I'm testing a new form of meditation and it requires certain breathing exercises in order to generate a specific effect on the nervous system; I have noted significant differences in the results being generated based on the setting in which i practice the exercises... here is some data, hopefully you can help me put all of these pieces together, id like to base this off of solid data so i can present my findings for further evaluation.

QUESTIONS:Why do the effects of the technique increase in different settings?

Am I breathing in more O2 based on the environment i do the exercise? Does high humidity increase the levels of oxygen in the air? Or are other factors such as temperature & pressure contributing to the effects?

SETTING: Steam Room: - 100% humidity, temperature - HIGH heat - Pressurized steam room

Normal Room Temp Setting: - "Normal" Dry Colorado Air (Assumed approx 78% nitrogen, 21%o2, 1% misc) - Normal home setting

-the "effects" are intensified when performed in the sauna as compared to normal, dry Colorado air, i am trying to pin point why this might be.

Hopefully this is clear, thanks.

  • $\begingroup$ I am not trying to say that meditation is a scam or whatnot, but I think that chemistry cannot explain how meditation works (which is likely to be psychological in nature) nor can it answer your question. $\endgroup$ Feb 16, 2016 at 23:59
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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because ^ $\endgroup$ Feb 16, 2016 at 23:59
  • $\begingroup$ I can't vote for closing things, but the question is asking something related to chemistry 'Does humidity increase oxygen levels in the air we breathe?'. Yes, the asker did give a lot of context about meditation, but the basic premise of the question is about chemistry, not psychological or off topic. @orthocresol $\endgroup$
    – N A
    Feb 17, 2016 at 13:24

1 Answer 1


As to the answer in the title, no, increased humidity does not increase oxygen levels in the air. In fact it does the exact opposite, since the air in each breath will have some fraction displaced by water molecules instead of the normal nitrogen and oxygen mix we breathe. It's a relatively small effect, with water making up at most a few percent of the air under high humidity/high temperature conditions that are safe for people to inhabit for reasonable periods of time. That would mean that oxygen content would be decreased by about 1% in your steam room (again, this assumes you're not doing something dangerous with the temperatures and humidity.)

As to your other questions, you've got serious methodological issues to deal with. Your first goal in finding the reason for the significant differences you've noticed should be verifying whether those significant differences actually exist, or whether they are based on things like confirmation bias or the simple effects of being in a boiling hot room vs outdoors in Colorado. How you do that is really more of a psychology experiment, as has been suggested by the comments above, and would be better suited for the Cognitive Sciences Stack Exchange.

  • $\begingroup$ I was simply trying to identify a few variables that exist in my experiment; i needed to start with finding the answer to the question regarding oxygen content in humid conditions & now that i have it, i can proceed with the rest of the experiment. The comments on meditation were obviously not appointed to the correct party, moving forward, ill be sure not to mention anything outside of the table of elements to this forum! $\endgroup$ Feb 17, 2016 at 16:33
  • $\begingroup$ @JamesJimenez Understood. I was hoping that a straightforward, serious answer with a pointer toward the area of SE that would better suit the other points you mentioned would help keep your question open. $\endgroup$ Feb 18, 2016 at 2:28

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