The Blue Lagoon is a medicinal spa located in Iceland and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in that country. It is no wonder that this milky blue body of water is so popular; it is rich in therapeutic minerals and surrounded by a surreal basalt lava field in Grindavík on the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwestern Iceland. It has been named one of National Geographic’s “25 Wonders of the World” and is touted as the place where nature and science meet. The spa operation is serviced by a full medical and research staff. 

Is the Blue Lagoon Really a “Natural Wonder”?

The Blue Lagoon is one of the world’s most famous spas, and it’s a massive complex, but it’s not a natural phenomenon. The spa is located adjacent to the Svartsengi geothermal plant, where superheated water from a lava flow is used to run turbines to generate electricity. The water from this plant is ultimately fed into the area that is the Blue Lagoon. The lagoon pool itself was also not a natural formation. Regardless, the warm mineral water of the Blue Lagoon is known for its ability to melt away pain and stiffness commonly associated with rheumatoid diseases. The Blue Lagoon is hailed for its natural healing effects on psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Swimmers and bathers must adhere to strict rules of hygiene, which include showering before and after their time in the lagoon. For patients with rheumatic conditions, the medicinal powers of the Blue Lagoon are enticing. The water of the bathing and swimming areas of the Blue Lagoon is warm and relaxing, usually at temperatures ranging from 98°F to 102°F. The balmy waters of the Blue Lagoon are rich in minerals, especially sulfur and silica, and it is these minerals that give the lagoon its beautiful, milky blue color.

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The Allure for Medical Tourism

There are an amazing array of amenities to please the savvy medical traveler, including spas, in-water massage, silica massages, and a variety of beauty treatments, and not-to-mention other-worldly views of an incredible landscape. Distance poses a problem for American tourism, in that Iceland is about 3500 miles away from the heart of the US. Visitors often stay in Reykjavík, where accommodations range from luxury rooms in the city to guesthouses in the suburbs. Reykjavík has much to offer in the way of arts, culture, and activities, providing shopping, fine dining, festivals, and museums to the medical tourists and others who visit this unique city. Eighty percent of all visitors to Iceland make it a point to visit the Blue Lagoon, which translates to more than 400,000 visitors per year.

Communities outside of Iceland have also developed medical tourism destinations for people with rheumatoid conditions. People with pain and stiffness associated with arthritis and other rheumatoid conditions often visit Costa Rica, Korea, Japan, Turkey, and various places within the US featuring hot springs and mineral spas.

If you have traveled to the Blue Lagoon, we would enjoy hearing your review. Do you have other destination recommendations for the treatment of rheumatoid ailments?


  1. About us. Blue Lagoon website.
  2. Auður. The Blue Lagoon: a tourist trap or an important part of your Iceland checklist? Iheartreykjavik website. October 4, 2012.