How Watsu Massage Affects our Body & Mind

Watsu Massage is the Most Nurturing of all Aquatic Bodywork

Watsu massage affects us on all levels of our being: on the emotional, the psychological, and the spiritual, as well as on the physical. Many of its effects on the emotional are due to the trust Watsu® engenders. A person’s very life, their connection to life sustaining breath, is entrusted to the arms of the Watsu® practitioner.

Many get in touch with a sadness at not having been held so before. Some get in touch with feelings locked in parts of their body that Watsu® brings back into awareness.

Those who get in touch with sexual undertones, have an opportunity to learn, contrary to what they may have been taught, that sexual feelings do not always have to be either acted on or repressed.

All of these sensations, along with whatever other feeling come up, merge into the pleasure their whole body feels being moved through the water. This flow, and the letting go into the flow, can be carried out of the pool long after a Watsu® massage therapy session.

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. The sympatholytic effects of Watsu® lead to enhancement of the parasympathetic nervous system.

Physiological changes then occur throughout the body. These changes may include:

  • Decreased heart rate
  • Decreased rate of respiration
  • Increased depth of respiration
  • Increased peripheral vasodilatation
  • Increased smooth muscle activity (digestion)
  • Decreased activation of striated muscles (skeletal)
  • Decreased spasticity
  • Decreased muscle spasm
  • Decreased reticular activating system (RAS) activity
  • Enhanced immune system response

Watsu® 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.

People report decreased pain as Watsu® decreases their muscle spasm and muscle guarding, increases their range of motion, and promotes profound relaxation. Many people also report a decrease in their emotional pain.

Watsu® is a registered service mark of Harold Dull.