The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2004 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

DOES 15 MINUTES OF OXYGEN IMPROVE BREATHING, ENERGY, AND CONTENTMENT? A PILOT SHAM OXYGEN STUDY

Derek Hochgesang, BS, CRT, Adam Spartz, BS, CRT, Andy Song, BS, CRT, Deborah L Cullen, EdD, RRT, FAARC Indiana University, Indianapolis, Indiana

BACKGROUND:The popular rise of oxygen bars has become a growing trend in large cities across the United States. With claims stating that healthy people can improve vitality by inhaling oxygen, there has also been criticism from health professionals that the benefits are unwarranted. Although studies have been conducted concerning the effects of oxygen as a medical drug for patients with conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and respiratory failure, no medical studies have been published demonstrating health benefits from breathing oxygen in the manner dispensed at oxygen bars.

METHODS: Our aim was to evaluate any difference between oxygen and sham therapy/air administration (placebo) during a 15 minute trial. This was a single-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trial consisting of twenty volunteer college students with no predisposing heart or lung conditions. One group received 15 minutes of oxygen (oxygen group) via nasal cannula. The other group received 15 minutes of compressed air (placebo group). Delivery units were covered to prevent participants from viewing the device. Vital signs (heart and oxygen saturation) were monitored and subjective questionnaires were completed by the subjects pre and post administration of gas regarding perceptions about mental, physical, emotional, and physiologic well-being using a visual analog scale ranging from 1-10 (1=low, 10=high). Compliance with IRB policy was followed.

RESULTS: Data from the trial revealed the placebo group reported positive or indiscernible changes after receiving the compressed air at the physical, energy, emotional, physiological, and current feeling levels. The oxygen group declined in four of six categories. No statistical difference between the groups was observed post-study for heart rate, VAS measures, or improvement in breathing, reinvigoration, or energy (t-tests p<0.5).

CONCLUSION: Data gathered from the evaluation concluded that there was little to no difference with SaO2, HR, and post-VAS measures, or improvement post-gas administration between the oxygen and sham group. Calculations indicated there were no statistical significances between those who received oxygen and those who received air. Any purported beneficial effects by proponents of oxygen bars are yet to be substantiated. Large scale studies determining the benefits of oxygen bars should be conducted.


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