Alternative Fibromyalgia Syndrome Therapies: Watsu

One form of fibromyalgia treatment that is being used to treat common fibromyalgia symptoms is Watsu. This ancient form of therapy is the latest treatment for fibromyalgia and can bring relief from a variety of fibro symptoms. Watsu massage therapy can provide individuals with relief from fibromyalgia; but what exactly is Watsu therapy and what kind of symptoms can this fibromyalgia natural treatment help to alleviate?


What is Watsu Therapy?

Watsu therapy is a form of relaxation therapy performed in the water that is based on ancient Shiatsu principles and practices. Watsu is based on the principle of the connection between mind, body and breath as well as the use of stretch in order to stimulate positive energy (Chi) flow in the body. Water is considered the ideal medium through which to promote this natural process and as such Watsu therapy is a form of hydrotherapy.

Developed 20 years ago by Harold Dull, an American physical therapist trained in Shiatsu massage, Watsu massage involves allowing the patient to float in the pool with the assistance of a trained therapist so as to move and stretch the limbs in muscles in ways not possible on land. Water temperatures are no lower than 96 degrees Fahrenheit.

During a typical Watsu session, the therapist supports the client while guiding them through a series of interconnected, gentle stretches. Most of these positions are performed in a cradling position similar to that of the fetus in the womb. As such, muscles are isolated and stretched in order to improve flexibility and to reduce tension.


Health Benefits of Watsu Therapy

Watsu therapy has been associated with a variety of health benefits.

Some of the more immediate health benefits of Watsu massage are:

  • decreased respiratory rate and other respiratory problems
  • increased respiratory depth
  • decreased muscle spasm
  • decreased pain
  • decreased stress
  • decreased muscle tension

In addition, the following are some long-term health benefits linked to Watsu therapy after multiple sessions:


  • improved immune system responses
  • improved digestion
  • reduced sleep problems
  • reduced anxiety
  • reduced chronic pain


Fibromyalgia Syndrome and Watsu Therapy

Watsu therapy can be effective in the treatment of fibromyalgia because it helps to alleviate common fibromyalgia symptoms such as widespread pain, muscle twitching and weakness, as well as promotes relaxation.

In addition to being an increasingly popular alternative fibromyalgia treatment, Watsu is also used to treat such conditions as: arthritis, post-traumatic stress disorder, cerebral palsy, stroke and traumatic brain injury. It can also be used as part of post-mastectomy therapy.


Session Information

A referral from a doctor or physical therapist is generally not required for Watsu therapy; however, new clients are required to undergo a physical evaluation prior to participating in Watsu massage.

An average session is approximately 60 minutes in length and some fitness facilities offer Watsu classes at progressively challenging levels. The cost of a Watsu session ranges from as low as $25 to as high as $100.


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