Faith in Fitness: Why do waterfalls make us feel good?

Published on: April 20, 2016

Rpsoe Korfant

Rosie Korfant

Parrish resident; Activities Coordinator JSA Medical Group, a Division of DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc.

Why do waterfalls make us feel good? Maybe there’s some truth to the rumor that waterfalls uplift your mood. Why? Negative ions, that’s why. In part, water molecules bump into each other, like in a waterfall or ocean, causing the water to become positively charged and the surrounding area to be negatively charged. The ions attach themselves to pollutants in the air, returning them to the ground so we can breathe cleaner air.

Okay, so much for my science lesson, but it does make sense that waterfalls make us feel good because negative ions hitting our bloodstream can bring about biochemical reactions linked to lessening depression, reducing stress and heightening energy.

There are WOW factors in every waterfall, but the personal experience I had while visiting Brazil was at Iguazu Falls, which borders Brazil and Argentina. Imagine with me our Niagara Falls. Now imagine it three times as large — that’s what Iguazu Falls is like! So, the magnificent negative ions that rush at you, along with the panoramic scenery, can carry your breath away!

If you can’t take a faraway trip, take a hike to your local park, seek out a calming wooded walkway that might lead to a natural cascading waterfall and soak up all the negative ions you can get. The release of these ions increases the flow of oxygen to the brain, giving us higher alertness and more mental energy.

Indoor waterfalls have lots of uses, too. They add an elegant touch while doubling as a humidifier, important for maintaining good skin, hair and nails and, of course, help with functional breathing. Waterfalls actually clean the air you breathe; the fewer particles, the better the air.

Camping and outdoor activities, accompanied by a nearby gurgling river flowing over stones, is a recipe for an ion party. (Could there be such a thing?) This is the ol’ fashioned, natural way to get exposure to the negative ions. If you’re not the adventurous type, try just opening up your windows at home for a cross breeze or even just lower your car windows!

C’mon, you can do that, can’t you?


Rudy Scheer,
Polly Goodwin, Kinetic Fountains
Environmental Science and Technology Journal
Tropics North Studios
Dan Goodwin,