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SkyMall Now Selling Air For $300

August 19, 2009 at 4:19 PM | by | ()

It is only 33,000-feet up and halfway through your second chardonnay that products like the following begin to make sense.

SkyMall's Tranquil Sounds Oxygen Bar takes the natural air that humans have been breathing for millions of years and runs it through a bunch of filters, boosting the oxygen mix from 21% to 30%. Owners are then invited to strap the included headset to their faces, turn on any of the machine's four built-in "ethereal musical patterns," and lose themselves in relaxation. The product is now available for $299.99 before taxes.

We're not particularly interested in debating the health merits of oxygen bars. It's true human lungs evolved to handle our planet's 21% oxygen mix and that our lungs are ill-suited for other combinations. It's also true that there's no biological reason why a higher dose of oxygen would "replenish, renew and rejuvenate you down to the cell." There's always a chance, though, that "the experts" are just blinded by their devotion to "studies" and "proof."

Even more importantly: what these self-styled "scientists" don't understand is that the Tranquil Sounds Oxygen Bar has not two, not three, but four musical patterns. How could a product with four musical patterns be anything less than totally rejuvenating and relaxing?

Normal SkyMall shipping takes about 8 days, by which time you should be back on the ground and out of the airplane's captive audience. But if you don't think you can make it through the rest of the week without "the extra get up and go" that this item promises, you can pay extra to have it rushed. We, however, will have just have a third chardonnay and put the SkyMall back in the seat pocket in front of us.

[Photo: SkyMall]

Related Stories:
· Tranquil Sounds Oxygen Bar [SkyMall]
· SkyMall Coverage [Jaunted]
· Ridiculous Travel Gadgets Coverage [Jaunted]

Archived Comments:

Not quite

While mocking the "tranquil sounds" is quite warranted, your criticisms of oxygen therapy are based on a couple of shaky premises:
  1. The oxygen level in the air you're breathing really is 21%. Academic studies suggest that in cities nowadays that might be as low as 15%.
  2. Human lungs evolved in 21% oxygen. Above link covers that too--current research suggests there used to be closer to 30% oxygen in early human history.
  3. There no clinical studies suggesting oxygen therapy helps people. Not true at all; hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT) has been shown recently to help people with colitis, cystitis, and several other conditions. See Hyperbaric medicine for a long list. There's 97 references there you can read. Now, the HBOT a lot more than 30%, but that suggests the idea that 21% is ideal for everyone is really busted.
  4. Everyone has fully healthy lungs that absorb enough of what they breathe in. Can't find a link at the moment, but I know I've read studies talking about impaired absorption among people with inflamed lungs as one example.
If you are completely healthy and live in a place with good air quality, I would agree that oxygen supplementation is unlikely to help one out. Consider yourself lucky if that's the case. Certainly the claims here are a bit extreme, but that doesn't mean there's no science behind the basic idea of increasing oxygen percentage.