What is Water Dance Therapy?

Three-dimensional underwater journey, where time and space lose their meaning

Aquatic Therapy Technique, Developed by Arjana Brunschwiler & Peter Schröter in 1987

Water Dance Therapy (also known as WATA and WasserTanzen) is a form of thermal aquatic bodywork characterized by dynamic movement therapy above and below water, in which you are guided through various movements while wearing a nose clip.

Water Dance Therapy begins at the surface of the water where you are gently floated and moved through a series of stretches to warm up the body. At this stage the practitioner’s focus is to guide you into a state of deep relaxation as preparation to go under the water.

Extensions, stretches, flexions, dolphin-like movements and snake-like rhythms are performed in body temperature water. The nose clip is necessary to prevent water from entering the nose and allows the Water Dance Therapy practitioner to take you on a profound weightless, three-dimensional underwater journey, where time and space lose their meaning.

During the session the Water Dance Therapy practitioner follows your breath signaling manually before each submerging. At first you are focused on your breath, but gradually you are able to let go and surrender. It becomes the Water Dance Therapy practitioner’s meditation to empathetically tune in, support and encourage you to relax into a deeper awareness of body and breath.

  • Decrease in pain
  • Decrease in emotional pain
  • Brings locked feelings back into awareness
  • Helps overcome stored tension or trauma
  • Decreases anxiety
  • Promotes profound relaxation, peace and joy
  • Enhances the parasympathetic nervous system
  • Decreases reticular activating system RAS activity
  • Improves sleep patterns
  • Reduce soreness and fatigue
  • Improves digestion
  • Enhances immune system response
  • Improve healing, promote body and soul balance
  • Releases blockages along meridians
  • Opens chi (Qi) energy pathways
  • Increases body energy
  • Encourages detoxification
  • Simulating the endocrine system
  • Releasing hormones responsible for urine and metabolism
  • Increase range of motion
  • Strengthens muscles
  • Increases muscle relaxation
  • Decreases muscle spasm
  • Decreases spasticity (muscular hypertonicity)


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

Alexander George Demonstrates Movements from Water Dance Therapy 1

Alexander George Demonstrates Movements from Water Dance Therapy 2

  • A deep state of relaxation is experience, leading to an emotional and physical release.
  • Meditative states occur when breath is held, like a breath retention trance.
  • The natural “diving reflex” causes the heart rate, blood pressure and metabolism to slow down contributing to the ability to stay longer under the water without apparent effort.
  • The buoyancy of water reduces the body weight, relieving pressure on joints and muscles and creating the sensation of weightlessness.
  • WaterDance movements and body temperature water reduce muscle levels of spasticity and our stress hormones.
  • WaterDance therapy increased endurance, flexibility and range of motion.
  • WaterDance therapy movements improves muscle tone and strength.
  • WaterDance movements, in their surprising three-dimensionality, confuse the sense of spatial orientation, leading to release of physical holding patterns.
  • The bonding and trust between receiver and the WaterDance practitioner create a safe space to release feelings.

Arjana Claudia Brunschwiler

Water Dance Therapy was developed in 1987 Switzerland by Arjana C. Brunschwiler (psychotherapist) and Peter Schröter (psychologist).

During their “Gentle Dance” training with John Graham they went into a thermal bath. They start play and practice in the warm water with friends, until one of them brought a nose clip along – in that moment the WaterDance technique was born.

In 1993 they founded together with Helen Schulz and Shanti Mook Petschel the Institute for Aquatic Bodywork (IAKA) in Stäfa, Switzerland and Freiburg, Germany. Its members are associated with the Worldwide Aquatic Bodywork Association (WABA).

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