Bellying Up to the Oxygen Bar for a Breath of Fresh Air

Stacey Weidner enjoys some Peppemint-flavored oxygen at the Feelin' 02 Good Oxygen Bar in Riverhead. Michael Heller photo

There’s a reason anything refreshing, joyful, and awakening can be referred to as “a breath of fresh air.” Oxygen feeds us at the cellular level. Before water, before food, there is oxygen. And while living on the East End — with fresh ocean air constantly flooding our lungs — is its own elixir, Matt Forest felt the healing powers of oxygen could be more efficiently harnessed.

Feelin O2 Good in Riverhead maximizes the benefits of oxygenation in a variety of ways. From an oxygen bar in one corner to the new yoga studio that promotes breath work, from the infrared sauna to the hyperbaric chamber, everything connects back to this process of oxygenation.

“This is the only way someone can administer oxygen without being a medical facility,” said Forest as I adjusted the tubes in my nostrils and hooked up to the peppermint infused air. It felt like a splash of cold water on my face, the fresh minty breaths filling my lungs. “It’s an oxygen concentrator, and it takes the ambient air and compresses it so you’re breathing 99.7% pure oxygen.”

Forest has experienced first-hand the benefits of oxygen therapy, and wants to share it with the world.

“I cured myself of terminal Lyme disease completely holistically,” said Forest, “by educating myself on the power of healing through oxygen.”

When he was given 140 antibiotic pills to take in the span of ten days, he paused and thought about his gut. He wanted to see if there was a better way to healing. Inspired by the work of Dr. Otto Warburg, who won the Nobel Prize in 1931 for his studies of the respiratory enzyme, Forest began studying the benefits of oxygen.

“I did my research,” he said. “I started using the hyperbaric chamber, ozonated water, intravenous ozone, and consuming an oxygen-producing diet with fruits and vegetables. Plus, enema and fasting: it led to spiritual clarity and rebirth.”

He recalls the moment he decided to share his findings: he was on his way home from his first ozone treatment when his father took his last breath.

“I knew then that if and when I was cured, I shouldn’t be selfish. I should share it with the world,” he shrugged as he switched his tube from lavender to lemongrass, and then re-attached mine to eucalyptus. “This was the most socially acceptable way to introduce oxygen.”

Forest, who is also a life coach and uses food and diet as the bedrock of a healthy lifestyle, believes oxygenation is the first step in a four-step process of wellness: Oxygenation, Alkalinity, Supplementation and Detoxification. There’s no way to clear out the toxins in your body without first giving them the space to move. Oxygen, like a breath of air, creates space.

He cites Professor Arnold Ehret, who wrote in 1922 that vitality equals power minus obstruction (V=P-O). According to this formula, to increase vitality you must first remove obstructions. Thus, detoxification.

“You need to clean out,” said Forest. “Allow the body to be a clean vessel for things to flow. The leading cause of all disease is obstruction.”

Pumping oxygen to the lungs, he says, creates a relaxation on a cellular level. When the cells are relaxed, toxins can more easily flow out through elimination. The benefits, he believes, can be felt on the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels. At Feelin O2 Good, the experience is meant to transcend these many planes.

“The beautiful thing about this space is it stops you,” said Forest. “If you’re sitting with a foot bath detox, you just have to sit. If you’re in the infrared sauna, you have to just be there. Sitting at the oxygen bar, there’s nowhere else to go.”

This contributes to a feeling of intentionality, of living with purpose. And that, he believes, is the key to happiness.

“A lot of our anxiety and depression comes from a lack of purposefulness in our lives,” said Forest. “If you live with purpose, you don’t suffer in the small ways that occupy so much of our mental and emotional life.”