From Iceland — The Patented Icelandic Underwater Massage

The Patented Icelandic Underwater Massage

Published August 6, 2004

I was obviously worried about my massage, the focus of my entire day, which was meant to be executed whilst floating on a small thin raft allowing the body to be partially submerged in the water. I didn’t want my 20 minutes of glory to turn into a human sacrifice in which my skin would be eroded by the milieu of wind and waves.
But once I mounted the floating device and was spritzed with almond-scented lagoon mineral oil, I was covered in a heavy cloth, and I sunk into the womb-like environment that was my Blue Lagoon massage. I wasn’t sure how it would work, but once I was there I closed my eyes and never looked back.
In an assortment of suave masseuse secret moves, Eva (my masseuse and new favourite person in the world) mostly used the weight of my body, assisted by gravity, to apply pressure to various muscles. In a span of 20 minutes she managed to adequately loosen up my shoulders, upper and lower back, scalp and face, all whilst I drifted, imagining that I was in the middle of nowhere. With my eyes closed I couldn’t really tell what direction I was facing as she rotated me on the floating massage board, and in floating my body became light and somehow intangible. It is a state which many people have called, according to Eva, “heaven”.
But despite being in the ultimate state of rest, I really wanted to know if people ever fall off the floating cushions. In my first moments I had felt some uncertainty in my comatose drifting, and Eva confirmed that a few others are equally untrusting in the initial moments. Often the more worried of us grab the sides of the cushion, but the device supports everyone, absolutely everyone, she reassured me. I prodded her for some little morsel of a floating disaster story. “Well, once a girl slid off,” Eva said, “but she just stayed floating. She was completely relaxed. She didn’t even notice.”
I asked Eva if she’d ever given a massage to anyone exciting. “The President of Iceland,” she said. Did he fall off his raft? “No,” she said.
All types of people sign up for massages at the Blue Lagoon, large and small, foreign and very foreign. “Icelanders don’t come here very much,” Eva told me, “just because it’s in Iceland. They wait to get spa treatments when they go abroad.” The exception is the current Icelandic Olympic team, who come as part of their obviously rigorous training regimen. I suppose I can understand how most Icelanders would avoid the Blue Lagoon massage as a tourist-oriented affair, but I also can’t think of many better ways to spend an afternoon in a blustery storm.
The lagoon massage pool can also be a cathartic place, and Eva encounters a crier once in a while. It seems to be a normal side effect of the massage; a person can become so ultimately relaxed that, yep, the tears start to flow. People seem to like to chat, or even discuss their problems. As far as therapy goes, it’s not too expensive. And at the end of the massage, you are left covered in the soft blanket, floating for as long as you like.

Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!


Show Me More!