You may find an oxygen bar at a spa, airport, hotel, resort or as a stand-alone business in an unsuspecting strip mall. If you walk in, you’ll find the opportunity to breath in concentrated oxygen for a price. Professionals of alternative medicine claim that there are significant health benefits available at an oxygen bar. For around $1 per minute, you can take advantage of these benefits and maybe experience the positive effects of aromatherapy as well.
Many an oxygen bar customer has reported feeling great after taking advantage of 10 – 20 minutes of breathing pure, concentrated oxygen. Our normal air has about a 21% concentration of oxygen, and while our bodies are set up to function well from this percentage, advocates of the oxygen bar say that a periodic breath of “fresh air” can boost our immune systems, reduce stress and even fight off cancer. This technique can alleviate the effects of headaches, migraines, hangovers, sinus infections and even altitude sickness. Oxygen in its purer form may help you to feel more alert, increase your ability to concentrate and give you a general feeling of relaxation. Many oxygen bars also offer scents mixed with the oxygen. To take advantage of some aromatherapy, you may find additional benefit by breathing in lavender, eucalyptus or mint essential oils.
Warnings and Precautions
While many believe whole-heartedly that breathing air at an oxygen bar is nothing but healthy and cleansing, there are scientists and medical professionals who oppose the idea. While it is true that pure oxygen may be more than our bodies can handle, oxygen toxicity is unlikely to transpire during this process. Oxygen is provided using a nasal cannula, much like the ones you see hooked to medical oxygen machines. A rubber tube is wrapped around the ears and inserted into the nostrils providing direct access, and though the oxygen provided is much more concentrated, you’ll breathe about 50/50 with normal air in the facility. Note however, that people with asthma, emphysema, those undergoing chemotherapy or anyone with respiratory issues will want to avoid therapy at an oxygen bar as concentrated oxygen can invoke symptoms. Additionally, be aware of the establishment’s cleaning procedures, as some equipment may have a tendency to produce mold or other harmful microorganisms. Always proceed with caution when using aromatherapy as well. Inhalation of essential oils could lead to inflammation of the lungs if certain medical conditions are present.
Traditional vs. Alternative Medicine
There is still debate and controversy between traditional and alternative medicine over concepts such as that of the oxygen bar. Traditional medicine views the distribution of oxygen as a medical procedure and therefore the FDA has ruled that oxygen requires a prescription to be obtained. In spite of this, they allow each state’s legislature to determine the level of regulation over such a facility, so you may or may not be able to find an oxygen bar in your state.