Thursday, 29 December 2011
Wednesday, 21 December 2011
You may think that you lead a healthy lifestyle, but regardless of how many kilometres you pound on the treadmill or the number of lentils you eat, one thing that’s sure to remain out of your control is the amount of oxygen in the air you breathe.
As in other big cities, the air in Buenos Aires contains only 17% oxygen compared to the 22% found naturally at sea level elsewhere. And since living in such a polluted city may occasionally leave you craving a breath of fresh air, a new craze has hit the health conscious capital – a bar where you can actually boost your supply of oxygen by inhaling air of up to 30% oxygen (the maximum non-prescription content).
The battle against polluted air and its potential compromises to our health began in Japan at the end of the 90s and has since spread around the world. Now Blow 02 Bar, the pioneering oxygen bar in Buenos Aires, brings the concept to Palermo Soho.
O2 (Photo courtesy of Blow O2 Bar)
Located above a trendy hairdressing salon, it offers a relaxing and stylish space for up to four people to simultaneously inhale from an enhanced oxygen supply in 15-minute sessions.
With minimalistic décor, chill-out beats and the sound of water trickling down over a glass cascade, the bar and its outdoor terrace offer some welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of city life. You can even combine your session with some time in the massage chair afterwards for maximum spa-like effects.
The process involves reclining on blue leather sofas besides PC-like machines that purify the oxygen as it flows. A Walkman style headset enables you to breathe the air supply through an open mouth or in the recommended way of inhaling through the nose.
Although, inhaling enhanced oxygen in this way doesn’t claim to cure anything, it does boast a whole host of benefits including detoxification, strengthening the immune system and improving your circulation.
An array of aromas, generated by placing freshly picked herbs from the terrace into test tube like canisters on the headsets, also help to target specific ailments. Lavender is a good choice for improving relaxation and sleep, whilst fresher flavours like mint and lemon are known for their antioxidant qualities.
Whilst it might feel a little strange at first, maintaining a conversation with air flowing up your nose, the open plan space means you can’t be shy about your developing oxygen habit.
Employee Anastacia Sezaber says the bar is popular among health conscious locals and tourists alike. Those serious about the benefits tend to become dedicated followers, visiting several times a week for month long courses.
“Many of my clients take care of their health in other ways,” she says, “such as exercising and following strict raw food diets. Others use it to clear their heads after a big night out.”
But is this a fruitless fad with only placebo effects or a generally healthier addition to an urban lifestyle? Well that depends on you.
If you’re counting your pesos, then spending money on what is essentially paying to breathe air – might be one to miss. But if you’re hung-over from the night before and about to spend money on a fry-up, then exchanging the unhealthy breakfast for a dose of less-polluted oxygen surely can’t hurt.
A refreshing alternative to most of Buenos Aires bars, Blow swaps the wine for wheatgrass shots, organic juices made from freshly pressed ingredients of carrot, orange and ginger, and fashionable yet expensive bottled waters that are each arguably more beneficial than the oxygen boost itself.
Regardless of the real or imagined effects, accompanied by a healthy lifestyle, adding a little air to your day can only be a step in the right direction.
by Laura Mowat, The Argentina Independent