The Waterfall Effect

As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can. ~John Muir

Inside Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

When I see the word waterfall, it evokes exquisite and peaceful yet powerful scenes of Nature.  When I see an actual waterfall, I often catch myself holding my breath, as if the awesome, wild beauty I’m witnessing might disappear if I breathe too loudly.  Do you have a similar response?

Through the years, I’ve visited a great many waterfalls, oftentimes reached by hiking trails.  Niagara Falls, between New York and Canada, is probably the largest I’ve seen; I seemed to capture more spray than falls in every photo I took!  Multnomah Falls in Oregon is one of the most striking, and the entire area around Portland is home to a host of waterfalls, large and small, lending itself to some amazing hikes. You may remember my photo of Hanging Lake in Colorado, a small green paradise a little over a mile up a canyon wall. Glacier National Park in Montana showcases some spectacular cascades. Yosemite National Park in California is known for its wealth of waterfall beauty.  In the Navajo Nation of northern Arizona, you will find Grand Falls, often called chocolate falls due to its muddy water from the Colorado River.  And in southern Utah, a sweet waterfall and shallow lake can be found at the end of a hiking trail in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

In past posts, I’ve shared the idea that time near a waterfall is good for the gut’s microbiome and has a positive effect on immune function.  This post will give you more reasons to seek out waterfalls and bask in their glory.  Studies dating back to 1892 show that the natural force of water molecules crashing can cause electrical charges to separate.  As a result, some molecules gain an extra electron, and negative air ions, or NAIs, are formed, which studies show can be most valuable for health.  This process is referred to as spray electrification, or  simply, the waterfall effect

Yosemite National Park, California

According to an article published on the National Institute of Health site, the beneficial effect of NAIs include activation of natural killer cells and improved mental health, . . . which may reduce pain, including chronic pain. The article goes on to say that the changes made to the microbiome by NAIs (mentioned above) may also influence pain outcomes.  If helping with pain were the only benefit they offered, I’d say that’s reason enough to visit these spectacles of Nature.  But there’s more.

Niagara Falls, New York

A PubMed article states that studies reveal NAIs significantly reduced resting heart rate.  Further, it suggests that NAIs have a positive effect on the body’s circadian rhythms, which help regulate our sleep-wake cycle.  Could time at a waterfall resolve insomnia?

For a Healthline article entitled The Effect of Negative Ions, various research studies from the past century were examined.  Exposure to NAIs, the science shows, have resulted in reduced depression symptoms, improved cognitive performance, lessened stress, and increased fat metabolism.  The article goes on to say that it is the natural form of NAIs, not the manmade ones, that provide benefits, as there are risks associated with using electric ionizers in your home or office.

View from behind

You may have asked yourself, what about beaches and rapids and other waters that crash?  Negative air ions can be found there as well, but at lower levels.  This is due to the stronger force of gravity on waterfalls versus ocean waves or other crashing waters.  But, hey, if you’re within 10 miles of the sea and over 100 miles away from the nearest waterfall, by all means, catch some NAIs at the beach!

Grand Falls, aka Chocolate Falls, Arizona

Spending time near waterfalls not only puts us in a state of awe owing to their magnificent beauty, but also helps improve our health.  Whether you’re seeking relief from pain, sleep disturbances, or stress, or looking to boost immune function and fat metabolism, the waterfall effect may be reason enough for you and your family to plan a relaxing, healing excursion to one of these natural beauties.

Cascades of Blessings,


The content of this article is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult with a qualified health care professional before acting on any information presented herein. Any statements about the possible health benefits of any subject discussed have not been evaluated by medical professionals or the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.

79 thoughts on “The Waterfall Effect

  1. Such a wonderful quote by John M. Yes, I relate to that feeling on such experiences of nature. I believe we become grounded when we connect with nature. I’ve learned several things on this article, very informative. I did not know about the metabolic benefits of falls. I read that the NAIs are also good for the surrounding environment especially plants making any vegetation in their vicinity grow faster than other vegetation. Awesome photos

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Hi, Kevin, nice to see you! Thanks for contributing your kind comment to the conversation! Interesting point you’ve made about the surrounding vegetation. It certainly makes sense! And, yes, I agree, Nature grounds us & helps us experience presence. Hoping your weekend is a good one! 🌞

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Never knew that about waterfalls! Unfortunately, the falls we have here are nothing like those in your big country. Might just have to move to a house on the coast instead. Great post and wonderful photos. 🙋‍♂️

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Pretty. Thanks for sharing. Jim Made Up Stories

    On Fri, May 14, 2021 at 7:42 AM Micro of the Macro wrote:

    > Lisa at Micro of the Macro posted: ” As long as I live, I’ll hear > waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the > language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the > glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can. > ~” >

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Lisa, I am a huge fan of waterfalls and hiked to many in my younger days. I enjoyed the photos and was pleased to hear of the health benefits. While I am too old to climb mountains, I am near the beach. Now I have more reasons to go!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What about the sounds of water/waterfalls as white noise? 🙂 That’s about as close to a waterfall or the like that I’ll be getting without some effort. Niagara Falls is awesome in the true sense of the world as it Bridal Veil. I love the sound of a stream and have one place in Wyoming that I enjoy riding for that very reason. Many years ago, one of our daughter’s gave me a small indoor fountain which made a lovely sound. I know that’s not the same as being near a waterfall, but that’s where my mind went after your post. I love the shot from behind the falls. Reminds me of Lord of the Rings.


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi, Janet, I was thinking of fountains as I wrote the post, but never came across mention of one in my research. And I’m a big fan of the white noise of Nature. When I get ready to go to bed at night, I turn on the sound of chirping crickets! Glad you enjoyed the post! 🌞

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wonderful post, as always, Lisa. Beautiful pics and awesome information. I’ll be heading up to Silver Falls State Park in the next week or two to hike…it is quite beautiful. Have a lovely weekend. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Be it a waterfall cascading down or a mountain towering up, nature’s majesty and beauty is unparalleled! And to think all of this wonderousness keeps us in a good space mentally and physically! Wow. Thanks for lovely pics and post✅😊

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Beautiful words in your words and pictures Lisa!❣️ Nature is our stabalizing force that brings us back into balance when we loose footing, I agree. I actually breath deeper and sigh when i see a water fall and pray I don’t get taken under. gorgeous dear and have a great weekned❣️❣️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Cindy, I so appreciate your kindness. I agree – Nature has the capacity to bring us back into balance, if only we are aware of it. How interesting that your initial waterfall response is the opposite of mine! Hope your weekend is fun, too, my friend! 🥰🌞🌻

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Ah Lisa, I love your photo’s of all these waterfalls – just looking at them, put me in a tranquil mood 😊. It’s a great post with very interesting facts that I’ve not heard of before.
    We do get to see lots of (small) waterfalls around Cape Town in the winter months and I’m looking forward taking a drive to the mountains when the first winter rains arrives.
    In the meantime, I take long walks next to the lagoon – the wonderful sight of the sea waters definitely have a positive influence on my mind!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I do find watching and listening to Waterfalls extremely therapeutic. Technology has made this also so accessible. Thank you Lisa for your well written post on Waterfalls and for sharing such beautiful imagery 🌸💕

    Liked by 2 people

  11. This was a super interesting and informative read! I love all of your photos!!

    I went to college near Great Smoky Mountains National Park and I was frequently drawn to all the nearby waterfalls. It is wonderfully peaceful to spend time near them. Your post reminded me of all those wonderful experiences. I’m going to have to plan a camping trip near some waterfalls now. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Fascinating scientific info – thanks. And I love your quote by John Muir. Your beautiful photos remind me how much more often I used to experience the wonder of waterfalls in upstate NY than I ever do now in Florida. I miss them.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hello, thanks for dropping by! Quite a difference between NY & FL! But you have much more sun now, right?! I’ve lived in both places as well. Maybe your missing the Upstate waterfalls is their way of calling you to come visit! I appreciate your kind comment. Have a great week! 🌞

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Once again, these are some stunning facts. I’ve read a few of your posts now and I feel as if I’ve already learnt so much about nature and it’s suprisingly healing force. That picture of Multnomah falls literally made me gasp when I first laid eyes upon it. What beauty! And I love that John Muir quote. My family once climbed the Dunn’s River Falls in Jaimaca, although I was a little too young to join them. It was still beautiful from the ground though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, and thank you for reading and leaving your kind comment. I am happy you have learned from my posts, as that’s my goal! I’ve seen lovely pictures of Jamaica, and will visit at some point. I’ll be sure to check out Dunn’s River Falls. Have a great day! 🌞

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I, too enjoy visiting waterfalls. There are approximately 15-20 waterfalls within an hour drive from my home in NE AL. Although these majestic wonders are NOT as large as other waterfalls that I have seen throughout the U.S., I find that something majestic takes place within me when I spend quiet time visiting any one of these. I don’t seem to have a worry or care about anything. I’m at peace and “just being”.

    Liked by 1 person

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