The first known reference to the recreational use of oxygen is found in Jules Verne's 1870 novel Around the Moon. In this work Verne states "Do you know, my friends, that a curious establishment might be founded with rooms of oxygen, where people whose system is weakened could for a few hours live a more active life. Fancy parties where the room was saturated with this heroic fluid, theaters where it should be kept at high pressure; what passion in the souls of the actors and spectators! what fire, what enthusiasm! And if, instead of an assembly only a whole people could be saturated, what activity in its functions, what a supplement to life it would derive. From an exhausted nation they might make a great and strong one, and I know more than one state in old Europe which ought to put itself under the regime of oxygen for the sake of its health!"
In recent times, the oxygen bars have been known to have originated in Japan. It is believed that the traffic police in Tokyo, one of the most densely populated and polluted cities in the world, started exhibiting lung problems. They were given oxygen masks and kiosks were opened in several places in Tokyo where the cops could go to “relieve their lungs.” The general public took to the idea and started feeling the benefits of oxygen.
Woody Harrelson from "Cheers," "White Men Can’t Jump," "Flint," "Pulp Fiction," "Indecent Proposal" etc., while on a trip to Japan, recognized the health and business potential of this phenomenal concept. He is credited with bringing the concept of oxygen bars to the U.S. and opening his first oxygen bar and restaurant “Exotico” in Los Angeles, next to his yoga studio.
Today, oxygen bars appear at many venues: nightclubs, salons, spas, health clubs, resorts, tanning salons, restaurants, coffee houses, bars, theme parks, airports, ski chalets, shopping malls, hookah bars, yoga studios, chiropractors, casinos, at dentists’ and many more places. Many companies offer the benefits of oxygen bars to their employees as a part of their wellness programs. They are also in demand by corporations and individuals for special events.
Oxygen bars, although highly beneficial, are meant for recreational purpose only and are not to cure any diseases or ailments.