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. : Health Related Activities
Group Members:
: Svava Ragnarsdóttir
: Eva Gebel
: Bríet Einarsdóttir
: Stefan Fleischer
: Magnús Pór Gudmundsson
: Christian Steger
. : Health Related Activities
Health Related Activies: Blue Lagoon in Grindavik

The Blue Lagoon is a pool of geothermal water rich in unique natural minerals such as white silica mud and blue green algae, which give the lagoon its soft, milky, aquamarine color. This natural geothermal spa is surrounded by a lava field and black sandy beaches. It is comprised two-thirds saltwater and one-third fresh water. The water comes from bore holes as deep as 6,000 feet. In its travels through porous lava, a blend of sea and fresh water undergoes mineral exchange and then near the surface, concentration occurs, due to vaporization, evaporation and finally, sedimentation. The water is led via pipeline directly to the Blue Lagoon. The water temperature is kept between 100 and 110°F (37-39°C). The water is constantly refreshed and is completely exchanged every 24 hours.
The Blue Lagoon was formed in 1976 following the operation of the Suđurnes Regional Heating Corporation in Svartsengi geothermal area. People started bathing in the Blue Lagoon in 1981. People with psoriasis found relief from the condition after bathing in the lagoon and rubbing silica mud on their skin. The first public bathing facility at the site was opened in 1987, and a treatment center for psoriasis patients opened in 1994. The current facility was opened on July 15, 1999. In its relatively short life, the Blue Lagoon has become one of Iceland's most visited tourist attractions and is also very popular with Icelanders. It is famous for its unique active ingredients and their effects on body and soul. Mineral salts balance and relax, blue green algae nourish and soften the skin and the white silica mud cleanses and exfoliates. The Lagoon also offers special treatments? The spa treatments and massage take place in the lagoon, in the open air, and are based on the unique, active Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater ingredients (mineral salts, silica and algae). All treatments take place in the lagoon on a specially designed wooden bench. Massage takes place on a mattress in the lagoon. Special blankets are used to keep guests warm during spa treatments and massage. The Blue Lagoon restaurant is rated among the world's top 50 according to Restaurant Magazine. You can enjoy an excellent lunch overlooking the Blue Lagoon. It is also possible to hold conferences in the conference rooms - complete with all the latest technological tools - at Eldborg Centre, close by Blue Lagoon. Moreover Blue Lagoon manufactures and distributes about 40 geothermal skin care products, which all include the unique ingredients found in Blue Lagoon - Blue green algae, silica, salt and minerals. The products are designed to cleanse, nourish and regenerate the skin. The products are hypoallergenic and dermatologically tested (not on animals) and manufactured according to European law of good manufacturing practice (GMP). Blue Lagoon products are used in the Spa Treatments at the Blue Lagoon Spa and at the Blue Lagoon Treatment Center. The line is designed to be beneficial for all skin types, including the most sensitive. Products can be purchased at the exclusive Blue Lagoon Shop or online. The Blue Lagoon also has a clinic staffed by dermatologists for the treatment of psoriasis and other skin ailments. Treatment includes bathing in a separate, private pool filled with the same water as the Blue Lagoon, application of silica mud to the skin and the use of UVA/UVB light therapy. The treatment process normally takes 21-28 days. In 2002, the clinic provided 6,000 treatments to patients from 17 countries. The Icelandic, Danish and Faroy Island ministries of health have recognized the facilities as an official treatment center for the treatment of psoriasis, and reimburse their patient's treatment costs. A new Dermatology Clinic will open in spring 2005 with new accommodation facilities.
After discovering so many interesting things about Blue Lagoon, I decided to visit this exciting place. So me and my partner followed the long path cut through the lava to the entrance of the Blue Lagoon. We entered the facility and went to the changing room. I was quite surprised that you have to shower completely before putting on your bathing suit in Iceland (as opposed to putting on your suit then stepping into the shower which is the custom in Germany). After showering I ran outside to get into the water because outside it was very cold. The water was really soft warm and inside the water had nomore a blue but a white colour. I saw a small mountein of silica mud on the shore of the lagoon and tok a handful of the white mud and rubbed it on my face and body. Then I wandered around with the mud on my face and stopped under a waterfall to massage my shoulders and rinse the mud from my face.

Health Related Activities: Hveragerdi

General Information

Why do tourists come to Iceland? What can they do during their trip throughout this island in the far northwest of Europe? What kind of activities are offered?
Some people may answer these questions with: “Why don’t you take advantage of the variety of health related activities offered in Iceland?”
The town of Hveragerđi is surely one of a few places in Iceland offering these activities. Here you get information about Hveragerđi itself, the importance of the area’s geothermal energy and the (resulting) health related activities being available in and around the town.

Hveragerđi is a small town of about 1887 inhabitants in the south of Iceland. It is situated on the main highroad no.1, approximately 40 km east of Reykjavik. The excellent bus connections to the capital city of Reykjavik, and therefore also to Keflavik (where the airport is), are ideal conditions for an attractive place of tourism. Hveragerđi is next to the Varmá River and further more only 10km away from the “center of the South” – the town of Selfoss; the civilization is surely not far away… :)

Geothermal energy
Hveragerđi is one of only few populated geothermal areas in the world, and consequently offers a huge amount of possibilities for tourist activity. Its position right over a large high-temperature field, where very hot water from the Hengill volcanic area flows (at about 180°C in a depth of 125m), results in an intense use of geothermal energy. As this energy can be very attractive to tourists, too (as a variety of services for visitors is available and natural hot springs, etc. can be found), Hveragerđi became one of Iceland’s main tourist attractions.

Around Hveragerdi
Not only does the town of Hervagerđi itself offer lots of services to tourists, but also the area around it. Many kinds of hot springs, fumaroles, bubbling mud holes, clear blue hot springs and geysers can be found very next to Hveragerđi. The geyser Grýla, for example, is a main tourist attraction – although not really active, it can be forced to erupt with the help of a chemical reaction and surely can offer a very good motive for every visitor’s camera. Further more there are two waterfalls next to Hveragerđi, the Baulufoss opposite the Grýla geyser and the Reykjafoss at the landscape garden at Fossflöt.
As mentioned before, the town of Selfoss is only about 10km away from Hveragerđi. There a good infrastructure (restaurants, banks, hospital, and post office), many kinds of accommodations, museums and out- and indoor swimming-pools can be found. And lastly, in the power plant of Nesjavellir, about 10km north of Hveragerđi, the huge amount of geothermal energy is used for heating up cold water and for the production of electricity .

Geological Information

Use of geothermal energy
Because of the huge availability of natural energy by geothermal warmth, Hveragerđi became the so-called “centre of greenhouses”. Its not really surprising that the town is also called the “Blossoming town”, if you see all the greenhouses supplied by geothermal energy. The main emphasis in this greenhouse cultivation lies in the growth of vegetables (like tomatoes and cucumbers, etc.), but to an increasing extent in flowers as well. Few of these greenhouses are open to tourists, too, and the national school for gardening can be found in Hveragerđi as well. In the so-called landscape “Garden Eden” the visitor can find greenhouses, flower shops, cafes, souvenir shops, galleries and a “café under palm trees”.
10km north of Hveragerđi one can find the power plant of Nesjavellir, where hot steam is used for heating up water. This water is delivered to Reykjavik in an over 50km long pipeline and supplies the whole capital city with warm water. Moreover, the geothermal energy is used for producing electricity, which is used in a large area of southern and south-eastern Iceland.

Hot Springs
Next to the town of Hveragerđi hot springs can be found, two of them presented in the following:
(Blue Hot Spring)The Blue Hot Spring is the biggest and also best-known hot spring of the area around Hveragerđi. Its name refers to its bluish color, resulting from special minerals existing in this water, which absorb the sunlight’s red wave lengths, reflecting the blue-green color the eye. The temperature of this hot spring varies: it is hottest on the left at approximately 88°C. You can find mud holes at the bottom when it’s dry, and the slope above is characterized by smoking hot pots warmer than 80°C. To the right, the water gets colder, to about 30°C.
(Riverbank Hot Spring)The Riverbank Hot Spring’s pyramid-shaped cover reminds one of a powerful fumarole. The steam coming from this hot spring was used for pasteurizing milk and producing cheese, the water for heating, washing and cooking. The water is 22°C to about 71°C hot.

Health activities

Hveragerđi and the area around it offer a variety of health related activities. Of course the geothermal energy plays an important role in here as well:
In Hveragerđi you can find an outdoor swimming-pool, which was opened in 1938. With its 50m length it was once the biggest swimming-pool of Iceland. The water is piped to the swimming-pool directly from a nearby hot spring.
Further more there is a natural steam bath being supplied by geothermal energy.

Not only swimming, but also hiking is possible. There are a lot of hiking paths in and around Hveragerđi: One hiking path goes directly through a big park, another along a small river to the north. You can also go the northwestern {Solfatarengebiete}, or past the geothermal power plant Nesjavellir to the ţingvallavatn. Another 25km long hiking path leads to Reykjadalur, the so-called “smoke valley”. Further more, you can also go to Selfjall Mountain, to an lava channel called Raufarhólshellir or to an view hill called Hamarinn. Accomodations
If you visit Hveragerđi, you can also find possibilities of health related activities in local accommodations. Heilsustofnun NLFÍ (The Health and Rehabilitation Clinic of hte Nature Health Association of Iceland) offers its health care, rehabilitation and relaxation programs to hundreds of visitors each year. The following problems can be treated: overweight and dietary problems, rheumatism, arthritis, neck and back injuries, heart problems, recovery from cancer and other illnesses, giving up smoking and stress management. Water gymnastics, daily walks, consultation with a doctor, physiotherapy, individual counceling with a nutritionist, therapeutic and lymphatic drainage massages, mud baths, herbal baths and acupuncture are available as well. The health food served in the sanatorium consists of vegetables, fruits, cereals and dairy products and guarantees a proper nutrition. The Hótel Örk (a modern health-resort hotel) offers an outdoor swimming-pool, a fitness facility and a sauna. The Ás Residence Home guarantees a healthy and carefree atmosphere for senior citizens. At “Reykjakot” horses can be rent and riding tours from 2 up to 9 hours are available, too. At the farmstead “Hjardarbol”, approximately 10km away from Hveragerđi, one can go on holidays on the farm.

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