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What is an Oxygen Bar?

Mary McMahon
Updated Mar 06, 2024
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An oxygen bar is a facility which offers concentrated oxygen for inhalation. A number of claims are made about oxygen bars, which may tout themselves as offering a healthy and beneficial service. Oxygen in high concentrations certainly has recreational effects, but it appears to have no known health benefits and may even be dangerous. Urban areas may have an assortment of oxygen bars, typically listed in the phone book or through entertainment newspapers and websites.

The concept of the oxygen bar was pioneered in Japan in the late 1990s, and it quickly spread to the Western United States. Some oxygen bars are found in spas, as a supplement to spa services. Others are found in lounges and other recreational businesses, and consumers may also stumble upon an oxygen bar inside a regular bar. In some countries, recreational oxygen is also available in cans at some stores.

Oxygen itself is certainly vital for human life, and most people are accustomed to inhaling oxygen in concentrations of around 21%, representing the ambient concentration of oxygen in the air. When oxygen intake drops, people can experience severe health problems and ultimate death. Medical professionals may offer oxygen therapy to people who have low oxygen saturation in their blood, and some people use supplemental oxygen at home as a prescription medication. Recreationally, oxygen can provide a feeling of euphoria.

At an oxygen bar, guests pay a set per-minute fee to inhale oxygen through a nasal cannula. Once the cannula is inserted, the oxygen source is turned on, and the patron will supposedly feel simultaneously energized and peaceful. Most oxygen bars are cautious about making health claims, because they do not want to run afoul of government regulation. In some oxygen bars, flavored oxygen mixed with various aromas is offered, to make the experience more interesting or for aromatherapeutic value.

In the United States, oxygen is actually a prescription drug, so oxygen bars technically violate Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. The FDA leaves prosecution of oxygen bars to the discretion of the individual states, although it has expressed some concern about the trend. People with certain health conditions such as asthma, for example, should not intake an abnormally high concentration of oxygen, as they may stop breathing.

In addition, many of the substances such as oils used to flavor oxygen at oxygen bars are potential sources of lung infection. The FDA also cautions consumers to be cautious about the condition of the equipment used, as unclean filters and reused cannulas can be dangerous. Finally, the quality of the oxygen used is questionable, and potentially contaminated with airborne particulates and other unhealthy substances. FDA representatives have also pointed out that humans evolved in a 21% oxygen environment, and that it is perhaps better to keep it that way.

Proponents of the oxygen bar believe that oxygen may provide tangible health benefits, although scientific study has not supported this view. At worst, supporters argue that visiting an oxygen bar is a novel and harmless pursuit, when the facility is professionally maintained.

Sports&Hobbies is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a Sports&Hobbies researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By anon277010 — On Jun 27, 2012

Oxygen (O2) is the most reactive atom known. It bonds to nearly everything. That is why it cleans your veins and arteries and even bones of toxins. Carbohydrates literally burn in your body, and they need O2 to do so. Your brain also needs O2 to function.

When you get a cut, your brain needs to dictate your cells the most appropriate way to heal. When cells are made improperly, you end up with junk cells that don't know when to stop growing (cancer).

The truth is, there is a group of people that financially benefit from making / distributing pharmaceutical drugs. They make more money than any cocaine importer / seller out there.

Next to no pharmaceuticals are needed with the proper balance of pressure, and oxygen, not to mention 90 percent of doctors would be out of a job if your body could effectively heal itself.

I believe we age because of inadequate healing. HBOT allows your body to heal itself three times faster. No one can deny there is a legend out there of a fountain that could reverse aging. Legend or not, science states a house under a fountain can keep you from aging.

By anon261874 — On Apr 17, 2012

Has anybody used oxygen to treat low oxygen levels due to sleep apnea? Sleep apnea and sleep deprivation cause lower O2 levels due to the cessation of breathing during the night. Sufferers feel the *brain fog* and fatigue. I'm curious as I am one of those sufferers.

I would love to add something like this simple, non-invasive therapy to treat short term issues, while working on long term changes like diet, exercise, etc.

By anon210561 — On Aug 30, 2011

Okay okay okay, does it have any effect on the alcohol in one's bloodstream? Such as, could it bring a .07 down to a .04 in a short time? Now that might return our social life to normal!

By anon152738 — On Feb 15, 2011

Just saying, anon73753 is talking about a bunch of religious crap that does not even relate to how the world actually is, or this article.

Back to the article. Yeah, sometimes these setups can be especially dangerous because of the dirty output tubes.

By anon127044 — On Nov 15, 2010

I just went to Las Vegas. I had bronchitis the week before and was treated with antibiotic and felt "OK" when I left on my trip. I was so tired and fatigued while I was there, and not always feeling 100 percent.

It was a busy four days. By the last day, I felt the worst. Tired, congested, starting to wheeze again. I saw this oxygen bar at the restaurant we had lunch. It sounded interesting, and not too expensive, so I thought I'd try it.

I must say that after the treatment, I felt really good for several hours. It's not a cure all, but I was able to breathe a little better and I had a bit more energy the rest of the afternoon. I say give it a try!

By anon105125 — On Aug 19, 2010

Oxygen bars are great for curing a hangover, or, if taken before drinking will prevent a hangover. They are great for headaches and migraines, stress and fatigue. Then there is the obvious sports advantage of extra stamina and energy. On a short term basis, it will increase your memory, alertness and concentration levels.

On a long term basis, it flushes all the toxins and impurities out of your body preventing cancer from gaining a foothold. There are many benefits from oxygen.

To correct a comment above, all oxygen bars use a water-based aroma system and do not use oils. Oils are used mainly in aromatherapy sessions, not oxygen bars.

By anon101870 — On Aug 05, 2010

I live in FL and I just moved from TN. There are oxygen bars all over both places so the trend has spread. It's one of those things like water: why would you pay for something free if you don't have to?

By anon92286 — On Jun 27, 2010

OK. random nonsense. what does this have to do with the article?

By anon73753 — On Mar 29, 2010

The atmosphere contained twice the amount of oxygen prior to the Noahic flood which would answer the question of how dinosaurs or dragons as they were called prior to the 1800s would have been able to breathe enough oxygen through their small nostrils.

In Genesis the Bible speaks of a firmament which is described as a layer of water surrounding the earth several miles thick which would have made the air pressure much greater creating the same atmosphere that we use today in medical treatment, (the hyperbaric chamber), hyperbaric meaning high pressure, the oxygen would have been about twice that of today 42 percent, according to samples of air bubbles they have found, and the water that was in the firmament would have block out the X-rays which does tremendous damage to our skin, people would have lived longer, such as Methuselah who lived to be 969 years old.

If you were to take out the water from the ocean you would notice that the continents are still connected. Most of the ocean probably came from the firmament and the waters underneath of the earth which were described as the fountain of the deep.

If you look at the fault lines within the ocean floor they would have been where the fountains of the deep broke forth and the continents would have moved some which is evident by the zipper pattern along the fault line much as claw marks are formed when someone is being dragged by force.

Also the mountains were probably formed at the time of the flood because the fault lines are directly proportional to the location of the mountain ranges.

By anon71464 — On Mar 18, 2010

Interesting article. However, it's not just Californians. Oxygen bars seem to be popular in Japan and the middle east as well.

By habura — On Oct 23, 2009

Californians are unbelievable. ;) What will they think up next?

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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