Hydro-Health :: Watsu, Ai-Chi, Aquafit & Swimming Lessons utilising the Alexander Technique
Hydro-Health :: Watsu, Ai-Chi, Aquafit & Swimming Lessons utilising the Alexander Technique

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Watsu at Hydro-Health

Agi B's Dissolvable Dawn:

Oh my! I am sure that Dawn is either made of water or at least dissolvable for as she guides me through the embrace of the water she seems to have all but disappeared, leaving only the most amazing, liberating and stirring sensations! Wow! Agi B.

Statement from Agi B, -12/02/2010

Marie Halls first Watsu Experience:

Hi Dawn,

Thanks for a great Watsu experience yesterday.

Wow, what can I say? Such a beautiful, relaxing experience. Gentle stretching and manipulation of my tight spots was very gentle but, productive in my end result. The transitions from one position to the next flowed so smoothly and gracefully, I felt as if I was part of a beautiful choreographed piece for the synchronised swimming team. It was all so graceful and relaxing. I can see now what all the fuss is about; I've already booked my next 5 sessions.

If anyone is looking for a relaxing experience, especially if they have any mobility issues, then this is a must. I wish I'd known about the Watsu experience when I was in the Army, I'd have been here every weekend. Looking forward to my next experience already. Thanks again Dawn; I'm a little tender this morning, no different to having a massage and then feeling a little tender the next day. It may be nothing to do with the Watsu as I do feel stiff most mornings anyway. You were right about the sleeping, I sleep like a log anyway, but on waking, if it's not time to get up by the clock, then I usually wait for the alarm, not this morning, I wanted to get up, I felt totally refreshed and raring to go. I'll be referring you on to friends and family and anyone else who's in need of a little tlc.

See you in a fortnight.

Thanks again.

Relaxed, calm, happy, (smiling) Marie

Email from Marie Halls -20/02/2010

Tony's curiosity got the better of him:

"Hi Dawn

Just a quick note to say a BIG thank you for the Watsu session today. I had no idea really what it was going to be like - I had just heard from enough people that it was something I should experience for myself - so of course that got me increasingly curious - and I hate being the one 'left out' when something good is going on!

To anyone considering a Watsu session - Just do it!!! It is SO relaxing and a totally unique experience that I just don't have the words to adequately describe it (which is unusual for me!). What I do know is that you'll love it! And then you can join the growing ranks of people who have experienced it directly! You too can be 'watsu'ed !!!

Thanks again Dawn!!!

Statement from Tony Burgess, Director.
Academy of High Achievers Ltd -03/02/2010

Watsu helps Bride-to-Be Hannah and her mother:

"I got married on the 15th December 2006 and I must admit although I'd been very laid back about the whole planning of the wedding, towards the last few weeks I really did feel quite stressed!
Dawn kindly encouraged me to take the opportunity of having a Watsu which she thought would help me both unwind and relax. From the first minute of getting into the pool and closing my eyes with Dawn capably manoeuvring me through the Watsu positions I was completely chilled out and could think of nothing but calm for the whole hours session!! It was amazing, it was the first time in months I had nothing in my head!
I felt so safe and as I have tried to describe to friends etc I felt almost foetal because of how safe I felt and the sound of the water flowing round me.
As the session came to an end I was gutted, I didn't want it to stop! However it stood me in good stead for the forthcoming week of my wedding as after the Watsu I felt I could take on anything! I was so calm and so relaxed. I had the most amazing wedding day and run up to the wedding which I think was made so enjoyable through the fact that the Watsu had calmed me and prepared my mind and body for a really hectic time!
My mum also came for a Watsu that day and although she may not like me saying it she was far more stressed out about the wedding preparations than myself!!
She is such a busy bod and never stops and to be honest doesn't like wasting a spare minute never mind hour. So the idea of spending an hour "relaxing in a pool" was her idea of madness before she had her Watsu!
However now she can't wait to have another and is recommending it to all of her friends!
She says the Watsu was an ideal thing to have 3 days before the wedding as it not only calmed her but seemed to re-generate her energy levels for the wedding week.
I have never in my 25 years seen my mum stuck for words!! But after the Watsu she was!!! She was so relaxed and calm it was strange!! But it was a real blessing, as for the days that followed she seemed much more decisive and less like a flapping mother of the bride!
All in all our Watsu experience as a bride to be and mother of the bride was fantastic-just what I'd recommend to any forthcoming brides & mums! It really sets you up nicely for the wedding and helps you learn how to relax again and feel that state of being that you had before you started planning the day

Statement from Hannah Bowdler & Sarah Littlehales-1/02/07

Watsu Relief For People With Parkinson's Disease:

"In 1995, I was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease (PD), an incurable, progressive, degenerative neurological condition that causes the body to become very rigid. It affects, among other things, mobility and balance. About five years ago I heard about Watsu while at a hot springs resort in Oregon. Watsu was one of the alternative therapies I tried as a way to get relief from the effects of daily muscle spasms and ever increasing stiffness throughout my body. The experience left me feeling relaxed and agile. I wanted more and when I returned home was sad to find that, because it required the use of a warm pool, active practitioners were hard to find. Unless I was at a hot springs resort, a Watsu session wasn't very available to me.
Now, several years later, I find myself at Harbin Hot Springs, the home of The Watsu Center of Shiatsu and Massage. During the week I was there, I had the good fortune to receive a Watsu session almost every day. One of those sessions was from Harold Dull, the creator of Watsu.
My body was ripe for the soothing and relaxing water therapy. The physical strains and stresses of living with PD for ten years have been immense. Most of the time I feel like a prisoner in my body. As the disease progresses, this captivity intensifies. Harold Dull defines Watsu as "freeing the body in water." This is a perfect description, for that is exactly what I felt. While in the practitioner's arms, my body became totally calm. All muscle spasms and uncontrollable movements ceased. The stress lines on my forehead melted away as my face relaxed. My body became fluid and receptive to the calming water and the therapeutic moves and stretches that is Watsu.
As the week went by and I spent more time in the water, something else became clear. In addition to the physical benefits from the Watsu sessions, my brain, which is usually abuzz with thoughts scrambling one over the other, became calm. I experienced the sessions without distraction, without interference from my conscious mind. That took me to a deeper level of relaxation, to a place of total, unencumbered existence. I didn't feel the confines of the disease, physically or mentally. It was beautiful and transforming.
Now I am back home in the upper Midwest, nowhere near a hot springs resort, and I'm going through Watsu withdrawal. I have begun a search, once again. What I find is that it's still not as available as other kinds of bodywork, but it is out there.
Water therapy is a powerful healing tool. This is especially so for people with PD and other diseases, which affect mobility. My hope is that Watsu will become as available as other forms of bodywork very soon, so that all people who want it can have the incredible experience of being floated."

By Cynthia Entzel 7/17/2005

Watsu for Pregnancy:

"There is no greater attraction than immersing yourself in lovely warm water in pregnancy! The instant relief of gravity, the weightless feeling as the water takes over and you can almost forget for a while that you are pregnant and carrying more weight than normal. But most of all the overwhelming feeling of release in the spine and the pelvis is incomparable - when the water takes over as support and in turn the round ligaments and lower back muscles can simply let go and have a little help for a while is simply Blissful! But then to go one step further and be not only supported by water but also be guided in to making the most of buoyancy with the help of ankle floats and careful maneuvering through the Watsu experience takes you to a totally different level of relaxation.

To find space for yourself is such an important part of the path of pregnancy, to be in this moment fully, and to allow yourself to be ‘present’ with your baby. During both of my pregnancy’s I have sought to be gentle with myself, taking time out to rest, nurture and pamper as I see it as a vital part of the experience to help you to tune in to what you need. For me it is during these ‘life slowed down’ moments that you begin to sense your new role as mother emerging. During Watsu I have experienced the deepest feeling of connection with my little one in a therapy session. In the water, you sense the floatation they must experience in-utero and you in turn float with them, a joint experience of weightlessness for mother and child. This is something I have certainly never experienced on land before and even in water as there is always the conscious part of me, still being mum, holding and nurturing another, responsible, still earth bound in some way via the pool floor, bath etc. The experience of Watsu takes you to a different realm, almost etheric, where the interplay of mother and baby, shape and form, water and land is organic, unbound and limitless.

Whilst in the water, I felt a connection with my breath, and noticed the effortless ease with which it comes and goes without me playing any part. I think with this comes a confidence to trust our bodies rhythm and wisdom to ‘keep on going’. Tuning in to our breath in this way is an invaluable part of preparing for birth, to witness its rise and fall, and to seek sanctuary here, breath by breath as birth unfolds. The sound of your breath suddenly becomes all you hear as the water swishing around your moving body becomes a background trickle. This quickly becomes mesmerising and brings you in to profound relaxation.

The sense of ‘being held’ and having someone nurture you totally, is something so special and I think unique to Watsu therapy. Within moments I had forgotten there was someone with me in the water as the contact is simple, understated and yet you know you are safe. You can almost feel childlike yourself once more, responsibility free for a while, unburdened from both the emotional and physical journey of pregnancy – allowed to ‘just be’ and let go completely. In fact, the mere notion of being held underneath the sacrum and nape of the neck is so reminiscent of our very first experience of human touch as we are born, and for me, there is something hugely comforting, reassuring and safe about this at a deep unconscious level.

In each stage of pregnancy, Watsu has something to offer to assist in the unfolding process of change in the body. During the first trimester, I think having a Watsu session would assist in flagging energy levels and take you to a deep place of peace and relaxation, enabling the mental and emotional processing of pregnancy to unfold. As the body begins to shift in shape and form in the second trimester, Watsu helps with dissolving tension points in the changing frame and allows ligaments and muscles to release and settle in to their new accommodation. I imagine Watsu being really fun for the baby as they can play in their amniotic sea world within, as mum relaxes in a similar environment on the outside – I visualise them doing somersaults and making use of the extra space created through buoyancy! In the third trimester when space begins to feel more cramped for both mother and baby, I think the benefits of Watsu really come in to their own. As the pelvis is freed up from the restraints of gravity, more space is created for the baby to get into the optimal position – anterior/cephalic. I personally experienced my little one shift from right posterior to left anterior during a Watsu session – I believe because I was able to totally relax, my pelvic structure was under no compression and more space was created for the baby to make the turn it needed. Wonderful!

Watsu teaches us how to be in water, how to release tension and let go – something that is harder to do completely on land as there is always contact with form. Learning how to completely relax in pregnancy allows for less physical tension in the body, more space for the growing pregnancy, and an increase in richly oxygenated blood to our baby. Deep relaxation also promotes the release of feel good hormones, endorphins, into our system and of course, these also cross the placenta to the baby. I think Watsu therapy is a wonderful way to prepare for using water during labour and birth, as it gives you the confidence to trust in your body, understand the shapes your body makes, and appreciate the relaxing benefits of water to help with pain relief. Knowing how to reach deep relaxation is also an invaluable preparation for birth and beyond – we cope better with everything when we approach it from a place of relaxation and ‘allowing’.

There is something about a Watsu session that taps in to a deeper part of yourself, almost like touching the soul. Watsu reminds us to keep fluid during the journey of pregnancy in to birth, and to release expectations of attaching to outcomes. We can learn much from water…it teaches us to go with the flow, with the path of least resistance, to surrender to what is, affirming to us that its ok to let go and just let it happen – a great lesson not just for pregnancy but for life itself.

Su Guest November 2007

STA: Swimming Teaches Association ASA: Amateur Swimming Association ISTC: Institute of Swimming Teachers & Coaches International School of Watsu Art of Swimming NHSTA: NHS Trusts Association ITPI: International Professional Therapists International