Discover Watsu Massage, the “Water Shiatsu” Modality

Who can imagine anything more exquisitely relaxing than a massage that takes place in water? Look no further than “Watsu” therapy for the answer.

Watsu is a body modality that occurs in warm (35°C = 95°F) water, and focuses on deep relaxation. It is a passive therapy where the practitioner guides the movement as the receiver allows themselves to be massaged, stretched, and held by the water and their therapist’s arms, body, and hands.

Some movements used in Watsu include:

  • Water Breath Dance – stillness and gentle motion coordinated with up and down shifts in buoyancy and the reciever’s breath
  • Free Spine – gentle movement/manipulation of the spine
  • Accordion – coordinating with the breathing, receiver draws both knees toward and away from the chest, along with gentle traction of the neck 
  • Rotating Accordion – adding a spiraling rotation to the accordion move above and allowing more freedom of head and neck 
  • Leg rotations – moving legs toward and away from the chest to  produce movement of spine and hips

Look at the video from the Internation School of Watsu, and read the blog for more information on this relaxing modality.

Image courtesy of: Spa Eastman

“Watsu massage or “water shiatsu,” is a water-based modality that combines elements of massage, stretching, shiatsu, and joint mobilization. In a watsu massage, the water is typically warm, allowing the participant to feel a deep relaxation through the ebb and flow of the movements. The client is supported in the water the entire time they are floating while the practitioner cradles, rocks, and stretches the participant, creating a range of relaxing and therapeutic benefits.”

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