I have talked to you about smudging before, (What the smudge? August 2017) it is an ancient ritual from Native American culture during which you burn a stick of herbs (most often sage) in order to purify and cleanse the air, your body and objects of negative energy. I wanted to revisit smudging, the science behind it and why it is relevant this time of year.
We spend a lot of time talking about getting the negativity out and letting the positive in. Well, smudging gets the negative out, by bringing the negative in. That’s right, negative ions. These negatively charged particles attach to positive ions (which cause disease, illness, mold, allergies, etc) and make them too heavy to be airborne, thereby purifying the air. Negative ions are most prevalent in nature, out in the mountains or fields. Do you ever notice how much better you feel, how much less stressed, when you are outside in nature, especially in the sunshine?
This time of year, especially in New England, can be really frustrating. We are ready for the warmth of summer, but dealing with the cool, temperamental nature of early spring. We want to throw open all of the windows, and let the cleansing fresh air (charged with negative ions) in, but end up freezing if we do so. Lighting some sage can produce a calming effect as the negative ions can help normalize serotonin which can boost your mood and improve focus. This also makes negative ions an effective tool for combating anxiety, depression and seasonal affective disorder or SAD. Inhaling the negative ions, allowing them into your blood stream, can lower blood pressure and help neutralize damaging free radicals.
Not sure about burning sage? You can also reap the benefits of negative ions by using a Himalayan Salt Lamp. The premise is the same, the salt releases negative ions as it is warmed by the light inside.
Whatever your method, the best way to get the negativity out is to let the negative ions in. Go out in nature, breathe in deeply to absorb the negative ions, but when that isn’t possible, light up sage or turn on that Himalayan lamp to neutralize the nasties.