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Health: Some Turning To Oxygen Therapy For An Energy Boost

By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Oxygen therapy, without a prescription, that's supposed to boost energy and much more. It's a growing health trend that may leave you with a "breath of fresh air."

When Jeffrey Portis gets a headache skiing, he says a can of oxygen helps with altitude sickness and more.

"You no longer have the headache. You feel like you have a little bit more energy than maybe you did before," says Portis.

The can contains enriched air that's 95-percent oxygen.

"Ambient air, which we breathe every day, is 21 percent oxygen," says Christine Warren, of Oxygen Plus, Inc.

A number of companies sell canned oxygen online, in specialty stores and spas.

"You have increased energy and you feel better. Oxygen is the next bottled water," says Warren.

Some canned oxygen comes in flavors like peppermint or pink grapefruit. They're promoted to help ease altitude sickness, headaches and jetlag, reboot after an aerobic workout, and some claim to even help after a tough night out on the town.

Some brands say the relief you find is similar to taking a gulp of water when you're feeling dehydrated.

Doctor Mark Green with the National Headache Foundation is skeptical.

"The evidence is fairly weak. Even if the effect is had, it tends to be short-lived because there's not very much oxygen in these containers," says Dr. Green.

These are not medical devices. You don't need a prescription to buy canned oxygen and the FDA currently does not regulate it.

Dr. Green says canned oxygen may have some limited value with altitude sickness and hangovers, but they shouldn't be considered to be a mainstream treatment for medical conditions.

Jeffrey says it's made a big difference in his life and says, "It was pretty amazing how quickly you just sort of felt better."

The canisters are highly flammable and the TSA won't allow them on flights, but beyond that, experts say there are no known negative side effects when used as directed

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