Watsu: Pathway to Profound Relaxation

Discover Deep Relaxation with Watsu®

In our fast-paced world, finding true calm can feel impossible. Practices like Watsu can provide a pathway to profound relaxation. This unique water-supported bodywork takes place in a warm pool, using massage, stretching, and gentle movements to melt away tension.

Article Summary:

– Watsu is a form of aquatic bodywork done in warm water. A therapist supports and moves the receiver through stretches and massage.

– Benefits include relaxation, increased flexibility, pain relief, lowered anxiety, emotional healing, and improved sleep.

– The water enables comfortable positions and spinal traction not possible on land. This relieves pinched nerves.

– Watsu sessions involve discussion with the therapist, showering beforehand, relaxing during gentle motions, and resting afterward.

– Many spa resorts now offer Watsu treatments. Top destinations include The Omni Homestead, Salamander Resort & Spa, The Greenbrier, Mirbeau Inn & Spa, Westgate River Ranch Resort, Four Seasons Hualalai, and Amagansett Sea Salt Co.

– Other soothing water treatments like aquatic massage, Ai Chi, water shiatsu, Vichy showers, and soaking tubs provide similar benefits.

– Water therapies promote deep muscle release, improved circulation, and mind-body calm. Seek them for restorative respite from daily stressors.


What is Watsu?

It is short for water shiatsu, originated in 1980 at Harbin Hot Springs. Watsu therapist Harold Dull realized he could adapt the stretches and principles of Zen Shiatsu massage to work in warm water. The aquatic environment makes extraordinary positions and motions possible, beyond what could be done on land.

In this treatment, Watsu practitioners gently supports and moves a receiver through different postures in a warm pool. The water enables comfortable stretching and full-body relaxation. The soothing warmth aids muscle release. And the constant support of the water surrounding the body helps instill deep peace.

The progressive sequence of movements promotes both physical and emotional unwinding. With the body fully supported, you can completely surrender muscle tension and anxiety. This total letting go invites profound restoration.

To see Watsu® demonstration, watch the video on the below.

The Benefits of Watsu

The combination of comforting warmth, massage, and stretch provides whole-body relaxation. This has extensive benefits:

– Eases muscle tension and soreness
– Increases flexibility and range of motion
– Enhances pain relief
– Calms the nervous system
– Lowers stress and anxiety
– Promotes emotional healing
– Deepens spiritual well-being
– Improves sleep
– Boosts immune function

The reduced gravity and care from a therapist enables positions impossible on land. This allows gentle traction and mobilization of the spine. The loosening relieves compressed nerves and realigns vertebrae. Pressure comes off pinched nerves, improving function of related organs.

Watsu for Beginners

New to this treatment? No need to feel intimidated. Here is how a typical session unfolds:

Before the Session
– Discuss goals, concerns, and comfort with the therapist
– Shower to remove lotions, makeup, and oils from skin
– Use the restroom
– Remove jewelry and accessories

During the Session
– Therapist offers support and gently guides motions
– Let muscles fully relax as you are cradled by the water
– Breathe deeply and allow the mind to quiet
– Flow through stretches and massage at an unhurried pace
– Feel tensions unravel with each movement
– Surrender to serenity as concerns float away

After the Session
– Take time to transition back to daily life
– Shower or soak in a tub if desired
– Drink water to rehydrate
– Notice improved mobility and state of calm
– Rest to allow benefits to integrate

No prior experience is needed. Simply arrive ready to melt into therapeutic relaxation. Feel tensions dissolve as your body and mind reach a state of blissful calm.

Where to Experience Watsu

Watsu requires a large warm water therapy pool and trained practitioner. Many spa resorts now offer this healing modality. When booking a session, ask about their Watsu services. Here are some top destinations for pampering experiences:

The Omni Homestead Resort – Hot Springs, VA
This historic mountain resort offers Watsu and other aquatic bodywork in their indulgent spa. Their therapist guides clients through weightless stretches and soothing movements in the warm mineral water of their Aqua Thermae pools.

Salamander Resort & Spa – Middleburg, VA
Surrounded by 340 acres of countryside, this luxury spa has a 5,000 square foot hydrotherapy pool perfect for the sessions. Their caring therapists use gentle rocking and massage to dissolve tension and impart deep relaxation.

The Greenbrier – White Sulphur Springs, WV
At this iconic luxury retreat, guests can book private Watsu treatments in their mineral springs. Let The Greenbrier’s experienced aquatic bodywork specialists guide you into total tranquility in the healing waters.

Mirbeau Inn & Spa – Skaneateles, NY
Nestled on pristine Skaneateles Lake, Mirbeau Inn offers this and other water therapies. Their Aqua Chi Treatment combines relaxing stretches with sound therapy and gentle pressure to relieve mind and body.

Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo – River Ranch, FL
This charming ranch-style resort near Disney World provides the sessions surrounded by Florida nature. Experience slow, fluid motions guided by their caring aquatic therapists to unwind completely.

The Spa at Four Seasons Hualalai – Kailua-Kona, HI
On the gorgeous island of Hawaii, the Four Seasons spa offers this treatments in their tranquil King’s Pond. Relax as you float weightlessly, supported in the arms of a caring therapist.

Other Soothing Water Therapies

If this treatment is not offered, many spas provide other soothing hydrotherapies using their pools and tubs. Alternatives include:

Massage In Water
Enjoy Swedish, deep tissue, or prenatal massage while floating in warm water for near weightlessness.

Ai Chi
Combining deep breathing and slow broad movements, Ai Chi promotes circulation and efficient breathing.

Water Shiatsu
Receive massage, stretching, and pressure point stimulation from jets in a pool.

Vichy Shower
Lie beneath a row of showerheads for relaxing warm rain massage.

Soaking Tubs
Unwind in geo-thermal pools, Jacuzzis, hot tubs, or chromotherapy baths.


The healing powers of water are endless. Whether Watsu or another aquatic therapy, water-based treatments impart deep muscle release and system-wide calm. As straightforward as sinking into a warm bath or as structured as a massage session, water relaxation benefits every body. For soothing respite from daily strain, seek the restorative relief of spa hydrotherapies.