The rise in popularity of Watsu
The rise in popularity of Watsu is almost certainly down to the connective effect on both body and mind. With the increasing importance of mental health wellbeing, Watsu isn’t just massage, in fact “the meditative state and connection it induces makes Watsu massage more than just bodywork.”
Unlike other water therapies, Watsu requires the recipient to allow themselves to be totally guided by the therapist, trusting completely in their ability to ensure the body remains in the warm water, and the face above it. The body is expertly pushed, pulled, stretched, rocked and slowly swung through the water by the therapist, giving the feeling of swimming without movement. The therapist’s touch is so light it gives the impression that the warm water is massaging, leaving every limb feeling massaged, light and stretched.
What to expect from a Watsu
Your therapist will lead you into a hot mineral bath to a depth where you can comfortably stand, although being mostly submerged. The therapist will then attach floats to your arms and legs and whilst supporting your head, ease you gently back to a floating position in the water. The unique series of Watsu stretches, movements and massages will bring your mind and body to a heightened level of relaxation and inner peace.
Unlike customary massage, a Watsu therapist is free to move around the body massaging the hands, feet, arms, legs and neck all without the need to communicate, ensuring that your treatment time is completely peaceful.
As with Japanese Onsen baths, the long term benefits of Watsu are numerous, but perhaps the reason it is becoming so popular are the immediate benefits after the first session, including:
- An increase in the range of motion.
- An increase in muscle relaxation.
- A decrease in muscle spasm.
- A decrease in pain.
- A decrease in stress and anxiety.
Some questions people ask
- Do I have to be a strong swimmer? The simple answer is no, you don’t even have to be able to swim. The treatment takes place in a level pool of a comfortable depth. You will be supported by flotation devices relative to your buoyancy capacity and the therapist will be supporting you the whole time.
- What do I wear? A swimming costume is preferable, as it allows the body to float unencumbered. You will be asked to remove any headbands or wristbands, removing all connection to the material world.
- What if I suffer from motion sickness? It’s best to speak to someone before hand who may suggest ways to counteract this.
- I suffer from swimmer’s ear, what do I do? Wearing ear plugs and a swimming cap will not only prevent the water getting into the ears but it will also enhance your feeling of floating in isolation.
With so many water exercises, water treatments, and therapies about, it seems that Watsu ticks the boxes if you are looking for a light massage, to switch off and relax or just looking for something different. Combining traditional aqua therapy with the gainful mental well being could just be the way forward for healing both body and mind.