The onset of warmer weather and thoughts of being in the pool made me think about Watsu, which I first heard about a couple of years ago. The concept of passive stretches in warm water was quite intriguing.
Watsu is a combo word designating water and Shiatsu. Done in warm water, Shiatsu massage is used to release energy blockages to allow energy to flow uninterrupted throughout the body. Techniques vary and may include any or all of the following - squeezing, rubbing, or applied pressure along the meridian points of the body. A few years ago, Sheltering Arms Hospital, a rehab facility in Richmond, VA, offered Watsu, but this modality is no longer offered there. However, Bill Vogel, the Watsu guy, provides this service to residents of Westminster Canterbury on Westwood Avenue in Richmond. He also has done sessions in personal whirlpools.
What happens during a Watsu session? During your session, the massage therapist is right there in the pool with you. If you need help floating, small floats are available for added support, but the massage therapist is also helping to support your body. While floating in a heated pool, eyes closed and hearing no sounds because your ears are under water, your muscles begin to relax throughout your session. While you are floating weightless in the water, your muscles are gently stretched and massaged.
Meridian points on your body are also worked. Submerged in the approximately 95 degree water, the water takes the weight off your spine and allows the therapist to move your body in a different way than if you were on a massage table. This modality is an excellent option for elderly clients, as well as for those who wish to just relax. Pain relief, increased flexibility, decreased insomnia, and increased joint mobility are just some of the benefits. People with conditions such as fibromyalgia or arthritis could definitely benefit from this aquatic therapy.
A good site to check would be www.amtamassage.org to find a certified massage therapist in your area. If you are in the Minneapolis area, you are in luck. Courage Center is offering free 20 minute introductory Watsu sessions April 19-24th. Numerous facilities are offering these sessions to those new to Watsu in celebration of World Watsu Week, which is being observed in 40 countries this year.
1403 Pemberton Road, Suite 104
Richmond, Virginia 23238