A Day at the (Geothermal) Spa
Geothermal energy is used for more than just generating electricity and heating buildings—it also creates the perfect conditions for therapeutic hot-water bathing! Several spas around the globe have tapped into clean, reliable, renewable geothermal energy to help visitors relax for a weekend. Some even claim that their special water temperatures and mineral compounds can treat certain medical conditions.
People have bathed in natural hot springs for centuries—ancient Romans even made impressive indoor spas using geothermally heated water. Many geothermal spas today are in luxurious settings with modern amenities attracting even celebrities and dignitaries.
One of the most popular geothermal spas today is Blue Lagoon, located on a lava field in Iceland. This beautiful spot features bathing spots with seawater at an average temperature of 104° F/40° C that is rich in minerals like sulfur and silica. (The water even reportedly has medicinal benefits, helping relieve certain skin conditions like psoriasis.) The lagoon’s water comes from a nearby geothermal power plant, where superheated water is piped from the ground near a lava flow and then used to turn turbines that generate electricity. Steam and hot water then pass through a heat exchanger to provide heat for a municipal water heating system. The water is then fed into the lagoon to bathe in.
Piestany Spa in Slovakia traditions go back nearly 200 years. The spa was originally used during wartime to treat wounded soldiers. Today, the thermal mineral water and sulfuric mud from the region’s sulfuric springs is used to treat musculoskeletal disorders, such as rheumatism, and other medical conditions through therapeutic and relaxation techniques. The water wells up from 2 meters/6.5 feet below the surface with a constant temperature of about 154° F/68° C.