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Pure oxygen a luxury in Delhiites? A café in the national capital offers fresh air at Rs 500

The bar charges Rs 299 to Rs 499 for 15 minutes of pure oxygen.

PTI|
Nov 15, 2019, 06.13 PM IST
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Agencies
The bar, which receives around 15-20 customers on any ordinary day, has been witnessing an appreciable growth in business amid a public health emergency due to a harmful spike in pollution levels.
The bar, which receives around 15-20 customers on any ordinary day, has been witnessing an appreciable growth in business amid a public health emergency due to a harmful spike in pollution levels.
NEW DELHI: At a time the entire Delhi is struggling for clean air, there's one spot in the city where you can breathe "pure oxygen" for 15 minutes.

While pure oxygen is considered odourless, "Oxy Pure", opened in May this year at Select City Walk, offers it in various flavours such as eucalyptus, lavender, vanilla, peppermint, gardenias, spearmint, lemongrass, cinnamon, orange, cherry among others.

The bar, a first-of-its-kind in Delhi, charges Rs 299 to Rs 499 for 15 minutes of pure oxygen that the owner, Aryavir, claims works like magic on those complaining of mental fatigue, sleep disorders, blood pressure issues and stress.

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When pollution levels have spiked, portable oxygen cylinders are also in vogue and are being bought through e-commerce sites.

However, experts believe that taking oxygen for a short while even at a high concentration has no benefit and such a theory has no scientific basis. According to experts, the concentration of oxygen in so-called "pure" air can go up to 40 per cent.

The bar, which receives around 15-20 customers on any ordinary day, has been witnessing an appreciable growth in business amid a public health emergency due to a harmful spike in pollution levels.

"We have been receiving 25-30 people everyday. You can say it's because of extreme pollution which is killing everyone," said Bonny Irengbam (30), the head staff. What can be more important than pure oxygen under such circumstances? he asked.



But there are a few important points one should be aware of -- it's not advisable to inhale oxygen more than 15 minutes in a day.

"People abroad undergo sessions that extend up to an hour. But in India, since people are sceptical and ask questions, we have restricted it to 15 minutes a day and not more," Aryavir said.

"We have served thousands of people. There have been no complaints of any health issue from anyone since we have opened the bar," he added.

The bar's brochure reads, "It is important to note that we do not recommend usage of an oxygen bar to people suffering from chronic asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema. We recommend people to consult their doctors first."

"We don't advise pregnant women to use it.... Though there are no reports that suggest it is harmful for them but we do not want to take risk," Irengbam said.

A 15-minute session keeps a person energetic for 24 hours at least, said Abhilash Singh, another employee at the bar.

"But it's of no use if you go out and start smoking immediately," he added.

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An oxygen concentrator machine pushes oxygen into a cannula, a flexible tube which splits into two small prongs. It fits loosely around your head and the prongs rest just inside the nostrils to deliver oxygen.

Dr Neeraj Kumar Gupta, Pulmonary Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at the city's Safdarjung Hospital, said lack of sufficient oxygen in blood evokes physiological responses leading to more efficient transport and release of oxygen to tissues for continual survival.

"This adaptive changes are clearly apparent at high altitude where ambient oxygen is low. The idea is to keep the pressure of oxygen in blood to at least 60 or above. When low, the oxygen needs to be prescribed in right amount for durations demanded to maintain adequate tissue oxygenation and required to be respected as a medicine.

"Low, unchecked or unregulated oxygen can in fact be harmful as it can affect the adaptive mechanisms," Gupta said.

"Taking oxygen for a short while even at a high concentration has no benefit and such a theory has no scientific basis. It is misusing the menace of pollution by misguiding people for commercial purposes. People should not fall for such traps," Dr Rajesh Chawla, senior consultant, Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital.

But there are different reasons for people to inhale oxygen artificially.

Prem Jain, 40, who has undergone two sessions in a month, said, "I came back because I could feel the difference. It calms your nerves and helps with sleep."

"I have been at the receiving end of pollution. It gave me a soar throat," Jain said, but added he did not consult a doctor before coming to the bar.

Singh recalled that recently, a man came to the bar "after burning a pack of cigarettes just to detoxify".

Saloni (29) came to the bar to give a dose of oxygen to her skin cells before her cousin's wedding.

"People may have different reasons...but yes, when pollution is literally choking us, 15 minutes of oxygen is pure bliss," she said.
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