Oxygen lounge offers ‘breath of fresh air’Written by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | email@example.com
Increased endurance and alertness, reduced stress, relief from headaches or jet lag and quicker recovery from workouts are among the potential benefits of an oxygen session at O2 Experience.
The oxygen lounge — Toledo’s first — opened Sept. 19, at 5201 Monroe St., behind Bed, Bath & Beyond.
“There’s just so many opportunities because of the restorative benefits of oxygen itself,” said manager Jordan Buckley. “Oxygen is what carries away toxins in our blood and obviously we need it to live. It just has so many good things about it.”
After a session, customers feel both relaxed and invigorated, Buckley said.
“It’s a strange combination of both,” he said. “When I tell people they’ll feel relaxed and they’ll have more energy, people are like, ‘Well aren’t those the opposite?’ I really don’t think so. It’s a relaxing energy. You feel like you’re relaxed, but you also feel like you can go do something awesome, like climb a mountain.”
Oxygen bars and lounges are popular in many cities, especially on the coasts, in the South and in other countries, Buckley said.
“We thought, ‘OK, Toledo doesn’t have one, but we’re kind of a bigger city. People like to enjoy themselves and want to have a good time, but they don’t always want to leave town to do so,’” Buckley said. “We thought we’d bring a taste of something different here so people could enjoy it without having to travel.”
O2 Experience offers 10-minute sessions for $10 and 20-minute sessions for $15. Customers can also add a scent for $1. Aromas will change periodically, but current options are ocean mist, strawberry and plumeria. The oxygen passes through water to hydrate it and is delivered directly into the nostrils through disposable nasal cannulas, tubes that wrap behind your ears and stick into your nose.
“Oxygen is a dry gas so you want to keep it hydrated so it doesn’t dry your nose out,” Buckley said.
The purity of the oxygen is about 95 percent, Buckley said.
“Right now we’re breathing 21 percent, so it’s a lot more than normal,” Buckley said. “Even people who are on supplemental oxygen, who carry around an oxygen tank, those are only about 40 percent.”
Air quality has decreased during the past 100 years due to pollution, said Buckley, who is originally from Boston and has lived in Toledo for 10 years.
“On top of that you have our stressful lifestyles, so it’s no wonder people feel like they can’t breathe,” Buckley said. “Not to be corny, but it’s a breath of fresh air to come in and actually sit down and feel like you can escape. That’s the way we tried to set it up, where it looks and feels like a place you can come in and wind down. We want people to feel like they are at home.”
O2 Experience features lounge seating with back massagers, a center sculpture water fountain and low ambient lighting, all of which help make the atmosphere one of comfort and relaxation, said 21-year-old Jenna Spaulding of Toledo.
Spaulding, who visited O2 Experience with her sister shortly after it opened, has since gone back a few times a week.
“I had no idea what to expect, but I really liked it,” Spaulding said. “We sat there on our phones for a while searching what it was and looking at all the benefits. Afterward, I was just really happy and giddy. It helps you feel better, calms you down when you’re upset. Pretty much every bad situation I’ve been in, it’s helped. The ambiance is perfect. They couldn’t have gotten it better.”
Spaulding, a smoker, also said the oxygen helps her feel better for a few hours and has helped her cut back on smoking.
“It’s nice. It’s definitely very different. It’s something that needs to catch on,” Spaulding said. “The nose tubes seem weird at first. It’s something no one’s used to, but if they give it a chance, they’ll see it’s really cool.”
Buckley said the response has been largely positive so far.
“Not everyone knows where we are yet, but everybody that’s come in has had a positive response,” Buckley said. “Everyone’s like, ‘Wow.’ They are all happy, saying ‘I like this’ or ‘That was cool’ or “I’m going to bring people back,’ so everyone’s been really positive about it.”
O2 Experience offers six oxygen machines, but there are extra couches and lounge chairs so larger groups can relax while waiting for a session, Buckley said.
Hours are 3:30-10:30 p.m. Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, 3:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday and closed Monday and Tuesday. Sessions are walk-in only. Contact Buckley to make arrangements for private events and parties.
Buckley can also take the machines to outside parties. O2 Experience was at the Clazel Theatre in Bowling Green Oct. 25 for Konkrete Jungle, a monthly bass culture and electronic dance music event, where Buckley offered three-minute sessions for $3.
Buckley said he hopes more Toledoans learn about O2 Experience and decide to try it.
“It’s pretty cool, something new to try. It doesn’t hurt to try new things. This area has a lot to offer. You just have to look around and get out there and if you don’t, you’ll miss it,” Buckley said. “We had a group of bachelorettes come in before going to the bars. Just something different I guess. The opportunities are really endless.”
For more information, visit the web site www.o2toledo.com.
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