Watsu, the combination of Water and Shiatsu, is the name given to warm water massage therapy. Given here is complete information on the method and benefits of Watsu.


The term ‘Watsu’ is a combination of two words ‘Water’ and ‘Shiatsu’. It is the name given to a body therapy that is performed in warm water, which has been heated up to 35 deg C or 95 deg F. The therapy that is given to individuals this way is the combination of a number of elements, namely massage, joint mobilization, shiatsu, muscle stretching and dance. The instructor supports the body of the therapy receiver under water and helps him in floating, cradling, rocking and stretching.
How Does It Work
The warm water, in which Watsu is based, along with the support given by the instructor, not only relaxes the muscles, but also supports the spine. Consequently, the recipient becomes free of his own weight and also gets more flexibility. He is thus able to manipulate his spine, joints and muscles in a way that is not possible outside water. The activities undertaken under water usually include stretching, along with deep relaxation. The end-result is a number of therapeutic benefits as well as healing, on various levels.
Benefits of Watsu
  • Enhanced depth of respiration
  • Better response of the immune system
  • Reduction in muscle spasm
  • Increase in the range of motion
  • Better body awareness
  • Enhanced superficial circulation
  • Reduced muscle guarding and tension
  • Smoother muscle activity
  • Increased peripheral vasodilatation
  • Lessening of spasticity 
All of the above-mentioned benefits have not been experienced immediately. Infact, some of them were the result of multiple Watsu sessions.
Immediate Benefits (First Session)
Usually, people claim to experience the following benefits after the first session itself.
  • Alleviation of pain
  • Increase in the range of motion
  • Lessening of spasticity
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Reduction in muscle spasm 
Long-term Benefits (Multiple Sessions)
The following benefits have been experienced by people after undergoing a number of Watsu sessions.
  • Better digestion
  • Better sleep patterns
  • Decrease in emotional pain
  • Enhanced healing process
  • Improved immune system response
  • Lessening of pain, to a much greater extent
  • Reduction in anxiety 
Studies have revealed that Watsu has also proved beneficial in the following ailments and conditions.  
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Arthritis
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Chronic pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Post mastectomy
  • Post thoracic surgery
  • Post traumatic stress disorder
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Strokes
  • Traumatic brain injury

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