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What’s Watsu? Understanding aquatic bodywork

Our lives are shaped by both positive and negative experiences, emotions and events. Aquatic bodywork harmonizes these life imbalances. Through warm water, touch and movement, healing energy is enhanced and created to counterbalance the pain or negative emotions we may be experiencing.

If you aren’t familiar with aquatic bodywork, you will be in the hands of a trained aquatic specialist as you float on your back in waist-deep, warm (92 degree F) water. You will simply enjoy the supported movement and warmth of the water as the practitioner moves, stretches and applies pressure on your body.  Aquatic bodywork includes:

  • Watsu: one-on-one session where a practitioner connects with the participant’s breath, gently cradles, and massages the body using mindful movement patterns.
  • Aquatic Integration: one-on-one session rooted in Watsu, uses float pillows under the head and knees to offer additional support and comfort. The practitioner delicately stretches the participant’s body and uses precise finger pressure in rhythm with participant’s breath. 

This unrestricted feeling in the water relaxes muscles and takes the weight out from under your feet in a much different way than does land-based stretching. Since there is no way for the body to anticipate what’s coming next and build up resistance, the body feels comfortable enough to move beyond normal limitations increasing joint range of motion and flexibility. 

Floating in the water invites peace while reducing tension or trauma. By understanding the healing value and principles of water, we can better understand our bodies and our restorative abilities.

In addition, gentle finger pressure (acupressure) promotes your body’s natural self-curing abilities by opening energy pathways. When these pathways are opened, toxins are released, nutrients are able to travel to affected areas and endorphins are generated to restore emotional balance. Point work also can reestablish your body’s balance before everyday strain can cause problems in other areas.

I would encourage anyone experiencing lingering pain, muscle soreness, joint stiffness or stress to try an aquatic bodywork session to feel for yourself how beneficial this practice can be for your body.


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