Published: 06/14/2016 - Updated: 12/15/2018
Author: MSc. Miriam Reyes
Hello everyone! Quite often the Summer holidays are synonymous with more time for ourselves: It’s time we can use to perform new activities, make new and healthy recipes, test new treatments or therapies, etc. That is why today I want to talk about Watsu, a massage while you float in water. Sounds good, right?
Ancient tradition of Massage
Watsu or water shiatsu is a combination of an ancient massage technique of Japanese origin: Shiatsu combined with a relaxing water element. During a session, pressure is made with the fingers and palms on certain points (known as acupuncture meridians) and stretching, mobilisation and joint manipulations are performed in order to relieve muscular discomfort such as backaches, headaches, nervous disorders, stress, etc. All of this is synchronised with breathing and wrapped up in a relaxing aquatic environment.
By having the body immersed, it gives a feeling of weightlessness and promotes relaxation of muscles and joints. This helps the therapist to make any move more smoothly, so that decompression of the vertebrae, mobilisation of the joints and elongation of muscles are all much easier.
In addition, the water temperature during a Wastsu massage is usually around 34-36ºC (the closest temperature to the human body) to promote natural relaxation of the patient. Everything is designed for you to achieve a maximum degree of relaxation.
Watsu sessions usually last an hour and during this time the therapist combines movement with moments of stillness, swinging with balance and he or she will mark your response to treatment before it begins. You can practice Watsu on anyone, from children to seniors, and it is often recommended for pregnant women. However, as I always say, if you suffer from any illness or ailment, it is necessary that you consult with your doctor in advance before embarking on any treatment sessions.
Benefits of Watsu
There are already studies that talk about the benefits of Watsu. Like shiatsu, pressing the meridian points related to specific areas of the body, the power and/or movement which was previously immobilised in that area is unlocked and therefore the cause of our discomfort is released. Among its benefits there is talk of it improving and helping with backaches, headaches, menstrual pain, stress and sleep disorders.
In addition, Watsu strengthens the immune system and improves both blood circulation and lymphatic circulation. The ultimate goal of this treatment is to restore health and maintain energy in the body, as well as physiological and emotional balance.
Most people who try Watsu massage speak very highly of it, reporting a very satisfying experience. Not only is it beneficial for general health and wellbeing, but it also increases relaxation levels because Watsu helps us relax completely: Both physically and mentally. Have a nice day!
- Schitter, A. M., & Fleckenstein, J. (2018). Passive Hydrotherapy WATSU(R) for Rehabilitation of an Accident Survivor: A Prospective Case Report. Complementary Medicine Research, 25(4), 263–268.
- Schitter, A. M., Nedeljkovic, M., Baur, H., Fleckenstein, J., & Raio, L. (2015). Effects of Passive Hydrotherapy WATSU (WaterShiatsu) in the Third Trimester of Pregnancy: Results of a Controlled Pilot Study. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : ECAM, 2015, 437650.
- Weber-Nowakowska, K., Gebska, M., & Zyzniewska-Banaszak, E. (2013). [Watsu: a modern method in physiotherapy, body regeneration, and sports]. Annales Academiae Medicae Stetinensis, 59(1), 100–102.
- Lutz, E. R. (1999). Watsu-aquatic bodywork. Beginnings (American Holistic Nurses’ Association), 19(2), 9,11.
- Chon, S. C., Oh, D. W., & Shim, J. H. (2009). Watsu approach for improving spasticity and ambulatory function in hemiparetic patients with stroke. Physiotherapy Research International : The Journal for Researchers and Clinicians in Physical Therapy, 14(2), 128–136.
- Isabel Useros-Olmo PT, A. P., Martinez-Pernia, D., & Huepe, D. P. (2018). The effects of a relaxation program featuring aquatic therapy and autogenic training among people with cervical dystonia (a pilot study). Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, 1–10.
Revised by: Dra. Loredana Lunadei on 12/15/2018
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