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Serotonin and Sauna

Serotonin and Sauna

Serotonin and Sauna

By Abigail Mote

Do you know of the age-old legends of the Foehn? Winds that blow southerly and can cause a high level of positive ions which people experience in many fashions such as mental breaks, migraines or moodiness. Foehn winds infamous in the past, yet forgotten in the current day include; 

The Santa Ana in California; the summer winds of the desert that stretches from northern Arizona down into Mexico (they are known in Indian mythology as the Bitter Winds).

The Chinook in western Canada and the U.S. 

The Sharav (or Hamsin) of the Middle East around Israel.

Doctors say the Chinook coincides with outbreaks of the common cold and other respiratory illnesses.

Through rapid evaporation, TRADITIONAL saunas with rocks, high temperatures, and steam (ie. NOT infrared saunas) naturally create an environment of negative ions.

                                               Positive Ions = Pos Ion = Poison.

“It is not the weather itself to which people are sensitive so much as to those electrically charged molecules of air called ions” (Soyka 22).

 By 1960 Dr. Krueger published in the Journal of General Physiology a theory that “an excess of pos-ions causes the overproduction of serotonin in mammals and that, initially at least, it causes hyperactivity which rapidly leads to exhaustion, anxiety and perhaps depression” (Soyka 34). Also noted  “a excess of neg-ions appeared to have an anxiolytic effect - that is, they are calming, able to counteract is effect of a pos-ion overdose and generally duplicate the effect of the common tranquilizer reserpine in that the reduce the amount of serotonin in the midbrain” in summary neg-ions have an tranquilizing action (Soyka 34). So next time it rains, you find a waterfall or in a sauna when water is tossed on the rocks, take deep breaths and enjoy the negative ion environment.


Soyka, Fred, and Alan Edmonds. The Ion Effect: How Air Electricity Rules Your Life and Health. Bantam, 1977.