Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out. Human beings can survive weeks without food and days without water, but just minutes without oxygen. This colorless, odorless gas is the most abundant element on the planet, making up about 47 percent of the Earth’s crust. The most important element needed to sustain life, it supplies the energy or fuel to maintain, grow and repair every cell in our bodies.

The trend of oxygen bars began in the late 1990s in Japan and have since made their way to the U.S., most notably in California, Las Vegas and New York. Used for health and recreation, oxygen bars can be found in nightclubs, salons, spas, health clubs, resorts, tanning salons, restaurants, coffee houses, airports, ski chalets, yoga studios and casinos— and soon you may see them at the next party you attend.

Throwing a party? Looking for something guests will still be talking about the next day? Why not rent an aromatherapy oxygen bar? Such bars have been seen at weddings, birthday parties, bachelor parties, corporate meetings and elsewhere. What does it involve? Anywhere from one to eight oxygen stations and your choice of aromas, such as Chocolate-Covered Cherries, Sugar Cookie, Cranberry, Citrus Zing, Invigorating and the list goes on.

How does it work? It starts with a disposable nose hose that is plugged into the oxygen unit. The unit takes in the air that you are breathing and three different chambers filter out the toxins, putting 93 percent pure oxygen back into the unit. The oxygen travels through the tubes, mixing with your choice of aromatherapies, and then you breathe it in. It is recommended that a treatment last between five and 15 minutes, depending on the person. There is no age limit to taking part in the oxygen experience.

What does it do? The idea is that when you breathe purified oxygen, you are increasing the total oxygen saturation in your bloodstream for better health, stamina, disease prevention and metabolic processes. Proponents claim that oxygen holds the power to relieve headaches and migraines, improve memory, burn fat, deactivate toxins and invigorate every cell in your body.

Kimberly Lund of Oxygen Party, located in Peoria Heights, has been operating a mobile oxygen bar business now for about a year, offering pay-per-minute sessions. She got the idea when she and her kids were in Nashville and had an “oxygen experience” at a relaxation store. After some research, she brought the idea back to central Illinois and has since made her presence felt at parties across the Midwest. Just recently, she spent some time at a festival in Kansas City where she had people lining up to breathe oxygen for three days straight. Some might say, “It’s just oxygen—why do I need to pay for it?” Kimberly’s response is, “Yes, but does it smell like a sugar cookie?”

How does it feel? Overall, the reactions to the bars have been favorable. Many people who didn’t think it would work for them come back for more. In our mission to experience this oxygen device, we invited Kimberly to stop by the CIBP office so we could try it for ourselves. As you can see, the device is not large. The first reaction was one of laughter— the tubes were ticklish—but once you relax and pick your scent, you just breathe. The Citrus Zing was quite strong; I was partial to the Chocolate-Covered Cherries, perhaps because of my love of chocolate. After a few minutes, I found it to be quite relaxing—I literally felt like I had just taken a breath of fresh air.

For more information or to book a unit for your next event, call (309) 397-3057 or visit oxygenparty.net.

It’s OK to inhale. a&s