro-hormone serotonin than non-sensitive people. Serotonin is secreted by the pineal gland and the intestines. It affects sleep, mood, nerve impulses, blood-clotting and contraction of smooth muscles. LSD effects are caused by serotonin inhibitor and chronic serotonin depletion is characteristic of some types of mental anomalies.

Sulman’s work supports the findings of American ion dean Dr. Albert P. Krueger, who discovered that the specific negative ion of oxygen -O- speeds up the rate at which serotonin is oxidized in the bloodstream.

Krueger also found that pos-ions slow the sweeping action of the tiny hairs in our throats form 900 to 600 beats per minute and cut mucus flow, thus lowering our resistance to airborne allergens. For example, the pos-ion carbon dioxide (CO2) causes contracture of the back tracheal wall. Pos-ions also cause vasoconstriction and increased respiration rate.

Oddly enough, notes ion author Soyka, "About five percent of the population seems to react well to a positive charge. They feel euphoric."

If pos-ions are the bad guys, neg-ions wear white hats and shoot silver bullets. Their beneficial effect was first discovered in 1932 by Dr. C.W. Hansell at RCA Laboratories. Dr. Hansell was startled by the violent mood shifts of a co-worker who sat beside and electrostatic generator. He observed carefully and discovered that his colleague was ebullient when the machine produced neg-ions, morose when it made pos-ions.

Subsequent researchers (mostly abroad) have found that neg-ions reduce neurosis and anxiety, heighten appetite and thirst and stimulate sexual behavior. They improve performance of voluntary movements: 81.2 percent of drivers with neg-ion generators scored in the top half on reaction time. And in school they sharpen mental functioning and reduce error rates. After a year with neg-ion generators in their classrooms, a group of kindergarten teachers reported that their students concentrated better and showed almost no "weather effect." Hyperactive kids were calmer, absenteeism was down (except on Mondays) and the teachers themselves felt less fatigued.

Neg-ions promote alpha brainwaves and increase brainwave amplitude, which translates to a higher awareness level. Neg-ion induced alpha waves spread from the occipital area to the parietal and temporal and even reach the frontal lobes, spreading evenly across the right and left brain hemispheres. All of this creates an overall calming effect.

On the physical side, they have given relief from hay fever, migraine and burn and post-operative pains. Along with the burn pain relief, they lessen infection, dry the burns faster, heal them more quickly and leave less scarring. After operations, not only did 57 percent of Dr. Igho Hart Kornblueh’s patients treated with large do ses of neg-ions (10,000/ccm) feel less pain (as opposed to 22.5 percent of controls), but restlessness and infection were also reduced and healing quickened.

But why are ions therapeutic? Partly because they kill germs. Back in the 1930s, a Russian team headed by A.L. Tchijevski found that large ion doses of either polarity retarded bacteria colony formation on plates. Ionization also sterilized enclosed air. Later experiments duplicating Tchijevski’s work noted an exponential bacteria decay rate of 23 percent per minute for untreated air, 34 percent per minute for air with pos-ions, and 78 percent per minute for negatively charged air. They concluded that the pos-ion decay rate was due to simple bonding of the ions with the bacteria, whereas the neg-ions actually killed them.

Interestingly, animals larger than microbes find neg-ions beneficial. Rats learn better and are less anxious. Mice live longer. (Mice with flu die more quickly if deprived of neg-ions.) Silkworms eggs hatch earlier, larvae grow faster, spinning begins sooner, cocoons are heavier. Chickens lay more eggs and grow more plump. Sheep grow faster and supply more wool.

And in the vegetable kingdom, plant seedlings grow up to 50 percent more when charged. Fruit stays fresh longer: after 10 days, ionized tomatoes were still fresh while untreated controls rotted.

Researchers offer a variety of reasons for ion effects. Dr. Krueger explains that plants benefit from both positive and negative ions because "ions expedite both the uptake of iron and its utilization in the production of iron-containing enzymes.... (and) stimulate the metabolism of ATP in the chloroplasts and augment both nucleic acid metabolism and oxygen uptake."

In humans, most researchers think that neg-ions act on our capacity to absorb and utilize oxygen, accelerating the blood’s delivery of oxygen to our cells and tissues. Dr. R. Gualaterotti of the University of Milan says they make wider cell nuclei with more volume. The weight of evidence supports Krueger’s theory that ions break down serotonin in the bloodstream.

Lest negative ions sound too much like a cure-all, testers report that neg-ions work only so long as they’re being inhaled. As the charge is most readily absorbed through the olfactory nerves, you need to breathe them in through your nose, not your mouth. Dr. Krueger cautions that "the biological (non -clinical) effects produced by atmospheric ions are not dramatic; on the contrary, they tend to be limited in degree."

But that’s atmospheric ions. Artificially generated ions are another story. Just as positive ions can be generated artificially by pollution, so can negative ions be man made- with negative ion generators. It’s true, you can’t plug in an ionizer at night and expect new muscles in the morning. But their effects are not always subtle. "People are allergic to the Twentieth Century," says Bio-Environmental Systems President William Radley. "Our architects and interior designers are poisoning us. Some people are so sick or so intolerant of chemical that sometimes the results of ionization are quite dramatic.

Since the 1950s, manufacturers have produced dozens of ion generators for laboratory and home use. Early machines ionized atoms and molecules via high-voltage electrical fields, incandescent materials, ultraviolet light, x-rays and alpha- or beta-radiation from the isotopes. The output of the electrostatic, incandescent, and ultraviolet generators tended to deteriorate rapidly. In addition, electrostatic and ultraviolet machines produced ozone, a toxic oxygen allotrope, as a by-product.

Dr. Krueger used tritium-based generators during the ‘50s. Tritium is a betaradiating hydrogen isotope with a half-life of 12.5 years. A minute amount of the gas is sealed in zirconium and deposited on a stainless steel foil. An electrical potential difference varying from 300 to 2000 volts DC is used to separate pos-ions from neg-ions before they recombine in the plasma. Tritium machines allow precise dosages, but unfortunately tritium is so dangerous that it’s illegal (except in fusion power plants). Thus, the tritium generators manufactured during this period were seized by the FDA.

During the 1960s, ion collectors drew air through an electrostatic field between parallel plates or concentric cylinders; the ions were collected on the plates.

Present ion units apply a high-voltage electrical signal directly to the air to create an intense electric field around the emitters.

Why not set up a monster ionizer over Manhattan? Well, a safety dictates a size limit. Dr. Robert Massy of the University of the Trees reported at the Ions and Light Conference that, whereas a 5,000 volt machine produces less than .05 parts per million of ozone (the limit allowed by the FDA), extremely high-voltage units invariably fail to meet standards.

Although most people in the U.S. are not ion-wise, generators have been popular elsewhere in the world for decades. In World War II, Luftwaffe planes were Negatively ionized by electric field generators, in order to reduce pilot fatigue. And it worked! (Electric field generators are like female ion generates: instead of ejecting ions, they attract them.) Germany and USSR use them in government buildings, hospitals, schools, factories, restaurants, health spas, beauty salons, homes, offices, cars and trucks. In Canada, Fred Soyka notes, "Ionization has become a household word. My book became a best-seller and innumerable articles have come out."

The U.S. has equipped nuclear submarines with ion machines. Ionizers are being used industrially in auto spray paint booths, food processing plants, grain storage bins and chemical spray factories.

Architects and designers are beginning to see the health benefits from fountains and rooftops solariums placed in urban environments, echoing the wisdom of their forefathers in the Roman culture. The growing recognition of our biological needs amidst our artificial interiors is opening up whole new industries aimed at replicating nature indoors.

In addition, we could all take Rosenberg’s advice and wear underwear of polyvinyl chloride to attract neg-ions. From BVD’s to PVC’s then, it’s the negative ion generation.

Several machines are now in the market for home and office use ranging in cost from about $70 to several thousand dollars. You just plug them in and they ionize away. But, here are some considerations to keep in mind. If something or someone is between you and the generator, the ion count around you will drop. If you and the machine are in contact with the same dielectric material (as, for instance, if it and your arms are on the same desk), a charge will build up between you and it, and this charge will repel ions. (Supposedly this doesn’t happen with the latest machines.) Also, you own static charge will often repel ions, especially in dry, indoor wintertime air. Synthetic clothing absorbs ions: wear cotton or wool, which have neutral charges.

At the Ions and Light Conference, Fred Soyka told New Realities of some in-progress Swiss research on ion machine frequencies. Frequencies of 60-100 Hz (cycles/sec) are stimulating to a person, while less than 25 Hz are relaxing. "If you have 60-100 frequency machine,:" Soyka says, "you may have trouble sleeping well with it on. Manufacturers ought to look into machines with adjustable frequency ranges. Some European machines already modulate frequency, so people can dial their needs electrically."

A problem with ionizers has been determining their effectiveness. A typical generator may supposedly churn out 100 billion ions per second. But how many of them survive a yard past the machine? Ion counters do exist, but until now no store or salesperson selling generators has had one around. Inexpensive units are now on the assembly line. Ion counters must be used carefully: within a room the ion concentration varies a lot, depending on how far you are from the generator, from conducting wall, from charge buildup on insulating walls, from curtains or draperies.

Poor measurability partly explains why shoddy machines have been marketed (and confiscated by the FDA) in the past. Today, regrettably, the field is still not without its quacks. According to Bruce Sullivan, president of Environmental Sciences Corp. "Some people are selling generators for thousands. One company calls its machine The Air Doctor."

Advanced technology has eliminated most problems associated with previous ion devices, and as such there are more on the market today. Moreover, it is now possible to create higher voltages with lower current, thereby reducing or eliminating the production of ozone (Federal law prohibits more than .05 parts per million ozone level). So to ensure that a device meets the buyer’s needs, one should carefully examine the manufacturer’s literature.

In addition, buyers should look for a warranty on parts and labor, including a description of the room size affected by the machine, and even a money-back trial period offer. A list of authorized service centers should also be provided to the consumer. So caution is still the watch-word since industry standardization has yet to be instituted, although industry standard for ion measurement and output are currently being drawn up by several manufactures.

The first call for some kind of industry standards was issued by ion pioneer Igho Hart Kornblueh back in 1961: "Standardization of the generating and metering equipment by an independent authority would terminate the hasty and regrettable trend to market ion generators of questionable safety, quality and output."

Today Fred Soyka echoes his words: "Measuring the sending capacity of these machines is very important. You should by able to say, like when you buy a 60-watt light bulb. I’m getting an ionizer of this and this capacity. And to correlate that to room sizes."

A giant step was taken at the Ions and Light Conference, where the International Bio-Environmental Society was formed to set up standards and regulations within the industry. "We’ve already gone through our Inquisition on ionization," said president Bruce Sullivan, "We don’t need another one." The Association is building a box within which the ion output of different machines can be counted at a standard distance and humidity.

Ions have been around for eons. Science has had its eye on the ion for 80 years. But public ignorance, generally non-ionized interiors and lack of generator standards is the hallmark of a science and industry still in its infancy. Dr. E.R. Holiday thinks we know as much about air today as we did about food 70 years ago, when biochemists thought protein, fat, and carbohydrates were all we needed. Then a substance was discovered that prevented rickets: the first vitamin. Ions might well be, as Holiday suggests, "the vitamin of the air."

James Karnstedt is a writer, lecturer and researcher whose interests lie in the field of light, color, sound and ions as they affect human consciousness and health.

Don Strachan, a freelance writer, lives in Los Angeles and is a book reviewer for the Los Angeles Times.