Is Your New Hi-Tech Hair Dryer Depressing You?
Is Your New Hi-Tech Hair Dryer Depressing You?
Dr. Howard Rosenthal
Date: 11/18/2000, 6/1/2002

Introduction

Okay, let's begin with a silent survey.  Have you ever been to Niagra Falls?  If your answer was yes then you no doubt know that it is a very romantic spot.  Nevertheless, even if you haven't personally been there, you have probably heard that it is considered a very romantic place.  My question to you is simply this: What makes Niagra Falls such a romantic spot?  Why do so many people including (yours truly) spend their honeymoon there?  Is it the nearby motels with their honeymoon suites replete with heart-shaped hot tubs?  Is it the perpetual soothing sound of the rushing water ever present in the background?  Could it be the intrigue of gazing into your lover's eyes as he runs his hands through your lustrous blonde hair that contrasts with the magnificent majestic panorama of the falls?  

Niagra Falls & Negative Ions

The answer: Although it could be any or all of the above factors, chances are that this phenomenon was produced by something you have never heard of!  Research now shows that Niagra Falls produces more negative ions than nearly anything on the planet earth.  Wonderful, you say.  What in the heck are negative ions and what in the world does this have to do with my blow dryer?  Glad you asked.

My own introduction to negative ions occurred years ago when I attended a bird show.  If you've never been to a bird show you should know that when you get hundreds if not thousands of birds together in an indoor convention center or hotel it is probably going to have an unpleasant aroma! Nevertheless, as I entered this particular bird show I was immediately struck by a strange feeling.  First, the area did not smell bad. Secondly I actually felt energized and the air smelled like I was standing next to Niagra Falls!

I then noticed that several companies had booths that were selling large commercial negative ion generators that place an electrical charge in the air.  But negative ions do more than just make the air smell like you are reliving your honeymoon at the falls. Scientists have discovered that plants, animals, and humans thrive on negative ions.  They make us feel happier as they fight mental depression.  Human's heal faster in the presence of negative ions. Negative ions keep us healthy.   

Positive Ions

Positive ions, on the other hand, work against our health, happiness, and well-being.  Positive ions are produced in huge numbers by the so-called "Witch winds" around the globe including, the Santa Ana in California, Chinook in Canada and parts of the U.S., and the Foehn in Munich.  Even the homicide and suicide rates seem to skyrocket during the witch winds!  So just to put everything I've covered thus far into perspective: In general, positive ions are not good for you, while negative ions are good for you.

Most of us don't need to concern ourselves with the witch winds, however.  What we do have to concern ourselves with is the fact that most heating and cooling systems, the interior of our car, synthetic clothing, and yes our hair dryers produce an abundance of positive ions.  

Ionic Conditioning

But wait: Here's the punch line.  Several firms have just unleashed hair dryers that produce ionic conditioning.  What in the world is ionic conditioning?  Well according to the companies who are marketing these hair dryers, they are intended to produce millions of extra positive ions (the very thing that hair dryers produce anyway that is may be unhealthy for you!).  Purportedly, research indicates that if you dry an individual's head with a regular hair dryer on one side and then use a positive ionic dryer on the other side, the side dried with the ionic dryer will almost always be shinier, softer, and smoother.  Moreover, the ionic side will help eliminate frizz and flyaway ends.  Finally, ionic dryers work faster than your everyday garden variety of blow dryer and tightens the cuticle layer of the hair causing it to look better.  

Miraculous Results?  Yes of No?

Do the new hi-tech ionic hair dryers really produce miraculous miracles on your locks?  I don't know.

As a therapist and an educated consumer a couple of key issues come to mind.  

1.  Do the new ionic hair dryers produce enough positive ions to really lower your mood and make you unhappy?  I mean, most people only use a hair dryer for a very brief period of time and these new machines are purportedly even faster than their non-ionic counterparts. 

I have no answers to this question yet except to hypothesize that while a little bit of poison won't kill you, it probably still isn't a great idea to ingest minute amounts of it on a regular basis. But wait, science isn't ever that simple.  (Remember when they told us how good margarine good margarine was for your heart and now the experts are saying it may be your heart's worst nightmare?)  

Well the ion controversy isn't solved by any means either.  Scientists also recognize a phenomenon known as the Aion effect paradox. This notion clearly suggests that modest overdoses of positive ions can temporarily be good for people.  Hence, a brief shot from your hair dryer could theoretically stimulate you to feel healthy and happy!   

2.  Why not produce a hair dryer that generates a negative ionic charge that stimulates health?  Great idea, but this has already been done and these machines did not produce positive results on peoples' hair.  

Summary

So what's the bottom line?  I don't know whether positive ion generating hair dryers are good for you or bad for you. In fact, at this point in time I suspect that nobody else has the definitive answer either.  And what if it turns out that positive ion hair dryers do give us a terrific head of hair while depressing our mood?  Based on numerous years of clinical work with people I suspect that most people I know will use them anyway.  Maybe what we all need is a good psychotherapist!  

About Dr. Howard Rosenthal

Dr. Howard Rosenthal is a licensed professional counselor and the author of two academic bestsellers.  He is HairBoutique.com's official "mental health hair expert".  Dr. Howard Rosenthal is the Program Coordinator of Human Services at St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley and a private practice therapist. Over 100,000 people have heard his dynamic lectures. Therapists from coast to coast use his materials to pass licensing and certification exams.  

You can purchase his ultra popular lively self-improvement guide entitled: Help Yourself to Positive Mental Health and his book Not With My Life I Don't: Preventing Your Suicide And That Of Others by clicking on the highlighted books.  

Dr. Rosenthal has also written the very popular Straight A's in Thirty Days: The Shocking Truth About Getting Good Grades which is available on tape from his website.

All of Dr. Rosenthal's books are written in his folksy, and conversational "reader-friendly" style. To secure his popular 27 minute cassette tape Master Course in Self-Hypnosis and Sleep Learning send $17.50 check or money order to: Dr. Howard Rosenthal, Dept. Hyp., 3417 Cottonwood Drive, St. Charles, MO 63301.

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