Oxygen fuels every function of the human body, which can only survive minutes without the precious element composing roughly 21 percent of Earth's atmosphere.

Oxygen fuels every function of the human body, which can only survive minutes without the precious element composing roughly 21 percent of Earth's atmosphere.

So if you could get more of the good stuff in each breath, that'd be a good thing, right?

That's the opinion of Jason Parsons, owner of O2 Heaven, Central Ohio's only full-service oxygen bar. His inviting bohemian haven in uptown Westerville is designed around the art of enjoying a highly concentrated dose of oh-two.

"When you go to a bar, you feel good then, but bad in the morning," Parsons explained. "When you go to an oxygen bar, you feel good then - and even better in the morning."

Most medical professionals pooh-pooh any concrete health benefits of visiting oxygen bars, which began popping up in Las Vegas and along the coasts during the mid-1990s. They argue that any tangible results from such exposure are unlikely or result only from placebo effects.

Parsons, on the other hand, said a session with increased oxygen leads to increased focus, alertness and relaxation. It's just the thing for those feeling a little down, tired, hungover or stressed out.

"The only thing I can do is report to the clientele what my customers tell me," said Parsons, listing guests who have experienced relief from sinus problems, hangovers, migraines, asthma and other ailments.

I suffered only from mild seasonal allergies when I sat down for a 20-minute session ($10) Saturday evening.

Once at a small delivery station, a flow of about 90 percent oxygen began to bubble through small canisters of scented water and into a rubber cannula placed in my nostrils. I was able to choose from a handful of flavors like peppermint and peach as I inhaled deeply through my nose.

Surfing videos and paintings by local artists provided pleasant eye candy and were accompanied by the sound of bubbling water and the hum of a nearby fish tank. Parsons was eager to give back and head massages using some nearby instruments.

It was a multi-sensory relaxation experience.

"I first tried it in Las Vegas, and after 20 minutes I felt like I could conquer the world," said Parsons, who was then suffering from jet lag, wedding nerves and exhaustion. "I dragged half my family out there into the oxygen bar."

I wasn't ready to conquer the world at the end of 20 minutes - just noticeably calmer, relaxed and even slightly euphoric. Even after smoking four cigarettes and drinking a few beers later that night, I awoke the next morning feeling totally refreshed.

Whether that came simply from psychosomatic effects and a back rub was unclear. And I didn't really care.

"It's a fun activity," Parsons said. "We want everyone who leaves here to feel like they just left heaven."