Oxygen tents aren’t as common as they once were because of the development of better technology. They are exactly what they sound like: a tent or plastic covering that can go over a person’s head or cover them entirely and provided increased oxygen. Humidity can also be controlled inside an oxygen tent, and at times they are used for that purpose alone. They are commonly used to help small children with breathing problems.
Oxygen tents can be used to cover a child’s crib, tucking under the mattress, and providing oxygen therapy. This is often more comfortable than attempting to use an oxygen mask with babies. If a child is suffering from a severe breathing problem, such as croup, they may be put in an oxygen tent. This can be frightening for a child, so it’s important to be nearby to help them stay calm.
Other uses of oxygen tents include reducing the oxygen as a training technique for athletics. Traditionally athletes would travel to high elevations to train their bodies to perform well in lower oxygen conditions, with the thought that they would do even better once they were back in normal oxygen levels. Altitude training, as it is called, is reported to help with speed, endurance, power, energy levels, and overall wellness.
As the body struggles to maintain the appropriate amount of energy in a less oxygen rich environment, physiological adaptations take place to increase efficiency, such as increased oxygen carrying red blood cells. With regular training, the body will use these adaptations at all times, and when in normal oxygen levels, the efficiency may be drastically improved. Musicians and singers have reported that practicing at high altitudes or in lower oxygen has increased their lung capacity as well. Whether or not they really work or just act as a placebo effect, an entire industry has built up around them.