Blue Lagoon, you saw me swimming alone,
without an algae face mask, without a drink of my own
~adapted lyrics of the Blue Moon song by the Marcels~
It was a week ago today, a Wellness Wednesday in fact, that I entered the Blue Lagoon after I was fresh off the plane in Iceland. This expensive and popular tourist attraction is a spa located next to a geothermal plant in the area of Grindavik. Freshwater and seawater combine at a high temperature 2 km below the surface and is used to produce hot water and electricity. The water cools and collects silica and minerals as it comes to the surface. The bathing water found at the lagoon contains silica, algae and minerals and sits around body temperature (37°C). The time of year and weather can also affect the temperature of the water.
It is believed that the silica in the water helped with skin conditions, in particular psoriasis. After public baths were open, a clinic for people with psoriasis was also open. Many natural water spas (eg. hot springs, the Dead Sea) around the world are said to have therapeutic properties due to the mineral content in their water.
For those not able to go to the Blue Lagoon spa in Iceland, you can recreate the experience at home. All you need is a tub, some hot water (but not scalding), epsom salts (found at pharmacies or pharmacy sections in the grocery store), an algae or silica mud mask (health food stores usually carry these) and perhaps a cocktail.
- Have a shower first to clean yourself.
- Fill tub with water and epsom salts.
- Bathe for 20-30 minutes; any longer and you could turn prune-like. Regular tap water does not have the same therapeutic qualities.
- Apply mask to clean face before entering the tub. Follow instructions for how long to leave on.
- For extra ambience, have a cocktail while bathing. May I suggest a combination of carbonated soda water and pure fruit juice (pomegranate, cranberry) for a bubbly accompaniment to bathing.