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Know Your Spa Treatments: Watsu

Watsu combines elements of massage, gentle stretching, acupressure, and movement therapy while the therapist cradles the client in mineral water that’s been heated to 96 degrees.

Despite the fact that it’s been around for 25 years, Watsu –an aquatic therapy that relieves stress and invokes deep relaxation—is currently offered in only a handful of spas in the United States. Watsu (the word is a contraction of water and shiatsu) combines elements of massage, gentle stretching, acupressure, and movement therapy while the therapist cradles the client in mineral water that’s been heated to 96 degrees. The muscles of body relax and release, relieving stress and pain, and the buoyancy and support of the water allow for free body movement not possible on land. The practice is said to nurture a sense of deep peace and quiet in the body and mind.

“Many clients report that they feel transported to another world,” says Tal Hurley a Watsu therapist at Tow Bunch Plams Resort and Spa in Desert Hot Springs, Calif. “Watsu is very meditative in nature. The warm mineral water, coupled with the feeling of weightlessness, relieves stress at a very core level.”

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