What is a Watsu Aquatic Massage? Watsu is a massage modality that combines aquatic therapy with traditional shiatsu massage. Watsu sessions are performed in a shallow, body temperature pool. During a Watsu session you float with the help of the practitioner and a couple neutral buoyancy floats.
We are very lucky to have a Watsu pool in Davis, Ca. Jillian Van Ness is certified in Watsu Aquatic Massage. Jillian is a lovely person. When I first met her, I was immediately at ease. Jillian greeted me with a warm, welcoming smile as she did the initial intake. Before stepping into the pool, she talked me through a Watsu Aquatic Massage. Some people like to wear earplugs during their Watsu Aquatic Massage, and I am one of them. Jillian made sure I knew how to communicate with her if I needed to stop or take a break for any reason. I was very excited and ready to experience my first Watsu session.
The pool for the Watsu Aquatic Massage needs to be at body temperature (or close to it). When I first stepped in, the water felt very warm. As soon as my body was under the water it felt amazing. Watsu Aquatic Massage can be done in summer. On this particular day it was around 95 degrees outside. I never felt overheated at any time during my Watsu. Before we started, Jillian applied a couple neutral buoyancy floats to my legs to allow me to float without any effort, and also so my spine would remain in correct alignment throughout.
To start the Aquatic Massage, Jillian brought me into the middle of the pool and supported my arms. She guided me to a relaxed state and allowed me to decide when I was ready to float. Once I was ready to float, the Watsu began.
I can not describe how amazing my Watsu Aquatic Massage felt, but I will try! I have often wondered what it feels like to be a baby in the womb. I have also wondered what it feels like when I support my babies in the water. During my Watsu I was able to experience some of these sensations. The warm water is constantly flowing around your body, giving your skin a massage of its own. Watsu Aquatic Massage uses the stretching techniques of shiatsu. The wonderful thing about water massage is, while one area of your body is being massaged and stretched, the water is moving around the rest of your body, giving your body a whole, balanced massage.
The sensations were amazing. I could feel my body and mind relaxing. I am not sure I have ever been that relaxed before! I was able to completely let go and allow my body to relax. There was no readjusting on a massage table. I didn’t have any discomfort where I needed to tense up my muscles to move my body into a more comfortable position. I was completely, utterly relaxed for an hour. That never happens! It was especially wonderful to feel taken care of and pampered. As mothers, we are constantly caring for others. I felt comforted and cared for. The warm water, the gentle stretching and massage, I never wanted to leave! I do get motion sickness easily but felt no nausea or ill feelings during my Watsu Aquatic Massage.
My favorite part of my massage was how it ended. Jillian gently held me and brought me back to the starting place, with my back against the wall of the pool and my feet firmly on the ground. She held onto my hands until I was ready to hold myself. The transition back to the real world was lovely and slow. I was able to bring that relaxed feeling with me. I didn’t leave the relaxation at the door, it came with me and, surprisingly, stayed with me for a few days. I slept amazingly well, even with a four month old waking up multiple times a night. My sleep was deep and full. I woke up feeling relaxed and energized for two to three days after my Watsu Aquatic Massage.
Watsu Aquatic Massage is very calming to the nervous system. It is a great modality for everyone! I can only imagine how amazing a Watsu would be while pregnant. I will most definitely partake in at least one during my next pregnancy. I think every pregnant woman should try Watsu Aquatic Massage with Jillian! It’s an amazing support for postpartum mothers as well. The stress of having a baby, trying to figure out motherhood, lack of sleep, amongst other things, make Watsu Aquatic Massage a must. I wish every new mom knew about Watsu. It is an experience unlike another.
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