What is the Shaw Method of Swimming?

Develop core swimming skills while improving poise and body awareness.

Created by Steven Shaw and Limor Shoresh Shaw, 1996

The Shaw Method applies principles of the Alexander Technique to swimming.

  • The maintenance of a balanced head, neck, back relationship is a key principal.
  • Another important principle is that efficient swimming is more about learning to let go than it is about doing more.

This integrated approach cultivates a fine balance between power, grace and efficiency for people of all skill levels.

Swimming uses all the major muscle groups, and is a demanding aerobic exercise that helps to keep your heart and lungs healthy. Swimming also helps to keep your joints flexible as your limbs and body move through the water – especially the:

  • Neck
  • Shoulders
  • Hips
  • Groin

You can increase your level of physical activity by swimming, therefore increase the amount of energy you burn up – a vital component of a weight management program.

TheShaw Method of Swimming applies principles of the Alexander Technique to swimming.

This integrated approach cultivates a fine balance between power, grace and efficiency. Unlike traditional ways of teaching, where the emphasis is more on swimming length after length as quickly as possible, the Shaw Method of Swimming places emphasis on:

  • Symmetry
  • Quality of experience
  • Promoting the best possible body alignment
  • Putting minimum strain on the joints

The Shaw Method of Swimming breaks down each stroke into a series of progressive movements, enabling you to work on the essential elements of the stroke and to unlearn unhelpful habits.

Whatever your ability, the Method offers a unique opportunity to develop core swimming skills and explore aquatic movement. General body awareness is developed, promoting good alignment while minimizing the risk of strain or injury.

  1. The maintenance of a balanced head, neck, back relationship is key.
  2. Efficient swimming is more about learning to let go than about doing more.
  3. Undue effort in the non-propulsive phase undermines the propulsive action.
  4. Always co-ordinate breathing with the stroke.
  5. Work in the water should always be supported by dry land practices.
  6. The greatest challenge comes at the point of air – water transition.
  7. Think in terms of phases rather than positions.

Swimming is one of the few ways of getting exercise that improves your all-round fitness because it can simultaneously:

  • Boost strength
  • Increase stamina
  • Enhance suppleness
  • Reduce pain and stress

Show Method of Swimming Potential Health Benefits

Innovative teaching process develops core learning skills, applicable to a wide range of daily activities as well as:

  • Improving poise and body awareness
  • Improving balance, co-ordination and breathing
  • Increasing flexibility, strength and vitality
  • Enhancing self confidence and self-esteem
  • Reducing stress

Activities in warm water:

  • Promote well-being
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Alleviate chronic pain
  • Relieve stress
  • Ease the pain of fibromyalgia

It is believed that the thermal properties of water assist healing. The body’s reaction to hot and cold water causes the nerves at the surface of the skin to carry impulses deep into the body. This reaction is thought to:

  • Lessen pain sensitivity
  • Stimulate the immune system
  • Aid lymphatic drainage
  • Increase blood circulation

It is also likely to leave you both physically and mentally relaxed.

Bodywork in warm water can release energy and balance chi

Thermal aquatic bodywork is an effective way of mobilizing “Chi” (life force) through the “Meridians” (lines of energy in the body). Body temperature water offers a unique and ideal medium for freeing energy. The lightness of the body in water allows the Aquatic practitioner to float you, which has the following effects:

  • Frees the spinal vertebrae
  • Rotates joint articulations
  • Elongates muscles

All of the above benefits are simply not possible with land exercise.


Alcohol and smoking are prohibited during activities.

There are several precautions you need to consider before participating the thermal aquatic bodywork:

  • confusion or disorientation
  • after ingestion of alcoholic beverages
  • under the influence of narcotic
  • medications
  • respiratory problems
  • hypertension
  • medical condition affecting the spine
  • spinal disc herniation (slipped disc)
  • pregnancy
  • limited strength, endurance, balance, or range of motion


You can not participate if you suffer from any of the following conditions:

  • incontinence diarrhea, bowel/bladder incontinence
  • vomiting (emesis)
  • seizure (epilepsy) disorders
  • open wounds or non-healing ulcers
  • contagious skin condition
  • herpes
  • high fever
  • HIV
  • hepatitis C
  • infectious diseases
  • ear infection (otitis)
  • urinary infections
  • perforated eardrum
  • eye infection
  • heart disease (abnormal heart function), cardiac failure
  • blood pressure disorder (untreated)
  • pregnancy (after the 17th week, with your physician approval)
  • chemotherapy and radiation therapy (after the 3rd month)
  • allergies or sensitivities to pool chemicals
  • excessive fear of water
  • colostomy bag/catheter use by patient

Breaststroke with Ease Clip


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