Watsu is a passive form of aquatic bodywork/therapy that supports and gently moves a person through warm water in graceful, fluid movements. 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.
Watsu is the first form of Aquatic Bodywork. Harold Dull began developing it in 1980 floating his Zen Shiatsu students in the warm pool at Harbin Hot Springs applying its stretches and moves. In the years since, with the help of countless others in classes, clinics and spas around the world, Watsu has evolved into what many consider the most profound development in bodywork in our time. While other modalities are based on touch, the holding that working in water necessitates, brings the receiver to a new level of connection and trust. This, combined with the therapeutic benefits of warm water and the greater freedom of movement it encourages, creates a modality that can have an effect on every level of our being.
A Personal Experience
"As I approached the pool all I could smell was the rich scent of the wood. Everything that surrounded me was full of positive energy. You are also surrounded by the beauty of nature outside that peers through the windows and skylights. Absolutely breathtaking!
Peter softly and gently lifted my body to float at the surface laying me on my back with my head resting on his hand. My ears filled with water and all I could hear was my breathing. As my eyes were closed all I saw was the brightness from the sun. Moving me from left to right, up and down, in a bunch of different directions, it was nothing like I had ever felt before. As my ears filled up with water, it felt like being in a womb. It was as if I was watching myself though a bubble or I guess what you would call a womb. I was on the inside watching a tour of my life experiences.
There were certain motions that Peter moved me through that were very powerful to me. He would wrap my arm around his back and put me in a fetal position. At that moment in that position, everything would turn red and I started to cry. I could hear Peter’s heartbeat against mine and it felt like I was a child wrapped in a blanket. The touch of a warm human body next to mine was so comforting. The tears were of joy and the red represented happiness. There was a time when he would lift me out of the water, kick my legs up, and it would make a splashing sound.
At the same time I would catch a bright ray of sun from the skylights and at that moment it brought me back to my hot summer days as a child splashing and playing in the sprinkler on my front lawn. I could see my home that I grew up in. What a great feeling. I stayed present, and took deep breaths, and was in a state of bliss. From time to time I felt I was releasing all my emotions and they were being washed away by the movement of my body through the water. At one point Peter started rotating my slightly injured shoulder and I felt no pain whatsoever. I was absolutely amazed.
This is something that I would recommend to anyone, old or young, athletic or not, and in any shape or form. I hope that you have your own experience and embrace it as if it were your last. Be present. Thank you, Peter, for making this an everlasting experience."