The Watsu Experience
Apr 29, 2015 08:47AM
● By Lee Walker
Watsu, a gentle form of bodywork performed in warm water (94 to 98 degrees), combines elements of massage, joint mobilization, shiatsu, muscle stretching and dance. With continuous and nurturing support from a watsu therapist, the receiver is floated, cradled, rocked and stretched. Deeply relaxing moments of stillness alternate with rhythmical, flowing moves and stretches that are coordinated with the breath. Recognized as a link between the inner and outer worlds, the breath, along with the sound of the heartbeat, becomes the meditative focus of the receiver.
Watsu got its start in the early 1980s when Harold Dull, director of the Harbin School of Shiatsu and Massage, in northern California, began applying the stretches and moves of Zen shiatsu in warm water. Since then, it has evolved into a leading-edge aquatic therapy that allows the spine, joints and muscles to be manipulated and freed in a way unique to water work.
Increased mobility and flexibility, muscle relaxation, deeper breathing, reduction in anxiety and stress levels, decreased pain, improved sleep and digestion, as well as a general sense of well-being, are reported by individuals that have experienced aquatic bodywork. Nationally recognized physician and author Dr. Andrew Weil, who has received the therapy many times, recommends this modality for its nearly gravity-free, three-dimensional environment. He points out that the warm and comforting fluid-space, paired with the opportunity to connect with another person, has obvious therapeutic potential.
The Worldwide Aquatic Bodywork Association, an educational nonprofit organization based in California, maintains a worldwide registry of students, practitioners and instructors.
Resource: Stillwater, Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa, 5001 Coconut Rd., Bonita Springs. For more information, call 239-390-4360 or visit CoconutPoint.Hyatt.com.