Pony Party: Watsu

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(Slip into Something More Comfortable by kinobe)

“What’s up?”

    “Watsu.”

“Watusi?”

    “No!  Watsu. Watsu!”

“Gesundheit!”

    “Whatsamatta – U never heard of Watsu?”



Harbin Hot Springs

Watsu is ‘water shiatsu’ – a type of aquatic bodywork.  It’s kind of like getting a massage plus stretch while you are in a pool of bath temperature water (95-98oF).  The massage therapist continuously supports your head above water while manipulating the rest of your body and pulling you gracefully through the water.  

I had the chance to experience this for the first time when I stayed at  Harbin Hot Springs (where Watsu originated) a few weeks ago. I had never tried it before so I had no idea what to expect.     The first thing I did was completely surrender to the care and competence of the therapist.  I closed my eyes, laid back and trusted him to keep my head above water. It was a very intimate feeling to be cradled and supported in the warm water.     All I had to do was relax and breathe.  He did everything else, tuning all the movements to my breath. We were in harmony the whole time.   The movement of my body in the water was so free and effortless.  The slight resistance of being pulled and swirled in the water gave my muscles a gentle stretch.  The therapist also did work with his free hand pressing into meridians and he did a move called “Heart Waves” that was supposed to open my heart chakra.  I’m sure it worked.  By the end of the session I was completely blissed out and in tears.  I was amazed at the emotional joy this triggered.  Highly recommended!  🙂

Here’s another post that describes it pretty well.  

Peak Experience: deep trance in water

The hypnotic rhythm and sensuality of water is what gives watsu its juice. Watsu immediately demands a far higher threshold of surrender and intimacy. After all, you’re handing control of your body – stripped of clothing and social setting – over to a practitioner in a medium that can technically kill (drown) you. … She then floated me into her arms, and I barely sensed her wrapping flotation foam around my ankles. At times she held me in a concentrated pose, pouring presence and energy into our shared space, and during other passages swooshed me around like so much peasant’s laundry in a river.The experience triggered something archetypal. A feeling of plunging into the depths of one’s own being, kind of like that image in Lord of the Rings where the wizard Gandalf falls into a bottomless abyss in the Mines of Moria with a fire-like entity called the Balrog.

This is where watsu asks for a secondary threshold of surrender: once you’re in a deeply meditative state, allowing layers of thoughts, memories, images and lumps in your throat or stomach to well up and have a place in your reality. Allowing all of those things that have been buried beneath the mental noise of the office and city living to arise. Without judgement, without trying to get rid of them, without trying to make sense of them, or doing a single thing with them.

After dwelling in that place for who knows how long, I suddenly felt this incredible awakeness, that I was simply this sphere of awakeness. As if there wasn’t even a person there.

And then I felt [the therapist’s] presence again, and gave up even more: I’ll hand these things over to you, I silently resolved. I don’t need them, you have the power to dissolve them.

Watsu is good for you in so many ways. I’m not surprised to learn that it is being used to relieve a variety of medical conditions.

  • traumatic brain injury
  • spinal cord injury
  • strokes
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • arthritis
  • cerebral palsy
  • chronic pain
  • fibromyalgia
  • ankylosing spondylitis
  • post mastectomy
  • post thoracic surgery
  • post traumatic stress disorder.

Watsu is being incorporated into aquatic therapy treatment programs in hospitals, clinics and rehabilitation centers around the world. Therapists are impressed by the benefits for so many of their clients.

Immediate Benefits With First Session

  • increased range of motion
  • increased muscle relaxation
  • decreased muscle spasm
  • decreased spasticity
  • decreased pain

Long-term Benefits After Multiple Sessions

  • improved sleep patterns
  • improved digestion
  • improved healing and immune system response
  • greater decreases in pain
  • decreased anxiety
  • many clients report a decrease in their emotional pain

from Watsu.com

Here’s an Introduction to Watsu by Harold Dull – discussing many aspects of the physical and emotional healing this therapy provides, in children and adults of all ages.  

If you’ve never done this before seek it out and try it! You’ll like it!  

~♥~ Do not rec the Pony Party.  This is an open thread. ~♥~  

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6 comments

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    • pfiore8 on March 26, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    am at my sister’s house and there are people here for dinner. her sister-in-law is getting married this weekend, so we are treated to a great dinner for out-of-towners tonight.

  1. Offers Shatsu as well, they are in Steamboat Springs, CO.  So if you are in the area and have a very good 4WD vehicle, check them out.

    On another note, it looks like http://motherjones.com was co-opted by some marketing group.  Can anyone else access the site?  Was I hit by spyware?  Whats the deal?

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