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WATSU® is a holistic therapy conducted in warm water, combining elements of Zen Shiatsu massage techniques, including muscle stretching, joint mobilization and movements.

About the therapy

The WATSU® was birthed in Harbin Hot Springs, California U.S.A. in the early 1980’s, by Harold Dull, who conceived the combination between shiatsu and water.

It is a nurturing form of bodywork that takes place in warm, waist-deep water, with the therapist supporting and cradling the person who is receiving through following the breath and deeply sensing and listening. It can be a profound treatment that works on both body and mind and is believed to help heal "wounds of separation" and renew the sense of connection and oneness with others. The harmonious movement of the body in the water happens effortlessly allowing the somatic and emotional pain accumulated to set free.

During the session, the receiver is invited to gently rest back into the sacred place of silence and to let go. The attentiveness of the therapist and the inherent therapeutic force of the water offers a deep process of acceptance, devotion and release.

The silent dialogue between the therapist and the receiver makes each session a unique experience. 

Who is WATSU® for?

Who is WATSU® for?

  1. Taking time out for you!

  2. Chronic pain and physical disability

  3. Regaining balance and inner strength.

  4. People suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

  5. Prenatal and postnatal care.

  6. Therapeutic benefits of WATSU®.​

1. Taking time out for you!

Water healing therapy is for anyone who wishes to experience themselves in a different dimension and take some time out from the busyness of life, to connect to a space of stillness. We all need to silently step out of the race from time to time; to re-centre; to let go; to release tension; to rest; to recharge and to experience a renewed sense of fluidity and heart connection to self. The mental and physical benefits are tremendous: it can assist with relaxation; reduction of stress and anxiety; release of muscular tension and stiffness; relieving chronic pain; releasing emotional tensions and deepening the journey into the essence of being. Everyone is welcome!

2. Chronic pain and physical disability

Water healing has a profound therapeutic effect on the body. It helps decrease muscle tension and increase range of motion. The support of the water provides relief from compression forces in the joints. The movements through the water provide gentle stretching into all ranges for the spine and extremities while these joints are unloaded ( According to physiotherapist Peggy Schoedinger, "Watsu® promotes a deep state of relaxation with dramatic changes in the autonomic nervous system. Through quieting the sympathetic and enhancing the parasympathetic nervous systems, Watsu® has profound effects on the neuromuscular system”. This can then lead to a various of physiological changes throughout the body, including: 

  • Decreased heart rate

  • Decreased rate of respiration

  • Increased depth of respiration

  • Increased smooth muscle activity (digestion)

  • Decreased muscle tension

  • Decreased muscle spasms and spasticity

  • Increased mobility and flexibility

  • Enhanced immune system response

  • Enhance lymphatic and blood circulation

The above can promote a relief of acute pain, decrease stress and anxiety, activate neuropathways for healing, decompress the spine and joints, as well as induce relaxation and improve sleep and memory.


Watsu® has been found to be beneficial for a number of different health challenges, including (but not restricted to):

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Chronic pain

  • Arthritis


  • Ankylosing spondylitis

  • Spinal cord injury

  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)

  • Parkinson's disease

  • Strokes and heart diseases

  • Traumatic brain injury

3. Regaining strength and balance

WATSU® therapy is an intense, intimate session that has the power to heal the mind, body, and spirit.

Whether we like it or not, the body remembers everything. These somatic memories are held all the way down at the cellular level. Even when we seem to have forgotten, those repressed memories can resurface. Very often the body is simply telling us that the heart wants to be healed. That our soul is still wounded. Suppressing emotions can be very harmful to our health. 

It has been shown that individuals who repress their emotions also suppress their body's immunity, making them more vulnerable to a variety of illnesses ranging from common colds to cancer (Pennebaker, J. W. 1997 - Opening up: The healing power of expressing emotions).


The water has an amazing quality to contain. To hold the pain, whether physical or mental. The immediate relief we experience while being supported by a therapist in warm water can also serve as a gateway to our inner world; the encounter with silence, the release of tension, and the freedom to let go and be rested in the deep essence of being can sometimes give access to unprocessed emotional energy stored in the body.

Watsu® sessions can benefit people that go through a period of transformation in their personal lives; end of relationship, grief, self-discovery process, breaking self-destructive habits, depression, and the personal growth in the aftermath of the depression, people living with chronic disease, and people suffering from anxiety.

  • It is highly recommended to have a good support network in parallel to those treatments.

4. People suffering from post_traumatic stress disorder

“Trauma rewires the brain to put people in a constant state of stress or numbness, leading to a host of physical problems.” (The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel van der Kolk).

Watsu® has recently been shown to produce great results in treating patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) syndrome and people in situations of psychological and emotional stress: abuse victims; veterans (ongoing studies in the U.S.A); people who have suffered accidents.       

Feedback from a patient: “The Watsu® feels like a huge let go each time, as though ancient tension is unwinding and releasing into the water in a very deep way. Especially tension in my chest, throat, and head. There are also attachment and bonding resets as its a very close contact and nurturing modality.”

Watsu® Massage for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)/Wave Academy, USA: 

5. Prenatal and postnatal care

Water gives us life and has been recognized for its therapeutic properties for centuries. No wonder we are drawn to water during pregnancy and birth.


Watsu® therapy performed during pregnancy can reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression and alleviate muscle aches and joint pain. The water neutralizes the body's weight and may relieve pregnancy-related low back pain as well as relax hypertonic muscles. The treatment is especially beneficial for prenatal mums who have body aches, sleepless nights, leg cramps, and backaches.

Having spent three pregnancies myself in the water, I am aware of the benefits of floating weightlessly, especially while being gently held and guided into movements that stretch and relieve you. As my pregnancies progressed, the water medium became my refuge. The only place where I could rest from the heaviness of the journey and feel light and painless.


With all the many physical, hormonal, and emotional changes we experience during pregnancy, water can become a true remedy for the body and soul. Through deep breathing, verbal and nonverbal communication, therapeutic touch, and movement the receiver can regain trust in her ability to reach a natural “state of being” and have a sense of freedom and expansion that are oftentimes absent during pregnancy.


  • This treatment is recommended from the beginning of the second trimester.


After birth

The transition to motherhood is accompanied by a lack of sleep and many emotional and hormonal upheavals. Memories and experiences from giving birth are profoundly present in the body and soul and sometimes require deeper processing. The warm water therapy will give you a space to let go, recharge, and rediscover your inner balance.

6. Therapeutic benefits of WATSU®

As a therapeutic treatment, Watsu® is used to alleviate pain and tension. The session will be adapted to your specific condition and will involve massages, stretches, and movements designed to alleviate your symptoms.

WATSU® may provide relief for people with:

  • Muscle tension

  • Low back pain

  • Chronic pain

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Discomfort during pregnancy

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Sleep disorders

  • Stress-related conditions

  • Neurological conditions (like multiple sclerosis)

  • Spinal cord injury

  • Injury rehabilitation

  • and more…


For further reading on the therapeutic benefits of Watsu® go to: 

International School of Watsu

The Australian Institute of Aquatic Bodywork

Watsu Aquatic Bodywork and Therapy

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0481 044 193



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