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Published September 30th 2011
For people who don't get enough oxygen in everyday life, this is for you. Australia's first ever oxygen bar has opened in Sydney and the concept has really hit the ground running. O2 Bar Oxygen Station, situated in Darling Harbour, offers Sydneysiders the chance to come in and relax whilst taking a few breathes of 90% pure oxygen, much higher than the normal 21% oxygen that we breathe everyday.
The concept is simple: pay $1 per minute for a maximum of 20 minutes to breathe in the flavoured oxygen and feel its effects. The oxygen is breathed in through a nasal cannula connected to a bottle of the bubbling oxygen, which has aromatic solutions added to it. Whether it be vanilla, lavender, cherry or peppermint flavoured, the oxygen supposedly increases energy, cures hangovers, relieves stress and helps to combat jet lag.
But debate about the oxygen's supposed effects has been raging since O2 Bar Oxygen Station was opened in August, with health experts suggesting that the benefits of breathing in pure oxygen are minimal, and too much is in fact bad for you.
But regardless of whether or not the pure oxygen actually does what it says it does, Sydneysiders have been flocking to the harbourside bar in order to see what all the commotion is about. The bar's owner, Alexi Fahad, says the majority of people that come into his oxygen bar are curious customers wanting to try the phenomenon for themselves, although he has seen intoxicated locals trying to sober up, and joggers trying to catch their breath before setting off again.
The concept originated in the United States, but has really taken off in Australia with mobile oxygen stands popping up at parties, nightclubs and company functions all over the country. And regardless of whether or not breathing in the pure oxygen can actually increase energy, cure a hangover or relieve stress, the concept is a novelty that Sydneysiders are embracing with a passion. Oxygen bars are here and they're here to stay.