1. What exactly IS a Watsu® Aquatic Massage?
WATer-ShiatSU is a massage given while you are floating in a warm pool. I move and guide your body while stretching your body and limbs and applying finger-tip pressure to specific tender points on your back, hips, glutes, neck and head. Each session is geared to the client’s needs and varies in movement. Watsu massage therapy was created by Harold Dull in 1980 at Harbin Hot Springs in Middletown, CA and is being taught in 17 countries to massage and physical therapists for a variety of physical and emotional conditions. http://www.watsu.com/
2. What does a Watsu feel like?
Magic! Each person experiences Watsu differently; some describe it as water ballet, flying, ethereal, or floating down a gentle river. One of my clients expressed his session as “a completely different dimension of relaxation”. The buoyancy of water creates a feeling of weightlessness, and because there is no pressure on the joints (as in table massage) the neck and spine can completely release and move freely.
3. Who can have a Watsu? What about a serious medical condition or injury?
Please note that I do not treat acute (recent) injuries. Clients with moderate-severe medical conditions, disabilities and/or chronic injuries should ask their doctor to authorize aquatic massage therapy.
I offer two types of sessions:
Restorative Relaxation Watsu: This Watsu is for the client who is seeking stress relief, and/or has a minor to moderate physical issue. Enjoy the magic of a warm water aquatic massage, floating weightlessly relieving stress, minor to moderate pain and stiffness, while I guide you swirling through the water, gently massaging and stretching your tight muscles! Periods of stillness provide integration between body and soul, leaving you in a most deeply relaxed state of being. This type of Watsu is also perfect for pregnant women who love feeling weightless and nurtured. Babies love the experience too!
Therapeutic Aquatic Bodywork: This session is for clients who have severe pain and/or physical limitations from medical conditions, disabilities and/or chronic injuries. Additional time and assistance may be needed to get in and out of the pool. Clients with more severe conditions should receive clearance from their physicians for warm water therapeutic massage.
4. What if I can’t float or swim? Will I go under the water?
My pool is only 3.5 ft deep and I will wrap floatation devices around your upper legs if needed. You are either held in my arms, or wearing a secure head cradle that allows you to float on your back while I massage your legs and feet. Your eyes and nose are always above the water. Your ears will move in and out of the water; ear plugs are available. First timers are often initially nervous, but after about 10 minutes you will realize that I’m not doing to drown you, and you’ll give a huge sigh and relax!
Clients who have experienced water trauma and are afraid of the water should schedule a Therapeutic Aquatic Bodywork session.
5. What temperature is the water?
Watsu is best given in 95-97 degree water. Any cooler and the body will begin to chill after about 30 minutes. I adjust my pool temperature according to the weather and client preferences.
It is very important that clients who are sensitive to water temperature tell me PRIOR to the day of their session. It takes several hours for the pool to cool off once heated to a particular temperature.
6. What is a Custom Couples Session?
Often two people want to come at the same time, especially if coming from a distance or they are visiting the area for a short time. The client intake and orientation sections are done together, and then each client has a separate Watsu, while their partner chooses to relax in an indoor or outdoor setting. First-time Watsu sessions are 45 minutes each. In subsequent sessions, couples may choose to have 60 minute Watsus, or 45 minutes each and then a joint 30 minute session learning how to safely hold and float each other in the pool. Please note that couples sessions are for Restorative Relaxation Watsu only. Clients needing Therapeutic Aquatic Bodywork should schedule a private session.
7. I’m getting over a cold; should I still come? What about a rash?
Please re-schedule your session if you are sick two days before your session, even if you are "getting over it". While normally there is a $50 late notice fee, this will be waived if you become sick the day of your session.
8. How should I prepare? Is there a shower? What should I wear and bring?
Please wear your swimsuit or trunks under your clothes and bring a large towel and flip-flops to wear out to the pool. Please shower at home before your session, if possible, and DO NOT APPLY LOTION, OIL OR MAKE-UP. There isn’t a shower available here, but you will leave smelling clean.
9. How often do I need to come?
This is an individual decision based on your physical and emotional health needs, or just your love of Watsu! Clients in moderate or severe stress or pain may want to come weekly, at least at first, gradually tapering off to once or twice a month. Many clients come every two weeks to regularly maintain stress or pain management. Some clients come for a monthly "tune-up" just because they love the refreshing and nurturing experience in body and soul.
10. My ears are water-sensitive; should I bring ear-plugs?
Ear plugs are available, but you are welcome to bring your own. The best are made of wax for a good seal. (The foam bullet-shaped plugs just fill with water.) I also have swimmer’s over-the-counter ear drops available if you would like to use them after your session.
11. How is the pool kept clean?
The pool is equipped with a ultra-violet light (UV) sanitizer and fiberglass filter that kill bacteria and other matter continuously. A very small amount of chlorine is used, about 10% of what is used in pools without UV lights. In addition, the pool is vacuumed daily, thoroughly scrubbed three times a week and "backwashed" (the water is partially drained and refilled) every two weeks.
12. Are the facility and pool accessible to people with disabilities?
My home in a residential neighborhood in Davis, CA is equipped with ramps on both the front and back doors. I do not have a pool lift, so clients must have a certain amount of arm strength, with assistance, to get in and out of the pool. The entrance to the pool is 18" above ground to make transfers from wheelchairs easier. Once the client is sitting on the stairs, I can wrap floatation devices around the legs and "float" them off the steps. Lifting up out of the pool is more challenging. I usually ask clients bring to someone who can help with the transfers and lifting as I cannot take responsibility for transfer.
13. Are the sessions private? Do I have to wear a bathing suit/trunks? My pool is located in my fenced backyard, and inside a beautiful, large, white yurt for privacy. There are four large roll-up doors to open in nice weather. We are snug and steamy inside in wet weather. Female clients may choose to have their session unclothed. Men are required to wear swim trunks.
14. The cost seems higher than a usual table massage, why is that?
Maintaining and heating a pool is costly, plus additional time is needed learning about Watsu and for getting out of the pool and dressing. I allow up to 90 minutes for each session, so you will not experience the usual quick -in-and-out of a traditional table massage session.
"THAT WAS AMAZING !!!!! I have had massages but never like this. I had my first Aquatic Massage with Laurie Loving, and I LOVED IT...It is done in a heated pool and her float devices makes her work limitless on your body, I had no clue. I told her when we were finished that I think a traditional massage, the table, really limits the massage."
Mark Fifer, Rio Linda 2013
‘Watsu® is a trademark registered in the name of Harold Dull. ‘