Watsu is a healing technique that combines the use of water with shiatsu massage. Typically, the person receiving the treatment receives a shiatsu massage while immersed in shallow water – which typically comes up to about the location of the person’s heart – that is approximately 95 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. While a shiatsu massage alone is incredibly beneficial, the use of water makes it possible for the massage therapist to stretch the body further than they could without the use of water – because of the buoyancy that the water provides for the body.
Watsu has not been around for thousands of years, as many other types of healing have been. It was developed in the 1980’s, by Harold Dull, who is a massage therapist. In the beginning, this type of massage did not incorporate shiatsu. Instead, it used Swedish massage techniques, with the use of water. Today, there are actual Watsu Pools that many massage therapists have in their place of business for this purpose, and many spas also have these pools and offer this type of healing service as well. Despite the fact that this form of healing is relatively new, as compared to many other forms, it is practiced in more than forty countries today.
Since its inception, this form of healing massage has grown to include three different forms. The first form is Waterdance, also known as Wasser Tanzen. With this type of massage, the client goes completely under the surface of the water. Healing Dance is another form of this massage healing technique. It employs some aspects of the traditional technique, and some aspected of Wasser Tanzen. Jahara is the third form, and is considered the most relaxing and gentle of the three forms. Regardless of the form that you choose, it is also widely believed that this type of healing massage is so effective and has such a great impact on those who receive it because you are actually held by the massage therapist and ‘floated’ in the water.
Just as there are health and mental benefits associated with massage therapy of any type, there are many benefits for this healing massage as well. It can help to relieve pain, help injuries to heal faster, increase flexibility, release tension and reduce stress, lower the blood pressure, and more. The combination of the water and the massage also helps many to enter something resembling a meditative state, for increased relaxation. It is also reported that those who receive Watsu regularly enjoy the ability to breathe deeper, better sleep, and better digestion.