Choosing a Therapy Pool for Watsu

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If you’ve never put on a bathing suit or swim cap for a massage, then you’ve never tried Watsu. Many people could benefit from Watsu’s physical and psychological benefits. Unfortunately, there’s one requirement that limits its reach: Watsu must be performed in a pool with chest-deep, warm water. Let’s take a look at Watsu and at one affordable solution for a suitable therapy pool.

What is Watsu?

The word 'Watsu' combines the words 'water' and 'Shiatsu,' the Japanese bodywork modality with roots going back to the 14th Century. Shiatsu translates as 'finger pressure.' In addition to targeted massage with fingers and thumbs, Shiatsu also involves assisted stretching and joint manipulation.

On top of Shiatu's methods, Watsu also incorporates more modern massage techniques and more dynamic movements typically associated with dance. Like yoga, Watsu relies on deep, meditative breathing to relax the client into being more receptive to the physical movements.

Of course, all of these elements must be performed in water for it to be Watsu. That’s especially important given Watsu’s focus on freeing any tension in the spine; the vertebrae can be manipulated much more easily in water than on dry land. The water should be warm and about chest-deep. Water's buoyancy allows the Watsu practitioner to freely cradle, rock, stretch, and manipulate the client's body.

Watsu bodywork performed in a Dual Propulsion Endless Pool
In this Watsu session, pool noodles help take the stress off, floating the body so the core muscles can relax deeply. This Watsu practitioner chose a commercial Dual Propulsion Endless Pool. Designed with side-by-side swim currents to accommodate two swimmers, the Dual Propulsion model also provides extra room for Watsu’s stretching, floating, and gentle manipulation.

The Watsu Pool

A successful Watsu session requires the client to fall into a state of deep relaxation. Of course, relaxation is difficult in the chilly waters found in the typical public pool. The requirement for warm water can be an obstacle for Watsu practitioners.

Endless Pools® offers a range of compact therapy pools that are ideally suited to Watsu. The most cost-efficient pool for Watsu may well be the Endless Pools WaterWell®. The WaterWell has many of the Endless Pool's most distinctive features:

  • Modular construction to customize the pool size to the space
  • Installation versatility for outdoors or inside
  • Temperature control for water that always feels just right
  • Low-chlorine purification systems for fresh, low-odor water that’s gentle on the skin

The WaterWell does not include the Endless Pools swim current, which isn't necessary for Watsu and lowers the cost.

With its lower water volume, the WaterWell makes it more efficient to heat than a traditional full-size pool. Like all modular Endless Pools, the WaterWell also comes with options for an insulated cabinet and cover to retain heat.

Ranging in size from 6-foot square to 16-foot square with a range of depths, the WaterWell can fit in virtually all new and existing spaces, including garages and basements. The WaterWell is perfect for:

  • Gentle massage & joint mobilization
  • Muscle stretching & body mechanics improvement
  • Water dance & healing dance
  • Jahara technique, a related system of therapeutic movement performed in warm water

The Endless Pool WaterWell can revolutionize when, where, and how Watsu is performed. Watsu practitioners can explore our complete line of therapy pools online.

Why Choose Watsu?

As with conventional massage therapies, one of Watsu’s main goals is deep relaxation. Watsu relies on gentler movements than some massage practices, and they combine with the body’s buoyancy in water to slow the client’s breathing and heart rate.

After receiving Watsu treatments, clients report an array of benefits, including increased range of motion and pain relief. Clients suffering from chronic ailments or recovering from surgery have credited Watsu with reduced swelling and an improved immune response.

Watsu has developed many devotees who also cite its psychological benefits, from reduced stress to deeper sleep. Some Watsu clients experience a deep emotional release and return to the modality for the sense of nurturing and lightness they’re left with.

All this for a modality that was originally developed by a poet! Harold Dull created Watsu in the 1980s, and over the decades, his innovations have been more broadly adopted for aquatic therapy and rehabilitation.

As you can see in the social media posts below, Watsu is recognized around the world as a gentle, meditative, and healing therapy. If you’re a Watsu practitioner, or if you just want to bring the warm water’s mental and physical health benefits to your home, the Endless Pools WaterWell can give you the freedom to dip in conveniently and affordably.

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